Drilling heads off countersunk Allen screws?

On race cars the floor trays are often carbon composite flat panels and held to the main carbon tub by countersink Allen screws. Grounding or
general butchery sometimes makes the female hex unusable, or they are rounded off. Drilling is often the only way to remove them, by taking their heads off and removing the rest with grips once the panel is out of the way. HOWEVER, I get through umpteen bits like this, good ones I might add. What am i doing wrong, a pistol drill is the only option. I start with maybe a 1/8 bit then go to something like a 5/16 or 3/8 bit. I now have a retirement home for knackered drill bits..... Is there some trick to this? :)
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Coolant... Probably overheating the larger diameter bits?
Nothing you can do about the surface being uneven except maybe going to a three or more flute drill bit... But expect to pay $$$ for those.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com Flagship Site: http://www.Drill-N-Tap.com
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Chris Wilson wrote:

If you're using an airdrill the speed might be a bit high. Another trick that help you out is to use a Left Hand drill bit. They are commonly found in the better bolt extractor kits, but any good supplier should be able to get them for you. A lot of the time the bolt will thread itself right out while you are drilling.
Pete
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Harbor Freight has left handed drill bits. They worked fine drilling mild steel out of cast iron. They were cheap enough to try. Karl
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On Fri, 27 Mar 2009 06:05:29 -0700 (PDT), kfvorwerk

Usually, the problem is that the drill chips the corners off because the edges of the drill catches in the head recess. Try starting with a drill about the diameter of the O.D. of the head. Drill deep enough to eliminate most of the screwdriver recess and then change to a drill about the diameter of the screw shank to get the head off.
Cheers,
Bruce (bruceinbangkokatgmaildotcom)
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On Fri, 27 Mar 2009 22:11:37 +0700, the infamous Bruce In Bangkok

I've used a grinder to take the head off, then drilled out the stud when necessary. A die grinder with a 3" cutoff blade can cut a nice slot in it if you want to try that angle, too. Cutoff blades are 50 cents ($4.99/10-pack) on sale at HF.

Sounds good.
I had a treat yesterday. I installed a grab bar in an old coot's shower. To do the job properly, I finally broke down and bought a real glass/tile bit for $12. (I didn't think B&D -made- anything that expensive.) It went through the grout and ceramic tile like a charm, and without raising a single chip around any of the 6 holes.
I may purchase a set of those from HF and see how they differ in quality. Then I'll have smaller and larger bits, too.
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On Fri, 27 Mar 2009 19:15:20 -0700, Larry Jaques

Just a casual comment: If that is the version with the spiral cut on the shank and the small flat carbide insert brazed in the tip, they don't cut metal worth a damn. Needed to drill some holes in a HSS hacksaw blade and didn't have the correct size carbide drill so in desperation bought one of the smaller sized "cement drills". Didn't work :-(
Cheers,
Bruce (bruceinbangkokatgmaildotcom)
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On Sat, 28 Mar 2009 12:22:17 +0700, the infamous Bruce In Bangkok

No, they're the arrowheaded jobs. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberB829
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Maybe you can slot 'em with a dremel cutoff wheel and use a big screwdriver?
MIG on a nut?
I just faced this issue on my dirt-bike skid-plate and the ones where I couldn't hammer in the 5.5mm hex key (in a socket holder) I hammered in the next-size down SAE hex key.
Dave
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Slow speed (300-500rpm), lots of pressure (both hands, back braced against something), left handed drills, drill size = to the root diameter of the thread. http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNPDFF?PMPAGE5
Chris Wilson wrote:

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A) Fill them with Bondo or such at installation to protect them.
B) Switch to Torx.
C) Grind the heads off instead of drill, perhaps?
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(clip) Grounding or

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I take it from the OP that these Allen screws are on the underside of the race car, and by "grounding" he means they get damaged when the car bottoms out. I don't see how Bondo would do any good against forces like that, but it would make it almost impossible to insert an Allen wrench. Chris, could you tell me what I am missing?
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On my dirt bike, these bolt heads get smashed against rocks all the time. If I could put in some bondo or JB weld and have it hold the shape, then just cook it out with a torch I'd probably do that.
But, it seems to me if it's mashing a bolt head nothing that will come out easily will stand up to the beating.
Dave
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Ahh, I assumed they were inside, and getting trod on, crap shoved into them, etc. Clearly, Bondo would not help if they are used as a friction brake.
You can get the Bondo out when needed.
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Button head cap screws might make more sense if they are getting bashed up like that. Not that they WON'T get bashed up too, but they have a natural ramp around the head and a lot more material on the sides of the head and will be lower profile too. They're available in hex, Torx, etc.
Tim.
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I use carbide drill bits for allens. I can do it because I grab dull ones out of the carbide scrap recycling bucket, put a quick edge on them on a green wheel and when I chip one from the lack of rigidity, I either fix it up, or use another one from the recycle bucket.
There are a few bennies working in a manufacturing facility that has a lot of cnc stuff. In a perverse way, I like drilling the heads of allens because it is so much easier than when I worked in a place where HSS was all I had to work with.
As far as HSS, sharp, oil, slower speeds. Learn to touch up your drill bits, doesn't have to be perfect you are going to ruin the edge quickly.
Wes
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How about a set of these?
http://www.4grabit.com/Default.asp?gclid=COf8v9nLwZkCFdhL5QodfEZ-ug&bhcp=1
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I saw some tools recently for extracting screws with stripped head recesses, but I didn't purchase them because they were made in China, since lots of those are just facimilies of real tools.
The "bits" looked like two-flute countersinks, and were intended to be chucked in a reversing drill and run CCW to remove the stripped-head fasteners.
The ones I saw were at a TSC Tractor Supply Company store, so I would assume that similar ones are are appearing elsewhere.
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Often, you have to drill a pilot hole to use those...
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Joe Agro, Jr.
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On Thu, 26 Mar 2009 16:13:53 +0000, Chris Wilson wrote:

Can't you shorten/sharpen the ones you have, to get longer life?
I'd consider finding a moderate priced one that lasts a while and that I can buy by the box, and resharpen, rather than finding The One that costs a bundle and I buy one at a time.
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