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apicius9
01-29-2012, 08:13 PM
I think I asked that before but I didn't find it. How do you guys drill through nickel silver, copper, and brass spacers, something between 1/16 and 3/16". Of course, I have been doing this for a while but it drives me nuts every time. The last drill I tried was a DeWalt titanium drill with a pilot tip that went trhrough the first one and then I tried drilling a piece of stainless steel spacer fron Jantz and the thing almost melted on me. After that, I could not even go through 1/16" of n.s. Anymore. There has to be a way I haven't discovered yet, nobody would do this if there weren't an easier way. Oh, and we are talking 1/2" holes here. I predrill the pieces with the same series 1/4" using cutting oil. Once I try opening the predrilled hole with the 1/2" bit, nothing goes anymore. Makes me feel really stupid...

thanks for your tips,

Stefan

SpikeC
01-29-2012, 08:23 PM
I find that higher quality bits give better results. I don't trust the ti plated ones, they use the coating to cover up inferior metal. Drill speed is an issue as well, too much speed will overheat the bit then it is toast.

JBroida
01-29-2012, 08:39 PM
i use coolant sometimes when drilling or polishing delicate things

mhenry
01-29-2012, 08:58 PM
Drill-eze and a really good carbide bit... it will cut like butta

SpikeC
01-29-2012, 08:59 PM
Ya, carbide rocks!

Marko Tsourkan
01-29-2012, 08:59 PM
HSS bits are sharper than carbide, so I would use those. N/S has 'gummy' feel to it and is hard to drill. You might have to predrill twice with 1/4 and 3/8 bit and then jump to 1/2.

M

SpikeC
01-29-2012, 09:15 PM
Don't forget that you can sharpen drill bits if they have not been trashed by too much heat. That includes carbide.

Rottman
01-29-2012, 09:26 PM
HSS drills, cheap enough and easy to sharpen if you know how. Drill a pilothole in 4-5 mm first, you can go fast on that (1000+ rpm), cut back on speed and drill larger. Coolant is always a good idea esp. on stainless. What you describe sounds like your drillbits are trashed...

apicius9
01-30-2012, 12:00 AM
Thanks guys. Well, the two titanium ones I tried are definitely trashed. They just got hot and almost seemed to melt, obviously crap combined with abuse...

So, just to make sure, could anybody please point me to a good source and an exact model that should work? HSS and/or carbide, I have no problems paying for quality, I just don't know exactly what to choose. My best local source is Home Depot and I have a feeling there are better ones out there. BTW, when I started I used carbide milling bits, that could also work but his gets really pricy.

Can you please also comment on the speeds? From what I read here, I assume I was running them too fast (1500rpm).

I have to look into sharpening them also (thanks for the tips, Tilman), never even considered that. But I mostly use brad bits for the woods and rarely anything else.

I have about 20 handles on my work bench that have metal spacers, and I would love to get through them without premature aging...

Thanks,

Stefan

PierreRodrigue
01-30-2012, 12:15 AM
Bits classed as HSS Jobber bits, a good automotive supply shop, or larger hardware store will have them, and will be cheaper. They will do well for most softer metals. Carbides can be expensive, and if your press has any wobble, it likely will shatter the tip of the carbides. They are amazing for sure! Will drill through a hardned knife easily.
Coolant will be your greatest friend. Also when drilling through softer metals, have a piece of scrap hardwood beneath your metal so your work piece doesn't bend.

apicius9
01-30-2012, 05:39 AM
Thanks, Pierre, I guess I will try both, HSS and carbide and see how it goes. And I do use some scrap wood under the metal pieces - being where I am, they are koa ;) I was researching more tonight and realized that with the increasing diameter I should have lowered the speed which I did not do. I also read that the bullet pilot point drills 'should' work (the pilot point just minimizes wandering), but that they won't work well to open existing holes. That sounds like I should not have predrilled at all with them. Makes sense from my experience but still surprising. I will continue experimenting...

Stefan

Marko Tsourkan
01-30-2012, 07:20 AM
You can get some from Enco.

Bill Burke
01-30-2012, 08:33 AM
i use coolant sometimes when drilling or polishing delicate things


You can get some from Enco.

Enco is a good choice for decent drills at a good price. Also if you can get cobalt drills. They are a good compromise between hss and carbide. Brab points will work in brass or copper but nickel silver, Nickle or stainless is going to ruin them.

