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Thread: Forstner bits in aluminum??? (Now with finished pics)

  1. #1
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    Forstner bits in aluminum??? (Now with finished pics)

    This may be a stupid question, but can I use a forstner bit to drill through a 1/4" thick aluminum plate? I have a new router plate that needs hols drilled but the only drill bits that I have that are big enough are forstner bits. Just asking. Thanks.

    Chuck
    Last edited by Chuck Isaacson; 12-30-2009 at 11:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Not for metal.

  3. #3
    try a bi-metal hole saw - you should be able to pick one up at the BORG for a minor cost

  4. #4
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    tip for drilling thick metal with a holesaw, score the surface with the holesaw, then remove the saw and drill 4 1/4" holes so the edge of the holes is just even with the outside score mark. This will let the shavings fall down thru the 4 holes instead of filling up the teeth of the holesaw. (old blacksmith trick)

    Another smith trick, if you don't have alumacut for drilling aluminumn, using the removable lid from some container or a shallow dish of some sort. Put talcum powder or chalk line chalk in the dish and dip the hole saw or drill bit in it to make the surface slick so the soft alum, brass, copper and lead will not stick to the cutting surfaces, this works for files too.
    Last edited by harry strasil; 12-30-2009 at 7:25 PM.
    Jr.
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  5. #5
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    The holes that I have to drill are 21/32" and 19/32" I think. I dont think that they are going to have hole saws in that size. Only two holes!!!!

    Chuck

  6. #6
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    just drill 5/8 and 1/2 and cut a slot in the end of a dowel long ways and slip in a strip of sandpaper and wrap around the dowel to enlarge the holes. spin it in ur hand drill.
    Jr.
    Hand tools are very modern- they are all cordless
    NORMAL is just a setting on the washing machine.
    Be who you are and say what you feel... because those that matter... don't mind...and those that mind...don't matter!
    By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand

  7. #7
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    Are you drilling the center hole?
    Never, under any circumstances, combine a sleeping pill, and laxative on the same night.

  8. #8
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    No.. I am drilling the holes to mount the router to the plate and also the height adjustment hole as well as the arbor(??) lock. It is a Freud FT3000VCE. I am using my old plate as my template. And the holes need to be 19/32" and 25/32". Not the 21/32".

  9. #9
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    My mind just clicked, one of those multi step drill bits will do what you want, you just need to drill from both sides, it will even give you a slight chamfer if you watch your depth.
    Jr.
    Hand tools are very modern- they are all cordless
    NORMAL is just a setting on the washing machine.
    Be who you are and say what you feel... because those that matter... don't mind...and those that mind...don't matter!
    By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand

  10. #10
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    The problem is that the only drill bits that I have that are big enough are forstners.. I read on a CNC forum that you could use forstners for aluminum.. I was just seeing what you guys thought. Trying to get a hold of a neighbor that might have what I need.

    Chuck

  11. #11
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    Yes, in a PINCH your Forstners can be used to drill aluminum! The operation MUST be done in a drill press at it's slowest rpm. Use an expendible backer board beneath the aluminum so as not to drill into your DP table. Clamp the work securely and feed the bit in small increments, backing off frequently to break the chips. Use kerosene or bee's wax to lube the bit.
    Necessisity is the Mother of Invention, But If it Ain't Broke don't Fix It !!

  12. #12
    "I am using my old plate as my template."

    Get as close as you can w/a hole saw and then use a router trim bit w/guide bearing and your old plate as a template.

  13. #13
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    Use a router bit on aluminum???? I read that somewhere else too. I figured that it would just eat the bit. I have only MLCS bits. The 66 piece set so they aren't the greatest quality. I suppose that is a better reason to use them for something like this and not a good bit. But my problem has been solved. I am gonna meet the neighbor in a few and borrow two of his bits. Thanks for all the help people. I will post pics when I am all done.

    Chuck

  14. #14
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    You have Forstner bits in 19/32" and 25/32" ???

  15. #15
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    Last week I watched the machinist at work pop a 2 1/8" hole in mild steel roughly 3/32" thick with a HSS forstner bit. He didn't have the right size hole saw presently. He used a bridgeport, the work was well secured, the bit isn't going to be much good going forward, bit it did "Git er done!" I'd guess aluminum will go much easier.

    Another option would be to Drill the holes of appropriate diameter in MDF with the forstners, use these holes as templates, and mill the aluminum with a carbide pattern bit. A good router bit and a slow feed rate will chew up aluminum in a pinch. DAMHIK

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