How to drill steel plate, need suggestions
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:02 PM   #1
DKShrimporium
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How to drill steel plate, need suggestions


I want to mount the bolt shown into the steel plate size shown with a nut on the other side (I think it's 3/16 inch thick plate), need to make holes into the steel plate. Hole diameter is larger than half inch, probably 5/8 inch. Steel plate is not hardened to my knowledge, that scrap was cut yesterday with a sawzall and metal blade. Can you suggest the best method to create the holes?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #2
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Bit for metal cutting and lubrication. Oil
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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Drill press with 5/8" metal hole saw would be the best method. Vice and drill will work fine if not available.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #4
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and yes, cutting oil
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:29 PM   #5
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Would this bit work? http://www.lowes.com/pd_126221-70-DW...rill+bit+5%2F8

I have lubricant for a paper shredder, designed for high temperature metal on metal lubrication, I think that would work.

I have a cheapo harbor freight drill press, a monster milwaukee corded drill (1/2 inch hammer), and a cheapo dewalt 3/8 cordless (the $100 christmas special one) drill that does give me good lower RPMS when I want them.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:40 PM   #6
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That will work. it will just take forever.

Hole saw style is a lot quicker, your removing a lot less material for the same hole. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-5-8...4#.UcszUZz7k9Y

you could use a step bit too, these things are handy to have around. They dont last real long drilling metal though if you have several holes to drill. http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece...lls-91616.html

I happen to also own a HF drill press, had it for over 10 years the damn thing wont die!
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:20 PM   #7
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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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Old 06-26-2013, 11:48 PM   #8
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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.

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Old 06-27-2013, 01:37 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:48 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:59 AM   #11
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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.
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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
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:27 AM   #12
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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.
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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.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:47 AM   #13
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hmm.. you could try and bring it to some steel shop and have it torched..
with oxygen acetylene welding cutting..

just my 2 cents..
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:16 PM   #14
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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?
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:36 PM   #15
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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
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