Drilling into stainless steel can be daunting. It might take some special bits to make it through a material as tough as steel, but after you have the proper equipment, you’ll be able to make a clean hole right where you want it to be
You do need a special bit to drill through stainless steel. A good drill bit can easily pierce through stainless steel if it’s made of a durable material such as high-speed steel, titanium nitride, or cobalt.
In this article, I’ll talk about why you need a particular bit to drill through stainless steel and how to do it correctly. I’ll also share some tips on choosing the best bit for the job. Keep reading to learn more.
Why You Need a Special Bit To Drill Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is a carbon and iron alloy. It is a very tough material, consisting of at least 10.5 percent chromium and other metals, making it resistant to rust and corrosion.
These aspects of stainless steel have made it popular for many applications, such as in the appliances, food, and medical industries.
However, these unique features of stainless steel make it challenging to drill through.
A regular drill bit will quickly become dull when trying to pierce through stainless steel.
That is why you need a unique drill bit that consists of a more durable material, such as high-speed steel, titanium nitride, or cobalt.
These materials are much tougher than stainless steel and can quickly pierce through it.
A titanium nitride coating also helps increase the bit’s lifespan and prevents it from rusting.
What To Consider When Choosing Bits for Stainless Steel
Now that you know why you need a specific bit to drill through stainless steel, let’s talk about how to choose the right one.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- The material of the bit: as I mentioned before, high-speed steel, titanium nitride, and cobalt are the best materials for drilling through stainless steel since they are more durable.
- The type of drill: make sure you have a good quality drill that is powerful enough to handle the job. A cordless drill is ideal for this task.
- The size of the bit: choose a bit that is slightly smaller than the hole you want to create. Sizing down will help prevent the bit from walking and make a cleaner hole.
Types of Drill Bits for Stainless Steel
You can use many different types of drill bits to drill stainless steel.
Some of the most common ones include twist drills, spade drills, and jobber drills.
Each drill bit has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s vital to choose the right one for the task.
Let’s look at the different types of drill bits suitable for stainless steel:
- Twist drill bits: Twists are the most common drill bits. They are made of high-speed steel and have a spiral flute that cuts through the material. These bits are ideal for drilling through thin stainless steel sheets. However, they can walk if not used correctly.
- Spade drill bits: Spade bits have a flat end that helps to prevent them from walking. They also have a sharp point that helps to pierce through the material. However, spade drills are not as effective at drilling through thicker stainless steel pieces.
- Jobber drill bits: Jobber drills are similar to twist drills but shorter and have a shorter flute. These bits are ideal for drilling through thick pieces of stainless steel. However, they can be more challenging to control than twist bits.
How To Drill Through Stainless Steel: 4 Simple Steps
Now that we know the different types of drill bits available, let’s look at how to use them to drill through stainless steel:
- Attach the bit to the drill: Once you’ve chosen the right bit, it’s time to attach it to the drill. Make sure the bit is secure before beginning.
- Mark the area you want to drill: Use a pencil or marker to mark where you want to make the hole. Making a mark will help to prevent the bit from walking and create a cleaner hole.
- Begin drilling: Start the drill and slowly drill into the stainless steel. Apply pressure as needed to pierce through the material.
- Let the drill do the work: Don’t apply too much pressure to the drill, as this can cause the bit to break or become dull. Let the drill do the job, and stop periodically to check your progress.
The video below gives a step-by-step on how to drill through stainless steel:
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Drilling Stainless Steel
There are a few things that you need to take into consideration when drilling stainless steel. If you don’t, you may end up with a faulty job that’s difficult to repair. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes to avoid.
- Applying too much pressure: as mentioned before, using too much pressure can cause the bit to break or become dull. Take it slowly, and don’t force your drill bit. If the bit gets stuck, move to a smaller bit, then work your way back up to the one you initially used.
- Not using the right bit: using a bit unsuitable for drilling into steel will only cause frustration and wasted time. Make sure to choose high-speed steel, titanium nitride, or cobalt bit for the job.
- Trying to drill too quickly: rushing the job will only result in a poor-quality hole. Take your time and work slowly and evenly to avoid this mistake.
For more tips and tricks on drilling into stainless steel, this quick video might come in handy:
Drilling through stainless steel can seem daunting, but it’s relatively easy with the right drill bit and a little patience.
Make sure to choose high-speed steel, titanium nitride, or cobalt bits, and take your time while drilling.
With these tips, you’ll be able to create a clean and professional hole in no time.
Cheers, tools owners!