How Do You Drill A Hole In A Stainless Steel Tube?[Drill Like A Pro]

Drilling stainless steel does not really sound that pretty. You have to pick the right tools and kits before you attempt to drill a hole in stainless steel. Stainless Steel is a really hard metal and there are some techniques to successfully complete the entire procedure.

In this article, I will provide you with the easiest methods to drill stainless steel like a pro. Also, you need some basic materials and necessary kits to complete the operation. It is also very important to choose the right drill bits for a smooth drilling which will also be discussed.

Reading the article and following the steps accordingly will make your drilling experience easier. You need to take a few precautions before you start drilling to avoid any kind of accidents. So, let’s get started:

4 Simple Steps To Drill A Hole In A Stainless Steel Tube Like Pro

It can be really frustrating if you do not know and master the accurate ways to drill centered holes in round materials. Here are the 4 simple hacks to drill a hole in a stainless steel tube:

1.Pick The Proper Drill Bit:

It is very important to choose the right drill bit for an accurate hole in stainless steel. To drill any material it requires a suitable bit and without the accurate material tip, the drill bit will not be able to drill a proper size of the hole. The drill bit and tip comes in several dimensions and consists of a superior coating. There are different brands of drill bits available in the market. Choose according to your requirements. 

2.Mark The Steel Tube For Perfect Alignment:

Most people make the mistake of not marking the steel tube right, which eventually affects the alignment. In order to mark the tube accurately for drilling a centered hole, it is important to mark the center line. You need a few supplementary tools like thin profile angles and can customize it to fit into your pipes.

If you want to drill a hole or a series of holes in a steel tube, you can use the angle according to the tube size. The angle must be flexible and should fit in properly for a better grip. Place the angle onto the tube and draw a centerline with a pencil or a market.

Always make sure the surface you are working on is flat, which will help you to draw the lines precisely. If you have a bigger tube, just follow the last marked spot and draw lines to complete the tube. Use a thicker piece of wood or a bigger angle if you have a wide and big steel tube.

3.Use A Drill Steady Tubing Tool:

Drilling the steel tube is not an easy job without the right tools and kits. The drill bits can slip away while drilling if you cannot place it right. Using a drill steady tubing tool will make your job much easier. The drill steadier requires no special assembly, just slide it over to the tube and lock it into the position.

The position must be marked prior using this steady tool for accurate drilling and perfect measurement. You will find two sets of screws on top of the tool which need to be locked. Position the tubing tool under the pipe and lock down the screws tight and hard.

Use drill bits according to the size of your steel tube. Usually you can get the job done by using the ⅛ drill bits but it may vary according to the thickness and material type.

This tool is very helpful and you can accurately drill a hole into the exact position with perfect alignment.

4.Start Drilling With A Slow And Steady Speed:

Before you start drilling, use a little amount of cutting oil into the marked position. The trick is to use a slow speed, because high speed or maximum speed will cause friction and it will dull the drill bit. You have to change the dull drill bit over and over again and it will not penetrate the tube steel properly.

Drilling with a light pressure will generate less heat and it will not dull the drill bit easily. You can drill more stainless steel with the same drill bit. To keep the heat down from the friction, use transmission fluid. The fluid will help to lubricate the interface between the metals.

The fluid is also a good indicator to figure out the temperature of your steel. The smoke will come out if you push the drill machine too hard and it will cause an extreme heat generation.

 At this point, stop the drill machine and add a little water or oil. Wait for a few seconds to cool off and start drilling again.

You can also drill several centered holes in a straight line of the stainless steel tube and your alignment will work as a guide. If you want to drill a hole right through the pipe, you mark the position of the holes on exactly two opposite sides.

After drilling one side of the pipe, apply the exact same technique to drill the other side of the steel tube.

6 Easy Hacks Will Help You To Drill Holes In A Stainless Steel Tube:

The entire drilling method in a steel tube is already explained, but I will make your job much easier by providing you with some useful hacks and tricks. Here are the 6 easy hacks that will help you to drill holes in a stainless steel tube:

1.Drill A Bit Before The Actual Drilling:

A useful trick that will reduce your drilling time is to heat and drill the marked spot a bit then wait for sometime before you start drilling the tube. It removes the iron and carbon of the steel. This will prevent the splitting of the steel and will make your drilling faster and easier. 

2.Tap The Marked Spot Before You Start Drilling:

Drill bits have the tendency to ramble and roam around when they are getting started. It’s because of their swirling movement and the way drill bits are designed. 

Even after marking the spot you want to drill, tap the location with a sharp tool like for a precise drill. This will create a perfect position for the drilling session and the bits will penetrate and start off without wandering.

3.Use A Steady Pressure:

Drill bits penetrate the spot more efficiently and accurately if you apply a steady pressure. Sometimes putting too much pressure can damage the drill bits because of the friction. 

