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Thread: Drilling big hole in metal

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Drilling big hole in metal

    I need to drill a few 5/8 and 3/4 holes in 1/4 and 1/2 metal.
    Largest usable bit I have is 1/2.
    I have a set of large bits, but they just don't drill metal.
    When I got them, they were suppose to be able to drill metal.
    Any suggestions on what would work????
    Probably just a one time use.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    JWFilips's Avatar
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    I have found some cheap Drill bits in the past on e-bay They don't last long but can get "a job" done for a low price
    " Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation: for it is better to be alone than in bad company. " George Washington

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I like those step bits but maybe not for that thick especially 1/2’’ thick, you’ll need a proper bit for that.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    go to a rental yard and get a mag drill and the special drill bits for large holes, they are kind of like hole saws but use a carbide tip.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rancher1913 View Post
    go to a rental yard and get a mag drill and the special drill bits for large holes, they are kind of like hole saws but use a carbide tip.
    That will be the easiest way if you don't have a drill press or a mill. It's possible to use a hand drill but the magnetic drill will save wear on your wrists and elbows when the bit breaks through the offside.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A properly sharpened drill bit slower speeds and lots of oil to lubricate and cool the cutting edges. The bigger the drill the slower it needs to turn. With practice and drill gage twist drills can be sharpened on a bench grinder. If hand drilling a small pilot drill hole helps a lot. Look at the drill point on you will see each sides cutting edge and a small line between them, This is a dead point that doesn't cut and needs to be forced in to the material. A small hole the same dia or slightly bigger relieves this force allowing the drill to cut easier.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



    skeettx's Avatar
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    Can you post a picture of the big bits that you have that will not cut metal?

    Have you seen these?

    https://www.amazon.com/Cobalt-Silver...a-570094393805

    Mike

    p.s. and of course you know to start the hole with a small bit and work up in stages and use
    lost of cutting fluid?
    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use hole saws a lot, but I'm not sure they make one in 5/8. It takes a good drill to handle a 3/4 bit, lot of drills now have poor gears, some are even plastic.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    A fluted tapered reamer and a 1/2” electric drill geared for 500 rpm (Harbor Frieght for the drill would suffice).

    If you don’t mind a bit of taper on the 5/8” hole a 3/4” reamer might cover both hole sizes you desire.

    The tip of the tapered reamer should start in your 1/2” holes you can already make.

    Using regular drill bits by hand is a great way to get really hurt. Too grabby.

    Three44s
    Last edited by Three44s; 01-10-2019 at 01:33 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Man Iron369's Avatar
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    That big and that thick I would use a good hole saw for sure. With a corded drill with a clutch.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man Iron369's Avatar
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    I drill 1Ē holes in thick steel poles almost daily with hole saws.

  12. #12
    Boolit Man Iron369's Avatar
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    Just go slow and use cutting lubricant

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    what are you powering them with ? the harbor-fright drill presses do not turn slow enough. in fact I don't think any of the small drill presses out there turn slow enough. I use my vertical mill. another thing that would work would be a old post drill. if you were close enough I could sharpen your drill bits.

    I would start small and work up in size.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    The drill I mentioned from HF is a geared 1/2” electric hand drill running 550 rpm no load. It is cheap but I have done a lot with one at our farm shop. I run a 5/8” car reamer easily with it in steel thicker than the OP has a need for.

    I have no doubt that my drill would also handle a 3/4 reamer as well.

    On older US made geared 1/2” hand held drills I have had fluted tapered reamers on the order of 1 1/8” dia. I would not take a ordinary twist drill bit for such applications any way shape or form.

    When we have no choice but to use a twist bit of any substance we remove the handle and screw in a substitute stub that we can add a cheater pipe to and have a second person on the end of. I’ll gladly buy another drill rather than suffer through or pay for someone’s broken arm.

    Three44s

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    They make hole saws that size. Probably the cheapest option if you have to buy something for this project.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Respectfully I can not imagine cutting a series of holes in steel 1/4 to 1/2” thick with a hole saw, they may be cheaper but I have cut enough holes in dashes for gages in gauge thickness metal to know that it would take multiple saws to equal a twist bit, much less the superior car reamer.

    Picture this: The 5/8” reamer I am referring to was first bought to use to finnish a rebuild of a Brillion cultipacker. We had two layers of steel, both 5/16” thick with oblong 7/16” holes from wear to drill through with a hand drill. We took the 5/8” car reamer and over sized to clean holes without incident through both layers simultaneously. We installed new 5/8” bolts at the multiple locations and saved an expensive tillage tool from being junked out.

    As I recall my 5/8” reamer cost about $55. It will out last many resharpenings of a twist drill and has not needed resharpening itself yet and has been used on many projects since the Brillion project.

    Three44s
    Last edited by Three44s; 01-10-2019 at 01:48 AM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Hole saws with lots of oil should work for you.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Be ready to list all your aches, pains, ailments, and delicate conditions
    whenever some one says, "All ya gotta do,,,,,,,,,,".

  18. #18
    Boolit Man
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    Do you have or have access to a cutting torch? I use mine for stuff like this all the time, even though I own a drill press and an extensive drill bit collection, while not as precise as a drill bit it will get the job done and save some time in the process. With some practice and a little grinder/file work you can cut good round holes. I can’t believe I’m the first to suggest this, maybe I’ve been doing it wrong?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by wl620 View Post
    maybe I’ve been doing it wrong?
    If it works, it isn't wrong. Not as precise perhaps, but not wrong either.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Be ready to list all your aches, pains, ailments, and delicate conditions
    whenever some one says, "All ya gotta do,,,,,,,,,,".

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub
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    If you donít have a drill press capable Iíd say start with a small starter hole say 1/4 the follow it with your 5/8 bit nice and slow. Take your time stop and add cutting oil. I have and probably will many more times burnt the corners right off my larger drill bits with a hand drill.

    If itís something shipable small or maybe could be more complex let me know I have a cnc shop and Iím willing to help a member out here or there. That goes for any others aswell but I must warn you I donít have much time.

    The cnc mill makes any size hole look easy although that is just aluminum.


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