Author Topic: Drilling sheet material  (Read 11132 times)


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Drilling sheet material
« on: April 28, 2010, 02:07:03 AM »
HI Lads  :wave:

this is the way i drill  sheet materials like brass and copper ect , as the size of the drill increases the problem gets  worse , any way here we go , i regrind the drill piont to this shape so the outer edge of the drill breaks through first .

This is a 19/32" / 15mm drill ,poking a hole through 0.013" copper sheet

The back side of the sheet ,showing very little rag and the holes come out very round

A few more shots on thicker stuff, on thicker material i normaly drill an 1/16" pilot hole , to help the center cut and make it easyer to locate the drill

I have a god collection of drills sharpend up this way , that i keep for jobs like this , here are some of them

Cheers Rob

Offline sbwhart

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2010, 02:12:42 AM »
Hi Rob

Thanks for the tip: you've also jogged my memory as I can remember my Father grinding up drills like that.

I'll try that on my boiler build.


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Offline Bernd

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2010, 09:48:17 AM »

Brings back memories of when I worked in the shop. They used to call those "sheet metal" drills. Becasue that was all you could cut with them. I was always flabbergasted on how they were sharpened. Now that I have a few spare drills laying around I might just give it a try at sharpening one or two.  :dremel:

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Offline Bluechip

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2010, 10:30:20 AM »
Folks ..

Judging by the pics., they look almost the same as 'Lip & Spur' drills. These are available at little cost from woodwork tool suppliers and the sheds.

I have some el cheapo ones, use 'em for dowel holes. They don't wander like twist drills in wood.

No idea whether they can be used for copper etc. for some folk may be better than modifying twist drills.

Think mine (DeWalt ?). were about  £3 or so for 1/8" to 3/8" by 1/16th.

No good if you want a larger hole tho'  :(

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 10:36:32 AM »
Cheers Lads

Yep can't remember were i picked up the tip , just no it was a long time ago  :dremel: ,, works a treat and has saved many a part from disastor .

Hi Dave ,,,,,,,,,,yes 'Lip & Spur' drills as used in wood working ,,,,,,,they would probably do the trick

Cheers Rob


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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 03:26:36 AM »
When I worked at North Eastern Marine In Wallsend, the Drillers always sharpened their drills like that.  I think they called them butterfly drills.

I have found that the best drills for sheet metal are the tapered step drills, I have drilled both sheet metals and fibreglass with them and they do not break out and grab like standard twist drills as they have straight flutes.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 01:19:42 PM by HENNEGANOL »

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 03:54:00 AM »
I know them by wing and spur but it's only a name.

Careful of the cheap woodworking ones, many are just carbon steel as they can get away with that to an extent in wood for home butchers.

A HSS ground up as Rob has shown or a true wing and spur will cut metal with no problem and do just as Rob says.

Another trick with sheet metal is to sandwich it between two sheets of ply then drill.

John S.
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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2010, 05:59:15 PM »
Hi Lads

 John made a good point ,,,,,,, i have had a look around and nearly all the wood working drill bits were carbon steel . The HSS steel ones i found were lots of ££££££ .

Cheers Rob

Offline PTsideshow

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2010, 02:43:36 PM »
Here is also something that will help, in the drilling of sheet goods. I know the ladies in the jewelry classes loved em. Meant they didn't damage their manicures or cut their pinkies.

Don't know what happened to the text on the photos, basically it is any type of toggle type fixture clamp mounted to some scrap chip board or any thing you have handy.
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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2010, 02:56:29 PM »
Great idea!

I had to open-up some holes in thin sheet metal ( 2.0mm ally base gasket and a viton-coated layered steel head gasket) for my bike project. These gaskets are £50 so I didn't want to make a mess of it, and I also could not have any kind of burr.

After a bit of trial and error I hit upon the idea of using an adjustable reamer to open up the holes. I took the blades out of the reamer and put them in backward, so that they formed a 'tapered' adjustable reamer, then simply put the reamer into my battery drill and used it to open each of the holes from 10mm to 12mm.

Worked great, no snagging, no burrs and a perfectly round hole.

Offline bry1975

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2010, 03:36:09 PM »
LOL you should make your own toggle clamps like we use to none of that pressed steel or stamped crap!

Offline Trion

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2010, 03:57:56 PM »
Nice way to make a drill for sheet metal. I usually use a "step drill" with quite good results in steel and aluminum.
I also have a set of HSS Dewalt drills which are made quite similarly to the way you have ground yours, though these are intended to drill steel without the need of predrilling with a smaller drill. I can try to source the item number if anyone´s interested.

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: Drilling sheet material
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 11:12:37 PM »
Cool... On a side note, Glen.. Those clamps... Where do I find them?

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