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What drill for nickel silver and brass?

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apicius9

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O.k., this officially drives me nuts. I just want to drill 1/2" holes through thin (up to 1/8") nickel silver, brass, or copper spacers. I have tried all kinds of drills and it keeps annoying the heck out of me. The last ones I tried were drills with a little pilot thingie, and at first they seemed to work, but tonight I did't get a hole in a 3/32" piece of nickel silver amd when I pressed harder, the damn thing - piece and drill- started glowing.... I usually start with a smaller one of 1/4" and then try with the 1/2".

So, what drills to use? Anything else to pay attention to? What drill press speed, should I use something for cooling? I start feeling really stupid but i hope I am only the wrong tools... Thanks,

Stefan
 

jmforge

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A little advice. Unless you are really emotionally attached to nickel silver, I would suggest trying 410 stainless instead. NS yellows badly and it is gummy. You should also get some cutting fluid no matter what you use.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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NS unhardened feels very "gummy". HSS bits are sharper than carbide, so they would be my choice. I always predrill stock with smaller diameter drill before going to the desired diameter. Would prefer to work with hardened NS if I could find it.

M
 

apicius9

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I would have no problems using SS insteand of NS, I just always assumed that it was considerably harder and would be much more painful to work on the sander - and harder on the belts also. I'll just try it out. But the problem remains with brass and copper.

Stefan
 

Lefty

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I think cutting fluid, with the metal clamped to a piece of throw away wood is likely best.
You'd know better than me, though!
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I think cutting fluid, with the metal clamped to a piece of throw away wood is likely best.
You'd know better than me, though!
Spraying the bit with WD-40 helps a little bit, but not much. The best if you can drill the piece held in the vise (I use parallels to elevate it).

M
 

jmforge

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Low carbon martensitic stainless like 410 or 416 is very easy to drill, grind, etc as it comes from the mill, 416 being the easiest because it has a trace amount of sulphur added to make it free machining. The bad news is that 416 isn't really available in thin stock anymore. Thin 410 will have you reaching for your hearing protection when you cut it with a bandsaw!!!!! Both types polish up very nicely. People tell me that if you don't harden it you don't get the full stainless properties, but I have never seen the soft stuff corrode. I use it strictly for fittings at this point, so I have never needed to harden the stuff..
I would have no problems using SS insteand of NS, I just always assumed that it was considerably harder and would be much more painful to work on the sander - and harder on the belts also. I'll just try it out. But the problem remains with brass and copper.

Stefan
 

apicius9

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I use a little drill press vise and a piece of wood under it. The vise is mounted on a milling table, so I can move things around. I will get some cutting fluid and WD-40 and new drills and try again this weekend.

Stefan
 

apicius9

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Thanks for the tips everyone, looks like I will go hunting for a few things.
 
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