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Drilling nice holes in aluminum?
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Author:  DisasterArea [ 03 Nov 2010, 14:36 ]
Post subject:  Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Question for those experienced in making aluminum chassis; how do you drill nice clean larger holes in aluminum? The top plate of my chassis is going to be 3mm aluminum, I've got a drill and bits for smaller holes, but how do you make your larger holes (20mm+) for tube sockets and PSU wiring? Is there special bits you can buy for aluminum? I've got a hole drilling kit for larger holes in wood, but I'm guess they probably won't cut it for aluminum. And do most of you use a drill press or wing it with a hand held?

Author:  noelmem1 [ 03 Nov 2010, 23:05 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

well , draw the hole then drill small holes( i like 1/8" bit -not too big , not too fragile) inside the circumference taking note not to hit the line , give some leeway for filing. Also a good technique is to then use a slightly bigger bit just to connect the small holes together. for those too far to each other , you can use a side cutter to connect them . dont use too much force or you will bend the plate and there goes your cosmetics...then file till the correct hole size. hope this helps
noelM

Author:  Geek [ 04 Nov 2010, 16:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Honestly, there is absolutely no substitute for Greenlee or Pioneer punches for holes exceeding 1/2".

If you shop around on fleabay, you can create yourself a nice set of most-used punches for less than $100 8-)

As for drills in that range, you'll need a machinists set - they are cobalt and require a 5/8" (or larger) drill press chuck in that size range. But once you see the price, you could buy punches new for less :shock:

Wood drills, even in aluminium are very, very dangerous. I've had the heads break off and embed themselves in the wall (thanks gods not my throat!)

Cheers!

Author:  Gio [ 04 Nov 2010, 20:38 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

I use drill bits to make a pilot hole and then I switch over to a stepped drill bit. In aluminum this works fine with a cordless 3/8" drill and no lubricant is required. One stepped drill bit I have is 1-3/8", and I have used it up to 1-1/8". For use with only wood and aluminum, the bit looks like it will last a lifetime.
Cheers

Author:  Geek [ 05 Nov 2010, 22:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

I'd like to add that with a stepped drill bit, a drill press (on its slowest speed) is handy for clean holes. But clamp your work, otherwise it could "bite" into it and make for a nasty spinning piece of cutlery :eek:

Cheers!

Author:  HT Performance [ 14 Nov 2010, 16:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

This is what I use at low speed drilling. It works fine.

Image

Cheers,
Miguel

Author:  Geek [ 15 Nov 2010, 01:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Bum image URL, Miguel :(

Cheers!

Author:  HT Performance [ 15 Nov 2010, 12:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Geek wrote:
Bum image URL, Miguel :(

I don´t get it... Is it too aggressive? ;)

Cheers,
Miguel

Author:  Bluesman [ 15 Nov 2010, 13:41 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

I use my torque wrench with the knockout punch and can easily cut a nice clean hole in 1/8" aluminum. I have used off brands with little success. They may be OK for someone making an amp or two, but not recommended for longterm use. They do not hold their edge. And Geek is so correct about clamping your piece during drilling. With thin sheets of aluminum, one could easily suffer serious injury.

Cheers,
Greg

Author:  Geek [ 15 Nov 2010, 22:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

HT Performance wrote:
Geek wrote:
Bum image URL, Miguel :(

I don´t get it... Is it too aggressive? ;)


Now I see it! :)

Yes, bi-metal holesaws can be useful too.

Cheers!

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