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Old 08-11-2011, 03:50 PM   #1
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Hole taking forever to drill


I am trying to drill a 1" hole through 8, thin pieces of steel. I have the pieces mounted to a board, but the hole is taking forever to drill - I stop after a while because of how hot everything gets.

Would it go faster if I drilled a smaller hole, then drilled a second time to widen it?

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
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Hole taking forever to drill


I would take it to a local Steel Fab shop. They could put it on a drill press and have it done in about a second.

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:40 PM   #3
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Hole taking forever to drill


I'm using a drill press. If I knew of one close by I would, but by the time I'd drive it there, I'd be done.
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:42 PM   #4
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Hole taking forever to drill


Yes use a starter hole---You may have dulled the big bit--

Are you using a 1" trust drill? Just what are the holes for? Electricians use a knock out punch to make holes--way to expensive for 8 holes.

Or a step drill--which is not to pricey.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:15 PM   #5
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Hole taking forever to drill


I had to drill a steel I beam recently for a couple of screws. Pretty simple really, just a couple of tips. First, you need a sharp, hard bit. Tungsten carbide works nicely, titanium nitride is good too. Go slowly, you use low to medium speed on the drill. Keep the point oiled to keep it cool, I use ordinary machine oil. You can certainly start with a small bit and enlarge the hole with a bigger bit, just be careful you don't catch the edges of the large bit on the sides of the hole, you can snap the bit in half pretty easily. I know, there is part of a drill bit somewhere in the room, I can't find it.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:47 PM   #6
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Hole taking forever to drill


If things have been getting hot, the bit is likely toast. Just how thin is "thin". As others have said, good bit, slow speed and lotsa coolant.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:05 PM   #7
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Hole taking forever to drill


Are you trying to drill all 8 pieces at one time?

If drill bit was smoking it needs to be resharpened, as stated. It was also good advice to drill holes using a series of bits starting with a small pilot bit and working your way up, increasing by about 1/8" each time. If the material is especially hard, such as stainless steel, it helps to alternate the speed of the drill to help dissipate heat. Use a good cutting oil as well.

The suggestion to have this done at a fabrication, sheet metal or machine shop was good advice. I punch 1" holes through 1/4" plate every day, each hole takes me about 3 seconds using an iron-worker.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:09 PM   #8
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Hole taking forever to drill


Are you using a special bit made for steel? If you use a wood bit, you'll break the tip off the bit. Before you begin any project, make sure the bit is the appropriate material and design for the job. A twist bit is the most common bit, and the tip shape varies according to the material. Harder material needs a larger point angle, and the most common point angle for drilling hardened steel and metal is 150 degrees; most of these are made of high speed steel. Some of the newer twist bits have a negative cutting edge that allows you to drill without the bit walking or a punch to start the hole. Tungsten carbide and titanium tips with a chrome vanadium shanks allow you to drill not only hardened steel but also many other surfaces.

Note whenever you drill hardened steel; make sure that you use a lubricant while you drill to prevent the buildup of excess heat that causes the bit to dull. Also, make sure you drill using a slower drill speed, which also prevents buildup of damaging heat.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:36 PM   #9
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Hole taking forever to drill


Im thinking the bit is just garbage - I tried sharpening it with a dremel to no effect. I drilled a half inch hole super easy.

This bit is black oxide I believe, but I've used it alot before, on steel. It's the only bit I have bigger than a half-inch, so it's the one I use whenever I need a big hole in non-wood. Bits this size are like $20 a piece - sucks to have to buy a new one.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:44 PM   #10
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Hole taking forever to drill


Quote:
Originally Posted by tibberous View Post
I am trying to drill a 1" hole through 8, thin pieces of steel. I have the pieces mounted to a board, but the hole is taking forever to drill - I stop after a while because of how hot everything gets.

Would it go faster if I drilled a smaller hole, then drilled a second time to widen it?
You would drill through the steel more expediantly if you had sharp bits and maybe oil to cool the process.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:59 PM   #11
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Hole taking forever to drill


Well a dremel wonít cut it. You would either need a drill sharpener like the drill doctor to get the right angle or just buy yourself a new bit. Now if it is black oxide itís not a bad bit. Most common bits you usually buy are twist drill bits in a standard length called jobber lengths, with the length varying according to the bit diameter. These will handle most of the jobs you tackle and are usually black oxide. If anything, donít buy cheap bits. Theyíre frustrating and can be dangerous, causing you to push or exert more force than needed when drilling.


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Old 08-11-2011, 07:44 PM   #12
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Hole taking forever to drill


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Originally Posted by epson View Post
Well a dremel wonít cut it. You would either need a drill sharpener like the drill doctor to get the right angle or just buy yourself a new bit. Now if it is black oxide itís not a bad bit. Most common bits you usually buy are twist drill bits in a standard length called jobber lengths, with the length varying according to the bit diameter. These will handle most of the jobs you tackle and are usually black oxide. If anything, donít buy cheap bits. Theyíre frustrating and can be dangerous, causing you to push or exert more force than needed when drilling.


I agree with the Drill Doctor, one of the best maintenance investments I've made. Largest bit the usual consumer version handles is 3/4" though.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:06 PM   #13
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Hole taking forever to drill


then you got to take it to a guy like this:

or try and sharpen it yourself with a file or if you have a bench grinder..
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:17 PM   #14
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Hole taking forever to drill


Being a retired Tool&Die Maker- I would suggest a "hole saw"--slowest speed possible with gradual down force and use cooling oil.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:31 PM   #15
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Hole taking forever to drill


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Originally Posted by Giles View Post
Being a retired Tool&Die Maker- I would suggest a "hole saw"--slowest speed possible with gradual down force and use cooling oil.
I'll bet you don't rely on a Drill Dr. either.

We've done a lot of work in a T&D shop through the last 10 years, and I'm always amazed at how quickly and accurately you guys can sharpen a bit by hand on a bench grinder.

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