I am just getting into some metalworking projects, and will be doing a
substantial amount of drilling (using a Delta drill press). I heard
that it is best to use "cutting oil" to facilitate the cut and to
prolong the life of the bits. However, a quick search on the web shows
that prices start at about $14 per gallon. Are there any alternatives
which will do the trick, but not be as costly? How about motor oil?
Probably not the "best" choice either, but I've been using bulk pipe
threading oil for ordinary mild steel...works reasonably well.
I had some aerosol cutting fluid that worked really well, but the supply
places in town I normally go have quit carrying it so I went to a
We used motor oil here on the farm for years from as long as I can
remember, though w/ no major problem...it'll smoke more than some of the
other less volatiles will but functions, albeit as FH says, not quite as
Someone was telling me that some old machinist used to use water, but he
didn't say anything about using it on aluminum only. He was working with a
younger machinist and the younger guy used oil on the tools and the old man
had a fit. Have you heard of such a thing? What's the antifreeze looking
stuff machinists use that usually smells like puke?
Motor oil is not a good choice. If you have any machine shops in your
area you could stop by and tell what material you are drilling and they
most likely would give or sell you a small amount. If it's aluminum you
can sometimes get away with water or water with a water soluble oil added.
For hobby use, 3-in-1 oil should work just fine. Not motor oil, though.
BTW, $14/gallon isn't very expensive when you look at the price of a 4-oz can
of light machine oil like 3-in-1 -- maybe three bucks? Works out around a
hundred dollars a gallon.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
Water will cool the tool and the work piece but will not lubricate for
a better cutting action, plus with only water you'll start to get
rust. Heat is what breaks down the cutting edge of a tool thereby
getting it dull. I use water soluble oil most of the time we buy it in
55 gallon drums. Cool Tool is what I've been using for more years then
I want to admit. Look it your local phone book for Tool suppliers, a
quart of cutting oil doesn't cost very much. Tool Producers is what
comes to my mind at this time. Aluminum is best cut using oil because
it'll give you a better finish. WD 40 will work just make sure you
clear the chips off the drill often. (Pull drill out and place back
in). If you don't do this the drill will walk off course and cut
A working Tool & Die maker.
Can't recall the name of the antifreeze stuff but I did use it with
great success for drilling small holes in stainless steel (back in the
day) :) Water works well with cast iron, (maybe that was the reason the
old timer had a fit) but I wouldn't use it on any other steel.
Drilling metal is a very dangerous process. You should not be
attempting this at home. I highly suggest you take your metal to a
professional machinest and have them do the work for you. People do
not realize that if a drill bit were to break, it could puncture the
users heart, causing immediate death. Powered drills are nearly as
lethal as a gun in the hands of an amateur. Take your project to a
professional who is certified to use a drill press and has all the
proper and necessary lubricating oils and equipment. This is not a
job for the amateur. For your own good, pull the plug on your drill
press and do not use it again, unless you become a certified
American Family Insurance
On 19 Apr 2005 12:07:53 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
I use a synthetic Castrol product ( Syntilo 9913) for machining
aluminum--basically, it's a clear mix having just a bit of a greenish tint.
$200.00 for a 5 gallon tub, solution is ~5 to 7 % in water....I get awesome
metal removal rates and run tool speeds upwards to 5000sfm, where it also
produces a very superior surface finish.
Terribly expensive, and suitable only for aluminum....and so it probly
wouldnt be a very good recommendation for a small shop, imo...
For general purpose use, I use "Chevron Soluble Oil B" ~ $46.00 for a 5
gallon pail....and mix it to appx 1 quart into a 5 gal pail of
water....important that the oil gets mixed into the water...fill the bucket
with water first then stir the oil in or else the oil wont stay in
suspension....It will go rancid though, especially if you let tramp oil
collect on top...it's best to skim it off and run the pump to aireate the
mix for an hour or so every few days....
Most folks don't realize that the water soluble oil also works great
undiluted for some the tougher jobs like tapping hardened alloys, etc...just
brush it onto the tool full at strength.....
Oh, and one other thing....Ive found this stuff :
to be totally *amazing* when it comes to the toughest jobs...I was getting
appx 6 holes per tap on a job ( 1/4-20 in 4340 @ Rc 42) ( was using a black
oxide coated Sossner tap, very high quality tool )....at that rate, the job
was actually costing me money...a bad bad situation...
I went to using the 'Jock-itch' paste and now I routinely get several
hundred holes per tap before replacement is needed.
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