I've been doing all that, Lloyd.
Except for setting the depth-stop.
I'll try that nest time.
What I finally did get to work fairly well was to insert the tube I
was drilling inside the next size tube and drill both.
I still broke the bit. :(
But the hole in the the actual part I was making survived.
Drilling these small holes in stainless is a trip.
Depends on the "ordinary tools".
But generally speaking..yes it is.
Big problem with using a drill motor is getting the hole spotted. Use
a punch and make a good dimple. Then dont let up on the pressure. A
drill press would be best, with the rod held firmly in a vise mounted
on the drill press table. And use lots of coolant and when you back
out to clear the chips..go back in and dont fart around starting the
Richard fired this volley in
This is not a job for a hand drill.
It's not so much the problem of holding the bit straight, but rather one
of regulating the pressure and cut per tooth... which is difficult to do
by hand with that small a bit and that material (although he didn't say
Even one of those $29.95 "drill press stands" improves your likelihood of
success, where the speed of feed must be controlled carefully.
As said before -- never let off on the pressure, except by rapidly
retracting the bit. Never allow it to 'idle' on the bottom of the cut,
or you'll work-harden the steel. Prick-punching will also work-harden
it. That might not be a problem with a 1/4" bit, but with a 1/16" drill,
you be hardening almost the entire cutting footprint of the drill.
Why not? Assuming that you have a drill press as with a hand held
drill it might be a problem is your hands shake :-)
More seriously. Set the drill press for the proper cutting speed;
center punch the work or otherwise make a starting "hole"; and feed
just fast enough to cut a continuous chip.
And use a good quality drill bit designed to cut metal, preferably a
first-world-made cobalt steel stubby, not some POS jobber gold-plated
or black soft steel turdlet drill from a kit (at least the latter
won't snap, but they'll work harden the SS and go downhill from
I'd also put a drop of 3-in-1 or other oil on there, but others may
The important thing is to take seriously what others are saying about
not being wimpy about the feed or letting the drill linger at the
bottom to prevent work hardening.
Yep, absolutely, using quality drills, and even better would be starting
with one ground with a split point for the first thru-hole drill. These
drills begin cutting immediately upon contact with the workpiece.. an
ordinary grind has a center web that must displace metal before cutting
begins, which may be too late for some alloys of stainless steel.
A good method of increasing the hole size when starting with a small pilot
hole, is to choose a larger drill with a web about the same size as the
If one has family or friends working in the trades, they might have some
cutting lubricant they could give away.. which saves going on a quest to
find some, and buying a large amount compared to the few drops that are
Great stuff to have around though, for any metal cutting task.