cutting 1.25" hole in pot with dremel?

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mike_g08

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Hello.

I am researching and planning for a 4500 or 5000 watt electric boil kettle setup. I see that the greenlee punch is the easiest way to get a 1.25" hole for the element. I am wondering if there are other methods that work reasonably well, for a bit less money than the punch. Dremel? Step bit from harbor freight?

Thanks in advance,
 

LandoLincoln

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I recommend a step bit.

If you want to go the punch route, Klein Tools also sells punches and they're a heck of a lot cheaper than the Greenlee punches.
 

brew_ny

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I did my two Aluminum and Stainless Steel Kettles with with a hole saw on a drill

the Aluminum pots are pretty thick so the were easy, the Bayou Classic Stainless Steel are thinner so I did them first

so the hole saw was new

good luck and all the best

S_M
 

TopherM

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I would NOT do it with a Dremel.

I did mine with a step bit. The Harbor Freight step bits are generally pretty low quality. I personally did mine with this 1 3/8" titanium Nikko step bit for about $13 shipped.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FZ2UOY/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

You do not want to skimp when you are talking about a hole in your nice pot that needs to be nearly perfect to properly house high wattage electrical current. Get the right tool for the job!
 
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z-bob

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I would NOT do it with a Dremel.

I did mine with a step bit. The Harbor Freight step bits are generally pretty low quality. I personally did mine with this 1 3/8" titanium Nikko step bit for about $13 shipped.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FZ2UOY/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

You do not want to skimp when you are talking about a hole in your nice pot that needs to be nearly perfect to properly house high wattage electrical current. Get the right tool for the job!
I was planning to buy a $19 step-bit set from HF today. (I'll only be drilling plastic -- for now) The Neiko bit looks like a better deal.

That bit steps in 1/8" increments; are there any of the smaller plumbing fittings where we need, say, a 9/16" hole? Or will 1/2", 5/8, 3/4, etc. suffice for everything?
 
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mike_g08

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Hey, thanks for the input. I have a few options now. I think the step bit should work good, as I might want a few other holes for thermometer, valve, etc.
 

z-bob

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I ordered that step bit from Amazon on Wednesday. It was supposed to be here today (Amazon Prime) so I could use it this weekend. Amazon apparently lost the package before they even shipped it. They want me to wait until Tuesday before I do anything, in case it shows up. :mad: I'll be lucky to have it by *next* weekend.

I should have bought the POS bit from Harbor Freight.
 

Decoy

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The harbor freight step drill worked fine - on about the third hole. I wish I practiced more before I drilled the big hole in the new 10 gal pot for the 5500w element. You develop a touch. Go slow, and low rpm - let it cut - not bore, is how I would describe it. I had to do some creative clamping since the pot wall around the hole got distorted from my pushing too hard. After bout 6 attempts at silver soldering, I finally got a good joint. Used bimetal hole saw on the control panel - that worked fine, too.


Sent from my iPad using Home Brew
 

kevreh

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I used the Milwaukee ice hardened hole saws they worked great
I looked into those. "Ice Hardened cryogenically treated for up to 50% longer life". Holy crap thats cool, no pun intended. The cryogenically part is better than picturing the manufacturer throwing them into a snowbank when made :p.

Back on topic.....I used a step bit with olive oil. Starting with a small pilot hole helps.
 

Zepth

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for a couple three holes in a pot any POS step drill will work

and still probably drill more for you :)

all the best

S_M
Not necessarily. My workplace had me trying to drill metal with el-cheapo regular drill bits. It took 10 to get 1/2 the way through the material for one hole. It was like one of those jokes "In Soviet Russia, hole drills bit!" Went into the office and demanded a few bucks to go and buy a proper cobalt bit and finished the other 30 holes in the time it took that first half of one.

Anyways, back on topic I used the cheapest step bit I could find in the city. Happened to need a pilot hole and that was the worst part of it. Just couldn't get it going. I centre punched almost all the way through the pot wall, then got my pilot, then it was smooth sailing. It kicked a couple of times but having a low speed and expecting it prevented horrific results. FWIW the bit is still good.
 

augiedoggy

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Harbor freight bits worked fine for me too however I did have to buy a second "value pack" because I failed to use oil when cutting one of the large element holes with the first one and that dulls them fast when cutting stainless... I cut 10 holes with them after that with no issues...
 

NewBrewB

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Greenlee punches are absolutely the 'right tool for the job'. Soooo easy to use and the absolutely perfect result. The only hard part is being absolutely sure where you want the holes before you punch... (I made a thread about mistakes I made building my Kal clone.....the HLT was the hardest part and a near-disaster)
 

dyqik

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Ikea sell a cheap punch for 1 1/4" holes (designed for sink units) that might work for you, depending on your pot and proximity to an Ikea store.
$12.99 Fixa
 

kevreh

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Greenlee punches are absolutely the 'right tool for the job'. Soooo easy to use and the absolutely perfect result. The only hard part is being absolutely sure where you want the holes before you punch... (I made a thread about mistakes I made building my Kal clone.....the HLT was the hardest part and a near-disaster)
Agreed, but sometimes the "right tool" is cost prohibitive and won't get used much after a single use.
 

Bartp

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I've been using the same step bit from Harbor Freight for about 2 years now. They are surprisingly strong. Just be careful with them and clamp whatever you're drilling FIRMLY. 10 stitches on my finger taught me that lesson.

I also punched a hole in the Bayou Classic kettle with a die punch set from Harbor Freight. It was only about $20 for a set of four. It had no problem cutting the large size hole for heating element, however a 1/2" hole for a spigot was a different story.

I think dremel will be very difficult. Stainless steel hardens as it heats up. Even when making your pilot hole you need to use very low speed and lots and lots of coolant/lubrication or you're gonna have a hell of a time. Dremel will produce nothing but heat.
 
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