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Sep 18, 2019 - 8:59:58 AM



3778 posts since 10/7/2007

I need to drill some holes in a metal brace strap. I should have asked while I was at Wink's, but I forgot. The strip is an 1/8? thick? It's fairly bendable. It is going to help brace the underside of a park style bench, only kid's size.

I've got more wood drill bits that I actually need. Can I get away with using them, or do I have to go out and buy metal drill bits? I only need to drill five holes.

Anyone ever use a step bit?

I think I found the information I was looking for

Edited by - mander on 09/18/2019 09:31:09

Sep 18, 2019 - 9:56:14 AM
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Brian T


15674 posts since 6/5/2008

You can get away with them. Usually, the tip angles are different.
Make some sort of a dent in the strap first. This keeps your bit from "skating" around.

Sep 18, 2019 - 11:12:26 AM
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1172 posts since 7/14/2004

This may be overkill.


Sep 18, 2019 - 2:22:41 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


23289 posts since 8/3/2003

Dave always said to use the right tool for the job so..... I'd go get a drill bit for metal rather than ruining a bunch of bits that were for wood. Just my 2 cents worth.

Sep 18, 2019 - 2:37:51 PM
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52326 posts since 12/14/2005

If you've got more bits than you need, it's OK to ruin a couple.
Some bits are made for wood OR metal.
Just hope you grab one of those by random chance, the first try.
How about dipping the bit in oil, every so often, to keep it from overheating?

As for the anti-skating dent: A drywall screw has a pretty hard point, so smack one of those with a hammer, and see if it works.

And, since wishes cost nothing- - - Best Wishes for a successful project.

Sep 18, 2019 - 2:43:55 PM
Players Union Member



5204 posts since 8/19/2012

I'm with Dave. I have seen too many good tools turned in to scrap because they were used for something they were not made for. I will occasionally cringe when She tries to use the wrong tool for a task which is why I went to Harbor Freight and built her a 'Mom's tool box' which keeps her out of some of my antique and precision tools. If She needs something done which is beyond the capability of her tool box then I do it for Her in the shop with the right tools.
Although after assisting me in different projects and seeing how easy it is to do things with the right tool She now has started asking me which one to use or to show Her how to do it.
@Mander, I suggest you go to Harbor Freight and get a small selection of twist drills for making holes in metal and use them. Brian has the right idea about using a nail to punch a dimple in the strap to stop the bit from 'skating' around.

Sep 18, 2019 - 2:50:18 PM
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1507 posts since 11/29/2012

Squirt some oil on the tip as you drill.

Sep 19, 2019 - 6:09:04 AM
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2350 posts since 10/9/2011

Clamp the piece down well before you drill,with a piece of wood behind it. When a drill breaks through sheet meta,l the work piece will often climb up the drill bit and start spinning around dangerously fast.I discovered this the hard way. Happened to me the other day when I as fabricating a brass mount for a banjo arm rest.

Sep 19, 2019 - 6:21:37 AM
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258 posts since 9/21/2018

Step buts are great for thin-ish metal and a hand held drill. Even the cheap ones from Harbor Freight work well if you are using them sparingly.

Sep 19, 2019 - 10:33:20 AM
Players Union Member



1234 posts since 2/3/2012

If you're drilling steel, use the slowest possible speed and press hard on the drill.  Clamping the work to prevent "climbing" as noted above, is a good idea.

Sep 20, 2019 - 6:00:18 PM



12673 posts since 9/27/2007

mander So how did it work out for you? You can't leave us hanging!

Sep 20, 2019 - 10:43:22 PM
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800 posts since 4/22/2018

Originally posted by bubbalouie

mander So how did it work out for you? You can't leave us hanging!

Great minds think alike Bob, I just popped on to ask the very same question.  I'm hoping the delay is due to her being busy building the bench, rather than not being able to type on a count of the heavily bandaged fingers smiley

Sep 21, 2019 - 6:17:49 AM



12673 posts since 9/27/2007

I was worried too Jonty! I've had thin metal Helicopter on me too!

Sep 21, 2019 - 2:09:59 PM
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953 posts since 11/3/2016

Also , to add to your growing knowledge on drilling , if the hole is large , even a quarter of an inch , it's not a bad idea to start w/ a pilot hole (no you don't need any pilots to help) which is a smaller diameter hole , say 1/8 diameter , to guide the larger drill plus it will take away some of the torque or twist when you break thru w/ the larger hole .

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