How to Drill Through Metal? Complete Guide 2022

You think drilling through metal is not a big deal. Drilling through metal is not more challenging than drilling through timber, but it does necessitate some specific methodologies and a few additional equipment.

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So you have a metal object that requires a few holes drilled into it. It is a high-level job that necessitates the use of specific drills and drill tools. Continue reading this post to get to know How to drill through metal?

Drilling in soft metals such as copper and aluminum is okay with standard metal drill bits. Drill bits produced with chrome vanadium, cobalt, or titanium carbide are recommended for hard metals including stainless steel. The High-speed steel label denotes that the drill bit is built of an extremely hard metal grade. Metal drill bits with diameters ranging from 1 to 13 mm are commonly available.

Because various materials have varying degrees of toughness, this guide will assist you in dealing with a wide range of metals, including softer and harder metals.

Using these steps, you’ll discover that working with metals isn’t all that distinguish from working with other materials, and it’s no more difficult.  The tips in this blog will undoubtedly help you complete your drilling job more efficiently and effectively.

Safety Rules for Metal Drilling

Unlike the drilling wood that produces sawdust, drilling metal creates sharp, curly metal pieces that are harmful to your skin and, particularly, your eyes. So the first safety precaution is to wear protective goggles while doing the job. When working with metal, it’s also advisable to wear thick leather work gloves.

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The second safety rule is to fasten your work. Drill bits have a habit of grabbing the metal as they’re splitting through it. When the bit comes to a complete stop, all of the drill’s rotating force is converted to the workpiece. If the job isn’t fastened or at least firmly held, it can prick or twist suddenly and powerfully, which is dangerous when operating with sharp-edged metal.

Step-By-Step Guide for Metal Drilling

1.     Place a Sacrifical Board

A flat piece of the wood panel(known as a sacrificial board) must be put on or below metal when you are drilling.  when you make the hole, you drill through or into it (that’s the sacrifice). Lock thin sheet metal above a sacrificial board (or another flat sheet object) to protect the bit from splitting up the hole. Make the sacrificial sandwich for a neat and clean hole.

2.     Make a Dimple

Drill bits can be picky when it comes to metal. Perhaps they are simply disoriented or lack incentive. In any scenario, they tend to flee as quickly as the drilling begins. To avoid this, use a quick-to-point punch (center punch) and a hammer to create a low depression in the metal at your drilling threshold. In a pinch, a tiny, tough nail will suffice. All you want is a tiny dimple in which the drill bit tip can rest. It will assist in keeping the bit on the path until it begins to cut the hole.

3.     Add Oil

A metal bit trimming metal material generates a lot of tension; tension generates heat, and heat quickly dampens drill bits. Before drilling, apply a small amount of cutting oil, 3-in-1 oil (residential oil), or motor oil to the metal to decrease frictional heat. If the hole is large, you may have to add oil again during the drilling operation more than one time.

4.     Drill Slow And Low

That entails using a slow drill speed and applying little pressure. Many drills must be run at ½ or slower; the larger the bit, the slower it should twist. Retain relatively low drill pressure, allowing the bit to do the work. Drilling too rapidly and with too much force on the drill generates excessive heat, which rapidly dulls bits

5.     Stop Smoking

Smoke indicates that objects are becoming too hot, that you are delving too quickly or too heavy, or that you are not using sufficient oil. If you ever see smoke, stop operating and allow the bit cool completely, then add some new oil and restart, but this time slowly and low.

6.     Start Small

Drill bits create a hole by trimming away its corner, similar to how an apple is peeled with a knife. Because of the extremely large surface area, large pieces have a difficult time biting into the metal to produce shavings, which can significantly slow the drilling operations. To expedite the process, begin with a small piece and make your way up to the final hole size.

For instance, if you really need a 1/2-inch hole, begin with a 1/8-inch bit and work your way up 1/8 inch at a time: 1/4, 3/8, then 1/2. Larger dives can be made in some metallic materials, but if you’re not seeing the bit slashing into the corner of the hole, the piece is too large.

7.     Clean Up a Hole

If the hole has a sharp edge after drilling, smooth it out with a drill bit slightly bigger than the hole size. Insert the bit into the hole and spin it by hand to remove the metal particles.

How to Drill Through Metal- Frequently Asked Questions

What is the simplest way to drill a hole through metal?

It is critical to have all of the required tools if you like to drill through metal as rapidly as feasible. Drilling through metal might not be too challenging if you have the prescribed drill bits and a reasonably powerful drill. We strongly advise drilling very gradually through metal to avoid heat buildup. Read our step-by-step guidelines to ensure you’re drilling thru the metal with the proper processes and techniques.

What is the best drill bit for metal?

There are several types of drill bits that are best suited for metal. Essentially, any of these would suffice for the majority of jobs. Cobalt is a good choice for drilling through harder steel and also stainless steel. Titanium, on the other hand, isn’t more costly and lasts longer, hence why we definitely suggest it. If you’re planning to work with metal for an extended period of time, a titanium drill bit is a better option.

How To Variate Speed and Pressure When Drilling Through Metal?

The speed of your drill bit and the amount of force acting you consider to the bit are genuinely where skill comes into play when it comes to drilling metal.

Let’s start with drilling speed.

As a general rule, go S-L-O-W. Set your hand drill to low gear.  Slow it down on the drill press. More precisely, there are multiple drilling speed layouts on the Online platform that will inform you accurately what speed to establish your drill at for which stuff, as well as which size and type of bit you are dealing. Most hand drills will not precisely adjust the speed, but drill presses will. When in hesitation, drill metal at the lowest latency your drill will allow. This may not be the most accurate way of drilling, but it will get the job done without harming the bit.

When it comes to pressure, the shavings will show you if you’re doing it correctly. If you get debris or tiny clumps of metal, you’re not pressing the bit hard enough for it to lead to a split. When you get long, constant shavings that are many inches in length, you know you’re using the right amount of pressure. I frequently get pieces a foot long. They end up breaking off and whipping around in the air because they are so long. Safety goggles are required.

Wrapping Up- Drilling Through Metal

Drilling through metal is not challenging and tricky task; however, some steps are necessary to follow. Above I have explained step-by-step guide to answer your query How to drill through metal? Read this and follow these steps to drill perfectly. Still if you have any confusion, feel free to ask us anytime.

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