Drilling stacked sheet metal
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    Default Drilling stacked sheet metal

    We often make these large parts from 1/8 to 1/4 stainless sheets. They typically have 50-400 holes that have a +/- .001 tolerance. I know the best way would be to have a laser or waterjet rough the holes and finish them in a mill, but that isn't an option. Currently we are working on 35"x55" sheets and are really struggling to get enough support under them to drill without massively deforming the sheets. Does anyone have any advice on what else we could try?

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    I had some 4 foot long 3 inch wide strips of stainless steel sheet to drill once with rows of 3/8” holes.

    Used double side tape and 1 inch plywood strips as a backing.

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    Maybe I'll see if the boss will go pick up some plywood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cplbooth54618 View Post
    We often make these large parts from 1/8 to 1/4 stainless sheets. They typically have 50-400 holes that have a +/- .001 tolerance. I know the best way would be to have a laser or waterjet rough the holes and finish them in a mill, but that isn't an option. Currently we are working on 35"x55" sheets and are really struggling to get enough support under them to drill without massively deforming the sheets. Does anyone have any advice on what else we could try?
    It seems to me that your stated tolerance is far tighter than you can achieve with drills alone. Are you also reaming them all?

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    Circle milling to the finished size

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    QT; [Circle milling to the finished size] with an end mill?

    Might you grind the end mill to a drill point. That way having one feed entering the hole as the end mill OD would be in place to circle mill..The time savings applied to drill feed speed so making a better drill hole. Yes a center cutting end mill might also work..(center cutting end mills should have 10 to 15* end clearance.)

    Yes the +- .001 is a bugger even with circle milling.

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    These plates have a total of 792 .688 holes to finish. So for.cost savings we typically drill them then finish with an end mill. The problem is supporting them for the drilling. These parts are usually run in only 2-8 piece runs and aren't always the same hole size and location. Ideally I'd like to see the boss either get a water jet or find a shop with one who could rough the holes that way. But until then we struggle finding ways to support the part without deforming it.

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    I wonder if you could punch the holes ?

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    Particle board works better than plywood, but it will deteriorate with coolant fast, I would use a thicker sheet of plastic its pretty darn flat if not just face mill it.

    as far as the fastest way to do them I would think drill and then boring with a boring head from sanvik or kenametal or type of insert style .but you didnt say what hole size. so a carbide reamer might be best. for that matter what ss type. all this is going to make a difference on what type of tooling you could use.

    programs simple to run, easy to edit no need for other sizes as well.

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    like Doug ask, a turret punch? A Piranha laser-punch-drill machine? use a reamer in the drill head for finished hole.

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    I’ve heard issues with machining water jet parts. Apparently the abrasive becomes embedded in the material and causes excessive tool wear.
    You may want to consider building a vacuum table to hold the sheet down. A ball end mill may make a nice two in one cutter that can drill through then go directly to opening up the holes to size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by memphisjed View Post
    like Doug ask, a turret punch? A Piranha laser-punch-drill machine? use a reamer in the drill head for finished hole.
    I was thinking more on the lines of a finn power punch, or similar machine machine.

    How close is a punched hole ?

    Size should be very close.

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    The very tough cardboard Alro Steel uses to stack steel might be considered. Agree not so good for water jetting.

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    What type of machine are you doing this work in ?

    I worked as a consultant at a place that made vibration isolation tables. These tables would have hundreds of drilled,C/sunk and tapped holes in 4 X 8 sheets of 1/8 thick stainless. This work was done in a large bridge type milling machine with an aluminum sub plate. The work was held down with clamps and vacuum.

    Make Chips Boys !

    Ron


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