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Drilling Stainless Steel

3598 Views 27 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  MTN REMODEL LLC
Guys....

I've got a SS bar sink with just two 4" center set faucet holes.

I need to mount a single hole center faucet, so I need to drill a 1-3/8 center hole in the sink.

Before I rip it up with experimentation, looking for your experience recommendation as to best bits/technique in drilling it... and not ripping it up.

I can't pull the sink, nor can I get any backing behind the faucet hole for drilling it.

I have no idea of the grade of SS, it's probably just a normal builders grade SS bar sink.

I've drilled SS with my cobalt twists before, but I need a 1-3/8 hole.

I'm sure my regular hole says won't do it, I do have my tile carbide grit hole saw.... but I don't want to experiment untill I know I won't rip it up.

Presently only have as biggest a 1" step bit.... but I suppose I can find locally a 1-3/8 step if that is a good approach.

Thought about drilling outside circle with cobalt twists and fileing smooth, but that just does not sound clean or practical.

Hope I don't have to order a specialty bit on the internet and wait on this, nor excessive expense for this that I probably won't run into again.

TIA for any recommendations

Best

Peter

EDIT PS:I don't have any greenlee knock-out punches (Usually use my step bit when I need it).
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Pretty sure my plumber just uses a hole saw bit.

Like a Lenox from depot.

Goes slow and keeps putting water on it.

And the bit doesn't last too long.

I know for a fact he drilled a 4" hole in a 3/16" steel grease trap, cause I watched him. Pretty sure he did the same on the SS countertops, but I didn't actually see him.
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Thanks.... Kinda want to be sure.... so I don't tear it up... only have one shot at it....I don't have any SS to experiment on.
Pretty sure my plumber just uses a hole saw bit.

Like a Lenox from depot.

Goes slow and keeps putting water on it.

And the bit doesn't last too long.

I know for a fact he drilled a 4" hole in a 3/16" steel grease trap, cause I watched him. Pretty sure he did the same on the SS countertops, but I didn't actually see him.
Regular bi metal hole saws get eaten up fast with stainless, I don't know what it is about stainless that makes it such a pain to operate on. If you have a greenlee punch use it, or buy a carbide metal hole cutter.
Thanks.... Kinda want to be sure.... so I don't tear it up... only have one shot at it....I don't have any SS to experiment on.
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I've used the Greenlee carbide hole saws on stainless sinks. Tape the top, commit to it, and it will punch through in no time, like POW! you're done. Tape the top.

The bimetal are risky - they can just spin and heat up and discolor the stainless. I've done that.
^^^ agree, discolored more than my share
And on the larger greenlees (bigger than 3/4") you can and should use an arbor with a pilot drill.
I've used the Greenlee carbide hole saws on stainless sinks. Tape the top, commit to it, and it will punch through in no time, like POW! you're done. Tape the top.

The bimetal are risky - they can just spin and heat up and discolor the stainless. I've done that.
Bob... Thank Ya... Gotta go find greenlee bit now.... wish I could afford the whole "hole" set....:whistling

Sure would use a pilot.......What did you mean tape it...?...



I assume you just meant some tape to prevent "splintering"... makeing a cleaner start....just checking, although in my case.... it'll be covered.

TIA

Peter
And on the larger greenlees (bigger than 3/4") you can and should use an arbor with a pilot drill.
Seems like a knockout punch would work. Maybe your sparky has a hydraulic one :) . Drill a small hole with a regular bit...put the cutter/puller through...pop.

But maybe that's a terrible idea too...just thinking 'outloud' :thumbsup:
JP..... Actually never used the hydraulic.... just the screw mechanicals... but I think it would be a good idea....... except my one sparky is clear accross town and kinda a long drive for very small job.

I was hopeing to just get it done quickly, keeping relatively inexpensive for the smallness/seeming insignificance of the job.

Thank Yafor the thought...
Seems like a knockout punch would work. Maybe your sparky has a hydraulic one :) . Drill a small hole with a regular bit...put the cutter/puller through...pop.

