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Thread: How to drill steel plate, need suggestions Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-01-2013 01:59 PM
DKShrimporium
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonpatterson View Post
Congrats on finding a good machine shop, that's always a worthwhile discovery. I was groaning at $25 for drilling a hole through a piece of sheet metal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Hills Tj View Post
Ditto...made me squirm when I read it.
I agree, on first glance a quoted price of $25 for two lousy holes is cringe-worthy.

However, my calculus was as follows:
  • This is a piece of equipment that costs in the ten thousand dollars range.
  • It does not belong to me, but to someone else who needed help with it.
  • The tolerances for my placement were very tight, so my holes had to be exact.
  • The holes are in a structural member, so if I messed up, drilling MORE holes is not advised, due to weakening the member. And there was no more real estate to drill the holes where my tolerances would have been met for placement of the air springs.
  • The cost to me to do it myself would have been at least this much, by the time I bought a suitable DECENT drill bit and messed around.
  • Buying a drill bit myself would have added several days at least to the turnaround time, and this is the season where the mower is in use all day at least every five days. (There was nothing in stock locally that I was interested in buying for this purpose - it was a shorter drive to the machine shop than to where I'd have to drive to look for a suitable bit.)
  • I like to touch base with this machine shop every few years, so they remember me. In this case, they remembered me and gave me a tour of their new LED fixtures, even pulling one for me to examine and feel the heat.
  • Mostly, I just wanted the holes, fast, and right. Cost to an extent was secondary, due to mowing season. The guy riding the mower just had retinal surgery and it is critical he have shock absorption now.

So for me, it was a no-brainer at $25. It was a plus that when I showed up there they only charged me $5. The $25 quote was assuming half hour of shop time, but the holes took only under 5 minutes.
07-01-2013 04:43 AM
Black Hills Tj
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonpatterson View Post
Congrats on finding a good machine shop, that's always a worthwhile discovery. I was groaning at $25 for drilling a hole through a piece of sheet metal.
Ditto...made me squirm when I read it.
06-29-2013 01:48 PM
DKShrimporium Explanation of the project ongoing here.
06-28-2013 11:55 PM
jasonpatterson Congrats on finding a good machine shop, that's always a worthwhile discovery. I was groaning at $25 for drilling a hole through a piece of sheet metal.
06-28-2013 09:22 PM
DKShrimporium Whoo-hoo. D. Cooper always does good business. They drilled those suckers in about 3 minutes, perfectly, charged me $5, and gave me two locking washers to fit, to boot.

Pictures of the project to come, when I have my compressor fired up, later. Pouring rain right now.
06-28-2013 03:36 AM
Black Hills Tj What are you building and how many holes do you need drilled?
06-27-2013 02:36 PM
DKShrimporium Guys, I lucked out. I got this guy to do it for $25 while I wait. For that, I pay someone else to do it for me! D. Cooper has always done great things for me and I have no problem supporting his shop with this. I sent an inquiry with pictures last night at 9 pm and had a response with quote just now. That's the type of business you want to support, when you support a local business.

I will update when they are drilled. I won't have them drilled until my other parts arrive and I'm ready to pull the part for drilling and assemble the whole project, all at once.

Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate it.

DK
06-27-2013 01:16 PM
etk300ex this is not done yet?

Do you have more plate other than piece you you cut already? Be a lot easier to drill while its still a large sheet, then cut it.

What are you trying to accomplish here anyway? Cant use a washer?
06-27-2013 09:47 AM
yanzco hmm.. you could try and bring it to some steel shop and have it torched..
with oxygen acetylene welding cutting..

just my 2 cents..
06-27-2013 07:27 AM
blink
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodneywt1180b View Post
Mark your location with a center punch first. Drill a pilot hole with a sharp smaller bit. Drill again with a size about 1/2 way between your first bit and your final size. Finally drill with the size you want. Any regular old oil will work. I've even used cooking oil to drill steel before.
Rodney
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Hills Tj View Post
This. Slowly work your way up to your desired hole size. If I'm going to a half inch hole, I'll often go 1/8, 1/4, 1/2
These guys got it.

Use the drill press and buy a HF drill press vice, they shouldn't set you back much and they are MUCH safer than having a piece of metal whipping into your fingers at 300 rpm.

WD40 or used motor oil or even water will work as lubricant, just about anything to soak up some of the heat and move the chips away, don't be shy about using it either, especially water as you'll need a lot.

For this I'd just buy a step bit as was mentioned earlier, they're great for jobs like this since you don't have to change drill bits to step your hole sizes up.

Sounds like the metal working shops in your area are a bunch of douche, most places in my city would see what you want to do, ask you to mark the holes then grab the chunk of metal and march into the back to zip a couple holes into it so you'll go away happy.
06-27-2013 05:59 AM
Black Hills Tj
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodneywt1180b View Post
Mark your location with a center punch first. Drill a pilot hole with a sharp smaller bit. Drill again with a size about 1/2 way between your first bit and your final size. Finally drill with the size you want. Any regular old oil will work. I've even used cooking oil to drill steel before.
Rodney
This. Slowly work your way up to your desired hole size. If I'm going to a half inch hole, I'll often go 1/8, 1/4, 1/2
06-27-2013 02:48 AM
Rodneywt1180b Mark your location with a center punch first. Drill a pilot hole with a sharp smaller bit. Drill again with a size about 1/2 way between your first bit and your final size. Finally drill with the size you want. Any regular old oil will work. I've even used cooking oil to drill steel before.
Rodney
06-27-2013 02:37 AM
GraphicGr8s Cutting through that just stand on the sheet (on top of a piece of wood) and drill. Whatever corded drill you have.Take your time and lubricate. It isn't that hard to do. Just get a bit for ferrous metals. That bit from Lowes looks like it's more for thinner sheet metal not steel plate. And don't put it on hammer if it's a hammerdrill.
06-27-2013 12:48 AM
DKShrimporium Thanks for the input, TPTers. I'm checking out one more option which is a friend with a wood shop locally. He might have a buddy with a machining shop.

I do have a drill press, but am not sure it won't slip on me as earlier this year I had to clean and re-seat a slipping chuck, on much less torque than I think metal drilling would take. I do have vices mounted to workbenches. I do not have a lot of hand strength. (I have already cracked one finger using a hole hawg that tied up on me, and while I do have a corded hammer drill with ample torque, I'm a bit afraid to try holding it freehand for metal work.) I do have a stubborn will to find solutions, though.

The local actual machine shops wanted upwards of $200 to take on a project, which is way beyond what I'm needing - I just need two lousy holes.

I'll let y'all know what I end up doing.

DK
06-26-2013 08:20 PM
gene4christ If you have a drill press and a vise , it will be a snap, very easy . If you do not have vice then it gets a little tricky , use a good set of vice grips and drill into a peace of wood and hold very tightly . If you do not have a drill press but have a vice a hand drill will work but is slower and can be tricky when you get about through . If you do not have drill or vice call someone who has one LOL .
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