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Drilling nice holes in aluminum?
http://www.diyaudioprojects.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2760
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Author:  Les [ 28 Jul 2011, 22:40 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Nice tip, Matt. That never occured to me.

Author:  VictoriaGuy [ 03 Aug 2011, 14:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Suncalc wrote:
I don't mean to throw a wrench into the machinery here but there is one other important factor to consider; alloy content.

When drilling or working aluminum, the alloy is almost as important as the tooling method.

:up:
I use aluminum plate from the junkyard aka recycling center, and there are big differences between types of aluminum.
Some are very 'sticky' to machine, others machine beautifully. Unfortunately, I haven't learned to recognize the good kind by sight alone.

I use a carbide non-ferrous metal circular saw blade to cut (with a sliding table and clamp-downs) and a stepped drill bit (unibit) for all but the smallest holes. I have an expensive name-brand Unibit and it doesn't cut any better than the gold colour cheap ones I have. BTW, they also make non-stepped tapered bits - like a reamer on steroids - which are handy for 'adjusting' the size of holes.
My holesaws are not accurate enough (wobble, cut oversize) for chassis work. Larger twist drills try to cut triangular holes in thin stock, with my drill press and workpiece clamped.

I have a punch but never use it. By the time I've drilled a 3/8 hole with the stepped drill, I just press on with enlarging the hole, rather than switch to the punch.

Tip: Rub your file with blackboard chalk before filing aluminum (or brass/copper). It makes it easier to clean the file.
I seldom work with steel chassis.

Author:  anmadrarua [ 06 Aug 2012, 15:56 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Do a search for Q-Max punches.
http://www.google.com/search?q=Q-Max+punches

Author:  Kettletrigger [ 11 Aug 2012, 20:07 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

One method that I didn't see discussed is using a flycutter.

Upside: Very adjustable, cheap as dirt and cuts a beautifully machined hole.
Downside: requires a drill press capable of very slow speeds (or mill), grinding a toolbit to suit, and a very rigid setup. Insufficient clamping of the piece being cut will cause some catastrophic results!

Here's one example (sans toolbit) for under $5:

http://www.wttool.com/index/page/produc ... s+%28WT%29

It has a 1/2" shank, which might not work for everyone's drill chuck. 3/8" shank models are out there too.

Author:  chrisys32 [ 09 Nov 2012, 13:36 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

well, when we learned to process the aluminum into the box in school, for large hole drilling we first used small drill (cca 6mm), then we used a hole cutter to size the hole up to the final diameter. and at the end, some edge refinement with countersink tool just to make fine edges
http://www.ultimatehandyman.co.uk/Metal ... rsink6.JPG

results are pretty nice.

Author:  lexx21 [ 17 Feb 2014, 01:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Soundbrigade wrote:
These drills from http://www.vt4c.com are OTSTANDING!!!

Image



I use these as well. As long as you are using a drill press with them they work great. Slow speed works better than fast. I have used them on steel, and as long as the blade is lubricated it will work fine with that as well.

If you try to use a hand drill with these it will look like a blind guy with an axe tried to make your holes, at least when I did it that way it did.

If you look around on fleabay, you can find them pretty cheaply out of HK. Those are what I have and had no issues with them. I think the most I paid was about $8USD or so each.

Author:  blackdog [ 17 Feb 2014, 08:12 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Quote:
One method that I didn't see discussed is using a flycutter.

These are not meant for hole cutting. They are meant to be used in a milling machine for thickness machining.
Dangerous advice. Not recommended.
Step drills or hole saws are by far the easiest and safest. Hole punches (Greenlee) work well, as long as the panels not too thick.

Author:  Geek [ 17 Feb 2014, 15:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

blackdog wrote:
Hole punches (Greenlee) work well, as long as the panels not too thick.

Speaking of safety, chassis punches are made to be used with a hand wrench. The knockout punches can be used with a hydraulic wrench, air wrench or hand wrench, but NEVER use a power tool on a regular chassis punch - like a regular socket on an air tool, it could shatter and spray shrapnel everywhere!

Author:  laurie54 [ 22 Sep 2014, 19:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

Here is something i have not seen mentioned as yet.
"Forstner Bits".
They are used mostly for wood but work very well for aluminum as well. They are reasonably priced and are available in regular and hardened carbide steel. Used only with drill presses and on slow speed but they work very well.

Author:  Geek [ 23 Sep 2014, 03:18 ]
Post subject:  Re: Drilling nice holes in aluminum?

laurie54 wrote:
Here is something i have not seen mentioned as yet.
"Forstner Bits".
They are used mostly for wood but work very well for aluminum as well. They are reasonably priced and are available in regular and hardened carbide steel. Used only with drill presses and on slow speed but they work very well.


Any particular brand?

I tried a $30 titanium Forstner and a $8 cheapie (the cheapie did better) on 3mm 5052-H32 and got nothing but frustration :mad: :confused:

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