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Drilling aluminum
Drilling aluminum
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Old 1st January 2018, 12:11 AM   #21
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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It is
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Old 1st January 2018, 12:13 AM   #22
vinylkid58 is offline vinylkid58  Canada
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Old 1st January 2018, 02:40 AM   #23
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Drilling aluminum
Since machine shop was mentioned it is likely the case they will charge you almost the cost of a cheap bench top drill press. You can pick one up from a local (hopefully) harbor freight for $40 or so. I have used mine to drill out dozens of knobs from 6mm to 1/4" without difficulty. I use isopropyl alcohol (70%) as a lubricant, it's not as messy as oil and leaves little residue.

I prefer cobalt bits, but HSS bits are good too, medium speed setting. Mount the knob in a chuck if possible, I don't recommend holding it as accidents can happen. Go slowly, even so the bit will likely grab and more or less rip the material out. (Still works fine)
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Old 1st January 2018, 02:44 AM   #24
Tubelab_com is offline Tubelab_com  United States
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Look at Rotobroach cutters. I use them for I/8 and 1/4 inch thick aluminum. I use their waxy lube too. Stocked at Amazon.
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Old 1st January 2018, 02:57 AM   #25
phase is offline phase  United States
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A very slow feed, and high drill speed will be your best bet, do this a lot, electronics less. A low speed will just grab. Some light oil wouldn't hurt, but should be ok without.
In order to spare the finish on the knob, I would use some pieces of wood against the vice, at least a rag if you can't get some wood bits. If you don't have a vice, or a means to hold the part, I don't recommend doing it really.
And to practice doing the same manuever a few times so you are comfortable golding the drill straight would help too.

Good luck!

Last edited by phase; 1st January 2018 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 1st January 2018, 03:16 AM   #26
wayne is offline wayne  United States
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Drilling aluminum
No problem done this many times. Lube with WD-40 not really a lube but works great to drill aluminum.
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Old 1st January 2018, 05:10 AM   #27
oohms is offline oohms  Australia
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I'd just clamp it and use a battery drill. Use WD40 or even cooking oil as lubricant and you're good to go
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Old 1st January 2018, 05:43 AM   #28
simon7000 is offline simon7000  United States
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Take a 3/16" wood dowel piece 3" long. Cut a slit in one end 1/2" deep. Put a piece of fine sand paper 1/2" x 5/16" in the slot. Chuck the unsloted end in your hand drill. Carefully bend the sand paper over and insert into the knob. Run the drill a few seconds to polish the inside of the knob. Check for fit.

A machinist would chuck the knob in a lathe and mount a 1/4" end mill in the tail stock. That's right rotate the work not the bit. An end mill will cut close to square shoulders.

Last edited by simon7000; 1st January 2018 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 1st January 2018, 05:45 AM   #29
globalplayer is offline globalplayer  Germany
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Also a very good idea and not as potentially damaging.
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Old 1st January 2018, 07:33 AM   #30
Trollet is offline Trollet  Sweden
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Drilling aluminum
A rotating file or a small milling bit are nice to adjust small holes.
The can be fitted in a hand drill.
A Dremel kit works well for such things to.

The reason for using lubricant in this case is that some aluminium alloys may stick to the tool.

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