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Drilling nickel silver and copper spacers?
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Thread: Drilling nickel silver and copper spacers?

  1. #1
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Drilling nickel silver and copper spacers?

    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

  2. #2
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    SpikeC's Avatar
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    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.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
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  4. #4

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    Drill-eze and a really good carbide bit... it will cut like butta

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    Ya, carbide rocks!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  6. #6
    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


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  7. #7
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    Don't forget that you can sharpen drill bits if they have not been trashed by too much heat. That includes carbide.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  8. #8
    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...

  9. #9
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    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

  10. #10
    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.


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