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Author Topic: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?  (Read 1160 times)

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wrybreadsf

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Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« on: November 17, 2017, 06:23:20 pm »
I need to add a couple of buttons to my metal control panel. I ordered one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FZ2UOY/

A Titanium Step Drill Bit.

Is that what people would recommend? Or is there something that works better?

And is the standard button hole 1 1/8"?



PL1

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 11:19:24 pm »
And is the standard button hole 1 1/8"?
Yes, that is the standard size for non-Japanese buttons. (Happ, IL, etc.)

30mm is standard size for Japanese buttons. (Sanwa, Seimitsu, etc.)


Scott

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2017, 11:39:05 am »
Iíve never used a step drill bit, so not really sure how well those work. I didnít think they actually had bits that large. Iíve had good luck using hole saws on thin metal. Something like this:

https://m.lowes.com/pd/LENOX-1-1-8-in-Bi-Metal-Arbored-Hole-Saw/3361274

It helps to also use cutting oil to help lubricate and cool the metal as itís being drilled.

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 11:58:36 am »
If you're going to do it right (you won't, and that's OK), you'll use knockouts.
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Ken Layton

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2017, 12:18:07 pm »
Use a Greenlee knockout (also called a chassis punch) hole punch of 1-1/8" size (28.6 MM). The number for that size is 730BB-1-1/8 and it includes the punch, die and ball bearing draw stud. I use this size also for the joystick hole.

http://www.greenlee.com/products/PUNCH-UNIT%2540dRD-1%2540x125-OD-BB.html?product_id=17223


 Many hardware stores and tool dealers sells the Greenlee knockout slugbuster punch for 3/4" electrical conduit that is the correct hole size for control panel buttons. Greenlee punches are of top quality, but if you want cheaper ones, then Harbor Freight also sells a knockout punch set.

Tip: spray the heck out of the punch with WD-40 each time you use it and it'll cut like butter and stay sharp forever.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 12:43:11 pm by Ken Layton »

martin35

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2017, 12:43:39 pm »
To me a good quality hole saw at slow speed will work just as good, it's a little longer but it will do a good job. The hole saw is also cheaper.

Your step drill will also work fine if you're carefull. I just see you paid only 10$ which make me doubt of the quality since a good one is more around 50$-75$

My 2 cents
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 12:50:44 pm by martin35 »

ivwshane

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2017, 03:53:12 pm »
Use a Greenlee knockout (also called a chassis punch) hole punch of 1-1/8" size. Many hardware stores and tool dealers sells the Greenlee knockout slugbuster punch for 3/4" electrical conduit that is the correct hole size for control panel buttons. Greenlee punches are of top quality, but if you want cheaper ones, then Harbor Freight also sells a knockout punch set.

Tip: spray the heck out of the punch with WD-40 each time you use it and it'll cut like butter and stay sharp forever.

I'm looking for a metric size set for 24mm to 30mm buttons and all I see are $300+ kits!

Can you buy just the punches after getting the "base" tools needed?

Nephasth

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2017, 04:53:35 pm »
Buy used.
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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2017, 09:31:20 pm »
I used a bunch of hole saws and a ton of oil for the ones on my cocktail cab.

It worked ok but I went through a lot of bits from what I remember
They treated me like an animal and that's what I became.

gamepimp

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2017, 06:53:27 am »
I used a bunch of hole saws and a ton of oil for the ones on my cocktail cab.

It worked ok but I went through a lot of bits from what I remember

You can dull out hole saws easily if a) they are a cheap brand, b) they get too hot, or c) they are not meant for drilling metal. I have found the Lenox brand to be one of the better ones. They are made in the US and are ďbi metalĒ which is usually what you look for on bits that can be used on aluminum or steel.

Ken Layton

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2017, 12:28:04 pm »
Use a Greenlee knockout (also called a chassis punch) hole punch of 1-1/8" size. Many hardware stores and tool dealers sells the Greenlee knockout slugbuster punch for 3/4" electrical conduit that is the correct hole size for control panel buttons. Greenlee punches are of top quality, but if you want cheaper ones, then Harbor Freight also sells a knockout punch set.

Tip: spray the heck out of the punch with WD-40 each time you use it and it'll cut like butter and stay sharp forever.

I'm looking for a metric size set for 24mm to 30mm buttons and all I see are $300+ kits!

Can you buy just the punches after getting the "base" tools needed?

You can rent knockout punch sets at your local tool rental stores.

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2017, 05:49:35 pm »
Knockout punches are the best. I've even used one to add an extra hole to a stainless steel sink.

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2017, 07:49:08 pm »
yep im with Ken on this one GreenLee punches are the way to go. I use them on all my metal panels and they come out clean and precise. So precise in fact I use a de-burring hand tool just to clean it up to allow the threads to pass through on the buttons.

