In answer to what we are drilling: This is a snowplow belly blade. A grader blade under a 25,000 lb snowplow vehicle. We are attaching sensors that detect when the plow blade is down. It is being used in an AVL system. This stands for automatic vehicle location system. A fancy word for a way to track snowplow vehicles so dispatchers know what areas have been plowed and what areas have not.
The blade tip is carbide, but the main blade area that supports the tip is just mild steel. We welded the sensor bracket on last time, but that was time consuming, required removeal of vehicle power and used a valuable welding resource that was not always available. We can use the same installers that are installing the rest of the electronics if we use threaded fasteners. The blade thickness in the area we are working is about 1 inch thick. We want to drill a 3/4 inch deep hole with a #1 drill which is the size called for for the thread rolling fastener we are intending to use. The quarters are cramped and we intend to use ramps to lift the front of the vehicle.
I have talked to a company here in Michigan that sells mag drills (after you guys suggested it), but so far the chuck in the one I found takes a minimum drill size of 7/16, I believe. I was sort of surprised at this, but that was my 1st attempt.
Some of the other ideas you-all suggested, such as a lever, would be a good idea if there was a consistant area to hook one end of the lever.
Anyway, I hope that explains some things and maybe primes you to come up with even more ideas to consider.