Tips for drilling galvanised steel tubes

There are plenty of reasons to choose galvanised steel tubes. For example, you may need to protect the parts from corrosion. Or, you could be looking to address wear and tear, particularly from friction. Whatever the case, galvanisation is a great option. However, you need to consider the impact on tube drilling. We want to look at this here, then offer some tips for how to drill it effectively.

Two options

Tube drillingGenerally there are two things you can do here. Firstly, you could galvanise the tube to begin with and then drill the holes. This is relatively simple, but you need to keep a crucial thing in mind; drilling after galvanisation means the hole, and a small area around it, can lack protection. As a result, there is a risk of corrosion.

The second option is to drill the holes first and then galvanise. This can address the lack of protection and corrosion risk. However, you need to think carefully about the sizing. Galvanisation adds a layer of zinc to protect the metal. This can be between 1.4 and 3.9 mils thick. As a result, it can mean the holes are slightly smaller afterwards. For accuracy, you may need to drill larger ones to begin with.

Drilling after galvanisation

For ease, it is generally better to galvanise the tube and then drill. You just need to take extra care and do a final step for finishing.

The majority of the tube drilling steps are the same as when you deal with raw steel. Firstly, ensure you measure properly to get holes in the correct locations. Then, use a punch to create a seat for the drill bit. Next, select your bit and start drilling. Finally, finish off with cold galvanising spray to protect the hole and area around it. Make sure you do both sides.

An important tip is to be aware of the fact the material can spark because of the friction from drilling. You can use cutting fluid to reduce it and protect the drill bit. That makes it easier to drill through galvanised steel.

Another tip is to start with a smaller drill bit and work your way up. This will make the process more efficient and reduces wear and tear on your tooling. Trying to use a large bit from the start can cause issues.

You also need to carefully manage the heat you produce when drilling. You will always get some because you are physically cutting the metal. However, excess heat comes because you use too much pressure or go overboard with the speed. It is better to go steady and let the bit do the cutting. Keep applying coolant to help too.

Talk to us about tube drilling

Multiform Tubes Engineering Ltd is one of the best specialists in our industry. We are confident we can adapt tubing to suit any kind of needs. For example, we can bend it to create complex components or offer different types of end forming. We also provide drilling because we know how tricky and time consuming it can be.

So, if you want to arrange tube drilling, whether for galvanised steel tubes or other materials, speak to us. We can do it efficiently and to a high standard for you.