The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

September 19, 2014

What I Learned Drilling 38 5/16″ Holes in Mild Steel

Filed under: machinist — Cranky Sysadmin @ 2:06 pm

I’m working on a milling table for my lathe based on drawings and plans from this forum post (Scroll to the bottom of the post). This required drilling a lot of holes and it’s my first experience drilling that much steel. Experts will have more technical observations, but I have some practical advice if you’ve never done any work in metal.

  • Don’t wear shorts and sandals. Those metal chips are hot and sharp. I got several slivers in my feet from wearing sandals.
  • Chips and oil go everywhere in a 5 foot radius from the drill press. No advice, just a warning.
  • Clear your work piece and table occasionally. The chips on the table can impact the drilling accuracy.
  • The wood pecker method really does keep the chips manageable. Drill a little and back out.
  • Start with a smaller diameter drill and work up. Use a center drill to start. This seems to work well.
  • My cheap drill press doesn’t have a lot of rigidity and it tends to vibrate a lot with bigger diameter holes. I wish I had bought a better one.

Now I have to tap all of those holes. I think that will probably take a lot longer than drilling them.

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