DeLuSioNal29

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2017, 02:28:09 pm »
Mine was a very thick panel, so I'm not sure I could have used a hole punch.  Instead, I used a bi-metal drill bit:  https://goo.gl/qpHPck and it worked great.  For good measure, I got an extra bit which I could have swapped out if needed, but I ended up not using it:  https://goo.gl/QAXswu Just wanted to point it out so you won't have to buy the whole thing if you need a replacement.

Important:  You need to get some cutting fluid (oil).  It really does help when drilling through the metal.  Mine in particular was a VERY thick home made panel, so the lube was critical.

I posted some pics of my project below and how it turned out.  The holes came out very clean.  Just take your time and don't rush the cuts.

DeL
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 02:32:07 pm by DeLuSioNal29 »
Stop by my Youtube channel and leave a comment:

Mike A

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2017, 03:01:48 pm »
Quote
...so the lube was critical.

The lube is always critical.

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2017, 04:17:32 pm »
If drilling thick metal, the main thing to keep in mind is heat. 
When friction heats the bit up above it's annealed temperature, the bit becomes soft and dulls immediately.
You are trying to keep the bit cool.
Go slow. Pull the bit out often to clear the chips out.  Give the bit a break if things are getting hot. 
It's ok to use pressure, but going full tilt with high speed+pressure (like when trying to finish the damn hole) will ruin the bit if done for too long.

I'm embarrassed to say that I never really fully wrapped my head around this until recently.
I never drilled in steel very often and when I did, just figured the bits were crap when they wore out after a few holes.

Nephasth

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2017, 04:57:35 pm »
Paint thinner is great for keeping bits cool while drilling.
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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2017, 06:23:27 pm »
Quote
...so the lube was critical.

The lube is always critical.
Especially when it's VERY thick...
Stop by my Youtube channel and leave a comment:

UnoWho

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2017, 12:23:21 am »
Is there a limit to the mounting holes on a metal control panel? Would it be better taking the metal control panel to a forge to make the cuts/punches?  If so what is the cost roughly in Sterling?

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2017, 12:05:31 pm »
If drilling thick metal, the main thing to keep in mind is heat. 
When friction heats the bit up above it's annealed temperature, the bit becomes soft and dulls immediately.
You are trying to keep the bit cool.
Go slow. Pull the bit out often to clear the chips out.  Give the bit a break if things are getting hot. 
It's ok to use pressure, but going full tilt with high speed+pressure (like when trying to finish the damn hole) will ruin the bit if done for too long.

I'm embarrassed to say that I never really fully wrapped my head around this until recently.
I never drilled in steel very often and when I did, just figured the bits were crap when they wore out after a few holes.

This. And Not just the drill bit annealing, but at the same time, tempering of the sheet metal is occuring as well, further dulling the blade and adding difficulty. The sheet metal is thin and has a lot of surface area to dissipate heat, which will cause it to cool down quickly tempering/hardening the steel. It is a 1-2 punch killing your bits if you drill at full speed.

I've created training for my company for our technicians because we cut through steel kitchen equipment on a routine basis

Here is the formula for success:

A) Start with a Sharp hole saw designed for drilling metal
B) Low RPM (Set the drill to low gear as well, or put the drill press on a lower speed. Most drill presses are normally geared at a lower speed for a reason.)
C) Cutting oil - Generous. Put it on both bit and sheet before you begin. Stop routinely to put more cutting oil on.
D) Take your time


Your bit will last a while if you follow those instructions

Knockout punches work great, and can do surprisingly thick steel. You still need to drill a pilot hole, but they are worth the money if you do a lot of cuts.


 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 12:08:31 pm by Vigo »

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2017, 12:47:22 pm »
Paint thinner is great for keeping bits cool while drilling.

 :laugh2:

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2017, 03:21:13 pm »
I bought a knock out punch in 2001.  Haven't used it once.   :-\

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2017, 03:39:59 pm »
I bought a knock out punch in 2001.  Haven't used it once.   :-\

I bought one and sold it unused for the same price in the same summer
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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2017, 04:32:30 pm »
Paint thinner is great for keeping bits cool while drilling.

 :laugh2:

Yeah. I thought the guy that told me about it was crazy. It's what I used to drill through inch thick steel i-beam frames while I was manufacturing large blast hole drill rigs for Atlas Copco. Kept my bits sharp. But yes, Vigo's guidelines are spot on. Low and slow.

