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Drilling HSS/TOOL STEEL?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by The Metal Butcher View Post
    Sharpen a masonry bit like a regular twist drill. Back the blade with Aluminum at minimum, preferably steel. A new backing spot for every hole. Force should be light enough as required to take a chip. Works ok for me on all-hard HSS power-hacksaw blades, but I won't try to deny I've destroyed a few in the process. I've also used unsharpened ones at higher speeds and just annealed the metal and bludgeoned my way through. I prefer to sharpen them first. Obviously silicon carbide or diamond wheels are preferable, but Aluminum oxide will work if you don't have to remove much carbide.

    Good luck.
    I did just this as a trial run and I've got an old file around here somewhere that has a nice neat hole in it. And after that I used the same trick to sharpen and drill through a cheap set of import 1-2-3 blocks. You know, the ones that are threaded for 3/8-16 but the thru holes that should pass the 3/8 bolts are closer to 5/16? It worked well for a few holes but then chipped from the shock. I never got around to getting another drill and finishing it up.

    But challenger, for what you're doing sharpening a masonry drill to a keener point with neutral rake sharp edges should work like a charm. And it won't overheat and alter the hardness.
    Chilliwack BC, Canada

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Bented View Post
      There is a considerable difference between HSS and "tool steel".
      If the blade is "tool steel" you may have success using carbide depending on the knifes finished condition and material.
      If it is HSS you will find this tough going at best.

      Good Luck
      HSS can be drilled easily.... if you anneal it first. There is a process for that, although I do not have details, as I do not have an oven that will do it.
      2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan


      It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

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      • #18
        easy to anneal: 24 hours and 1200°c (i think). the hard part would be to make it hss again.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by dian View Post
          easy to anneal: 24 hours and 1200°c (i think). the hard part would be to make it hss again.
          Achtually the annealing process is harder to do at home shop than hardening.
          Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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          • #20
            I decided to go with another route and won't need to drill.
            Sure learned a lot though!
            Thanks
            Btw, I did try to anneal the piece by heating it to red and letting it cool. It softened the spot just a little bit.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by lynnl View Post

              I've never tried it, but Guy Lautard, in one of his books, describes spot annealing by chucking up a nail in a drill press and spinning the nail head against the target spot and letting friction soften the spot. I'd imagine you'd want to do it as quickly as possible to minimize heat conduction to unwanted areas.
              I tried this, didn't seem to work. Really hard to get to temp. I also can't see how if you did get it to temp how with soft plastercine like material under then nail you'd be able keep up the downward pressure that creates the friction.....and if all that worked, how the surrounding material wouldn't essentially quench the spot
              in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by MattiJ View Post

                Achtually the annealing process is harder to do at home shop than hardening.
                i was kidding concerning easy of course, just imagine a contolled ramp up to 1200° over 24 hours. if you melt hss its going to be hard again when cold (i never tried it) but to get any kind of toughness you need a heat treat in a precisely controlled oven and about three cycles, no? will of course depend on the type as well.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by dian View Post

                  i was kidding concerning easy of course, just imagine a contolled ramp up to 1200° over 24 hours. if you melt hss its going to be hard again when cold (i never tried it) but to get any kind of toughness you need a heat treat in a precisely controlled oven and about three cycles, no? will of course depend on the type as well.
                  For best results you need double or triple tempering but then on the other hand you can make passable hss lathe tool from mild steel by using a small HSS drills as a filler wire with TIG and coating the mild steel with hss.
                  Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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                  • #24
                    StefanG gives some good tips here on drilling spring steel, perhaps some of this would apply by using carbide drills?
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPlsEMY_HZ8

                    Another way would be to chuck up a short piece of brass or copper tube, with some abrasive slurry.... same way they drill glass, it embeds in the copper or brass tube and grinds the hole thru.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by MattiJ View Post
                      For best results you need double or triple tempering but then on the other hand you can make passable hss lathe tool from mild steel by using a small HSS drills as a filler wire with TIG and coating the mild steel with hss.
                      you remind me of something i wanted to do for a while? have you done it? how did you hold the drill? i dont really feel like melting pliers into the puddle. or have the drill in a little groove and let it flow? really curious if the layer will crack.

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                      • #26
                        All of the guys telling you that HSS can't be annealed with the easy tricks listed in this thread are dead on correct. HSS needs to be cooled slowly (VERY slowly, think ramped down furnace - some alloys even need to be held at temp for time at stepped ramps on the way down) to be successfully annealed. A spinning chucked nail won't do the trick and neither will a torch. As already mentioned, you can TIG weld using HSS filler and get a passable cutting tool immediately post-weld. So a torch isn't going to do squat.

                        Having drilled and milled a fair pile of HSS, I'd second the recommendation of the solid carbide spade drill mentioned earlier. They work well in very hard materials and are about the most durable of the carbide drills I've used.

                        Dian, I have done it. If you are welding something that gets up to a pretty good heat while welding it won't crack in my experience. You can tack the hss drill used as filler to a longer piece of mild steel to hold it while welding if necessary.
                        Last edited by eKretz; 02-19-2021, 10:06 AM.

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                        • #27
                          its simple: hss steel has been carefully constructed so it doesnt/is very hard to anneal.

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                          • #28
                            dian MattiJ For welding on a hard edge, have you watched this? https://youtu.be/qUzHFLV4IyQ On the off-chance it's helpful

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by eKretz View Post
                              All of the guys telling you that HSS can't be annealed with the easy tricks listed in this thread are dead on correct. HSS needs to be cooled slowly (VERY slowly, ).
                              This is true, it is difficult to anneal HSS. Likewise, the proper austenizing temp tends to go up with the alloy content. So does the time required to soak and often multiple tempers are required. I have an older copy of the Crucible Steel catalog, and I highly recommend reading it, they give good parameters and charts for all the common types. https://www.crucible.com/Products.aspx?c=DoList

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Cenedd View Post
                                dian MattiJ For welding on a hard edge, have you watched this? https://youtu.be/qUzHFLV4IyQ On the off-chance it's helpful
                                from what i remember, the guy just uses some hardfacing rod made for that purpose. i looked but i dont have any uncoated small drills. have to get some for the experiment. i dont thing oxides/carbides/nitrides would do the puddle any good.

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