How to Drill a 1-1/8th Inch Hole in a Thick Steel Plate


Almost anyone can drill a hole in a piece of wood, but drilling a hole in a thick steel plate can be challenging. If you try to drill through the steel with a regular drill bit, you will go through bits quickly. The key to drilling a hole through metal, particularly thick steel, is to keep the bit well-lubricated and to have a bit that is made for drilling through steel. Whether you are using a drill press or a hand drill, keeping the speed of the drill low will reduce friction and keep the bit from getting dull.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Cobalt or carbide tip drill bit
  • Drill bit lubricant
  • Metal center punch
  • Block of wood
  • Choose a drill bit that is both 1 1/8 inch wide and made for steel -- like a cobalt bit. A carbide-tipped hole cutter is used by electricians and other contractors to drill through thick metal.

  • Measure where on the steel plate you want the hole. Use a tape measure and then mark the spot with a permanent marker.

  • Put a metal center punch on the mark and push down on it until you hear a "pop."

  • Drop a few drops of oil or drill bit lubricant on the divot left by the metal punch. This will cool down the drill and help lubricate it as it goes through the steel.

  • Place a block of wood under the steel. Once you are through the steel, the drill will go into the block of wood instead of into the concrete floor or your workbench.

  • Drill your hole using a slow speed to keep the heat down. Use a few drops of oil as needed to keep the bit from creating too much friction and heat. This will keep your bit from getting dull.

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