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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Is drilling stainless difficult?
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:18 PM   #21
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before I found actual cutting oil I used vegetable oil with some success.. The benefit was it smelled like french fries when I was drilling

After the hole was the correct size, I go over it with a dremel to polish the edges. I'd say the holes I drilled were every bit as nice as the ones in Kal's electric brewery once they were polished up. Sure a knockout punch is easier and makes a cleaner hole initially, but if you're careful a step bit works just fine.


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Old 08-11-2011, 05:29 PM   #22
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My recommendation to dip the entire bit into oil is for cooling it down, not just lubricating. I constantly catch grief for selling cheap China import bits after the user work hardens their keg. Whether you pay $10 or $50 for a step bit, spinning it fast without lubricating and cooling the bit will get you nowhere fast.

If you can get someone to trickle cold water on the bit as you go, it would be just as good as cutting oil IMHO because the cooling action is most important.

Once you get into the 1" + diameters, I really do prefer a single pass with a hole saw and then reaming to the next size with a step bit. Of course, that's plan B if you don't already have a set of conduit punches.


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Old 08-11-2011, 05:30 PM   #23
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FYI, for anyone drilling larger holes, it gets EXPONENTIALLY more difficult as the hole gets bigger.

I had no problem drilling many 7/8" inch holes, but the 1-1/4" holes were SOBs.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:53 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Once you get into the 1" + diameters, I really do prefer a single pass with a hole saw and then reaming to the next size with a step bit. Of course, that's plan B if you don't already have a set of conduit punches.
+1

I used the harbor freight cheap bits on 2 holes at two different times. The conduit punch hole (conduit punch 1 1/8 to step drill to 1 1/4) was obviously MUCH easier than the whole I started with a 5/8 pilot hole (5/8 pilot hole to step drill to 1 1/4. They both worked well, but I wish my neighbor had been around for me to borrow that punch for the second hole.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:22 PM   #25
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Has anyone tried the Harbor Freight conduit punches on a keg?
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:50 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeal View Post
Has anyone tried the Harbor Freight conduit punches on a keg?
I haven't tried them but they don't list stainless for a cutting option, only mild steel which is softer. I am pretty sure they would work, but just sayin'

if these are the ones you were looking at...

http://www.harborfreight.com/knockou...kit-91201.html
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:04 PM   #27
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Quote:
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.

It's more like 3 minutes. Yes, the step bit is essential. Use oil.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:22 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CidahMastah View Post
I haven't tried them but they don't list stainless for a cutting option, only mild steel which is softer. I am pretty sure they would work, but just sayin'

if these are the ones you were looking at...

http://www.harborfreight.com/knockou...kit-91201.html
Those are the ones. I figured if they were good for 10 gauge mild steel, it might work on 18 gauge stainless.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:29 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeal View Post
Those are the ones. I figured if they were good for 10 gauge mild steel, it might work on 18 gauge stainless.
One guy in the reviews said he used them on a stainless sink and it worked great. My guess would be you might run into a poor cut (can be fixed by a round bastard or similar) or limited "good" cuts. i.e. buying them to use on a few pots will be totally within their reach.

If I were you I would test the punch on a thin piece of metal first to ensure the sizing is correct too. Just to make sure it doesn't cut too big. You may just want to use the punch a size down from what you need, and get a bit to bring you to the actual hole size. The step bits will work well, but you have to get on them and go slow. With my HF step bits I have drilled ~9 holes ranging in size up to 1 1/4. So I bet even the cheap punches will work.

Keep in mind conduit punches don't punch actual sizing. If I remember right they run a little small.

Bits alone will get you there, no matter what the hole size in minutes if you have a good heavy duty low torque variable speed drill. So while the p[punches are nice, they aren't necessary.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:05 PM   #30
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WOW. I wish i saw this thread 2 days ago when i was drilling into my sanke keg. It took about 45min to an hour to get through it but after reading, i realize its because i was going balls out with the strongest drill i had. I also had no experience drilling into SS so when i saw the steel glowing and smoking, it just frustrated me more and I pushed as hard as I could (i knew something wasnt right....). I used the larger sized step bit from bargainfittings.com and a good amount of cutting grease. After using a dremel to clean it up the hole is smooth and functional but it has about 3/4 inch brown halo from all of the heat hehe.


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