Just apply a constant pressure and wait for sometime to cool off when too much heat is generated. Patience is very important when you are drilling.

4.Clean The Waste:

Drill bits are designed to penetrate tough materials and woods. The tip initiates the cut and the fluid of the twist bit gives the medium or channel the exit through. The wastes that are piling up while you are drilling should be cleaned periodically for a smoother drilling.If the drill bit is jammed with the waste it cannot twist and turn properly and it can’t drill the material effectively. 

Pull your drilling machine and the drill bits out once in a while or periodically and remove the wastes for better performance. Use a sharp object to clean the tip of the drill bits and then start drilling again.

5.Use A Narrower Drill Bit:

Another reason a lot of people find drilling very difficult is when they try to drill with a larger bit for a quick result. The tip of large drill bits have a bigger area and extra materials to clear. The drill needs a lot of time to penetrate, covering a wider area.  Always use a narrower drill bit in the beginning. 

Use a narrower bit to work at first which will gradually clear the circumference of the marked spot and it makes drilling easier. For drilling a denser material, use multiple drill bits for an effective result.

6.Drill At An Angle:

You can use your drill machine or fastener at an inclination to drill. The drill bits have the tendency to move everywhere. If you are not using a steady tubing tool, start by drilling vertically and make sure that the tool is up.

This lets the drill bit bite into the material and fit into the spot. Once the tip is embedded, drive the machine at an incline for an effective penetration. 

Common Questions:

Is It Very Difficult To Drill Stainless Steel?

The answer is very simple: if you force and rush to drill a stainless steel, it will take more time and will make your life harder. Some people apply extra pressure with their machine to drill a stainless steel, as they feel the material is very strong.

This is a very wrong idea, as the generated heat will make the material harder and it will become tough to penetrate a hardened steel. But nevertheless, you need some patience to complete the entire drilling session. 

It is not difficult but time consuming. A steady slow pressure with the right lubricants and drill bits can easily penetrate and drill a steel tube within a short period of time.

What Are The Best Drill Bit To Drill Through Stainless Steel? 

In the market, you will get different brands made of drill bits to drill through stainless steel. But among them, all are not good. However, here’s a table given below for your convenience to pick the right one:

Brand NameMaterialFeaturesDiameterPrice
Bosch 21Cobalt MetalHigh accuracy and Suitable For Steel 0.2 “ -0.5 “$3-$5
IrwinM35 Cobalt High Speed And Lasts A long Time0.05”-0.5”$6-$10
NeikoTitaniumFriction Resistant And Heat Protected0.15”-1”$9-$12
Hurricane Titanium Drill Multiple Materials, Quick And Easy Penetration 0.30”-0.75”$5-$7
Drill AmericaGold OxideCan Drill Tough And Hard Materials With High Speed0.40”-0.60”$7-$12

These are the top five most used drill bits in the past 2 years. The price may fluctuate from time to time. There are other brands and choose according to your budget.

What Lubricant Can You Use To Drill Stainless Steel?

You can actually use 3 or 4 types of liquids to lubricate your drill bits or stainless steel. Most people do not know the use of water while drilling a hole. It is very effective and useful to cool off the heat that is generated by the friction and pressure.

You can use WD-40 and it cuts through the stainless steel very smoothly. Another liquid you can use is the glue which easily cuts the aluminium steel within a very short period of time.

Olive oil is also very identical and is equally effective like the multi-purpose glue.

Can You Sharpen The Drill Bits On Your Own?

You can Sharpen the drill bits on your own, but you need some necessary tools. You need a running wheel with a stone and hold the drill bits from an angle of approximately 30 degrees from the stone. Keep cutting the edges of the drill bits by holding it horizontally.

Grind the drill bits in all the corners to sharpen the edges and check if the edges are equal in length and angles. If you think a touch up is needed, repeat the process slowly and give some time to cool off the drill bits to use it again. This will save you a lot of money and you can re-use the drill bits over and over again.

What Safety Measures To Take Before Drilling A Stainless Steel?

Always make sure to wear a protective glass, before you start drilling. The tiny particles and dust can cause allergies, skin diseases and other complications to your eyes. 

It is also recommended wearing headphones to prevent the disturbing noise caused by the drilling machine. It can cause serious damage to your ears. 

Wear hand gloves and clear up the place before you start drilling. Make sure your pets and children are not around during the drilling process. 

Wear a cap to protect your hair from the heat and avoid jewelry and loose fitting clothes. You can also wear a PPE to prevent any accidents or injuries.

Final Verdict:

I hope the article is helpful and will guide you properly to your next drilling mission. If you still have any queries or I missed out on something, please give your valuable suggestions and feedback to help the other audiences. 

And don’t forget to share my article with those people who still don’t know how to drill a hole in a stainless steel tube.

Masud Rana

This is Masud Rana. I run this blog. My Tools Guide is a blog where I share product reviews of different tools. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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