|Blue Heeler||07/06/2019 13:11:58|
189 forum posts
I need to drill a small hole in a Chinese stainless steel digital caliper.
Whatever its made of is super hard and a drill will hardly scratch it let alone drill a hole.
Any ideas on how to do it?
271 forum posts
I've encountered similar material although not a caliper and managed to drill through with a masonry drill.
|John Haine||07/06/2019 13:23:45|
|2577 forum posts|
Look for cobalt drills. I bought this set from Toolstation and they are excellent - went straight through my Dickson toolholder block. Use moderate speed, quite a lot of pressure, lubricate.
|4535 forum posts|
Stainless I hate it. Some varieties work-harden if you breath on it.
Now you've tried and failed thus creating a hard spot, an extra hard drill as advised above will be essential, and even they might struggle.
Otherwise, if you can start again where the stainless is still virgin, an ordinary sharp drill has a good chance provided you attack vigorously from the get go with lots of pressure and some cutting fluid. If you can keep the drill cutting all will be well, but any hesitation or insufficient pressure, and the tool rubs, hardens the steel, which promptly blunts the drill. Work-hardened stainless is harder than most materials, which is why they make knives and scalpels out of it.
You stand a better chance with a pricey drill in the first place.
Some stainless steels machine well, they're not all evil.
|Brian Oldford||07/06/2019 13:41:18|
533 forum posts
The swarf usually is!
|John Paton 1||07/06/2019 13:42:29|
|169 forum posts|
I faced similar problems and used the Frei toolbit which looks much like a masonry bit. I imagine a carbide drill with flooded coolant is best bet for small holes but I always seem to end up breaking those drills.
|Ian P||07/06/2019 14:24:08|
2114 forum posts
Whilst the Chinese caliper steel is hard and is stainless it can definitely be drilled with HSS bits.
I have converted several (different makes) of calipers to simple DRO's using normal hacksaw blades and drill bits and not encountered any problems. The important thing is to have a rigid setup so you can apply lots of pressure to the drill and keep it cutting. It will work harden if the drill spins, so best to run at a low (lowest) speed so you can see what's happening and have some feel.
If you get part way through and it work hardens I find the best way to overcome it, is to change drills (or slightly regrind the same one) so that the very slightly different cutting edge profile cuts in a slightly different position. Most holes I have drilled were 3mm and 4mm, smaller is possible but its harder to put a lot of pressure on say a 2mm bit.
Drills, hacksaws and files do cut this stuff as long as long as pressure is applied and not allowed to skid.
Edited By Ian P on 07/06/2019 14:24:27
|John Haine||07/06/2019 14:27:42|
|2577 forum posts|
Sorry, I forgot the link.
|Stuart Smith 5||07/06/2019 15:10:03|
|30 forum posts|
I had the same problem. I used a tungsten carbide drill bit from this range: - **LINK**
I tried a masonry drill and it did sort of work but not as well as the tungsten carbide bit.
|old mart||07/06/2019 15:51:57|
|319 forum posts|
The best way short of investing in solid carbide drills is to get a set of Bosch multiconstruction drills from Screwfix (95958). I keep a set for drilling hard steel, rather than masonry, their sharp tips are not brittle like solids and they are much cheaper.
2426 forum posts
Masonry drills do work but you've got to alter the cutting edge; more akin to the 118* of a ordinary drill, I have used these to drill same Chinese S/S callipers for dro's, & glass mirrors, only with the glass drilling I built up a small ' bund wall' filled with WD40 & on slow rpm.
2426 forum posts
No doubt carbide will work just as well.
|Rik Shaw||07/06/2019 17:06:50|
1305 forum posts
Make a d-bit from stelllite. High speed, no coolant and lots of welly.
|Richard Marks||07/06/2019 17:47:46|
|179 forum posts|
Diamond burr in a dremel to start the hole then cobalt drill bit to size.
|Neil Lickfold||07/06/2019 20:48:34|
|556 forum posts|
If you get a chisel point tungsten carbide drill, run it at around 800 to 1000 rpm, take peck cuts and have compressed air or the vacuum cleaner hose close to the hole, will work just fine. When it breaks out the other side, is when you want to use the feed stop , and adjust it 0.1mm at a time or so, will give a clean exit hole as well. The stub carbide drills are not too badly priced if it is under 5mm diameter.
|Chris Evans 6||07/06/2019 22:21:39|
|1442 forum posts|
Not a problem when I modified a calliper to use as a tailstock readout. just used a 3 flute carbide slot drill.
|XD 351||08/06/2019 01:23:49|
1296 forum posts
Bunnings sell a carbide tipped drill set that will drill metal ,i bought a set out of curiosity and they were not expensive .
if you want to try again with a HSS drill slow speed , cutting fluid and lean on the drill a little so it doesn’t rub .
|Blue Heeler||09/06/2019 00:28:34|
189 forum posts
Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.
Yes, I am making some 'poor man's DRO's for the lathe'.
I bought a set of carbide drills yesterday and they made short work of drilling through.
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