making 1/2X1/2 inch square holes in 1/4 inch stock

Hi all;
I am making a 10 ft wrought iron fence and need a way to make 1/2" X 1/2" holes in the 1/4 "horizontal bars to thread the uprights through. I have
seen the final products done that way but I have never came across a modern inexpensive tool to do it. In the old days of blacksmithing they punched tthrough with a square punch. after heating the piece. If any in the group has a way to accomplish this task I really would like to know. And I would appreciate the information. Thanks
Best Regards
Ray R
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Take it to a shop with a Piranha or Ironworker hydraulic machine. Pick it up in four hours. There is no modern inexpensive tool to do it I know of. If you find one, please inform me, as I would like to do some similar. But mine has to do with rod, and a drill press does that fine. I just can't find any square bits around these parts.
Please let me know if you find any of those, too.
Steve
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. I just can't

Square hole bits? Heck---just make some.
http://upper.us.edu/faculty/smith/reuleaux.htm
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As the kids would say, "SHUT UP!" I learn something every day.
Steve
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wrote:

wAY COOL!
(Ive seen these in use on Swiss screw machines btw, along with attachments that make multi sided square, trianglular etc etc "turnings" on the same lathes.
Gunner
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OK--all this bring up a question. Square hole drill bits. Or triangular,hex,whatever. How do you get it to orient the holes?
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ramray wrote:

There are a number of sort-of affordable tools that could do this. Let's see .. surface area of the hole is 4*1/2*1/4 = 1/2 in^2. Assuming 35 ksi steel, that would take about 17,500 pounds of pressure or a tad under 9 tons. You could cobble up a fixture on a 20 ton shop press that could punch those holes. It will definitely need a stripper mechanism of some sort. Or, you could go find a Whitney No. 20 10-ton manual punch and buy an appropriate punch and die.
You need to know the actual shear strength of your 1/4" steel bar. When you buy it from a reputable steel vendor, you can request the actual lot test information, and that will tell you.
You can also still buy nice 1/2" square blacksmith punches, and forges, and hammers.
Or, you could pay someone to EDM you a really nice plasma cutting template and use a plasma cutter.
But certainly the best way is to use an ironworker with appropriate punch/die. That's what they do. Punch, shear, notch.
GWE
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Grant Erwin wrote:

It could be done pretty readily on one of the many 5x10 CNC plasma cutters out there.
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Grant Erwin wrote:

Square broach...
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Rent a plasma cutter for a day for $50 and hand cut them. You can make a cutting jig from plywood.
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Thanks for reminding me that the holes could be made with a plasma cutter. Several years ago I came to the group for advice on a plasma cutter and Ernie swayed me rightly to the Hypertherm Powermax 600. I did get one and I use it for bigger cuts. I did not think that it would work for these small holes and be fairly exacting. But I certainly will try the method Bernie suggested first and if my skill is not good enough I will go down the line and will try the other methods suggested.
Thanks for your reponses. As always you came through with great ideas.
Best Regards,
Ray R
wrote:

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Make a template, and when you make your pierce hole in the metal, do it in the center of the intended hole, then go to the outside lines. Also concentrate on having the torch perpendicular. Do a couple of holes and then adjust just in case they're a little off. You don't want to be dressing a whole bunch of slightly off holes. (why does that last sentence look odd?) But you get my drift.
Right?
Steve
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Actually, since these holes will be welded up, just whack 'em in freehand, cutting to a soapstone line. Chip chip to take off the slag on the back, move to the next hole. Don't use the holes to align the posts, just clamp them in place and weld all up.
After you cut two or three holes you'll be real good at it. Start in the middle somewhere, not right at the end where people will see it more.
Grant
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The template should be 1" or more in height - be sure it touches and makes a planar connection to the wood with the insulator sleeve. The torch has an offset of 1/2" - as the barrel is 1" and the cutting center is 1/2 of that. Kerf is needed to be measured on scrap or in the hole - but the kerf might be used as oversize the hole or modify the block...
Test, try - test. You can test on thin material - try 3/8 or 1/4 getting the general kerf and block size. The burning through might raise a bump and what you do is stop the torch - grind flat and then you can continue to the edge or around the block.
Martin
SteveB wrote:

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I have a 600 and cut 1/2" AR400 with the use of Fine cut - but with the saddle nozzle. It is beyond the scope of that size but I've cut some beautify edges. Wish I had the 1000 and someday at least that level upgrade. The T60 upgrade torch is well worth it - with fine cut it rocks much better.
Martin
ramray wrote:

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"Martin H. Eastburn" wrote:

I hear that the Max45 has a new torch design that is even better, as long as you can live with 45A capacity.
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Oh yeah, there is also the old square hole drill trick. Still used in some parts of the world, and many old blacksmith's shops.
Google for "Watts Brothers Tool Works"
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Drill a hole the size of the diagonal (SQRT(2) x 1/2 = 11/16) & fill in with welds. The weld area is pretty small: a triangle, or or less, with a 1/2" base & 3/32 height.
Bob
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If you make a piece of copper tiny bit bigger than your steel square stock you want to use that might make filling in easier but it might be hard to remove the copper as well.
Fran
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take your cutting torch or perhaps your plasma torch find a nut which fits over the nozzle and bottoms out with say a quarter or three eights of nozzle sticking out. now make a square template you can run around inside of with the nut resting on top of the template and the nozzle following the side of the template. such template could be a washer modified with a square file. Devise some way of securing the washer above the work, one of those magnetic blocks with the button on the side is probably the best but clamping it on top of another nut will work perhaps an extension to the washer will be needed. I make square holes for carriage bolts on occasion though I usually do it free hand but have a bunch of templates to attach to my magnetic block for round ones. If you have a lathe you can turn down the end of the nozzle so it isn't tapered and the nut won't be needed or propane tips often aren't tapered. Once you get a hole pierced it helps to turn down the heat I find.
Fran
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