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Drilling HSS

Will Carbide work?

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David Davies 813/06/2020 23:19:27
112 forum posts
8 photos

I have some blades which are too long for my power hacksaw. It crossed my mind that a carbide drill could produce a new mounting hole at the correct centres. Has anyone tried this and what was the result?



peak414/06/2020 01:51:24
1105 forum posts
127 photos

I'm sure you could use a conventional solid carbide bit, but they are rather expensive.
How about a solid carbide spotting drill which often appear on ebay at reasonable prices?

I've actually got an (out of commission) Manchester Rapidor Minor, which takes 9" blades.
I use the carbide tipped drill bits, often obtainable at model engineering shows, from the chap who demonstrates drilling files etc.
They worked fine, provided you clamp the blade tightly to a piece of sacrificial steel to save any problems when it breaks through.
I've also used conventional masonry bits, touched up to be sharp on a diamond wheel.
I found high speed, no lube, and plenty of pressure worked best, but make the sacrificial steel a reasonable size to act as a heat sink, to save melting the brazing.


pgk pgk14/06/2020 07:04:58
1845 forum posts
288 photos

I've not tried it but diamond drills for a dremel type tool are cheap enough - perhaps in a bath of coolant.
Back when i was working and had access to my surgical toys I'd have gone for a high speed carbide dental bur with coolant. they're cheap enough to sacrifice if fail. I keep meaning to set up a dental handpiece for these sorts of jobs .. not too bad a price when not worried about sterility Link

But you need to add the matching hose, foot switch and make up fittings for a workshop compressor and pressure bottle. If feeling wealthy you can even go for something like this + the handpiece and home compressor.Link

Alternatively one could simply try a blast of local heat to anneal the section you want the hole in since rarely cutting right at the end


Edited By pgk pgk on 14/06/2020 07:10:51

JasonB14/06/2020 07:05:31
18302 forum posts
2024 photos
1 articles

Is the blade actually HSS all the way through or Bi-metal in which case it should be easier to drill the softer spine.

David Davies 814/06/2020 07:06:33
112 forum posts
8 photos

Hi Bill

Thanks for the details of how you go about the job!



David Davies 814/06/2020 07:09:37
112 forum posts
8 photos


the blade is ''all hard'' not 'bi-metal' so I don't have that option.



David Davies 814/06/2020 07:14:19
112 forum posts
8 photos


Thanks for the alternative method. It did occur to me that spark erosion could also be used. If my memory serves me correctly machines to do this have been described in ME & MEW in the past.



not done it yet14/06/2020 08:02:57
4734 forum posts
16 photos

Simply softening the area to be drilled might well suffice? I doubt they are HSS.

Pete Rimmer14/06/2020 08:09:15
734 forum posts
50 photos

I drilled one with a broken carbide end mill. I just ground a small spade end on it and pushed it through in the drill press.

colin brannigan14/06/2020 08:13:04
86 forum posts
16 photos

Drilled an Eclipse all hard blade yesterday, used a 3.4 carbide drill but first heated the area to be drilled to cherry and let it cool, then I no problem.


Michael Gilligan14/06/2020 08:21:47
15869 forum posts
693 photos

Posted by not done it yet on 14/06/2020 08:02:57:


[…] I doubt they are HSS.


Why ?


Mike Poole14/06/2020 08:46:57
2615 forum posts
63 photos

It is unlikely that HSS will soften by just getting it to red heat and letting it cool, you may get lucky though.


Nigel McBurney 114/06/2020 09:08:03
717 forum posts
3 photos

I also convert HSS hacksaw blades for my Rapidor,Requiring 14 inch blades,I found at one time there were numbers of 17 inch blades on the second hand market as there few customer needing 17 inch blades,so deals could be done buying job lots,I shortened the blade then drilled the blade ,I used drills with brazed carbide tips from the chap who went around the steam fairs selling these drills ,his demo of perforating large old mt drills and old files was impressive,he was not amused when I asked why would you want a hole in a file,was it for hanging the file on a nail,he did not have a sense of humour.

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