3 Tips For Drilling Through Metal

4 Dec

It’s not uncommon for certain home improvement projects to involve drilling holes through a metal surface. Yet many people are intimidated by this prospect–or even consider it outright impossible. Luckily, that isn’t the case at all. This article will present three tips to make drilling through metal a breeze.

Guide your drill with a dimple.

The density and toughness of metal make it much more difficult to drill into than wood or other relatively soft materials. Once you’ve got a hole started, this isn’t such a big deal. But getting going can be frustrating–and potentially dangerous–given the tendency your drill bit will have to wander across the surface of the metal.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to ensure that your drill remains on target. Use a hammer to gently strike a center punch against the spot where you want to drill. The idea is to create a small dimple, yet one deep enough to keep your drill bit’s tip firmly in place as you start your drilling. 

Keep your bit lubricated while you drill.

The good news is that most any bit can be used to successfully drill holes in metal. Unfortunately, the lifespan of bits used for this purpose will be greatly shortened. That’s because drilling metal creates much greater amounts of friction and heat, thus wearing out drill bits.

There is one way, however, that you can help maximize the lifespan of your bit: keeping it lubricated while you drill. This doesn’t have to be difficult. Just put a couple of drops of multi-purpose oil on the bit before you get started and periodically throughout the process of drilling. Be aware that this strategy generally isn’t necessary for softer metals such as aluminum and brass.

Deburr the drill hole using a larger bit.

Drilling a hole through metal often results in a good amount of burrs and sharp, jagged edges. There are plenty of so-called deburring tools on the market to help smooth away the edges of your hole. While useful, it may not be necessary to purchase one of these.  That’s because you can often achieve the same effect using a bit slightly larger than the one used to drill the hole.  

All you have to do is press the larger bit against the hole and twist it back and forth with your hand. The sloped sides of the bit’s tip should effectively smooth away those nasty burrs.

For more information about metal fabrication, contact Waters Brothers Contractors, Inc. or a similar company.

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