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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    31

    Drilling stainless steel

    Had to modify a prep table today...many drips of sweat, quite a few mental curse words...any tips for quick and easy tips drilling through stainless steel?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Stongsville Oh
    Posts
    943
    I like to drip oil on the bit/hole as I drill it. I always have a zoom spout oiler. Cutting oil would probably be better and it keeps the bit cool and cutting. Many times the drill bit is forced then heats then gets dull. let the bit do the job and don't press to hard.
    ckartson
    I didn't write the book I just read it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    chicago,il
    Posts
    97
    I use Cobolt drill bits much more to buy but last ,tap majic cutting oil. pump the trigger on drill keeping bit cool cuts better and faster good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,140
    What you need are cobalt drill bits, a low speed drill that will turn around 200-300 RPM, constant even pressure, and cutting oil or water to keep the bit and the material cool. When you are drilling stainless steel, the idea is to cut through it with the bit so you get a long, curly, continuous strand of metal, instead of thousands of little flakes like you would with regular steel and HSS bits.

    If you apply too much or not enough pressure, or too much speed, you will burn the bits and you will harden the material, making it even harder to drill.
    The key to happiness is lower expectations.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,263
    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Rob View Post
    What you need are cobalt drill bits, a low speed drill that will turn around 200-300 RPM, constant even pressure, and cutting oil or water to keep the bit and the material cool. When you are drilling stainless steel, the idea is to cut through it with the bit so you get a long, curly, continuous strand of metal, instead of thousands of little flakes like you would with regular steel and HSS bits.

    If you apply too much or not enough pressure, or too much speed, you will burn the bits and you will harden the material, making it even harder to drill.


    And for larger holes, use carbide hole saws.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Hammond,La.
    Posts
    1,176
    As has been said already, Keep the bit cool and lubricated. Slow speed and lubrication is what gets through stainless with the proper bits (cobalt). If you use a punch to set the starting point it won't walk and help you get the hole started. Always start small with something like a 1/4" hole then step up from there when you need larger holes instead of just starting with a big bit. I few nice step bits are handy to have.
    "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."
    Benjamin Franklin, 1766

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    4,840
    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Rob View Post
    What you need are cobalt drill bits, a low speed drill that will turn around 200-300 RPM, constant even pressure, and cutting oil or water to keep the bit and the material cool. When you are drilling stainless steel, the idea is to cut through it with the bit so you get a long, curly, continuous strand of metal, instead of thousands of little flakes like you would with regular steel and HSS bits.

    If you apply too much or not enough pressure, or too much speed, you will burn the bits and you will harden the material, making it even harder to drill.
    This
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,928
    FYI, a DrillDoctor does a fantastic job on sharpening any drill bit, so, if you're doing a LOT of drilling, having one handy might be a good idea.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    So-Cal
    Posts
    585
    Just like Tech Rob said!

    You have to use Colbalt bits.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    460
    I've got a set of Dewalt titanium drill bits that I've used to drill through stainless and they haven't let me down.

    http://www.homedepot.com/buy/tools-h...et-160639.html
    With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mid-Mo
    Posts
    3,596
    Another vote on cobalt bits and a lot of patience. Slow and steady!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    802
    I have a set of DeWalt bits that are titanium and they are terrible. I asked a friend about sharpening them and he said you really can't sharpen them. He explained that the bit is really just a steel bit with a thin coating of titanium. Sharpening them ruins this coating. They will still work, but only as good as an old steel bit. So, is a cobalt bit worth the extra cost? My friend says he thinks between replacing titaniums and sharpening cobalts that you will break even, cost-wise. Should I invest in cobalt, or just get more titaniums and be more careful when cutting metal with them?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,381
    Cobalt is what I've used. the last outfit i was with i did many many repairs for the cook line coolers made by all southern fabricators. What a p.i.t.a to change drawer gaskets. The old style wasn't snap in so the entire thing needed at least 10 screws to hold it in by a stainless plate. Problem was they shipped it with screws that ended up looking like a person with meth mouths teeth. Even the drawer frames were done this way. I learned then a good bit with backups & plenty of patience was the key way to do it

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