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Proper way to drill through metal?

I need to drill very many small holes (1/4 inch wide) through the metal of a shipping container the kind that are loaded on ships and on the back of trucks. The wall thickness is aprox. 3/16th of an inch thick. Problem: I am going through drill bits at a very high rate. I am getting only 12 holes drilled before the drill bit is worn out and I have to keep replacing with new bits. Am I doing something wrong ? Please tell me if there is some way to extend the life of the bit. Using WD-40 ? Some other oil ?

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Also, I forgot to ask if using a drill bit for metal is harmed if I also use it for drilling through wood ? In this case pine.


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Hi @ramses2 ,

Try drilling at a slower speed, approx 1500 - 2000 rpm, (or even slower if you like) to reduce the heat build up which causes the drill bit’s cutting edge to go blunt,

If you’re using HSS twist drill bits (high speed steel) try using Black Oxide or Cobalt Steel twist drill bits as these will last longer.

You could use a multipurpose oil -example only to reduce the friction and therefore the heat build up but it may be a bit hard to apply if you’re drilling into the side of the container and not down onto it so the oil stays there.

Pine is a soft wood so you won’t harm the drill bit.

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thank you. that answers my question


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