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Thread: Drilling Stainless Steel

  1. #1
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    Drilling Stainless Steel

    Does anyone know the most effective method of drilling holes in stainless steel so that there is as little burring to have to file off as possible?

    If one side isn't being seen then I woud drill from the good side towards the non seen side. I could then file off the burring without worrying. But, what if both sides are a lovely brushed finish and filing is not an option?

    G

  2. #2

    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    Really sharp hss or solid carbide drill with cutting lubricant helps, as does using a pillar drill at a low speed, even downward pressure and centre-punching before drilling - stainless is weird stuff (there's all sorts of different alloys) and work-hardens very easily, getting it hot with a slightly blunt drill will do it for certain. We always put a finish on drillings with a multi-flute countersink (has to be good quality HSS or carbide - B&Q type just melt! The number of flutes isn't that important, some 'chatter', leaving a wavy pattern on the metal some just don't and I've never sussed exactly why of two identical ones, one will and one won't ), leaves the hole round, but 'breaks' (puts a tiny chamfer on) the edge. Don't think filing is going to give you a nice finish, sorry!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member essexdave's Avatar
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    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    Giles.
    To add to what Alex said, if you go the csk route, line up your csk roughly over the hole, tear off a small piece of paper and fold in two , make sure its bigger than the hole you are countersinking and countersink with the paper over the hole..... dont worry , it will spin the paper but wont chatter ...... an old school engineer taught me that when i first started work back in 19??.
    It works and we do it often, works when opening up holes in sheet metal too, but like Alex said ,dont run the drill bit or csk too fast.
    Not sure how effective it would be using a hand drill , but pillar drills etc hand holding the job or in a vice its never been a problem.
    Dave.

  4. #4

    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    Also use a progression of drill sizes rather than blast through with the end clearence size and on the last size drill from each side (if possible) to the centre. So, if your drilling to clear for a M8 bolt start with a M2 pilot, go up to M6 and work up in 0.5mm stages to M7.5 and at M8 drill from one side to centre, turn over and drill through.



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  5. #5
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    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    Thanks for the advice guys.

  6. #6

    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    I have always found cobalt drills to be best
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  7. #7

    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    They're good - but they need to be really sharp for stainless, and often aren't razor edged......
    It's a 50 year old car and everything works, just not always at the same time.......and it's probably about to get jealous!
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  8. #8

    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    One thing you don't buy is those "drill anything, guaranteed not to bend or break" drill sets, they bend, break and burn out and have no edge, just cheap masonry bits chromed. £40 worth of rubbish!



    The opinions expressed in my posts may not be made in a sound mind and should be taken in the spirit intended, Jack Daniels is fine.
    Some people see things as they are and ask why? I dream things that never were and ask, why not?” JFK

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  9. #9
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    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    I'll get some new HSS ones and work progressively upwards from 2 - 6mm.

    Cheers.

  10. #10

    Re: Drilling Stainless Steel

    Quote Originally Posted by Alzax3
    They're good - but they need to be really sharp for stainless, and often aren't razor edged......
    Very true, they worked fine for doing the rivet holes for stainless sheet for my neighbours Robin Hood. He was getting through standard HSS drills like no tomorrow, cost wise, it was cheaper using Cobalt than standard for the number of holes / number of drill bits. He reckoned carbide might have been less cost effective and didnt want to shell out for them in order to find out
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