Drilling shiny steel tube

15 Nov 2005
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Cook Islands
I have some bright polished brass plated steel tube (it is curtain rod, I am drilling it to make a longer portiere rod)

the drill is pretty sure to skid off, and if I try to centre punch it, I expect it will just make a dent. Maybe I should start with a small drill and open it out.

What tips? I have minimal workshop equipment (no fitted vice or drill press)
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maybe try and slide a bit of timber about the size of the tube and then using a very sharp pointed nail/punch then make your mark.
you also might be able to use the same trick when drilling tiles using some tape to stop the bit from sliding?

i think the 1st idea is better ;)
do you mean slide a dowel inside the tube?
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If you put the tube on the floor and put a piece of something maybe a book either side so the tube is trapped, and then place a piece of ply on top you could then put your foot on top to hold it in place, and then drill through the ply into the tube without it slipping.
Drill a hole into a piece of wood so that the tube fits snugly into the hole.

Then drill through the piece of wood into your tube.
Make a tiny dent with a sharp centre punch, and then use a 2mm drill to start with......if it skids off a little its easy enough to tilt the drill towards the vertical again.
John :)
Sounds like a job for a pillar drill. If you have a corded drill, or one with a handle, then its possible to buy a 'pillar drill' accessory which allows you to mount the drill in it and convert a handheld one.
I am going to start with the block of wood, as noseall suggested. I had been thinking about that overnight. I think I will drill a 12mm hole through it to push the tube into, and drill vertically through the block and hopefully through the rod. The wooden block will hold my drill perpendicular to the rod.

I know where I can borrow an old drill stand, it has a clamp for a corded drill and I don't know if I have a drill to fit, though. I don't have the use to justify buying a drill press.
Wishing you luck with this, JohnD....I have a feeling that the drill may still skid off slightly but who knows? The fact that the end of every twist drill is flat means the need for a small dent.
Using a high drill speed and a small diameter (new) drill will give you the best chance.
John :)

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