Making A Square Hole In Stainless Steel

Does anyone here have to make square holes on a regular basis?
I need to make the 1/4" diameter holes in 1/16" thick stainless steel
and have come to the conclusion that the best way is probably with a punch of some sort.(Hopefully a small and inexpensive one). But I wanted to make sure that there wasn't a better way, and wanted to ask if there was any kind of cutter that one can use with a Rotabroach(Hougen model #10904) that would make these square holes.(I'll probably have to make larger, deeper holes in the future).
I've read about some Watts Brothers bits that one can use in a drill press(which I don't have yet) for this purpose, but even those appear difficult to come by, and I wanted to entertain all of my options.
I've heard mention of Rotary Broaching to make square holes, but nothing concerning using a Rotabroach for this. :-)
Any advice would be apprecaited.
Thanks a lot.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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You can get a square punch set (male, female) that are used in iron workers. You then set them up in a inexpensive hydraulic press. You will need to make alignment carefully so the male die comes through into the female or you will bugger up the dies.
A square die set of that size should be available from most metal worker supply dealer. I would guess, maybe 30 bucks or so but it would last a long time, with care.
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You're gonna need a honking press and some serious dies to punch 1/16" SS cleanly. Prolly should consider drilling a 1/4" hole at the location and filing square. JR Dweller in the cellar
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It doesn't seem like that would work well for material that may go over an inch thick. And since I may need to make a lot of accurate 1/4" holes in the 1/16" stainless for my present project, this would seem to be very tedious.
But I guess that I have no choice and will have to go the drilling and filing route for now, unless someone can recommend a small punch/die/press combo that would make those 1/4" round holes square. Anyone?
After that I'd just have to worry about getting more equipment for the bigger, deeper holes in the future.
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York. ******************************************************************************************************** JR North wrote:

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If indeed your future needs will be through one inch thick material, might I suggest broching.
For a one inch through broach of 1/4 square, I'd guess a pretty serious hydraulic setup....which of course requires the correct sized hole to start with. A 1/4 square broach is a pretty flimsy tool and breaks real easy.
Good luck!
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Look into the Roper Whitney hand operated lever punch press. It'll do the job and they don't cost that much. Talk to my friend Mark Fullerton at Precision Graphic Systems in San Diego He has one of these and a ton of die sets
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daniel peterman wrote:

Does he have a website?
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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Yes he does it's gopgs.com
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You have not said how far from an edge you are needing the holes. These folks are among the best at punching holes: http://roperwhitney.com/tech/tech2.cfm
look at their choices under punching. The cost goes up with thickness, size of hole, and distance from edge.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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DanG wrote:

Nothing can be outsourced, and I'd need the tools and know-how for future projects anyway.
These particular squared holes will be about 1/8" from the edges(corners) of the stainless steel.
The square holes are necessary because I'm creating a hinge set-up where I'll need put squared Delrin bushings with round holes through them into the square holes created in the 1/16" thick stainless steel. The holes need to be square so that only the rod that will go through the bushing will turn and not the bushing itself.
BTW. Can anyone tell me if there were logistical reasons why square hole bits were not made for a tool like the Rotabroach?
Thanks a lot.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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then go to their site. They make tools so that you can do you own punching, they would not do it for you if you wanted them to. I'm sorry if I worded my first post poorly, I thought it was quite clear that they manufacture tools. If you are close to the edge, you can probably get by with their lightest weight tools.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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Thanks. I e-mailed Roper Whitney in hopes of finding the smallest tool I'll need to get done what I want. I just can't seem to find out if they have square die/punches on their site.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York. ******************************************************************************************************** DanG wrote:

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Go to any one of their pages under the "Punching" heading. Scroll to the bottom of the page. There is a picture and sizes of the punches that fit each particular punch. The very first page I sent you told how to calculate the number of tons you would need to accomplish your task.
http://roperwhitney.com/index.cfm
Put your mouse on the word PUNCHING in the black band under their logo. Go to any one of their punches listed. Scroll to the bottom of that page to see available punches and sizes.
Put your mouse on the words PUNCHES & DIES in the black band. Go to the "determining tonnages" page.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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DanG wrote:

Thanks.
The problem with all that is that mild steel is assumed, and I can only assume that the charts at the bottom of those pages are showing numbers like "1/8 - 17/64" to mean thickness - hole size, even though this isn't clear.
Also, can anyone tell me what gauge("Ga") is equal to 1/16"?
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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These tables assume mild steel at 50kpsi. Add perhaps 30% for stainless.
A couple more things from your other posts: you will get edge effects where the metal pulls in if you try to punch within about 1x to 2x metal thickness of the edge. Your 1/8" from the edge on 1/16th material is fine. Thicker will give you trouble.
Also: punching is pretty much limited to cases where the diameter is greater than the thickness of the material. Get even close to that point and the the edges are terrible as well as lousy punch life.
The way to do the deeper holes as well as the cheap route through your early units is to drill suitable 1/4" holes, broach them using a medium arbor press. Any tool and die house can make a simple piloted broach that fits into a piloted base plate. You only have to do 1/4 of the cut per pass if you want to do it manually.
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RoyJ wrote:

I just got off the phone with a guy in Fair Haven New Jersey who is auctioning punch and die sets on eBay. And he told me that I'd still get distortion, and that there is no way I can accomplish what I want with one of the portable hand punch presses. But now that I come to think of it, he may not of known that I had intended to drill a 1/4" diameter hole first and then square it with the punch.

That's good to know.

So I guess going small(or cheap) is out of the question, huh?
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York
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snipped-for-privacy@mail.con.com wrote:

I submit that this is a really bad idea. Unless you make up a punch that has a 1/4" guide pin, you'd never be able to locate your hole, so your holes would be randomly located to some degree. Further, drilling stainless sheet is itself a bitch which you do not need to do if you're going to punch it.
Properly set up, a punch makes very minimal distortion. If there were some, you could always set the piece between blocks and tap on the top block with a hammer.
It seems some people are responding to this posting with the impression that you may have to also put square 1/4" holes in stainless up to 1" thick. I hadn't seen this, but if so, punching is out of the question for material that thick and it would take a very large machine to do such even if you could find a punch that wouldn't shatter. On the other hand, broaching doesn't make sense for sheet metal. A small square hole in sheet metal? NO BRAINER - punch it and be done.
GWE
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Grant Erwin wrote:

The best way to do it is to sub it out to a guy with a waterjet cutter. Have him cut the sheets to size and cut the square holes. You then don't have to handle the full sheets and the holes, as well as the cut sheets will be within a couple of thou. We sub that type of cutting out. That is the reason we are getting rid of the punch presses. For .062 stainless 304 steel the cutting rate is about 120 inches a minute.
John
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Grant Erwin wrote:

I decided on stainless because of it's stiffness and resistance to corrosion.(But if someone can recommend a better material that is not expensive I'd appreciated it). :-)
As for guiding, through practice all I'd have to do is determine exactly where two sides of of the punched hole will be so I can mark accordingly so I know exactly where to put the edges, and I should have no problem with positioning for accuracy.

You lost me on that one.

Of course punching is out of the question for stainless that is 1" thick. That is why I was attempting to get more info on the wobble bit that makes a square hole. But as for this particular project involving 1/16" thick stainless steel, punching is obviously the way to go.
P.S: That punch on eBay we were discussing has 5 tons of punching power, but I am still considering John's offer. The problem is that his is not portable. :-(
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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DanG wrote:

I didn't see anything on their site which showed punching force in tons for stainless steel, only for mild steel.
GWE
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