Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...
  • Call us on 800-214-2904
  • My Account
  • Gift Certificates

Blog

Drilling ferrous and non-ferrous metals

Posted by D.P. on

The performance of the drill bits depends on their design, composition and the type of material they will drill. Several factors will determine which is the most suitable drill bits according to the material, be it steel, copper, zinc, aluminum, brass, etc. This is mainly due to the characteristics that ferrous metals have, unlike non-ferrous ones.

Properties of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous Metals are those that contain iron. These include stainless steel, high carbon, high-speed steels and cast iron steels. Ferrous metals generally have higher tensile strength than non-ferrous metals. This feature makes them an excellent choice for construction materials, either structural or design. They are also used in industrial applications such as containers, tools and appliances. Tooling designers must take into account the hardness and tenacity of the materials when deciding which drill bit they’ll use.

Related image

Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-Ferrous metals, especially copper, lead, zinc, and brass, also occupying certain niches in the construction and manufacturing industries. They are excellent for applications where there will be moisture that would oxidize ferrous metals. They are also more malleable, conductive and can be manipulated easier in different ways. They are not magnetized so they are useful for electrical components.

Image result for drilling aluminum

The following variants are used by manufacturers of drill bits to adapt them to the different hardness and properties of the work materials:

POINT ANGLE:

The drill bit point can be altered to have more precise holes (better entry, better centered and higher quality). The 118° point angle is used as the standard angle because it adapts relatively well on most applications. This points can be used with most soft steels and non-ferrous metals. The 135° point drill bits can be used to those materials in addition to harder steels. On those harder steels, the 135° point has an advantage of being able to work with less pressure during the feed and also helping the drill bit to more easily center it.

Non-ferrous metals can be worked with greater speed and the risk of breakage is much lower. The chip of the material comes out as a spring or strings unlike small chips on the harder metals. For this, wider grooves are required to keep these longer debris from sticking. The point of the bits has a greater angle that facilitates the cutting of the drill.

Image result for drill bit angle

FLUTES:

Flutes have two main purposes: 1) To remove the cut material (chips) out of the hole. 2) Allow oil/coolant to flow through the whole body of the drill bit and cool down the tool. The type of material to drill will help us determine the width and form of the flutes. Hard ferrous metals can be drilled with bits at lower speeds than what you would use with non-ferrous metals. The spiral of the flute tends to be slower since the chips are not as flexible. Also, the slower spiral, allows for greater rigidity at the tip of the drill forming a stronger angle. The result of this is that we have a smaller ship that manages to evacuate more easily.

Non-ferrous metals can be worked with greater speed and the risk of breakage is much lower. The chip of the material comes out as a spring or strings unlike small chips on the harder metals. For this, wider grooves are required to keep these longer debris from sticking. The point of the bits has a greater angle that facilitates the cutting of the drill.

Image result for drill bit flute types

CONSTRUCTION:

Harder cutting material, the harder drill bit material needed. Carbon steel doesn’t work for drilling in metals. To cut metal no matter how soft it is, one of the following is required: High Speed Steel (H.S.S.), Carbide Tip or Solid Carbide. H.S.S. is widely used due to its low cost and cutting performance on soft metals such as copper, zinc, aluminum and other non-ferrous carbon steel. By using an alloy of HSS and 5 to 8% of cobalt, you’ll have a longer lasting edge that’ll help the tool last longer. This alloy is useful for tempered steel, cast iron and some titanium alloys.

To increase the speed and wear resistance significantly, carbide drills are required. They tolerate very high temperatures and are excellent for high volume applications in stainless steel or other hard alloy parts.

For a more economical solution to solid carbide, you can use HSS drill bits with a carbide tip and they will be effective for us in non-ferrous metals and other abrasive materials.

Image result for drill bit materials and coatings

Are you using the correct tap for your application?

Taps are mainly made of the following 3 materials: High Speed SteelCarbidePowdered MetalIn addition to the different materials, there are several coatings depending on what is the requirements in your application.Know which is the most suitable material for your working conditions with the following descriptions.H.S.S. TapsHigh Speed Steel (H.S.S.) has been one of the most popular types of taps because it maintains its dimensions [...]

Read More »


Modular Fixture Systems

Modular FixturesModular fixtures are ideal for temporary fastening. You can use all of the modular components for occasional jobs, or short runs or prototypes. It is also used for testing fixtures to see if they’ll have an adequate performance of the design.The components are available in standard and heavy sizes. The plates and blocks have holes at regular distances. You can use [...]

Read More »


How to deburr your sheet metal edges

Without a doubt, you need to remove burrs from your sheet metal edges. When you have smooth edges on your metal sheets, you’ll be able to manipulate them in a safer manner. By removing the edge burrs we reduce the chance of someone getting hurt.We can remove our sharp edges with a manual deburring tool, [...]

Read More »


Why do carbide end mills break or wear out?

Why do carbide end mills break or wear out?When speaking with most our customers, they request to solve one or two problems with their end mills. They either break the cutting edge on their tool or the edge wears out prematurely.Up next we’ll show you 8 causes of this 2 problems and their possible solutions.Breakage:Wear:

Read More »


​Toggle Clamps: Holding capacity & clamping force

Toggle Clamps: Holding capacity & clamping forceToggle clamps have specifications in terms of holding capacity and clamping force. It’s important to distinguish the difference between these two concepts and to know how they are measured in order to make the best decision when choosing clamps for each application. [...]

Read More »


High Speed Steel vs Carbide

Just like High Speed Steel replaced Carbon Steel, Carbide is now being used more and more for end mills and drill bits. Even so, HSS blades and drill bits are used in certain important niches for metal cutting applications. There are many ways to make HSS cutting tools efficient and economical without sacrificing cutting speeds, [...]

Read More »


​Why is aluminum difficult to machine.

Why is aluminum difficult to machine. We know that machining aluminum is not as simple as it seems. There are many grades and for each one there are different machining techniques that can be applied. To begin we will review the different grades of aluminum and from this we will give some recommendations of types of [...]

Read More »


How fast can you produce a thread?

How fast can you produce a thread?The quality of the thread and the performance of the tap will be affected by the RPM we used while making the thread. RPM is a function of perimeter speed (typically in meters or feet per minute). Most tapping suppliers have their tables to convert the perimeter speed to RPM.The optimum speed to produce a [...]

Read More »


You’ve got problems with your carbide drill bits?

Do you have the following problems with your carbide drill bits: Wear on the outer edges, chipping of the cutting edge or tip, tool breaking? In this article we will mention the causes of most of the problems that may occur with your drill bits. To clarify, in this article we’ll be focusing on work pieces made of metals, [...]

Read More »