How to avoid drill bits snapping?

Steel tubing is very impressive if you look at the massive array of uses. It is suitable for furniture, automotive parts, support structures, and much more. A major thing that allows this is the number of ways to adapt it. You can opt for bending, different types of end forming, and more. In addition, you can choose tube drilling to create holes wherever you need them.

A lot of people underestimate how challenging it can be to drill into steel tube. They assume they will be able to do it with standard tools, whether it is a hand drill or a drill press. However, it is more likely you will snap your drill bit and have issues. What we want to do is offer some advice about how to avoid it.

The right bits

Tube drillingA major issue here is people don’t choose the right drill bits. Regular ones are unlikely to be able to cut through steel, especially if you choose a hard grade. They will likely just snap with the effort.

What you need to do is select suitable tooling. Cobalt and titanium bits are the best options. The first can work very well because they are hard and have very high heat resistance. You can also sharpen them if they become dull. While titanium ones are harder, you can’t sharpen so the service life is shorter.

However, there is an important thing to keep in mind here. You can’t simply buy performance by choosing the most expensive bits. Even top shelf ones can snap if you don’t use them correctly.

Feeds and speeds

The keys to being successful with tube drilling are to get the feed and speed right. You need to adapt them to suit the type of steel (or other metal) and the drill bit you are using.

What you need to keep in mind is finding the sweet spot with feed and speed will let you cut through the steel even with cheap cobalt or titanium bits. It can be hard to get them right though.

With speeds, you need to look at the RPM of the drill. You need to ensure yours will be fast enough. Most hand tools will only achieve 400 RPM, but you need far more than this. However, be careful with excessive speeds because they can generate heat and may break thinner bits.

Getting the right feed is a lot trickier. It often takes intuition and keeping an eye on the chips. Effective feeds will produce long chips instead of small ones.

Straighten up

Another major cause of drill bit snapping, whether it is with tube drilling or other metal products, is getting the positioning wrong. Drills naturally tend to wander when you use them. If it is bad enough, the bit will snap. Ideally you want to keep the drill perpendicular. It is also wise to use a punch to seat the bit.

Do you want the best tube drilling services?

At Multiform Tubes Engineering Ltd we have a wealth of experience. We can provide pre-drilled tubing for all kinds of needs. It could be mild steel for a variety of uses or high strength grades for structural uses. In any case, we know how to achieve the finest results. We’ll protect our tooling in the process.

So, if you want a professional tube drilling solution, speak to us. We will get it right for you for a great price. It will ensure the holes are accurate so you don’t have any issues with assembly.