Drill a hole in a stainless steel pipe

When drilling a stainless steel pipe, several factors combine to make it difficult to work. Therefore, we have created the following guide for you, so that you can drill stainless steel pipes perfectly and professionally.

The special properties of stainless steel when drilling

Drilling stainless steel is a challenge in itself. But with a tube made of stainless steel, there are other special features. Overall, therefore, the following difficulties have to be considered:

  • Stainless steel is particularly hard and / or brittle
  • no contact with other metals (about the drills, the workplace, etc.)
  • a central drilling on a round workpiece
  • Risk of crushing the pipe if the pressure is too high

The right drill for stainless steel

Even conventional drilling in stainless steel poses problems for even craftsmen. Even the widely used hardened HSS drills are quickly reaching their limits with stainless steel. For stainless steel, it should therefore be a suitably suitable drill, for example, coated with cobalt or heard.

Otherwise, not only the service life of the expensive and high-quality drills worsen, also the drilling itself may not be feasible. In the already linked article on general drilling in stainless steel we go into more detail on the possible drills that are to be used for such high-quality alloys.

The coolant lubrication when drilling stainless steel

In addition, the cooling lubrication must never be neglected when drilling stainless steel and therefore also a stainless steel pipe. Otherwise, the drill heats up too much. The workpiece can also significantly change its material properties by annealing. The right drill (at least cobalt coated) and a suitable coolant (KSS) are therefore mandatory.

The special drilling of a stainless steel pipe

Now comes with a stainless steel pipe but still its round, cylindrical surface. On the one hand, this means difficulties with the correct placement of the drill, on the other hand, it can adversely affect the secure clamping of the pipe. The pipe must not be crushed and the jaws of the vice must be made of the same material as the stainless steel pipe.

Fix the stainless steel pipe before drilling

Alternatively, you can wrap the stainless steel tube with a suitable material (cardboard, thick cloth). Under no circumstances may the stainless steel tube make contact with another metal. Therefore, only those drills that are used exclusively for drilling stainless steel should be used. In addition, the workplace must be cleaned so that no other metal chips can reach the stainless steel pipe.

Depending on the pipe dimensions, use appropriate drill bit

A secure and firm clamping of the workpiece is very important. But it is not enough for a central hole. Depending on the diameter of the stainless steel tube, you may prefer to use a center drill. It must be a drill that can not slip off the marked position.

Minimum requirements - drill press and fixation possibility

But that also means that you can largely rule out a hand drill for drilling in a stainless steel pipe. You should therefore necessarily have a suitably sized drill press with a really firmly fixed vise. Otherwise, it might make more sense to hand over the drilling to a metalworking company in your area.

Tips & Tricks

The machining of stainless steel pipes is generally a challenge. Therefore, we have also provided a description here for cutting or cutting stainless steel tubes for you.

Video Board: How to Drill Stainless Steel, Best tips I know