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Drilling 101

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Old 12-06-2011, 02:02 AM   #1
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Ok so we have covered drill bits and their applications now lets cover their use. This is mainly for metal, if you need help drilling wood let someone else do it.

First things first. A drill bit is made to drill axially or in a straight line through the center of the bit. It will not make a slotted hole, you need an endmill for this.

No matter what you are drilling, force is required to allow the drill bit to drill correctly. It is much easier to exert this force using a drill press or vertical mill but it can be done with a hand drill. Now, the point of the drill DOES NOT cut, as a matter of fact, the center of the bit is considered stationary as it is the point of rotation. A center punch can serve 2 purposes, 1 a solid starting point for the hole and also a good starting point for the drill flutes to actually start cutting. This works well for small holes, for larger holes do the following:

1) center punch
2) grab a small drill bit and start the hole, just enough to get a good start on the flutes of the larger bit.
3) drill hole with correct bit.

Another option is a spot drill or center drill, most people are not going to have these so I will not go into further detail unless requested. This is mainly used on drill presses or vertical mills.

As stated earlier, you need force to drill the hole, force also creates heat. WD40 is a very good drilling/cutting fluid. Use it, it it will lengthen the life of your bits and also keep the hole from rusting. If you are drilling and you are using more force than you need too there is a good chance that your bit is toast. If you see it glowing red, it is toast. Get a new bit and continue.

If you are drilling a fairly deep hole, say over 1" you should retract the drill every now and then. This is called peck drilling. It clears the hole of chips as well as the flutes and also allows for coolant to be applied down hole. Excess buildup of chips can dull the bit and also cause the hole to become enlarged.

If you need to enlarge a hole use light pressure and let the drill do the work. The easiest way to mess up a perfectly good drill bit is by pushing too hard and messing up the outer edges of the flues.

I have mentioned coolant a few times here, here are some good ones that can be found around the house:

Soapy Water
Vegetable Oil
Marval Mystery Oil
3 in 1 Oil

Coolant can make your drilling experience very pleasant, the little bit of added cleanup is worth it. It not only cool the bit and material being drilled, it also flushes chips out of the hole.


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