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Old 03-04-2009, 03:50 PM   #1
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


Yeh, that's right-bed rail. I'm using old bed rail as angle iron to make new battery trays in a golf cart. Cutting them to length with a Sawzall is not the thing to do, it will burn up a blade quick. Using hand hacksaw will work if you go slow. I'm using a die grinder with a thin blade to cut about half the way through then the hacksaw.I've got the battery trays fabricated and welded in. Now, I need to drill some holes for various things and I'm finding that this stuff eats up a high speed drill bit. I had some nice carbide tipped drills from somewhere and managed to get two 1/4" holes in but it was not easy. It's one of those situations where IF someone had walked into my shop today with a Plasma Cutter for sale for $2000 I would have mortaged my house on the spot to get it. I understand these bedrails are made out of scrap iron which may explain why they are so hard to cut/drill. Any suggestions? Thanks, David

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Old 03-04-2009, 06:44 PM   #2
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


You should be able to cut them with a sawsall, but you need metal cutting blades and the cutting speed should be slow. Some lubricant of some kind would also help. If your blade speed isn't too fast you should have no problem cutting with the sawsall.

Drilling the holes is the same thing, don't drill too fast and use some sort of lubricant. Faster speeds don't necessarily cut faster at least not after a couple of holes. Better drill bits will last longer, but after a few holes you will notice the cutting time slow down. A drill doctor would be a good investment if you plan on doing a lot of this kind of work.

You could use some used motor oil or by some cutting lubricant at the hardware store, it will help keep the blade or bit cool and lubricated. None of these will be as fast as a plasma cutter, but will be a lot less expensive.

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Old 03-04-2009, 07:39 PM   #3
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


Gus, thanks for the reply. I should mention that I am a retired Maintenance Tech/Machinist with what I consider very good tools and cutting tools. I also have a Drill Doctor and use it. It just seems that this particular bed rail is giving me a fit. I am doing it as you suggested and hardly making a dent in it. After the original post I went out, went through some stuff I had put away and found a solid carbide center drill. I finally got this to go into the metal but it wasn't easy as it should have been. I'm loading this cart up on my trailer tomorrow, taking it to a friends muffler/brake shop and using his Plasma Torch to blow seven little holes in this metal and be done with it. Thanks, David
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:30 PM   #4
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


What is a bed rail?
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:07 PM   #5
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


That must be some tuff old steel you found. At least you know the battery tray will hold up when you get it together.
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


oregondiy- - Down here we have a headboard, a footboard and in between on each side are steel angle iron rails to hole the box spring mattress. Some of the older one's had cast iron end on them. I understand some of the newer one's are made from scrap iron so there's no telling what is in the metal. I have found some areas that are easy to cut and some that are hard as hell. A plasma torch blew the holes in them as needed, grind the slight slag off one side and I'm good to go. Gus- -The original battery trays in this cart had rusted completely out and I had very little to go by. Yes, these new trays will last a long time. If you've ever priced golf cart batteries then you will understand why I want them to be strong. Two more parts to mount and I'm riding, , , ,Thanks, David
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:51 AM   #7
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


Some of those old bed rails were made of spring steel and super hard to drill.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:02 PM   #8
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


re: cutting metal, I use an angle grinder with an abrasive cutoff disk. Works good for freehand stuff and is fast. I put the grinder in the vice and wire the trigger on if I need more control (proceed with caution).

For rough holes in metal, I just use my cheap wire welder.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:07 AM   #9
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
..cutting metal, I use an angle grinder with an abrasive cutoff disk.....
Those thin cut-off disks are awesome>
http://www.coastaltool.com/a/accesso...sc45_grind.htm

Most hardware places carry them now. I like the thin 0.045" x 4 disks

For straight cuts i started to use the HF Guide.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=45921

For 90 angle iron cuts I clamp a speed square and align the edge of the HF guide to the cut line and use the angle grinder just like using the speed square as a guide with a circular saw. For straight cuts in sheet metal like kick plates a straight edge against the HF Guide works good. The straight edge can be any straight piece that can be clamped to the work piece. No freehand guesstimating here.
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Last edited by PaliBob; 05-10-2009 at 05:10 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:13 PM   #10
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


Here is another application for recycling an old bed rail into a new life. The design objective was to make a cart on casters that would take up the least floorspace in a garage workshop. Commercially available carts all seem to store the cylinder in the vertical position.

http://www.amazon.com/Hobart-770187-.../dp/B0002PS7TO
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Last edited by PaliBob; 05-10-2009 at 12:19 PM. Reason: added Link
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:15 PM   #11
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Tool to make a hole in bed rail


solution for me- use oil and new cobalt bit, drill small starter holes with drill press on slowest speed, then drill final size hole through starter if need be when piece is mounted. It was impossible to hand drill even starter holes without bedrail supported from below.

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