Drilling Stainless Steel
Because so many people ask how to drill through stainless steel we decided to dedicate a page to this topic.
Certainly of all the metals out there stainless steel is the one that seems to cause most problems for people when it comes to drilling. Hopefully after reading our pointers and watching the informative video by The Ultimate Handyman you will feel confident enough to drill any stainless steel which comes your way.
The 3 topics we will cover on this page are :
A. How to Drill stainless steel : 5 steps
B. Customers talk about their success drilling :
Stainless steel kitchen sink / Stainless steel cycle rack / 6.8mm stainless steel cover plate / Stainless steel tube / 10mm stainless steel plate / Stainless steel workbench
C. Video tutorial on drilling stainless steel
A. How to drill stainless steel : 5 steps
How to drill into stainless steel is a commonly asked question and for many drilling stainless steel can be a daunting task. However it can be done easily and efficiently if you follow some simple steps and consider the following questions which all amount to keeping the drilling surface temperature as low as possible.
1.What drill bit should I use for drilling stainless steel?
When drilling into stainless steel the choice of drill bit will ultimately determine how successful you will be. Cobalt drill bits are considered the best option due to their ability to withstand the high temperatures created when drilling harder metals.
2. What drill speed should I use for drilling stainless steel?
Many people have a tendency to drill at as high a speed as possible assuming that the faster the drill bit is turning the quicker it will drill the hole. This is a big mistake, particularly when drilling stainless steel. Stainless steel is not the hardest of metals in its natural form, however as pointed out by Chip Lawson in his piece ‘Know How: Drilling Stainless Steel’, stainless steel will ‘work harden’ fairly quickly when heated, and one sure way to increase heat is to drill fast. Once the stainless steel is work hardened it will become very difficult to drill.
There are many drill bit speed charts available quoting revolutions per minute, in reality not too many people will be able to relate to these figures. Our advice would be to drill at as slow a speed as your power drill will allow.
3. How much pressure should I use?
Another misconception is that maximum pressure will result in maximum results. Excessive pressure will have the same effect as drilling at a high speed, it will cause unwanted heat build up. The best approach is to start off with a light pressure increasing slowly until you achieve nice spiral cuts coming from the cutting face. Once achieved do not exceed required pressure.
4. Which lubricant to use when drilling?
It may seem obvious to some that when two metal surfaces are moving against each other under pressure that lubrication is necessary. However many will drill metal without any form of lubrication. A good drilling Lubricant will reduce the friction and assist in controlling temperature build up. There are many types of drilling lubricant available including oils, sprays and pastes. Our advice would be to use one rather than not using any.
5. Take a break…
Even with a slow speed, reduced pressure and good lubrication heat build up is inevitable when drilling stainless. It is important therefore to stop drilling from time to time to allow the drill bit to cool down. We would recommend you do not drill for longer that 30 seconds without taking a break. As Allfasteners say in their article ‘Drilling Stainless Steel the Right Way’ drill the material on short bursts. The larger the drill bit size the faster the heat build up will be so this time should be reduced for larger drill bit sizes.
B. Customers talk about drilling stainless steel with TTP HARD drill bits
Drilling stainless steel sink with cutting paste assistance
I’d been having trouble drilling stainless steel, even with the “best” bits from the local hardware store. On an Internet recommendation, I tried these. With a dab of cutting paste, these drills will go through stainless the way most drills cut through soft metal, and cost much less than those I was getting from the hardware store.
Steven Eugene Raiguel
Drilling stainless steel cycle rack
Hello there….I just thought I’d drop you a line commending your products. The 6,5,4 and 3 mm drill bits work a treat on my stainless steel cycle rack. Initially I ran the drills too fast and I didn’t use enough pressure which resulted in poor performance, particularly on the larger drill sizes. I quickly learned that slowing the drill down and increasing drill pressure whilst ensuring enough cutting grease had been applied enhanced the drilling performance immensely. It used to frighten me when drilling stainless steel. NOT ANY MORE! Well done your Company!
Drilling 6.8mm stainless steel cover plate
These do the job. Out of the package their only good for about 15-20 holes, when drilling through 6.8mm thick stainless steel, that’s using cutting lube too. After that they have to be sharpened. After re-sharpening they usually are good for an additional 10-15 holes before having to re-sharpen again. Would buy them again.
Drilling stainless steel tube with 4.2mm HARD bit
I just used my new 4.2mm bit to drill a hole into stainless steel tube (to be used for a stair railing). The TTP bit worked beautifully. This is a terrific product at an excellent price.
Drilling 10mm stainless steel
Having used the 3 mm version I knew this bit would have no problem drilling into 10 mm stainless steel. It performed the task with ease. These are definitely the best drill bits I have ever used.
Mr A. Prioleau
Drilling stainless steel with 3mm HARD drill bits
Could not have done job without these bits (drilling into Stainless steel) after no other bit would touch the job in hand and also got the job done quickly and neatly.
Mr. John Speakman
C. Video tutorial on drilling stainless steel
We really like this video by ‘The Ultimate Handyman‘
It perfectly demonstrates how to drill stainless steel by :
- Drilling slow
- Using a drilling lubricant paste
- Increasing drill size to achieve ultimate hole size required
- Reducing speed further for larger drill bit sizes