Custom Knives | Other Knives | General Items
New Posts | New PhotosAll Photos

Go Back   The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions > Custom Knife Discussion Boards > Knife Making Discussions > The Newbies Arena

The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-18-2017, 10:20 PM
FMLOL FMLOL is offline
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 11
Drill Press RPM's

So I'm just about ready to start drilling some pin holes in my first know and I'm wondering what drill speed I need to use? The chart I'm looking at says 3000 RPM's but that seems a little high. I'm using a 1/8" bit to go through 1/8" thick 1095. What speed should I use?

Also, is there a helpful resource for figuring this out for other bit sizes?
Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2017, 11:09 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,271
OK son, I'm your man. For 1095 slow it down to 2000 and if it's stainless as slow as it will go. Aluminum is OK @ 3000. Use cutting fluid, ALWAYS. If alum or brass then kerosene or diesel is fine, but I recommend for all metals Tap Magic cutting fluid. I use it on my sharpening stones too. But a nice thin "cutting" fluid is what you want. There are other opinions, but that is the baseline.

You can Google drill speed by drill size and material. You should come up with something like this.
Ignore the 3000 for high carbon steels as you might actually cause it to heat up and then harden by friction. 2000 is better and keep it lubed. Do not forget slow with stainless and the larger the bit the slower the speed. My first day drilling stainless I melted two drill bits at 2800 rpm. Chrome and nickel do not like the high speed. So any steel with chrome or nickel, slow down.
Rule of thumb for many things in life; You can go too fast, but never too slow.

Now it says Guru and it used to say Master. I think I like Master better, though skilled would be the best description
Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 06:44 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: ny
Posts: 1,442
as jim said tap majic is great.....But your speed also depends on a couple things...........What kind of drill bit are you using (HSS, Cobalt, carbide ect..) Also is your blade heat treated and hardened yet? if it is you will need a carbide bit wich you want to run slow....I keep my drill press on the slowest speed and very rarely do I change it
Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 07:29 AM
Ray Rogers's Avatar
Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
Founding Member / Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,803
My 12 speed press has been set to its slowest speed, about 200 rpms, for 20 years. That works for any type of drill, for wood, plastic, carbon steel or stainless and I rarely use any type of cutting fluid. All those charts that say thousands of rpms are made for manufacturing environments. They have reasons for specifying different speeds for different materials that have nothing to do with how we use a drill press. So, follow their guide lines if you want to but you'll break or wear out many more drills if you do it that way. Slow is safe and it works just fine if you use fresh sharp drills ...


Your question may already have been answered - try the Search button first!

Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 08:55 AM
Ed Caffrey's Avatar
Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Great Falls, Montana, USA
Posts: 4,254
Send a message via AIM to Ed Caffrey Send a message via Yahoo to Ed Caffrey
I totally agree with Ray! Slow is the way to go.... and more importantly HOW (the method you use) drill makes a huge difference. If you try to "cram" a bit through steel as most would do with wood, you're going to dull or break bits, and/or you're going to end up with oblong holes, and many other possible problems.

I've trained myself over the years to use a method that I call "tap drilling".... bring the bit down until it touches the material, give it LIGHT downward pressure until you see a few chips, then bring the bit out of the material to allow the chips to clear the flutes....then do it again, again, and again, until you complete the hole. You should be able to "feel" when the bit is about to break through the material....that is where you can create problems if you're not careful....your instinct is going to be to "cram" the bit through in order to finish the hole....but you want to do just the opposite.....lighten up on the pressure and let the bit cut it's way through..... if you try to cram the bit through that last little web, it common for the flutes to grab the material and try to suck whatever you're drilling up the drill bit.

Many times when drilling steel or titanium, I will cut/drill all the holes with a smaller drill then needed, and then go through the hole again with the desired end size bit....this is more accurate, and gives truer round holes then if you drill the hole(s) with the final size bit. When I need very precise holes, as in building folders, I drill with an undersized bit, then use a solid carbide reamer to get the exact size finished hole I need.

If you ever get oblong/slightly oval shaped holes, it's generally because you are using too much pressure/force, and the bit is flexing as you drill....or the bit is dull, and you are having to apply too much pressure....and again, the bit is flexing as you drill.

They type and quality of drill bits used also make a huge difference. Stay away from most "hardware store" drill bits. Those are the usually the lowest quality bits you can get..... the only exception would be that if you MUST buy/use bits from a local store, I would recommend buying Irwin brand..... they are what I call "the best of the worst". I use very few HSS drill bits....most of mine are cobalt, and I also keep various sizes of solid carbide bits on hand for those instances where I goof up and miss drilling a hole prior to heat treating. Most of my drill bits come from either MSC or KBC Tools. I tend to buy/use "screw machine" drill bits because their shorter length help prevent the bit flexing as a hole is drilled.

"Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
See me at table 2Q at the Blade Show!
Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 10:37 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: ny
Posts: 1,442
Yep So I said I keep mine on slow all the time....Ray was the one that gave me that advice and he has never steered me wrong....There might have been a FEW (LOL) times I decided to not pay attention and figure it out my self and lets say I think I always ended up writng back to ray.."well again you were right" I have never had a problem with it slow. And I do just the same as ed talked about by "drill tapping" AND they both already said this but its important if you don't want to waste bits go slow and let the drill do the work you don't need to put much pressure on it. And you will feel it right before it breraks through and again I actually let off the pressure when I feel will learn the FEEL for things as you go
Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 11:07 AM
samuraistuart samuraistuart is offline
Steel Addict
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: San Antonio Texas
Posts: 163
I did a little research into this when I began making knives. You can find charts online easily that show recommended RPMs for different size bits and the material being drilled. I had not heard that different bits (cobalt vs HSS for example) should be used at different RPMs....just the size and the material dictating the speed.

I've been doing the same as Ray and Ed...without anyone telling me. ie...running at the slowest setting for everything. Why? Because I am too lazy to take the time to change the RPMs! ha ha! It has worked well for me....going slow all the time. My experience, tho, when it comes to small holes drilling into wood or G10, 1/8" for example (and under), the faster setting is best. I do the same thing Ed does with the "tap drilling" on every material. But for me, it "feels" better running fast thru wood and G10 and the like with smaller bits. With that said....I don't bother changing it.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 12:42 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: NC Mountains
Posts: 469
I'm thinking I'm at somewhere around 300 rpm. I'd have to check but I know it's one of the lowest setting with my press. Even then it sometimes smokes the oil. I usually just hold down the blade with a gloved hand and the 1/4" bits will sometimes try to grab as they punch through. I can't imagine 3000 rpm, that's like about top speed for my press. I'd end up fusing the bit to the blade! Or launching something akin to a lawnmower blade!

Find me on Facebook:

Gloria In Excelsis Deo!!

Last edited by WNC Goater; 05-19-2017 at 12:49 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 01:56 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: ny
Posts: 1,442
that's why I let up on the pressure as I feel it about to make it through other wise it tends to grab the steel and spin it around like a helicopter
Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2017, 02:52 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,271
For larger holes I always make a pilot hole, especially for wood handles, then I can come back without doing a blowout, tape doesn't always stop that. I tend to use small pins anyway as I just like their looks, but that's just a matter of taste. I use 1/8" loveless screws and corbys.

Now it says Guru and it used to say Master. I think I like Master better, though skilled would be the best description
Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2017, 07:24 AM
Crex's Avatar
Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,501
All good stuff here - just a couple of additional tips:
> On the pilot holes try to drill them around 1/2 the size of the final bit size - will cut cleaner with less chance to wander off center if bit flexes a little.
> Always use sharp bits - visual check, feel for "bite", resharpen if necessary (learn to dress/sharpen your bits not all that hard to learn)
> Get a good drill press vise and mount it solid to press table - a good quality cross-feed is worth it's weight in gold.
> Always clamp a blade or other object securely, and check for alignment before starting to'll keep your fingers longer.

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

Blade Show Table 5-J
Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2017, 04:31 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,271
All good stuff Carl. I make one exception, never let your bit flex. I never put that much pressure on it and as I like small pins I have to be careful, although I do drill 1/4" thong holes from time to time and on a viking axe I used a piece of 3/8 copper tubing for the thong hole.

I worked in the metal fields for decades and if I'm doing wood or brass I will up my rpms, it's just cleaner, especially woods (G-10 too). At high speed on some materials it just does better. I do not mind changing my speeds at all. BTW there is a reason wood cutting bandsaws are faster, less chipping. Now as I said before there are caveats like stainless is always slow. But I drill O1 at 1000 rpm with no problems, just always use cutting fluid, note any oil is better than none, but lubricating oils like WD 40 are not cutting fluids.

I have a small Proxxon cross table and I love that little thing. I bought a nice screwless vise for it and when you want to come back to the same spot you can't beat that stuff except with a mill/drill. As Carl said, you guys holding a blade on the table by hand and drilling it: USE A CLAMP! We want you to keep making knives and one slip.......

Last edited by jimmontg; 05-20-2017 at 04:36 PM.
Reply With Quote

1095, art, blade, brand, brass, carbon, cutting, drill, forge, harden, heat, knife, knives, man, material, materials, ore, plastic, press, sharp, sharpening, stainless, steel, tap, what kind

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
new to me Drill Press - Turret drill press ATalley Tool Time 9 09-13-2014 09:35 AM
Making a drill press out of hand drill remist17 The Newbies Arena 5 12-03-2012 09:39 PM
Old Drill Press pjelect Tool Time 2 09-09-2005 11:30 AM
Drill Press Uncle Buck The Newbies Arena 0 07-01-2005 04:48 PM
enough drill press? seeker The Newbies Arena 3 12-26-2002 07:06 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:55 AM.

Copyright © 2000
? CKK Industries, Inc. ? All Rights Reserved
Powered by ...

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
The Knife Network : All Rights Reserved