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Old 02-09-2011, 04:05 AM   #1
shushikiary
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Default Drilling kegs

So I was just finishing up the royal PITA that drilling all the holes needed for a 3 keggle brewery are and am sad to say that I waited so long to buy a certain drill bit.....

I've broken quite a few kobalt brand 1/4 drill bits as part of their hole saw set on the first keggle...

Then I did something different for the next one for the 13/16 holes... I got a hardened step bit, sure it was expensive, but talk about EASY. Little bit of cutting oil, slow speed, and you get a 13/16 hole in about 90 seconds.

But more importantly the drill bits (and why I made this thread to share this so others dont suffer through what I did on the first keggle) that I used for the pilot holes for the step bit, and later for the 1 and 1/4 hole saws that I used were Hitachi black gold 135 degree split points. With these bad boys my 1/4 pilot holes can be made in under 30 seconds, just make sure you use some cutting oil.

These are by far the best "cheap" drill bits I've ever gotten, and can be had at your local lowes store. Seriously, with my dewalt set of split point drill bits and/or the kobalt ones it was taking me more than 5 minutes to drill a single 1/4 hole, black gold drill bits, under 30 seconds. (not cheap would be carbide drill bits)

Just thought I'd share. Hopefully this will make someone elses life much easier.

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Old 02-09-2011, 04:11 AM   #2
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if you have a harbor freight nearby, get the 3 step-bit set. you can use the middle bit start to finish. i got my 3-bit set for $7.99, and got 2 kegs out of the middle bit. i didn't know about it for the first 1

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Old 02-09-2011, 05:04 AM   #3
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shushikairy, How many holes did you drill with your hardened stepper and how did it look after the fact?? I too have used the Harbor Freight stepper but found that after 2 holes the thing wore so much that 13/16 was definatly NOT 13/16. I have been debating bitting the bullet on a hardened bit but don't know if it would be worth it.

Thanks

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Old 02-09-2011, 05:07 AM   #4
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harbor freight stuff is cheap, and questionable quality as for how long it'll last. you might be able to get another set to finish that job for 7.99 or so, instead of $43, if that's all you'll ever use it for

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Old 02-09-2011, 07:37 AM   #5
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Well, I got 8 holes out of it and they were exact, with a nice clean cut that only needed some light filing to clean the back edge off. Of course I payed about 40 bucks for the bit from lowes, but it was worth it. It has not dulled or changed size, it made life really easy. But I justify the cost as I've used that bit to do many other things. I used it to cut all the holes in the rest of my system for the wire holders and other things as well as holes for running wire through the framing in my basement, but that's wood, haha. The bit is still sharp as ever and hasnt worn, I'm sure I could drill quite a few more holes with it.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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I recommend using slower cutting speed and applying a quality cutting oil etc rapid tap cutting fluid. The problem is the heat generated especially with stainless steel, burning the cutter thereby decreasing its life. I bought a unibit step drill at home depot made by Irwin, I have drilled 6 kegs, 12 7/8 holes and the bit is in good condition. The other thing to keep in mind is the stability of the drill. Are you using a drill press, hand drill etc? I have access to a bridgeport I clamp the keg to the table and drill through in 2 places.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:28 PM   #7
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I bought a set of the Harbor Freight step bits to cut some holes in a few keggles. They worked but I just needed to be careful not to overheat the the stainless. Since the keggle build I have been using the same bit to drill some steel angle and some aluminum for a few stand mods and I can't believe how well the the bit still works. I guess stainless is just quite a bit harder.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpher View Post
harbor freight stuff is cheap, and questionable quality as for how long it'll last. you might be able to get another set to finish that job for 7.99 or so, instead of $43, if that's all you'll ever use it for
This is definitely what HF tools are for. Needing a specialty tool one or two times. No point spending 4 times as much when you know you'll only need it a few times.
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:53 PM   #9
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I used a cheap 1/4 drill bit to punch the first hole; slow and steady with PAM as a lubricant. It took 30 seconds or less.

The larger hole was drilled with a Cobalt (Lowes) step bit; again, slow and steady with PAM. It took about 2 minutes.

Overall, I drilled two holes in two stainless kegs in less than 10 minutes. That includes getting all of the metal shavings out of the keg and minor clean-up.

It is critical that you drill slowly and use lubricant.

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