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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    South Coast NSW
    Posts
    38

    Default Drilling & Cutting S/S Beer Keg

    Hello all,

    This is my first post to the forums, I am a woodworker but occasionally need advice on a bit of metalwork, like now:

    Am making a brewing kettle (beermaker in my spare time as well...) from a scrapped 50L brewery keg. I need to cut a circular opening in the top, as well as drill a 23mm hole in the side. I have never worked s/s before so I read up on how to approach this (slow rpm, lubrication, masking tape to get drill started etc.) I thought that grinding out the top would be the easy part.
    No way! Within seconds of making my first cut with one of those thin inox grinder discs, the thing shattered and disc fragments went in every direction.

    I tried again, next time with a thicker (new) metal cutting disc. It was hard going and the disc wore right down after about 10cm of the cut.

    My question is: should I persevere with the grinder, and several more discs and if so is there a better technique? I have seen jigsaw blades which might be up to the job.

    Any ideas??

    Last edited by jimmyh; 30th Dec 2006 at 08:32 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Vic
    Posts
    12,840

    Default

    Keep going with the grinder, don't force the grinder as this will only wear the wheel out quicker. Let the machine do the work and score a line with the grinder first then keep running backwards and forwards along the line rather than cutting into the metal

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Gold Coast
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    Yes, what DJ said. When I cut metal using discs, I use the thin discs at high speed (air) and a gentle or light touch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Kuranda, paradise, North Qld
    Age
    58
    Posts
    5,650

    Default

    As you're using a straight tool (disc) to cut a round hole a very light touch is required. You'll need to cut the hole undersize and then dress it round afterwards.

    Mick
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Newcastle
    Age
    68
    Posts
    3,365

    Default

    You can drill with a smaller drill a series of holes around the diamater of the hole you want to make it easier to cut out, bunnies & mitre 10 sell cobalt drills ( about $1 or so more than standard drills ) that are designed to drill stainless, correct rake , angle etc, just use a good centre pop first to mark well and drill as you would normal steel.

    Rgds
    Ashore




    The trouble with life is there's no background music.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    3,350

    Default

    I did exactly what you are doing for a mate 2 weeks ago, I used the jigsaw go faily slow to keep things cool

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    MEL VIC AUS
    Age
    55
    Posts
    1,604

    Default

    to drill s/s you better to put the drill to the grinder wheel and flatten the pitch out by1/2 then sharpen as norm it will work better,, a cobalt is a harder drill not the right pitch for my liking
    smile and the world will smile with you

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    South Coast NSW
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Thanks guys for all of your advice. I re-tried with a new grinder disc, a light touch and a new attitude - success! There is no substitute for learning from your mistakes I guess - except maybe learning from someone else's!


    Many thanks,
    Jim

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