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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Drilling Concord Pots: No Luck So Far!
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:38 AM   #1
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Default Drilling Concord Pots: No Luck So Far!

Alright, I'm getting close to assembling my new eHERMS, and one of the last steps is drilling the kettles to attach all the fittings. I have three 20 gallon Concord kettles that I need to drill. I'm borrowing Greenlee punches and a step bit from another brewer, and I bought several cobalt drill bits to do the pilot holes after doing a bit of research.

However, I've now spent at least 2 hours trying to get a single pilot hole drilled, running a hand drill at low torque as slow as I can possibly go, leaning into it and putting as much pressure as I can, and I'm barely shaving off filings. Definitely no tell-tale curly-cues of stainless steel like I'm told I should have. I have a divot now, but progress seems to have come to a standstill, and I'm afraid to keep going and work harden it any more.

Are there any other tips or tricks I should know? Are Concord pots notoriously difficult to drill or something? Is there a better type of bit to be using for pilot holes in stainless steel? Any help would be greatly appreciated—I'm eager to get my system put together so I can start using it!

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Old 03-28-2015, 02:16 AM   #2
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Are you applying a lubricant as you drill?

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Old 03-28-2015, 02:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by benfarhner View Post
Alright, I'm getting close to assembling my new eHERMS, and one of the last steps is drilling the kettles to attach all the fittings. I have three 20 gallon Concord kettles that I need to drill. I'm borrowing Greenlee punches and a step bit from another brewer, and I bought several cobalt drill bits to do the pilot holes after doing a bit of research.

However, I've now spent at least 2 hours trying to get a single pilot hole drilled, running a hand drill at low torque as slow as I can possibly go, leaning into it and putting as much pressure as I can, and I'm barely shaving off filings. Definitely no tell-tale curly-cues of stainless steel like I'm told I should have. I have a divot now, but progress seems to have come to a standstill, and I'm afraid to keep going and work harden it any more.

Are there any other tips or tricks I should know? Are Concord pots notoriously difficult to drill or something? Is there a better type of bit to be using for pilot holes in stainless steel? Any help would be greatly appreciated—I'm eager to get my system put together so I can start using it!
I had a hell of a time with mine. I went and bought a brand new 1/8" bit, maybe even smaller, for the first hole. Went through like butta.

I believe it was this guy:
http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...393177.1259515

You have the method down, slow and hard. Set the small bit deep in the chuck so you don't snap it. Fast will generate heat, heat will kill the bit faster then anything. That being said, I had to sharpen it after two holes.
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Old 03-28-2015, 02:25 AM   #4
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You shouldn't need to push that hard if your bits are sharp. You've probably already dulled them if you've been going at it for 2 hours. It should take about 30 seconds.

What size bit are you using?

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Old 03-28-2015, 02:30 AM   #5
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Yep, I'm lubricating with oil, and cleaning out the divot and reapplying oil every so often. Neither the but not the kettle are getting warm to the touch. I started with a 3/16" bit, and I also picked up a 7/64", 9/64" and a second 3/16". No luck with the 7/64" yet either.

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Old 03-28-2015, 02:35 AM   #6
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Keep in mind the smaller the bit the higher the RPM you should be using. Check out this chart for reference: http://www.drill-hq.com/products/mul...l-speed-chart/

Cutting fluid (or any oil, I've used cooking oil, WD40 and 5W30 before) will make a world of difference for making the pilot hole and stepping it out.

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Old 03-28-2015, 02:35 AM   #7
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I used the bit that came with the Concord kettle I bought and it went through it in about 30 seconds with some cheap 3 in 1 oil. The bits aren't cheap for a one time use but I recommend going to your local hardware store and buying a new bit. The reduction in wasted time and frustration is worth the money.

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Old 03-28-2015, 02:48 AM   #8
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I used the bit that came with the Concord kettle I bought and it went through it in about 30 seconds with some cheap 3 in 1 oil. The bits aren't cheap for a one time use but I recommend going to your local hardware store and buying a new bit. The reduction in wasted time and frustration is worth the money.
Wait, your's came with a bit....I feel so....cheated.
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:27 AM   #9
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This is what I bought , 15 gallon version.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/CONCORD-Home...item20e03489cc

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Old 03-29-2015, 12:17 PM   #10
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I used an Irwin Unibit on my kettles and had zero trouble- pilot with a DeWalt 1/16" (ish) titanium coated bit...the gold ones... and then the step bit. The pot is so thin I didn't bother with oil. As someone else mentioned small bits need higher speed. Kyle

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