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SkyMan

Drilling small holes in metal.

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SkyMan
Posted (edited)

I find myself having to drill small holes in some fairly thick metal and I found this hack works pretty well.  1/8 inch or even thicker metal. Drill bits are ok but they don't last long in a hand drill before they need sharpening.  I also use a lot of tek screws because they are readily available and fairly strong.  They are mainly designed for roofing so they are hex head, self tapping and have a rubber gasket.  I use them all the time.  They come in coarse threads for wood and fine threads for metal.  I buy them at Home Builders in bags of 50 or 100 fairly cheap but are also available in local HWs for 1-2 pesos each.   Lengths available or 1" to 3" but it may be hard to find short metal tek screws locally.  Ace and other places also sell tek screw driver bits in a ten pack which are the right size and have a small magnet to help hold the screw, in or out.  We use them a lot to connect our concrete forms together to build columns.  The forms are made of C-purlins so sheet metal but fairly thick.  A while back I needed a hole in a piece of 1/8 inch angle bar and didn't have a bit handy so I decided to see how many metal tek screws it would take to get through and the first one did it.  And fairly quickly too.  The only real concern is that you want to use a short screw to keep from jamming the drill offline.  However, since the screw makes a threaded hole unlike a drill, if you are pushing it and have the drill going full, it will screw into the hole and snap off the head.  So then you don't really have a hole.  The tip of the screw is flat for the self tapping feature so you can twist it out with lineman's pliers.  It's a lot cheaper to buy a few of these screws than a drill bit.

Edited by SkyMan
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Goetz1965

No HACK needed, just do it RIGHT !

Wehn drilling in metal you have to REDUCE drilling speed and use cooling aid - and use a drill thats for metal !

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SkyMan
Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Goetz1965 said:

No HACK needed, just do it RIGHT !

Wehn drilling in metal you have to REDUCE drilling speed and use cooling aid - and use a drill thats for metal !

I do.  And even with that and even using my drill press that most people don't have the bits don't last.  You can buy a handful of tek screws for the price of a bit.  Dragging the material back to the press may not be an option.  I've used this method 20 feet up a ladder with a cordless drill.

Edited by SkyMan
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Jester

Now I cannot wait to get back to the US to try tech screws!  Wonder how the quality is US vs P;s?  Will have to pick up a few here for comparison.

For 1/8"  I buy double ended cobalt bits from Amazon in 10 pacs, slow with cutting oil and is good enough for anything I do.  Not high quality cobalt but price vs use seems to work out ok for me.

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SkyMan
On 3/26/2019 at 12:20 PM, Jester said:

Now I cannot wait to get back to the US to try tech screws!  Wonder how the quality is US vs P;s?  Will have to pick up a few here for comparison.

 

I don't think I've ever seen tek screws in the US.  They are the strongest screws I've found here though.  If you get any type of long coarse wood screws here, like a deck screw, and you use it on coco lumber you will probably need to predrill a hole or it will snap or the head will strip.  Tek screws can be removed from coco even after years without the heads snapping off at maybe 80-90%,  A bag of 100 screws is about p100-150 which isn't much more than a decent drill bit.

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SkyMan

From searching for them on Alibaba I believe they are carbon steel so that explains their strength..  Also, I forgot to mention that the wood screws are pretty good for masonry if you predrill with a small masonry bit and you don't need an anchor (tuks).  Much better than a masonry nail.

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