How to Drill a Hole in Metal

High speed steel drills will safely drill through metal.
High speed steel drills will safely drill through metal. (Image: drill bits in a metal box image by Pierrette Guertin from

If you try to drill through metal with the same tools and techniques that you would use to drill through wood, you might ruin your tools or injure yourself. Drilling metal is slightly more complicated than drilling wood, and it requires drill bits made for the task.

Things You'll Need

  • Eye protection
  • Heavy gloves
  • Drill
  • Thin high speed steel drill bit
  • High speed steel drill bit sized for the hole you will drill
  • Scribe
  • Center punch
  • Hammer
  • Vise
  • Metal lubricant

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Secure the metal firmly in the vise.

Score the spot you wish to drill using your scribe. Make a clear and firm line over the spot you wish to drill.

Position your center punch over the spot you wish to drill and tap it with your hammer to make a deeper guide hole. This guide hole will keep your drill from moving while you drill the metal.

Apply lubricant over the spot you will drill. Lubricant dries off quickly, so you should apply it generously and reapply it often.

Drill a guide hole using your thin drill bit.

Drill a hole using your full sized bit.

Turn the metal around in your vise.

Drill through the hole again from the other side. This will even out the hole and make sure that burrs don’t develop around the hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear eye protection and heavy gloves while working with power tools.
  • Tap lightly on your center punch so you do not damage the center punch.


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