How To Drill 1/8" Thick Titanium Plate???

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Southron

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May 4, 2012
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Eatonton
I Have to drill some 1/4" holes in a 1/8" thick Grade 5 Titanium plate. I have a drill press on which I can control the speed. Can I get away with using a new (sharp) TiN coated drill? If not, what is the best drill to use?

What speed do I run the drill press at? Do I use any cutting fluid-if so, what is best.

While I realize most aircraft homebuilders never work with titanium, I figure that we have such a talented and knowledgeable pool of members on this BB, several members probably deals with titanium at work.

Any advice would be very much appreciated!

THANKS!
 

Detego

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May 29, 2012
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North America
I Have to drill some 1/4" holes in a 1/8" thick Grade 5 Titanium plate. I have a drill press on which I can control the speed. Can I get away with using a new (sharp) TiN coated drill? If not, what is the best drill to use?


Here's my notes from another forum:

"Titanium (Ti) work hardens very slightly, but most of all is a bad heat conductor. This can lead to your drill overheating at the tip, and so unless you use an HSS drill, this can anneal it.

For drilling holes less than 1/4" (6.35 mm), point angle should be 140°. Greater than this, the standard 118° should be used.

Peripheral speed should be 15 to 30 feet per minute, feed 60% of standard.

Use neat oil as lubricant.

Thin material should be supported from behind. Try clamping or gluing your sheet of Ti to a block of wood, or copper (to act as a heat sink) if you have one available."







Dread Pirate Roberts: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Vizzini: WAIT TILL I GET GOING!
 

Toobuilder

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Jan 19, 2010
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Mojave, Ca
Sharp tools and patience are the keys to working Ti. I was worried at first about machining a Ti tailwheel stinger spring from bar stock, but I was able to make some very nice cuts with conventional tool steel bits. Large scale production is different, but a few holes in some plate should not present any real problems.
 

Haymore

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Mar 29, 2011
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Arizona
Try using antifreeze for a cutting fluid, do not know about titanium but it works wonders on stainless.
 

PaulS

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Sep 6, 2011
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Seattle, Wa., USA
Parafin works well on aluminum and titanium as a cutting compound but if you are doing a lot of work you need to use something to keep the tool and the work cool. A 50/50 mix of kerosine and stoddard solvent works better than most but it is flammable.

Paul
 

Rosco

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Dec 4, 2012
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Perth Western Australia
Gday,As an old fitter machinist I can't stress the importance of a sharp drill and keeping the drilled piece cool.The harder the work the slower the drill.You can reach a point where the work is so hard that we have to resort to a sharpened carbide masonry bit at the slowest speed possible.It is imperative that the pressure is kept on the work during the drilling operation otherwise the drill will work harden the surface and then the only way through is to sharpen the drill and try and punch through the hard surface.Titanium is not so hard but is really tough so a sharp drill,slow speed and keep cool and lube will see you right. PS a great lube is found in the supermarket and that is plain old lard,the beauty of lard is that it retains some viscosity when hot and is cheap so you can use a lot,plus it make the workshop smell like the BBq. Cheers Rosco
 

BillM

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Feb 22, 2013
Messages
140
Location
Santee, Ca, USA
As Rosco said "keep the tool on the work" which means use some force on the drillpress and KEEP THE CHIPS COMMING!
If you back off on the force and allow the bit to spin without cutting the piece will harden and you will be in hurting shape!
BillM
 
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