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DogLoverNYS 08-12-2020 07:26 AM

Drilling holes in aluminum?
 
Not shaping specific, but....

My first post. I am very active in dog sports (agility, obedience, nose work) and spend a fair amount of time and $$ in hardware stores because the supplies and accoutrements needed for training dogs are often easily made with the appropriate supplies. Gotta love YouTube

Newest sport: scent work, which is based on detection dog work (think 'dogs finding contraband' except this is for pets who find small packets of essential oils, not bombs or drugs).

Came across these nifty fobs in which those essential oils can be hidden -- they are usually used for geocaching. They are aluminum, have a domed top. Need one hole in the top to allow odor to escape (magnet on the bottom). They are about the length of the top part of my thumb (can't post photo. Bummer)

Using a drill press, and holding the fobs in a vice grip the first 20 or so. After that, disaster. Drill cutting into the metal and tearing around the top, no holes.

Suggestions?? Warning: I'm a border-line senior woman with minimal DYI skills. Drill press borrowed, for example.

crystallographic 08-12-2020 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DogLoverNYS (Post 163986)
My first post.

(snip)

They are aluminum, have a domed top. Need one hole in the top to allow odor to escape (magnet on the bottom). They are about the length of the top part of my thumb (can't post photo. Bummer)

Using a drill press, and holding the fobs in a vice grip the first 20 or so. After that, disaster. Drill cutting into the metal and tearing around the top, no holes.

Suggestions?? Warning: I'm a border-line senior woman with minimal DYI skills. Drill press borrowed, for example.


Diameter of drill relates to the speed it has to turn, to cut properly.
Small = fast. 1/16, 3/32, 1/8 all can go at the fastest speeds - 1500rpm to 2700rpm. ( I have drilled a lot of .063, .057, etc holes...)

Also, aluminum can be "mooshy" and gummy, not wanting to cut cleanly like hard metals do.


Compounding your problem is drilling on top of a small dome = slippage.
*Get a small automatic center punch and spot a dimple on target, and the drill will find it's "home" more easily.
*Lubricant helps - I use cocoa butter, beeswax, olive oil for drilling, sawing, hole-cutting aluminum alloys. (Cheap and available to me, as I am very rural and am frequently doing mail-order.)

:):):)

billfunk29 08-12-2020 09:20 AM

drilling
 
Dito the lubricant. Aluminum can bond to a drill bit when it gets hot. If the flutes plug up with aluminum chips, it will not cut well.

Kerry Pinkerton 08-12-2020 01:27 PM

Nancy, is this really thin aluminum? I've had better luck punching holes in really thin stuff. Especially tiny pieces that are hard to hold. You need to be careful. If one gets away from you and the drill bit grabs it, you can get cut badly. Ask me how I know...:lol:

What size hole? Since the first went well, you might have plugged up the flutes of the drill bit with melted aluminum. Look at the bit carefully and see if the flutes are clear.

As Kent said, using a punch to mark the hole keeps the bit from wandering and breaking.

steve.murphy 08-12-2020 06:25 PM

Is the inside of the top concave. It might be easier drilling in that direction if you can hold the part.

cliffrod 08-13-2020 05:55 AM

Nancy- depending upon your budget and plans for "production" volume, you might consider purchasing a small Roper Whitney Jr metal punch.

https://www.roperwhitney.com/our-pro...-punch-in-kit/

The kit comes with a number of different size dies sets that make popping numerous accurate holes in sheet metal & aluminum a breeze- especially if you clamp it in a vise or mount to the bench. The larger XX version has more throat capacity and can be kitted with similar dimensioned die sets, but is more expensive. Before i got a real RW punch, I had a knock-off version that I bought second hand. For certain size holes, the dies never lined up right so would either not make a full cut or leave a bad burr. If you buy one, get a real one.

Unlike drilling holes, a real RW punch leaves no sharp edges that might injure a tender nose.

Gareth Davies 08-13-2020 10:26 AM

My advice for this would be to buy some decent quality drill bits that have a split point to minimise pressure and use any of the lubricants suggested, or liquid paraffin even. Use a moderate spindle speed and use a pecking action to break the chips up. Hope that helps.


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