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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > If You Hate Drilling Through Stainless Steel Try This
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:17 AM   #1
jcav
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Default If You Hate Drilling Through Stainless Steel Try This

Hello everyone, today I was ready to mount my three Banjo burners to my stainless steel Brutus stand. My wind shields are 1/8 inch thick stainless steel and I bought a pretty good step bit for my drill, taking the advice from everyone. After measuring and checking and finally marking with a Sharpie where all the 12 holes were to be drilled, I set out to drill the holes.

Now I know why many people have posted that they hate drilling through stainless steel! What a pita..... Maybe it was my step bit but it took forever drilling even one hole and I used oil and a lot of pressure and it took way to long and required way to much effort. After drilling the first four holes I sat down and took a rest. While I sat on my back porch with the sweat poring off me I told myself there had to be a better way.


I then spotted my metal drill bits. I took a 1/8 inch metal bit and started drilling the next hole. Wow, it bit in right away and went right through in less than 30 seconds. I then used my step bit and the tip fit right in the 1/8 inch hole. The step bit then made quick work enlarging the hole to the correct size I needed, in fact it went through like butter! It took only a few seconds to drill the hole out to the correct diameter with the step bit doing it this way. Maybe my step bit is to blame but the tip is not sharp and the 1/8 inch metal drill bit saved me so much time, in fact I'd still be drilling using the step bit only. I just thought I'd post this in case anyone has to drill through stainless steel and is dreading it. Now if I have more holes to drill I can do it quickly and without all the effort. I know some people don't have any problems drilling through stainless steel but for those that are I hope this helps. I'm going to have a home brew now and relax, and admire my mounted burners.

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Old 09-27-2010, 03:39 AM   #2
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For Stainless Steel, Cobalt bits are the only real answer. Its worth the extra cost over HSS bits, because you will not use nearly as many.

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Old 09-27-2010, 03:59 AM   #3
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I've always had good luck drilling out holes with the self taping screws that you use for steel studs.

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Old 09-27-2010, 04:40 AM   #4
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I did the same thing for drilling my kettles. I used an 1/8" metal drill bit for a pilot hole, worked like a charm.

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Old 09-27-2010, 04:48 AM   #5
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Just a little info about my experiences: Every step bit that I've owned (many) do not perform a remotely decent job of drilling the initial hole. Like jcav says, drilling a reasonable sized pilot hole is the way to go.

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Old 09-27-2010, 02:38 PM   #6
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the trick for drilling stainless is slow speed and a sharp bit. The way to tell your drilling too fast is that it will make a high squealing sound, very annoying.

Also i have only had luck pre-drilling with step-bits, like others said, trying to drill the initial hole with a step-bit is a waste of time

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Old 09-27-2010, 02:45 PM   #7
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Pilot holes are the trick to a clean hole no matter what the application.

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Old 09-27-2010, 02:55 PM   #8
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I drilled through my kettle a few weeks ago and was very nervous after reading these threads. I have a step bit and it must be a good one because it made quick work of my heavy duty 15 gal. pot. I drilled a perfectly smooth, round hole for the valve in less than a minute or two.

One word of advise; stainless steel heats up quick so don't touch or hold near where you are drilling without a glove on; ouch!

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Old 09-27-2010, 03:00 PM   #9
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Pilot holes are essential, and a good lube makes all the difference.

We use a variety of drilling and tapping fluids here where I work and I like this stuff:

http://www.mcmaster.com/#tapping-fluids/=911suy

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Old 09-27-2010, 09:29 PM   #10
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I have several step bits, I always just start with the smallest then change out to the bigger when I got a good hole going. works like a charm. and never know when you're going to need some different step bits.

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