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Drilling aluminum
Drilling aluminum
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Old 1st January 2018, 09:16 AM   #31
wanders is offline wanders  United States
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Polishing seems a low risk idea. Wonder if there is a Dremel attachment that would accommodate this.
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Old 1st January 2018, 09:53 AM   #32
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Drilling aluminum
Isoproponal alcohol and water as a lubricant works great for machining ali. I had a 2.5D CNC that had a feed for iso/water lubricant. Oil can be to clingy and cause the metal to stick to the bit.
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Old 1st January 2018, 10:48 AM   #33
martyh is offline martyh  United States
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Originally Posted by vinylkid58 View Post
No it's not.

jeff
Worked fine for me.
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Old 1st January 2018, 10:53 AM   #34
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Originally Posted by marce View Post
Isoproponal alcohol and water as a lubricant works great for machining ali. I had a 2.5D CNC that had a feed for iso/water lubricant. Oil can be to clingy and cause the metal to stick to the bit.
Would water on its own work, what is the purpose of the alcohol here? I've drilled aluminium using oil, found it made such a mess and caused clinging as you say, I stopped and did it dry, worked well even on 3mm using cone drill.
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Old 1st January 2018, 11:20 AM   #35
jwilhelm is offline jwilhelm  Canada
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The trick to machining aluminum is to not get it hot. Annealed aluminum sticks to anything you are trying to cut it with. Some alloys are worse than others. Water will work as a coolant. Alcohol cools even better due to evaporation. Oils work well if you want something that clings to a cutter, this is usually better for lower speed cutters.

To successfully cut any material you need to control both the cutting edge surface speed and the feed rate. With a drill bit the feed rate is controlled by the relief angles of the drill bit normally. You may be able to control this better with a drill press but it's still not ideal. Most reamers need to be manually fed, this is why I suggest using them. They work best in through holes, but will work fine in a blind hole. There are reamers with reversed flutes to remove the chip out the top of the hole but they are usually considerably more expensive. A normal chucking reamer will work fine for occasional use with a cordless drill in low gear, just remember to pull the reamer out often as you cut to remove the chips. If the flutes fill up things get hot and turn to glue fast.

A customized drill bit as Elvee suggests will work. You basically need to remove most of the relief angle from the bit so it doesn't dig in. Cranking the drill bit by hand doesn't help with the feed rate issue. It just allows you to stop cutting before the part rips out of the vice and flys across the room. You would still need to control the feed rate. You may get away with this in some cases depending on material type and amount removed, but it would still work better with a proper cutter.
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Old 1st January 2018, 11:26 AM   #36
jwilhelm is offline jwilhelm  Canada
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Originally Posted by wanders View Post
Polishing seems a low risk idea. Wonder if there is a Dremel attachment that would accommodate this.
Polishing can turn into a mess quickly. It's tough to control the cut so the hole likely won't come out very straight. This usually makes a lot of heat which will turn aluminum to sticky mush too.
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Old 1st January 2018, 11:50 AM   #37
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Drilling aluminum
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Originally Posted by scottjoplin View Post
Would water on its own work, what is the purpose of the alcohol here? I've drilled aluminium using oil, found it made such a mess and caused clinging as you say, I stopped and did it dry, worked well even on 3mm using cone drill.
I don't think it is advisable to use water on its ownf The lubricant was supplied in gallon drums by the company that did the CNC machine, I believe they use de-ionised water.
There was also a feed for heavier oils for curring steal etc. once turned the wrong one on and used Rocal instead of ISO, the swarf stuck to everything and created a mess.
RPM and feed speeds are important as are the types of drills and milling bits, a bit rusty on all this these days as I don't get the same hands on as I used to, use to machine plasics as well that is fun, especially nylon based plastics.

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Old 4th January 2018, 03:45 PM   #38
wanders is offline wanders  United States
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Default Wrap-up

Not sure there was a consensus, but the thread certainly explored the entire gamut of possibilities.

I took it to a machine shop. They said they said it was no big deal; they'd just open it up with a drill press; said come back in an hour. Clean job, smooth bore, no scratches, no headaches. I didn't get to see how they did it, but I think they probably used oil as a coolant because the knob (black anodized) was a little shinier coming out that going in. I used a little machine oil on the second knob, and now they're both the same. $10.

Thanks for the ideas, advice, and discussion.
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Old 4th January 2018, 04:19 PM   #39
Pano is online now Pano  United States
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Drilling aluminum
Yeah drill press and a little oil is what I use, easy as pie.
Glad you got it sorted.
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Old 16th January 2018, 12:58 PM   #40
quadfan66 is offline quadfan66  South Africa
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Paraffin is an excellent lubrication when drilling or machining aluminium.
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