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Drilling Though Hardened Steel

Discussion in 'Working the Steel' started by CaptainDevlin, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. CaptainDevlin

    CaptainDevlin New Member

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    I was able to get a piece of hardened steel, originally it was an industrial saw blade of some sort. I've been able to shape it the with a grinder, but I can't drill any holes in the tang because it is too hard, my drill bits won't bite in. Any advice on what to do next, do I need solid carbide drills bits or can a soften just where I'm trying to drill?
     
  2. FORGE

    FORGE Maker of the Year Best Knife

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    You can try heating the tang with a propane torch (to a blue )while keeping the blade cool with a wet rag. Steel like D2 and 52100 simply will not soften up unless heated hotter and cooled very slowly in vermiculite.
    Failing that, I suppose carbide bits are your next option. You can buy ROTO ZIP bits at Rona,Home Depot or Lowes, they come in 1/8 diameter and are serrated on the tip as well as the sides. Put them in your Dremel tool and they will just about grind through anything.
    Good luck.
     
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  3. Grayzer86

    Grayzer86 Active Member

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    Another option would be a carbide masonry bit made for a hammer drill. The idea is to basically max the speed on your drill press and use lots of pressure, and basically just wear your way through the steel. What happens is that the high heat and pressure spot anneals the steel, softening it, and since the bit is tungsten carbide, it bores through slowly. Pure tungsten carbide is hard in its natural state and wont temper back from the heat created. Just be aware its going to squeal pretty loud. The key to this is no cutting lube because you want it to produce as much friction and heat as possible. If the spot starts to glow, thats good. As Cal said, if the blade is some type of air hardening steel like D2, A2, 52100, or stainless of some description, it wont anneal from either process, but you may be able to wear through hot with the masonry bit.
     
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  4. CaptainDevlin

    CaptainDevlin New Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys, I did both suggestions, and it worked like a charm.
     
  5. Prevenge

    Prevenge Member

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    I did see one extremely stubborn guy on a facebook group electrochem etching his way through hardened steel for pins......I am really glad I have a forge lol.
     
  6. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Well there is EDM but have not seen that in a homemade version yet
     

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