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Old 08-10-2011, 05:35 PM   #11
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I was going with weldless fittings. There are a few commercially available weldless brewpot fittings that I figured I'd use.

Should I expect to be drilling for 10 minutes? Or is it quicker than that.

Also, is a step bit worth getting? I figured I'd just buy a single bit rather than ruin a bunch from my collection since I've heard the bits wear out quickly.
A single bit? How big of a hole are you planning to drill? You could manually step up through a dozen different bit sizes, but that would be tedious and would eat up your entire collection.

5-20 minutes, depending on how thick your pot is and how quickly you work. Take your time, though. Better to go too slow than too fast. You'll get a cleaner hole that way.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:40 PM   #12
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I drilled a bayou classic pot with a greenlee step bit and a bit of vegetable oil as lube. It was insanely easy.. lots of pressure, low RPM went through in maybe a minute, very easy to step the hole bigger after that.. maybe 2 minutes TOPS to make the pilot hole that I then used to punch a clean hole with my greenlee punch (which I highly recommend doing vs just drilling with the step bit)

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Old 08-10-2011, 05:46 PM   #13
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I drilled a bayou classic pot with a greenlee step bit and a bit of vegetable oil as lube. It was insanely easy.. lots of pressure, low RPM went through in maybe a minute, very easy to step the hole bigger after that.. maybe 2 minutes TOPS to make the pilot hole that I then used to punch a clean hole with my greenlee punch (which I highly recommend doing vs just drilling with the step bit)
+1 I drilled the same pot in about 5 minutes with a pilot hole, a step bit, and dish soap as lubricant, then regular sandpaper to smooth out the hole. Perfect seal, no leaks.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sarsnik View Post
I was going with weldless fittings. There are a few commercially available weldless brewpot fittings that I figured I'd use.

Should I expect to be drilling for 10 minutes? Or is it quicker than that.

Also, is a step bit worth getting? I figured I'd just buy a single bit rather than ruin a bunch from my collection since I've heard the bits wear out quickly.
you should just suck it up and buy a harbor freight step bit because they will make a cleaner hole for the larger holes. If you are drilling a 1/4 inch hole you can get away with using a single bit.

If you try to drill a 1 1/4 inch hole (like for an electrical element), your drill bit will bind up and you will either ruin your hole, break the bit, spin the pot or hurt yourself. The step bits allow you to take off layers of the stainless at a time and that is what will give you a clean hole.

You won't take 10 minutes for the actual drilling though - at least mine didn't. You are talking probably <3 minutes of drill time. But don't rush it or time it. Let the process define the time frame.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:28 PM   #15
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+1 to basically all of the advice here.

There have been heated debates about whether or not a "good" step bit is worth it. I've drilled 8-10 holes in my two keg kettles with the cheap Harbor Freight bit, and I've never had a problem.

Go slowly. Use some sort of lubrication, and if it starts to smoke, stop drilling. Let it cool down, or cool it down with some more lube or a splash of water. Then get back to the drilling. Keep constant pressure on it while you're drilling.

It's highly doable.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:35 PM   #16
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+ 1 to the above and I used the bobby method for all my drilled holes and it worked great up to the 1 1/4 inch sized holes.

1. take an empty can of beans, or whatever and fill with motor oil or similar.
2. dip the bit and drill with firm pressure and medium RPM.
3. take brakes by swishing the bit in the oil can, then resume work.

the rest as noted above.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:53 PM   #17
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+ 1 to the above and I used the bobby method for all my drilled holes and it worked great up to the 1 1/4 inch sized holes.

1. take an empty can of beans, or whatever and fill with motor oil or similar.
2. dip the bit and drill with firm pressure and medium RPM.
3. take brakes by swishing the bit in the oil can, then resume work.

the rest as noted above.
It's a helluva lot easier to just spray a shot of WD-40 every 10 seconds or so.

I've cut through 3/8" mild steel just fine using regular steel bits and plenty of WD-40. It's not cutting oil, and it can smoke easy, but it works.

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Old 08-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #18
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It's a helluva lot easier to just spray a shot of WD-40 every 10 seconds or so.

I've cut through 3/8" mild steel just fine using regular steel bits and plenty of WD-40. It's not cutting oil, and it can smoke easy, but it works.

M_C
What is so difficult about dipping a bit in the oil?

You don't have to take your hands off the drill, you drill, dip, drill. easy peasy

Since motor oil is more viscous I would guess it coats better, then lubricates better. Though I am sure just about any oil works.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:46 PM   #19
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All the recommendations to go slow and use drilling lube are spot on. Heat hardens stainless steel and is to be avoided. And if the oil is smoking the metal is already starting to harden.

I'd definitely recommend an appropriately sized step bit for anything much larger than a quarter inch diameter through SS. Using individual bits is ok except it allows for the human tendency to speed up the process and jump too many sizes along the way. Then all kinds of bad things can happen. The step bit is like a governor

Cheers!

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Old 08-11-2011, 05:32 AM   #20
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The best advice I could give you is what many have already said. I found the main thing is to definitely use a punch to make a small dent and mark the center of your hole. This way the drill bit will not wander around and it will stay where you want to start your pilot hole. If you don't use a punch, nail, or something the bit will wander off target and your hole will not start exactly where you want it.

Drill your pilot hole with a small bit and then use a step bit, it will go through like butter and make the hole wider with no problem. Just remember to use oil, WD-40, or other lubricant and go slow and use a lot of pressure. If the metal gets hot and starts to smoke, stop and spray some water on it. Using to high an rpm will make the metal get hot very fast.

Go for it, have fun, and then grab a brew and marvel at your work!

John

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