How to drill stainless steel

Stainless steel is one of the widely used metals in all sectors. But due to different applications, you may require to create holes through stainless steel to get the work done. This means that you have to know how to drill stainless steel, or else you will have your projects stalling.

Drilling through stainless steel is almost similar to drilling nay other metal. However, there are some differences that one should know.

Drilling stainless steel requires the use of high-speed drill bits. Additionally, there are steps to drilling stainless steel that make the process a little easier. Many people can boast of making holes through stainless steel with satisfactory outcomes. This means that you too, can make it happen with less hassle as long as you know the basic steps to follow. This article will help with just that necessary knowledge you can apply to drill stainless steel.

The first thing you need to know is that drilling through stainless steel is much different from drilling mild steel. However, the basic method is just the same. Here is how you can make holes through stainless steel without ruining your drill bits.

What you required:

  • Protective goggles
  • Working gloves
  • Variable speed power drill

Step By Step Guide On How to Drill Stainless Steel

Step 1: Safety First

The first thing you need to ensure is that you are safe. Drilling stainless steel requires protective gear like working-gloves and eye protection goggles. Additionally, you should avoid any loose cloth that may be caught between the drills.

Step 2: Find the Right Surface

You need to ensure that whatever you are drilling into is supported on a surface that you cannot damage when the drill passes through the metal. Do not put the stainless steel on your lap

Step 3: Secure the Stainless Steel in Position

Clamp the piece of metal you want to drill. Failure to clamping the metal may see it move, spin, or lift as you apply pressure on it. This situation can cause damages and injuries when drilling stainless steel.

Step 4: Mark the Spot

Locate the spot you want to make the hole and mark with using a permanent marker or center punch. Additionally, you can use heavy-duty masking tape to mask the region near the mark to avoid losing the marks when chips scratch the surface of stainless steel as they spin. However, the best way of making a mark on your drill points is by using a center punch to put some slight depressions in the stainless steel. Hold the punch firmly on the spot and rap it sharply using a hammer to make a tiny puncture.

Step 5: Start Drilling

This step requires some considerations depending on the type of hole you want to make through stainless steel. For instance, if you are hand drilling through stainless steel, you need to follow a two-step process.

Hand drilling stainless steel

To start drilling, put a drill bit that is half the diameter of the hole you want to make. Gently turn the drill bit as you apply pressure to push it through stainless steel. Once you have put a hole through stainless steel, install another drill bit, which is now the same diameter as the hole you want to make. Drill the hole again to get the job done.  If the metal you are drilling is thin, then you may just use a single bit to get the job done. However, such a process has a potential risk of “grabbing” as the drill breaks through stainless steel.

How to drill stainless steel step by step

Using a power drill to drill stainless steel

Put some drops of oil into the mark you made on the steel. Hold the drill perpendicular to the bracket, and then place the tip of the drill bit into the mark or depression you made. Pull the trigger of the power drill and let the bit gain rotational speed as it moves around the mark. Ensure that you keep the drill bit on the target.

After making a hole through stainless steel, you can change drill bits to make bigger holes if you want to. It is advisable to keep lubricating the spot.

Step 6: Clean Up

Once you are done making holes through stainless steel, wipe off the excess lubricating oil and some stains that may have formed on the metal surface. Using a metal file, remove the rough edges left around the holes.

Bonus tip: You can easily de-burr the hole on both sides by using a larger drill bit. You can use plastic or felt on the clamp to protect your surface from damaging.

How to drill stainless steel step by step

Safety consideration when drilling stainless steel

Overheating is expected as you drill through stainless steel. The best to reduce this is by adjusting the speed of the power drill. If you see smoke coming out of the lubricant, slow down by releasing the trigger. Allow the bracket to cool first before continuing. Doing so protects the drill bit. Additionally, if the hole you are drilling is larger, you have to drill slower to reduce friction.

The process of cleaning up after drilling stainless steel is also an area of concern. The process of drilling makes the metal surface hot. Do not touch the drill bit, bracket, or the stainless steel for some time to allow the materials to cool.

Lastly, it is essential to protect your eyes and ears, especially if you are using a power drill.

The bottom line

Drilling stainless steel should not be an overwhelming task as many think. As long as you know the processes and have the right tools, you should be able to make holes through stainless steel with less hassle. What is important is to keep yourself safe by wearing protective gear like eye goggles, working gloves, and some protective earbobs to minimize noise.

The steps given in this post should help you drill through the stainless steel like a pro in no time.