How to drill through aluminum
Drilling Aluminum should not cause any problems if you follow some simple rules.
Aluminum is a soft metal with a low melting point of 660 degrees C. To give some perspective Stainless Steel has a melting point of 1510 deg C.
Because of its low melting point it is very important to reduce as much as possible heat build up when drilling. Otherwise the melting aluminum will stick to the drill bit.
5 Top Tips
1. Choose a suitable drill bit.
Aluminum is a soft metal and therefore a standard HSS drill bit will be able to drill into it. However because of the low melting point of aluminium a better choice would be to use a cobalt drill bit. The cobalt drill bit will dissipate heat quicker and ultimately assist in reducing heat build up.
2. Choose correct drilling speed.
Because drilling at a high speed will encourage heat build up it is important to monitor drilling speed and drill slower. Recommended drilling speed for aluminium varies between 200 and 300 rpm.
3. Reduced pressure
Applying excessive pressure is another way to increase heat build up and therefore should be avoided.
Lubrication is vital in keeping temperature down. A good drilling lubricant will reduce friction between the drill bit and the metal and this will minimise heat build up.
Safety should always be the primary consideration when drilling any material. Always wear eye protection. And clamp the metal you are drilling if at all possible.