To elaborate a little further... the heat of drilling causes the paint thinner to evaporate. An evaporating liquid will cool the metal it is in contact with (which is how air conditioners work). Oil will lubricate the cutting edge, which reduces the heat produced, but it does very little active cooling to the bit compared to paint thinner.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 04:38:25 pm by Nephasth »
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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2017, 05:26:46 pm »
  That is interesting, I will give it a test ;)THX....Personally, Jenn doesn't like using oil (on sheet steel anyway) I get nervous about introducing contaminates in fab and pre paint, normally quality bits/hole saws  don't get dull very fast on sheet tin, and one will cut a lot of holes without oil if you go slow.

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2017, 08:47:03 pm »
That better not be a long con to randomly bump off PBJ...... Cause if so, it'll probably work.

Nephasth

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2017, 10:59:40 pm »
Try a small amount in a clear area if you're skeered.

I shared this trick several years ago. But nobody ever listens to me...
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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2017, 01:19:08 pm »
I'll have to give it a go as well. It makes sense.  :cheers:

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2017, 02:18:57 pm »
   It does seem to work.... Acetone dried too fast, Toluene seemed a bit overkill, and fumy, but cheap W/mart reducer seemed to work well and as described, it did have some limitations on hot steel however. It didn't seem to factor as a quenching either, no apparent hardening/brittleness in preliminary tests.... Flash fire was my big concern, but reducer burns relatively slow like kerosene, and has a flashpoint that doesn't seem to warrant issue.

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2017, 11:10:01 pm »
Flash fire was my big concern

Same reason I thought the old man was crazy.

Now... how many of you re-sharpen your own drill bits?

 :oldman
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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2017, 11:38:32 pm »
  OMG how I wish, Mostly they are just trash, or broke before I get a chance, I do have to sharpen tungsten for the TIG and that is bad enough, really a time consuming pain in my  :censored:....The gold drill bits are pretty however, and seem to last quite awhile.

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2017, 10:39:39 am »
Read this, the 14 gague stainless sheet was not messing around:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,154861.msg1624353.html#msg1624353


I used carbide bits( steping up sizes)  to get a starter hole then the punch worked great, the carbide bits are brittle, careful not to wiggle them.

When driling, pressure and milling oil are your friend, Heat, "drill walk", and wiggly hands are your enemy. Don't break the bit or the drill will thrust forward and leave a nice dent in the steel next to your hole.

Use the punch so the spikes go in from the user side, the teeth leave a nice very slight downward bevel as they enter the die. The die side can have burrs, but super minimal, 3 seconds and an emory board will clean them up, but don't slice your finger! I left them  slightly rough for button mount friction.

  I used a 2' pipe extension on an 8" wrench to work the punch, took some elbow grease but nothing worse than changing a tire. Didn't lube the punch at all, but reading Ken's comment, I wish I had
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 10:58:35 am by bimm25e »

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2017, 02:00:45 pm »
Read this, the 14 gague stainless sheet was not messing around:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,154861.msg1624353.html#msg1624353


I used carbide bits( steping up sizes)  to get a starter hole then the punch worked great, the carbide bits are brittle, careful not to wiggle them.

When driling, pressure and milling oil are your friend, Heat, "drill walk", and wiggly hands are your enemy. Don't break the bit or the drill will thrust forward and leave a nice dent in the steel next to your hole.

Use the punch so the spikes go in from the user side, the teeth leave a nice very slight downward bevel as they enter the die. The die side can have burrs, but super minimal, 3 seconds and an emory board will clean them up, but don't slice your finger! I left them  slightly rough for button mount friction.

  I used a 2' pipe extension on an 8" wrench to work the punch, took some elbow grease but nothing worse than changing a tire. Didn't lube the punch at all, but reading Ken's comment, I wish I had
That's the voice of someone who has been there, and has givin it considerable thought, Leaving some slag on the backside almost seems like lazy practices but I can see what your thinking (like a big lock washer).... I use A  drill press, and bimetal hole saws, and don't have half of those problems however, don't even bother using oil, Unless I get into something over 1/4".  (On a hand drill it will bit hard towards the end and with the right drill will break your wrist :-\)(

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2017, 06:27:54 pm »
I need to add a couple of buttons to my metal control panel. I ordered one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FZ2UOY/

A Titanium Step Drill Bit.

Is that what people would recommend? Or is there something that works better?

And is the standard button hole 1 1/8"?

Wonder if we'll ever see him again..

bimm25e

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Re: Bit to cut holes in metal control panels?
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2017, 06:32:47 pm »
Is there a limit to the mounting holes on a metal control panel? Would it be better taking the metal control panel to a forge to make the cuts/punches?  If so what is the cost roughly in Sterling?

A blacksmith should be willing to punch you a dozen holes for a farthing, but if thou keepeth one as vassal or villein in thine land, thou may request it as a feif.

  
 

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