Author Topic: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures  (Read 12155 times)

rullywowr

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2016, 07:56:46 AM »
Thanks all.  I'd be interested to see what you think when you try it.

I don't know if I'm just using some extra soft enclosures, but I have a drill press plus a set of cheap brass coloured stepping bits (I think I paid $5 or $10 for a pack of 3) and it just goes literally like butter with no lube. It doesn't make metal spirals either like the 1/8 inch aluminium synth panels I used to drill. It just turns the aluminium almost to dust.

At first, they all start this way.  Then the heat build up leads to galling and soon the edge gets dull.

Good tip Ben!  I resharpen my step bits.  I've been using the same 3 bits for 6+ years.  The fluting on the bit is quite large so its easy to get in there with a flat file and resharpen the edge.  Works for me!

That's awesome. I am going to have to try this on some of mine!

there's also something to be said for reading the owner's manual for your drill press and choosing the appropriate speed setting for the material you're working.

Very true.  With metal its almost always, "Slow speed.  Slow feed."  Reminds me of shop class in school.

Some people have suggested using vegetable oil + water.  I haven't tried this yet.

I use the TiNi (I THINK) stuff on my step bits, and they still get aluminum stuck on them quite often.  I'm constantly having to pry off the 'melted' aluminum.

I'm sure the Veg oil will work fine.  It's just a pain to ensure you clean off every last bit before you are painting/coating otherwise you can  run into issues with that.

Awesome tip. Looks like I need one of these next to my drill press:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004JE6AWU/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=GS578GCN9BYH&coliid=I2SV56YL43KQ3P&psc=1

Cody

That will work but is a bit too small for my taste.  Something like these is the ticket.  I use these cheap containers for Iso, Naptha, and Simple Green around the bench.

http://www.harborfreight.com/pack-of-3-8-oz-storage-bottles-with-twist-caps-66170.html




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markeprice

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2016, 08:45:21 AM »
I am having the same problem.  I thought there would be a good way, but didn't want to use a grease or oil!  Thanks!
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rullywowr

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2016, 08:51:54 AM »
I just drilled 325 holes last night using the iso and it worked out wonderfully.  There was minimal clogging of the flute of the step bit which I was able to knock off easily.  I kept checking the bit temp and it was cool to the touch.  An added bonus is that the chips seem to stay closer to the hole due to being wet.

I found that when I use a center punch I like to mark the punch marks with a dab of felt tip marker (sharpie).  The iso makes the sharpie smear so I found a good idea was to use my 1/8" drill to just start the hole without any iso.  I don't go all the way through.  Once all the little "divots" are made then I drill normally all the way through and apply iso all over the hole and bit.  When enlarging the hole with the bit (especially larger holes for 3PDT and DC jacks) I squirt a little on the hole and then up the bit. 

I'm sure I'm overthinking/overexplaining this but just wanted to share my experience. 



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EBRAddict

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2016, 02:40:53 PM »
Are you squirting the iso on the bit before you start or on the enclosure where you are going to drill? Sounds like from the Sharpie part you are applying it to the enclosure before drilling.

rullywowr

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2016, 03:32:34 PM »
Are you squirting the iso on the bit before you start or on the enclosure where you are going to drill? Sounds like from the Sharpie part you are applying it to the enclosure before drilling.

Because the Sharpie runs in the iso, i'm just "kissing" the surface with the bit without iso to make a nice divot where the punch mark is.  After all the marks are now little divots (for that side) I'm then drilling all the way through with the iso. 

You can certainly not use Sharpie at all (just harder to see the punch marks).



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alanp

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2016, 03:39:53 PM »
How deep is your center punch? When I center punch enclosures, it's clearly visible with no vivid marker needed.
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markeprice

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2016, 05:58:01 PM »
325 holes?  What are you doing?  That is a ton of enclosures!
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markeprice

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2016, 05:58:34 PM »
325 holes?  What are you doing?  That is a ton of enclosures!
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m-Kresol

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2016, 02:51:01 AM »
How deep is your center punch? When I center punch enclosures, it's clearly visible with no vivid marker needed.

when I did an enclosure with my brother, he center punched so hard that the enclosure's surface was literally curved around it in a 1cm radius. He's not used to working with aluminum.
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davent

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2016, 11:18:06 AM »
How deep is your center punch? When I center punch enclosures, it's clearly visible with no vivid marker needed.

when I did an enclosure with my brother, he center punched so hard that the enclosure's surface was literally curved around it in a 1cm radius. He's not used to working with aluminum.

Might be wise to use a block of would to support the enclosure face being center punched, also when trying to bashing in lettering with letter punches.

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rullywowr

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2016, 11:36:34 AM »
Damn, I just use a spring center punch...



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Aristatertotle

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2016, 11:56:46 AM »
Just drilled a couple of enclosures using this method. Worked really well! Having a little squirt bottle would definitely be nice to use.

mrclean77

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2016, 05:25:12 AM »
I've used iso for paint prep, after drilling, etc, but yeah, never thought to use it in this way. I will absolutely try to use a flat file and save my cheapie step bits as well....I get more life out of them than I ever thought I would, but still can't hurt to try to stretch it out.


Anybody: What if you used the iso AFTER powdercoat? How bad would you goober up the coat??? TIA

galaxiex

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2016, 05:59:02 AM »
I've used iso for paint prep, after drilling, etc, but yeah, never thought to use it in this way. I will absolutely try to use a flat file and save my cheapie step bits as well....I get more life out of them than I ever thought I would, but still can't hurt to try to stretch it out.


Anybody: What if you used the iso AFTER powdercoat? How bad would you goober up the coat??? TIA

Not much experience with powder coat but what little I have, I think the iso would not hurt it at all.

The stuff is fairly bullet proof, tho I'm sure there must be some chems that will booger it up.

I could be wrong....
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BrianS

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Re: Pro Tip: Drilling Aluminum Enclosures
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2016, 06:28:55 AM »
Drilled an enclosure last night and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Used a q-tip (no squirt bottle), swabbed my old step bit and it cut like new.  Thanks Ben.