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How to cut a hole in tough 316 stainless steel



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Drilling holes in stainless steel can be incredibly difficult because it can work

harden as you're drilling it. This is 316 stainless which is

non-magnetic which is one of the hardest stainless steels that you can actually drill.

It's not very thick it's probably only a couple of millimeters wall thickness but

it is still incredibly difficult to drill. If you try and make a hole in this

using a traditional hole saw it will burn out very quickly you would even be

lucky to get through the stainless steel at all. For that reason I'm going to use

one of these which is a Starrett Carbide tipped hole saw . These are incredibly

good quality. One thing I will point out with these is that you do need a very

powerful drill to be able to use these. I've actually tried using these in my

pillar drill and that won't actually do it it just keeps jamming and stalling

all the time. So I'm going to use the trusted old Dewalt

and I've put the side handle on because there will be a lot of torque because

these bits do bite very aggressively. The beauty of these is that once you've

drilled your hole the spring in the center there actually ejects the center piece

which with most hole saws actually gets stuck in the middle then you have to

mess about removing it. So these are an incredibly good design and these are

superb for stainless steel. You can actually cut stainless steel up to an

inch thick using these hole saws.So I'm just going to center punch where I want

the hole to be, that will prevent the bit from slipping when I'm starting to

drill the hole. I've now set the drill to a law speed and I've got it on number 19

torque setting that will prevent the drill from snagging when it is cutting.

I'm just going to apply some cutting paste to the drill bit at the end there

and that will keep that cool whilst we get the pilot hole drilled.

You can see that that has cut a clean 1 inch hole in that 316 stainless

steel which is approximately two millimeter thick wall thickness. So that

is a very tough piece of metal to drill if you tried doing that with a traditional

hole saw you would really struggle you probably just burn it out. But the Starrett

Carbide tips hole saws are absolutely perfect for that type of job. I hope you've enjoyed

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