Tuesday’s Trick of the Trade
Stainless steel is the material of choice for many purposes in a hog barn. What would hog production be without stainless steel? But then there comes a time when you need to repair or remodel the stainless steel equipment and your first thought is, “Well, I better buy a lot of bits.”
When you take up this nearly impossible task, the typical guy response to material resistance is to run the drill faster while pushing harder. You shift it up to the highest speed. (At Klocke Farms, the term would be “letting it rip, tater chip!”) Within seconds, the tip of your drill bit looks more like a branding iron, blazing red. You mutter, “I’ll sharpen that up someday” as you place it in the drawer also known as the Drill Bit Graveyard.
A few years back someone gave me this tip. It has benefited me greatly and I’d like to pass it on to you.
|PVC Cleaner can be found at your local
hardware store or plumbing retailer.
DISCLAIMER*** PVC cleaner is flammable. You need to keep this in mind as a spark could cause a serious problem. I’ve never had any issues with it, but it is important to take note and be cautious.
1. You need to start with a good quality drill bit. Top of the line is not a necessity, but now that you won’t be going through a bunch of them, you can spend more money on quality.
2. Next, you need a little bit of patience. It does require stopping several times to reapply the PVC cleaner for every hole you drill, depending on the thickness of the steel. I’m not sure why it works, but it seems to me that the cleaner keeps the bit cool to prevent the cutting edge from being burnt or damaged from overheating.
3. Typically it is best to start with a center punch to make a point or divot to prevent the drill bit from walking on you.
4. Dip your drill bit into the PVC cleaner and start drilling. Using your variable speed trigger while applying appropriate down pressure, vary the speed of your drill bit until you find the speed that gives you the best results. It is typically lower to mid speeds and not wide open. It will drill well for several seconds, but the cleaner will wear off, so you may have to dip it a couple times when drilling the hole.
I’ve found it better to stop drilling and dip your bit more often than not. It will keep your good bit cutting and working much longer and your sanity intact!
PVC cleaner on a drill bit will not make a bad bit work well. Once the bit is dull, into the graveyard it goes, so that’s why it’s important to start off with a good bit.
If you do this and dip often, you’ll be able keep that bit in use much longer.
While we haven’t personally tested it out, our feeder manufacturer recently recommended Elmer’s Glue as an option. What trick do you have for drilling through stainless steel?
Hope this helps.