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misc DIY questions

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
could somebody answer my silly question: what do you use to drill holes thru steel and also aluminum enclosures?
i had used a Dremel at high speed, in order to drill thru a RadioShack aluminum case, and the bit was all destroyed by the time i finished...
post #2 of 4
A Dremel will work, but what kind of bit?! That's a tiny mandrel and anything over 3/32" I don't know how you'd hold it... even with the "drill chuck" add-on this is not what a Dremel was made for...

Use a regular drill and HSS drill bits. (High Speed Steel) If it's thicker plate you'll have to cool the bit as you use it with oil or water, but normal stuff like 4mm chassis steel you should be fine and it'll poke thru in a few seconds, even a 1/2" bit. Just rest it every few holes so it doesn't glow orange. It'll destroy the cutting ability. (also if you use cheap Kmart bits, they're good for one chassis prep.. then toss em)

If it's tempered steel or stronger you can use cobalt or TiN (titanium nitride) coated ones... how much money you got? Even general HSS bits can be $5/ea for quality.

Drilling aluminum is like cardboard when compared to steel. I hate steel. Makes me bleed. Alot.
post #3 of 4

I use a large metal hand punch with adjustable hole sizes to cut holes through aluminum and plastic. It's basically a large hole puncher with screw-on hole sizes. I think you can get one at a hardware store. It might work with steel too but I haven't had any steel enclosures. I believe most chassis mount components have standard sizes, so you can get a perfect fit. To punch holes, I first measure where the center of the hole is to be, and then I use a screwdriver or mechanical pencil to make a little indentation at the center. Then I can position the puncher part of the punch right on top of the center. My hand punch's puncher is sort of pointed, so it fits right on the indentation. All you need to do then is squeeze the handle. For larger holes that have a greater diameter than the max size of my hand punch, I usually just make an initial hole and then carefully punch around it. It works really well and you don't have to worry about cutting yourself, or being hit with aluminum/plastic shards.
post #4 of 4
I use Apheareds method but i first Drill a small piolet hole so the Bit will stay put. I also hate steel not only is it hard to work with but on AC units can create Hum. It is also heavy. Use Aluminium. If you want to go Crazy and get almost a fariday cage Shielding then line the inside with that stick on Copper Foil available at Hobby shops. Then Ground the Foil to the Chassis. The Screws used to mount your board and Jack's if non Insalated are good places to ground the Foil. make sure the Contact is good maby using some type of Lock or star washers. Aluminium lined with Copper make for a verry wideband Shield. it Also will shield from magnetic Fields somewhat Aluminium is transparrent to these, However is great for High frequencies. so the above method makes for the best of Both worlds.
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