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Drilling small holes in hardend steel

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Chris TickTock16/02/2020 22:27:32
605 forum posts
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Hi.

Trying to drill into old clock steel from the 18th century has not proved easy. Even cobalt failed.

I was trying to drill a 1.5 or 2mm hole but only got into the metal about 1/16th of an inch...any ideas?

Chris

IanT16/02/2020 22:37:43
1677 forum posts
163 photos

One way would be to use EDM Chris....

Regards,

IanT

IanT16/02/2020 22:51:32
1677 forum posts
163 photos

I saw this 'simple' EDM machine at GMES in 2016 - an electromagnet pulls the electrode up when the tip discharges through the work - sorry cannot find the details at the moment - but the gentleman who built it was very helpful and explained it for me. It would also be good for removing broken taps, making holes in HSS etc...

Perhaps someone else will know more detail of the design...

img_4570.jpg

( Is there a way to rotate photos? )

Regards,

IanT

Frances IoM16/02/2020 23:04:58
859 forum posts
26 photos
looks rather like the one that Maurice Fagg of SMEE used to exhibit, I know it was at Guildford for 2 years as I was also there and had to explain it to a couple of people in Maurice's absence - works very well, will even 'burn' its way thru carbide - there might well be a write up in a SMEE journal
Hopper16/02/2020 23:18:22
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4887 forum posts
106 photos

Try a good brand name solid carbide drill bit at high speed. The straight fluted type.

Edited By Hopper on 16/02/2020 23:22:15

not done it yet16/02/2020 23:37:11
5138 forum posts
20 photos

Anneal it?

JasonB17/02/2020 06:59:37
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A drill with Cobalt in it won't be much different to an HSS one, could try a Carbide one but would need a solid setup.

Annealing and re hardening sounds the better option.

Danny M2Z17/02/2020 07:18:38
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Posted by Chris TickTock on 16/02/2020 22:27:32:

Hi.

Trying to drill into old clock steel from the 18th century has not proved easy. Even cobalt failed.

I was trying to drill a 1.5 or 2mm hole but only got into the metal about 1/16th of an inch...any ideas?

Chris

So how did they do it back in the 18th century?

Chris Evans 617/02/2020 07:32:26
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1780 forum posts

For that type of work I usually favour a centre cutting carbide slot drill on the mill at highish speed. Works well on things like Aldi digital calipers when adapting to a simple readout for the lathe tailstock. Disadvantage of using carbide is if a big chunk breaks off in the hole and gets stuck. Another option is have you got a local firm for wire cut EDM ? These companies mostly have a start hole machine that can burn through hardened steel very quickly, a 1mm hole through 50mm of steel in less than 10 minutes is achievable but positionable accuracy is not that good.

David George 117/02/2020 07:32:57
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1386 forum posts
448 photos

In toolmaking the dies for punching are wire eroded to size an a hole is spark eroded through to allow the cut wire to be threaded. They can cut through up to 6 inch of hardened steel where I worked. You should look for someone with that capacity to spark through it dosn't take long. Look for die and toolmaker.

David

Michael Gilligan17/02/2020 07:38:47
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Posted by Danny M2Z on 17/02/2020 07:18:38:
Posted by Chris TickTock on 16/02/2020 22:27:32:

Hi.

Trying to drill into old clock steel from the 18th century has not proved easy. Even cobalt failed.

I was trying to drill a 1.5 or 2mm hole but only got into the metal about 1/16th of an inch...any ideas?

Chris

So how did they do it back in the 18th century?

.

Chris hasn’t actually disclosed what he is trying to do, but I would guess he is ‘pivoting’ a broken arbor.

If my assumption is correct, then the answer is ... they didn’t

They made the arbors by turning, and would not have considered inserting a new pivot any more than they would ‘Helicoil’ a damaged thread.

MichaelG.

.

Edit: This, from 1910 might be of interest:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20317/20317-h/20317-h.htm

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 17/02/2020 07:45:16

JasonB17/02/2020 07:39:12
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Posted by Danny M2Z on 17/02/2020 07:18:38:

So how did they do it back in the 18th century?

Drilled then hardened simples.

Tony Pratt 117/02/2020 08:25:51
1271 forum posts
5 photos

Drill with a decent solid carbide drill [Drill services are my favoured supplier atm] or EDM but that wont be cheap.

Tony

Danny M2Z17/02/2020 09:14:20
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892 forum posts
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Posted by JasonB on 17/02/2020 07:39:12:
Posted by Danny M2Z on 17/02/2020 07:18:38:

So how did they do it back in the 18th century?

Drilled then hardened simples.

That's what I was alluding to,

Anneal, drill and re-harden.

* Danny M *

not done it yet17/02/2020 09:16:12
5138 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by JasonB on 17/02/2020 07:39:12:
Posted by Danny M2Z on 17/02/2020 07:18:38:

So how did they do it back in the 18th century?

Drilled then hardened simples.

I think Danny’s post was to try to make CTT think? Continual ‘spoon feeding’ rarely helps development!

Danny M2Z17/02/2020 09:37:08
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892 forum posts
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Posted by not done it yet on 17/02/2020 09:16:12:
Posted by JasonB on 17/02/2020 07:39:12:
Posted by Danny M2Z on 17/02/2020 07:18:38:

So how did they do it back in the 18th century?

Drilled then hardened simples.

I think Danny’s post was to try to make CTT think? Continual ‘spoon feeding’ rarely helps development!

Thank you ndiiy.

That was exactly my point.

I was not trying to be rude but just wondering how 18th century clockmakers made tiny holes and maybe CTT should do a bit more homework.

I, for one, would be most interested in the results.

* Danny M *

* Danny M *

Robert Atkinson 217/02/2020 10:17:27
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820 forum posts
17 photos

DIY EDM

https://www.instructables.com/id/EDM-Electrical-Discharge-Machining/

Robert G8RPI

Edit.This is North American and was connected direcly to the mains supply. If trying this you MUST use an isolation transformer.

Edited By Robert Atkinson 2 on 17/02/2020 10:22:53

Ady117/02/2020 10:23:20
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3954 forum posts
522 photos

carbide tipped, whatever you use

slow speed high torque

must be a stiff setup so a short drill bit

Chris TickTock17/02/2020 14:07:51
605 forum posts
43 photos

Thanks for all the helpful posts guys. Annealing and carbide drill seems favourite also I have picked up on the centre cutting drill which is important as some drill bits have alternative cutting edges i believe. A point not mentioned here is that the degree of hardness will vary on hardened steel, some is tempered after hardening.

Chris

Michael Gilligan17/02/2020 14:14:10
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16638 forum posts
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Posted by Chris TickTock on 17/02/2020 14:07:51:

Thanks for all the helpful posts guys. Annealing and carbide drill seems favourite also I have picked up on the centre cutting drill which is important as some drill bits have alternative cutting edges i believe. A point not mentioned here is that the degree of hardness will vary on hardened steel, some is tempered after hardening.

 

Chris

.

Another point still not mentioned, Chris, is what the job actually looks like.

MichaelG.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 17/02/2020 14:14:30

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