Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool? - Chevelle Tech
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  #1  
Old Apr 13th, 09, 11:25 PM
Rich-L79 Rich-L79 is online now
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Default Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

I had new floor pans put in the wagon and as such I lost a few holes in the toe board/firewall along the way. I need to cut/drill a couple of good sized holes for the back up lights harness and the speedometer cable grommet. Is there a single reasonably priced tool I can buy that will let me drill relatively large sized holes of various sizes? I hate to drop serious cash for monstro drill bits I'll only use once. I have a few hole saws, but they are made for wood not metal, do they make hole saws for metal and if so can I get them at a typical hardware store?
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  #2  
Old Apr 13th, 09, 11:47 PM
Derek69SS Derek69SS is online now
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

Uni-bit or stepped drill bits work great for getting perfectly round clean holes in sheetmetal.

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  #3  
Old Apr 13th, 09, 11:54 PM
gearheads78 gearheads78 is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

what you are taking about would still be a pretty small hole. Just us a metal hole saw in the size you need. Home Depot and the like will have what you need.

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Old Apr 14th, 09, 12:16 AM
floyd66 floyd66 is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

another vote for uni bit. It is the only sheet metal drill I would use.
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  #5  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 12:37 AM
troposcuba troposcuba is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

depends on how big a hole you are talking about, but there is a technique they tought us (I am an aircraft structural repair guy) called chain drilling. if you are talking about a hole the size of your fist or odd shaped, this works pretty well. all you do is use a normal drill bit (.125 or so) and drill a series of holes right next to each other (like a chain) INSIDE of your scribed line. then use a rotary bit or file or other method to clean it up the edge to your scribe line. easy as that.
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  #6  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 1:38 AM
MikeMalibu MikeMalibu is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

Low cost step drills work well up to about 1.25 inch. The largest I have is about 2.5 inch, but it cost about $75. I recommend a hole saw for the speedo cable grommet on your 65 wagon. You can find metal versions at Home Depot for a reasonable price.
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  #7  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 10:04 AM
jpr95 jpr95 is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

Rich, since you are close to me, stop by my welding/fab shop and grab what you need... you are more then welcome to any thing you need to finish up your project..

Jimmy
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  #8  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 2:31 PM
goldburg goldburg is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

I could not lurk any longer, after gaining years and years of all of you guys experience in only a short time, I had to contribute. If you know an electrician- ask if you can borrow his "greenlee punch". Or more accurately, his knockout punches. It is a very simple hand operated tool that will punch a nice, clean hole in any flat surface up to around 16ga mild steel. It leaves no flash, no sharp edge. Very nice and easy to use. Hope this helps.
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  #9  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 6:02 PM
Scotch Scotch is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

I used a Unibit step drill to drill the holes for my hood pins, and it was clean and painless. Another vote for Unibit!
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  #10  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 6:19 PM
JNorton JNorton is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

I agree, Unibits are great until the hole gets big. Use a punch for bigger holes. I will bet that you could rent a punch set at a U-Rent-Um type of place. Or, like Daryl said, find a sparky that will let you use his.
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  #11  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 6:29 PM
langss langss is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

I think Sears still sells a Circle Cutter.Its for holes 7/8" to 4".It says on the box for Brass,Wood,or Plastic, but I have used it on thin sheet steel and all different thickness of Aluminum.Its basically a Drill in a Fitting with an adjustable arbor with a cutting bit on the end.You adjust the arbor to what ever diameter hole you want.The P/N was 3645 if its still available.
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  #12  
Old Apr 14th, 09, 7:43 PM
Rich-L79 Rich-L79 is online now
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

I like the idea of the punch, but how do I punch such holes if I can only access one side of the metal at a time (inside the car or outside the car)?
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  #13  
Old Apr 15th, 09, 10:23 AM
MikeMalibu MikeMalibu is offline
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Default Re: Cutting larger round holes in sheet metal, what tool?

Yes, Rich, with a punch you need access to both sides of the hole.
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