The key to successful metal drilling lies in understanding the unique characteristics of metals and adapting your approach to accommodate these properties. Improve your metalworking skills and ensure the longevity of your tools with these four tips for drilling into metal without ruining a drill bit.
Choose the Right Drill Bit for the Task
Investing in good-quality, durable bits specifically designed for the metals you’re working with will greatly reduce the chances of damaging the cutting tools. High-speed steel (HSS) bits are a popular choice, as they are well-suited for drilling into various metals without becoming dull quickly. When cutting hard metals such as stainless steel, use cobalt drill bits because they have high heat and wear resistance.
Keep Your Drill Bit Sharp
Another essential tip for drilling into metal without ruining a drill bit is to keep the bit sharp. A dull bit will require more pressure and can cause damage to both the bit and the metal surface. Regularly inspect and sharpen your bits using a bench grinder or a drill bit sharpener to keep them ready for use.
Use Cutting Fluid to Your Advantage
When drilling into metal, that friction generates heat. Excessive heat can cause your drill bit to overheat, leading to wear and tear. That’s where cutting fluid comes in handy. Generously applying cutting fluid on the metal surface and the bit before drilling reduces friction and heat, thus extending the life of your bit and improving the quality of your work.
Apply the Proper Drilling Technique
Proper technique plays a significant role in safe and efficient metalwork. Begin by marking the cut site and creating a small divot using a center punch and hammer. This process helps guide the bit and prevents it from wandering off the desired path.
Afterward, set the drill at a slow speed and apply consistent pressure as you start drilling. Once you’ve started the hole, increase the speed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific metal you’re working with. Ensure you periodically retract the bit to clear away any debris and reduce heat buildup.
Drilling metal doesn’t have to be a daunting task that wreaks havoc on your tools. By choosing the right drill bit, keeping it sharp, using cutting fluid, and employing the correct drilling technique, you can cut efficiently and minimize tool damage. Use these tips to save money and time while producing quality work.