[Blabber] Holes drilled in aluminum sheets

gabe at bigapplehobbies.com gabe at bigapplehobbies.com
Tue Jan 31 22:24:20 UTC 2017


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Gabe

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 31, 2017, at 5:14 PM, Chris Stratton <cs07024 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> I'd also worry about stress cracks in the acrylic, either from the drilling or from later events.   Might not be apparent immediately.
> 
> 
>> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 5:11 PM, gabe at bigapplehobbies.com <gabe at bigapplehobbies.com> wrote:
>> Have you made a test piece yet?
>> 
>> You have 2 very thin pieces of material and only 2 (top and bottom center, presumably).
>> 
>> I would do a test piece to check that the finished "sandwich" stays nice and flat.
>> 
>> 4 fasteners, one per corner, would eliminate any grief, but I'm sure there are aesthetics etc to consider.
>> 
>> Anyway, I strongly advise making a test piece before going too much further.
>> 
>> Cheers,
>> Gabe
>> 
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> 
>>> On Jan 31, 2017, at 4:48 PM, Warren Eakins <warren.eakins at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Thank you so much Gabe, I really appreciate it. The need for holes doesn't have anything to do with hanging, I'm mounting 
>>> 13" x 19" photo prints on the 13" x 19" aluminum sheets then covering with 13" x 19" x 1/8" sheets of clear acrylic, two stainless steel fasteners will hold it all together.
>>> 
>>>> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 4:04 PM, gabe at bigapplehobbies.com <gabe at bigapplehobbies.com> wrote:
>>>> Chris mentioned a variety of the obstacles you might encounter working with thin sheets.
>>>> 
>>>> Sooo... I would first see if you could avoid doing all of that. 3M makes a line of products that would stick easily to the alu sheet, and that could be repositioned until perfect so that everything hangs properly. 
>>>> 
>>>> There are many shapes and sizes and it's possible that on of them might work for you:
>>>> http://www.command.com/3M/en_US/command/products/~/?N=5924736+3294529207+5584742&rt=r3
>>>> 
>>>> If that does not work and you do need the holes, I agree with Chris that a drill might be problematic.
>>>> 
>>>> I would absolutely "spot" the hole prior to drilling as he said. However, do NOT use a spring-loaded automatic centerpunch as it will bend the sheet metal.
>>>> 
>>>> If I had to do this, I would use a large nail and a small hammer to tap a small dimple where you want the hole to be.
>>>> 
>>>> I would then use either a Dremel or a slow-turning cordless screwdriver for the actual holes and I would do this in 2 steps: 
>>>> The first hole should be 1/16" diameter or so and would serve to locate the hole properly so that the Dremel won't dance around on you.
>>>> 
>>>> The actual hole would then follow and it would be with this type of bit:
>>>> <image1.jpeg>
>>>> I would use #121 or #124. They have pointy tips so they would locate themselves well in the holes you've already made, and with many smaller tips and higher speed / lower torque they would not grab the material in such a way as to bend it or as to injure you.
>>>> 
>>>> I would 100% wear eye protection, and run the Dremel on the slowest speed available. 
>>>> 
>>>> Make a few test holes first in order to get the hang of it and to learn to control chatter. 
>>>> 
>>>> There is a chance that you will end up with a hole slightly larger than the size of the bit you are using. This would depend on both your technique as well as on the type of alu you are using. For this reason you might be better off using the 1/4" bit instead of the 5/16".
>>>> 
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> Gabe
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>> 
>>>>> On Jan 31, 2017, at 2:59 PM, Chris Stratton <cs07024 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> A drill press may not actually help with positioning much, unless you
>>>>> get a drill press that is more a heavy milling machine, build a good
>>>>> fixture, and use a short, stiff "spotting" drill that goes in exactly
>>>>> where it is positioned, rather than wandering around a bit until if
>>>>> finds a spot where it feels like making a hole.
>>>>> 
>>>>> An issue there would be that the distance from the edge of the sheet
>>>>> to the hole determines how large a machine you need; HM's milling
>>>>> machine is fairly small.
>>>>> 
>>>>> A possibility worth considering is centerpunching where you want the
>>>>> hole, and then using a hand drill.  This may actually more more
>>>>> accurate than an everyday drillpress, at least without a special bit.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Stacking the sheets may help some, but then perpendicularity of the
>>>>> drill bit matters more than it does for one at a time.
>>>>> 
>>>>> You'll want to drill into a backing material, and probably a new area
>>>>> of it for each hole.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Assume that a twist drill is going to grab in thin aluminum; if things
>>>>> are not secured you could end up with the sheet metal spinning around
>>>>> cutting body parts.
>>>>> 
>>>>> You may be just barely into the size range where a bit that does not
>>>>> have twisted flutes is practical.  The step versions are commonly sold
>>>>> for chassis drilling, would assume you can get a single-size one
>>>>> without steps as well.
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 2:51 PM, Brent B. Powers
>>>>> <brent.b.powers at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>> Is the drill press in the shop gone?
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On Jan 31, 2017 2:42 PM, "Warren Eakins" <warren.eakins at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> I need some help. I am going to have my first photography show in March
>>>>>>> and in preparation I need to have two 5/16” holes drilled in 25 sheets of
>>>>>>> aluminum 1/32” thick, measuring 13” x 19”. The positioning of the holes has
>>>>>>> to be exact so a drill press is required. I need to find a place I could
>>>>>>> take the aluminum to in New York.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> I would greatly appreciate any information. Thanks.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Warren Eakins
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
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