But maybe that's a terrible idea too...just thinking 'outloud' :thumbsup:
I tape them because those bits surprise me every time by popping through just about instantly, after which I slam the arbor or the driver onto the surface. Probably not an issue with the 1 3/8", which is bigger around than the arbor.
Bob... Thank Ya... Gotta go find greenlee bit now.... wish I could afford the whole "hole" set....:whistling

Sure would use a pilot.......What did you mean tape it...?...



I assume you just meant some tape to prevent "splintering"... makeing a cleaner start....just checking, although in my case.... it'll be covered.

TIA

Peter
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That was my first suggestion and it's the best way to do it. I used one for a hot water dispenser, worked awesome.
Seems like a knockout punch would work. Maybe your sparky has a hydraulic one :) . Drill a small hole with a regular bit...put the cutter/puller through...pop.

But maybe that's a terrible idea too...just thinking 'outloud' :thumbsup:
I don't know why missed it in your first post. :)

Maybe because I was only skimming and someone mentioned the carbide HS by Greenlee and in my mind that meant you were talking about that too....which I see now that you weren't.

Glad to know it works. Ammo for next time I have to do one............if I don't forget. :thumbsup:
That was my first suggestion and it's the best way to do it. I used one for a hot water dispenser, worked awesome.
Knock out set... no question about this. Any type of hole saw risks heat marks. They don't come cheap, but it's worth it.

Drill a pilot hole and you can put the wrench side up for easy use.
If you do not have access to a knock out punch, use the 1-3/8" hole saw to bore a hole in a 1-by or 2-by. Use 3M mounting tape to secure the template to the sink in the proper location. Pack the hole saw with ice or a wet sponge. Low speed, with the quality of stainless and gauge you'll be done in no time. Use the finest tooth hole saw you can find, do not use a lot of downward pressure, just enough for the teeth to do their work, you don't want it to grab and twist the metal.

Tom
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Tom.... Thanks... That's what I'm thinking of doing.....

I could not find Bob's idea of a Greenlee carbide......

(the finest tooth I could find today was a Lenox bimetal....which I have plenty of, but at least the new one is sharp)

(I had allready explained in previous posts that I don't have reasonable access to a punch/slug-buster.)

My only other idea was to try using a 1 -3/8 step bit...., but I could only find it today in high speed steal/titanioum..... not cobalt....

Thought I would try your idea first,,,, see how it is cutting.... if not then flip to the step bit while I still have the pilot hole.



Best
If you do not have access to a knock out punch, use the 1-3/8" hole saw to bore a hole in a 1-by or 2-by. Use 3M mounting tape to secure the template to the sink in the proper location. Pack the hole saw with ice or a wet sponge. Low speed, with the quality of stainless and gauge you'll be done in no time. Use the finest tooth hole saw you can find, do not use a lot of downward pressure, just enough for the teeth to do their work, you don't want it to grab and twist the metal.

Tom
a knock out punch is the best. I've done it with a bi-metal hole saw and oil using slow 200 RPM.
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You probably won't find either at a big box store, electrical supplier would be better.

http://www.milwaukeeconnect.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_27_40028_-1_683447_192330_192327
Tom.... Thanks... That's what I'm thinking of doing.....

I could not find Bob's idea of a Greenlee carbide......

(the finest tooth I could find today was a Lenox bimetal....which I have plenty of, but at least the new one is sharp)

(I had allready explained in previous posts that I don't have reasonable access to a punch/slug-buster.)

My only other idea was to try using a 1 -3/8 step bit...., but I could only find it today in high speed steal/titanioum..... not cobalt....

Thought I would try your idea first,,,, see how it is cutting.... if not then flip to the step bit while I still have the pilot hole.

Best
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Thanks for the ideas guys......

As mentioned, a KO-punch/slug-buster was not realistically available to me.... and could not find a Greenlee Carbide hole saw.... did seew some diamond ones... but did not think they'd work on SS and were $55.

So... drilled a pilot with a 1/4 cobalt... relatively easy... tried both my tile carbide grit 1-3/8 and a bimetal (not new or very sharp).... they might have made it through eventually.... kept it lubed and cool, but could not get my weight on it...

So I tried my step bit.... cut/went like a champ.....

Best
I'm guessing you purchased a 1 3/8 step bit ?
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