JBC
01-30-2012, 10:16 AM
Stefan,

Just the new guy here with knives but was a machinist for 16 years so maybe I could be a little bit of help. When drilling any type of metal the general rule is to use surface footage(sfm) to determine the drill speed/rpm. This is the calculation (RPM = (SFM x 3.82) divided by DIAMETER of drill). The sfm can vary wildly between a stainless/nickel alloy(20sfm)and say, brass or copper(200sfm). Getting your rpm's close to the material you are drilling is just as important as the type of drill. To find the approx sfm just google , sfm for (material you need to drill).

As for the drill bit itself, carbide will drill through just about anything but can be brittle and chip if your set-up isn't rigid enough and can get damn expensive. The pilot drills you are using are not made to enlarge an existing hole. I would use a good quality HSS/cobalt drill from an industrial supply house -MSC, J&L or Enco, the drill bits at Home Depot just won't last. When drilling the hole, use a center punch first to locate the drill, then use a center drill to give the drill bit it's start and then the actual drill bit to finish the hole. If you drill thin sheet type material, look into a uni-bit style drill (center punch but no center drill with a uni-bit) they will not "grab" the material as it breaks through.

Hope this helps,

Jason

DevinT
01-30-2012, 10:46 AM
Slower speed at the drill press.

Hoss

apicius9
01-30-2012, 02:56 PM
Just another example of how amazing this forum is. Less than 20h after posting my question, I got more than a dozen really helpful tips here and through PMs, and one of the forum members (Pesky) walked down to his local tool shop, picked up some cobalt drills for me and sent them out. Special thanks and welcome also to the 'new guy' Jason for jumping right in, those were great tips and pointers on how to find more info on this.

Mahalo,

Stefan

Chef Niloc
01-30-2012, 05:30 PM
I'm no expert but from my own experiences and advice from others over the years herer are my thoughts on drilling hard and or thick mettle.

Start with a center tap by hand rather then using self centering bits.

Low speed with as much downward force as you can use without flexing the bit, so short bits work better.
Step up in sizes and use grease/thick oil that will want to stay in place and not "run" once it starts getting hot. The heaviest weight motor oil might be the easiest for you to find but I have seen guys at machine shops use this thick, thicker then jelly stuff.
If you here the but starting to squeak or just change in sound your getting to hot.

Wd40 sucks

Sharp bits, I see guys do them after each use on a disk grinder. I could never do that, but I guess if you work in a machine shop you get good at it. I use a drill doctor.

1/8" bits are disposable, buy cheep ones.

Champ your work down tight from at lest 3 sides. Use clamps with long jaws or spread the force by using flat steel bars or blocks of wood.

Hope some of this helps?

JBC
01-31-2012, 12:46 AM
Stefan,

Glad I could be of some help. I've learned quite a bit from yinz guys about knives and when I saw a metal working question I was glad to help, it's one of the few things I know something about.

Jason

apicius9
01-31-2012, 03:37 AM
Thanks Colin. i have some cutting oil here and Pesky picked up something for me today, so I will see how that goes. Mine is a bit thin for my taste. My setup us a small milling table on my drill press table with a small vise mounted on it, so I can move my pieces in 3 dimensions and it is pretty stable. Still far from a pro setup or a milling machine, but for the level of precision I usually need it has been sufficient so far. I have some 1/4" and some 1/2" cobalt drills on the way, and If I need 1/8" to predrill, I will do exactly what you suggested and get a dozen 1/8" bits. If the USPS is fast enough, I will find out how it goes on Sunday while you all watch this strange game that was created for the advertising industry on TV ;)

Stefan

Marko Tsourkan
01-31-2012, 07:38 AM
...I will find out how it goes on Sunday while you all watch this strange game that was created for the advertising industry on TV ;)

Stefan

You not going to watch the game? NO!

I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to that game. :)

Besides looking forward to the outcome, I also have a friendly wager - if Giants lose, I am sending some pastrami to Panaca, if they win, I get best ingredients for chili from Panaca.

M

ejd53
01-31-2012, 08:01 AM
Nice bet. I also have one, but can't tell you the specifics:whistling:. You see I grew up a Patriots fan (my father had season tickets to the Boston Patriots) and my wife grew up a Giants fan (her mother actually ran the Long Island Giants Fan Club for 30 years).

GLE1952
01-31-2012, 10:51 AM
Sound like that may be a no lose bet!!

Glen

apicius9
02-05-2012, 11:19 PM
Just wanted to say thanks again. I drilled about 50 spacers today, copper, brass and nickel silver, and I did not want to throw myself out the window while I was doing it... Still need a little fiddling with the speeds, but your tips and the new drills make a huge difference.

Stefan

SpikeC
02-06-2012, 01:22 PM
Great news! Rock on!