Drilling holes in sheet metal
May 17, 2008 at 3:23 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

trains are bad

Headphoneus Supremus
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I have a thin, aluminum project box. I need to drill holes of all sizes, from 1/4, 5/8, 3/4 inches, because all my switches and jacks are different sizes. So if I buy all these as regular twist drills, it's going to cost a fortune. Plus, using twist drills with sheet metal doesn't always leave clean holes unless yous spin the drill really fast, and use a drill press.

Home depot has a step drill, that has all sizes from 1/4 to 3/4 inches. I'm pretty sure this exactly the right thing for drilling sheet metal. The only thing is it's $35.

What do you do to drill sheet metal?
 
May 17, 2008 at 5:40 AM Post #4 of 11

tomb

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Pars /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You could try these:

Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

I will warn you that these do not work as well as name brand unibits such as Irwin (on thicker stuff they chatter... damn near ruined a project for me). For thin stuff they work fine.

I also bought some Irwin unibits off eBay, so another option if you can wait.



The one on the far right (the one with the smallest graduations) of the Harbor Freight set does fine, although it will dull fairly quickly. The other two - as you say - are pretty much worthless. Still, it's a good buy just to get that one for ~$10.

The shoplifting is incredible in my local HF. They put these in a bin - maybe a hundred or so. In a few days, you can count on one hand how many still have that one bit left in the package. That and tap handles walk regularly out the door. I'm sure other stuff does that, too, but those are the ones I watch all the time.
frown.gif
 
May 17, 2008 at 12:56 PM Post #5 of 11

AndrewB

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The Irwin brand Unibits are worth the few extra dollars at Home Depot or Lowe's. I picked up a 2 piece set a few years ago and they 're still cutting well in aluminum and light steel.
 
May 17, 2008 at 12:59 PM Post #6 of 11

AndrewB

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Just as a afterthought; invest in a center punch as well ($5-$20). Either the manual type or a auto- spring loaded one. This way your drill bit won't walk off where you want to drill
 
May 17, 2008 at 1:37 PM Post #7 of 11

labmat

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I second the center punch; it's the only way to ensure your hole end up where you intended.
 
May 17, 2008 at 11:04 PM Post #10 of 11

Pars

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May 17, 2008 at 11:53 PM Post #11 of 11

tomb

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Quote:

Originally Posted by malldian /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

Curious as well, too cheap?



Not at all - those things are great. They'll pop little dents all day long. It's been recommended for building the MAX almost since day one:
 

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