Drilling Operations

The portable drill is hand supported for most operations, and the cutting speed of the drill is fixed or dependent upon the operator to control. When hand supported, the drill must be carefully aligned with the workpiece and this alignment must be maintained throughout the drilling operation. Care must be taken not to lose control of the portable drill and allow it to be wrenched from the operator’s hands. The larger portable drills can be very dangerous if not held firmly by the operator. If the cutting speed is fixed, the operator must learn to control the feed of the portable drill by applying sufficient pressure for the drill to cut, but not too much pressure as to cause overheating of the twist drill or stalling of the portable drill motor.

When metal is to be drilled with the portable drill, the workpiece must be prepared by locating the center position of the potential hole and marking the location with a center punch. When a large drill is to be used, it will be necessary first to drill a pilot hole slightly larger in diameter than the thickness of the larger drill’s web, which will allow for the drag caused by the larger drill’s chisel edge.

drilling operation

Figure : Drilling a pilot hole for a larger drill

Portable pneumatic drills require special attention to lubricate their internal moving parts. Each drill may be made lightly different, so refer to the pertinent lubrication order or manufacturer’s instruction manual before drilling. For drilling by hand, the workpiece must be mounted securely. Thin workplaces should be backed up with a thicker piece of wood or metal to prevent the drill from snagging in the workpiece. Do not attempt to hold any workpiece by hand or serious injury could result.

Select a twist drill of the proper size for the hole to be drilled. Ensure that the twist drill selected has the right type of shank for the type of chuck mounted on the portable drill. Taper shank drills cannot be mounted in a drill with a geared chuck. Check each twist drill for sharp cutting edges prior to use.

After securing the twist drill in the proper chuck, connect the portable drill to its power source. Position the portable drill perpendicular to the workpiece and center the chisel point of the drill in the center-punched hole of the workpiece. Apply firm but not too heavy pressure upon the portable drill, pull the trigger or throttle button to start the drill. Apply a few drops of cutting oil to the twist drill and hole to improve the cutting action and prevent overheating of the twist drill. For long drilling operations, stop the drill and allow it to cool; then apply additional cutting oil to the drilling area. The lock button can be engaged for lengthy cutting operations.

Continue drilling the hole while applying enough pressure to produce a clean chip, but not so much pressure as to cause
the motor to strain or the drill to bind. The drill must be held firmly at all times to prevent the drill from being wrenched
from the hands of the operator if the flutes of the drill should snag on a metal burr in the hole. As the twist drill nears the back wall of the workpiece, release the lock button so that the drill can be stopped immediately if required.  ecrease the feed pressure as the drill breaks through, and cautiously feed the drill through the wall of the workpiece. If the drill should snag on a burr, stop drilling immediately and withdraw from the hole. Carefully feed the drill back into the hole while the drill is turning to cut through the burr.

drilling operation

Figure : Drilling lubrication, correct and incorrect

When a portable drill is mounted to a vertical stand, the operating procedure is identical to that used for the upright drilling machine. Use the lock button while drilling and use the hand lever to drill to the required depth. Portable drilling operations can be difficult to an inexperienced operator. It is difficult to keep the twist drill perpendicular to the  workpiece during drilling, and it is hard to drill to a desired depth accurately. If help is available, use the buddy system to keep the drill aligned while drilling. To drill to depth, mark the twist drill with a light colored marking pen or a strip of tape and keep a close watch on the drill as it cuts. Another way to drill to depth accurately using the portable drill is to use a jig, such as a piece of metal pipe or tubing cut to length, to indicate when the drill has reached the desired depth.