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Old 11-04-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
simcoe26
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Default drilling my keg

I have 2kegs that I am slowly turning in to my brewing system but I have hit a snag. I have a good step bit and have drilled through one keg but about the steps left on the bit to go and I can't seem to get it any further. Also my other keg is a belly keg and I can't seem to drill more that a dent in it. Can some one tell me what's wrong

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Old 11-04-2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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Your bit is either dull or you heated up the pot so much that it work hardened the stainless and now it's too hard for your bit. Slow rpm and lots of lube is your friend here.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:10 PM   #3
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It takes a while to get the holes drilled. I know this may not be the best advise, but what I did was mark how big the hole needs to be and drill about 15 or so small holes with a regular drill bit. Then use the step bit to make one large hole. I took me about 10-15 min to do it that way. Again not the best way to do it so be careful not to make the hole too large.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:19 PM   #4
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Cheap step bits go bad really fast when they get hot. I'm talking about the ones from Harbor Freight and others that are TiN coated. If you didn't use something to cool, and/or lube the bit as you went into the keg, you've probably killed it.

I've found that using a few bits does a better job. I start off with a small pilot bit, get the hole placement set. Then go to one in the 1/8-1/4" range. Then a bit bigger (if you have one) before going to the step bit. Between each step, hose down the keg (where you're drilling) to cool it and cool the bit down. Apply a bit of lube where your drilling too before going again.

Personally, I only need to get a 1/2" hole in the keggles with bits. I can then use my hole punch to make the 7/8" hole without any more drilling. I've found that going to just that size is far easier on the bits. With this method, each hole takes all of a couple of minutes. More time is spent changing bits initially, then putting the step bit in (only need to go a couple of steps with it, to 1/2") before changing over to the punch. The hydraulic driver for the hole punch makes it damned easy there too...

It's really all about the right tool for the job here. Using the wrong tools might get you there eventually, but it will be a PITA. I'm planning on installing a ball valve into a short 1/4bbl keg this week (my new HLT). If I think of it, I'll take some pictures of the steps as I go and post them.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:53 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the advice maybe I just need to be more patient. I have a good bit so I don't think it is that and I feel like I have been going relatively slow and with lube. I think I am going to try a good metal bit to get a pilot hole and go from there

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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I use cobalt bits on stainless. Longer life span than TiN coated. Only thing better is carbide and those are expensive (when you can locate them). Plus they are more prone to breaking than cobalt bits.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:57 PM   #7
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I've used the harbor freight bits with success. I've used it on 5 kegs with over 15 holes total. I used vegetable oil to cool. Slow rpm and a lot of pressure. Didn't range much time for a whole. Maybe 5 minutes.

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Old 11-04-2012, 10:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wegz15 View Post
I've used the harbor freight bits with success. I've used it on 5 kegs with over 15 holes total. I used vegetable oil to cool. Slow rpm and a lot of pressure. Didn't range much time for a whole. Maybe 5 minutes.
Cooled and with lube helps out a lot. You'd be amazed at how many people don't do either when drilling stainless. Mostly due to not having any experience doing it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:15 AM   #9
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Would fresh motor oil work well as a drill bit lube?

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Old 11-05-2012, 01:17 AM   #10
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I'm no machinist but I would assume so. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are just trying to keep your bit cool. The oil acts as a heatsink.

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