Learning, Drilling,

How to Drill Titanium (6 Expert Steps)

This short and simple guide will help you learn how to drill titanium.

Drilling titanium can be challenging, especially if you don’t execute the proper technique with the right drill bit types. Otherwise, you may have to search for ways to remove broken drill bits from titanium. I’ve suffered the same fate in the past quite a few times and learned some valuable tricks during those incidents. Today, I hope to share that knowledge with you.

In general, to drill titanium:

  • Clamp the titanium object to a stable surface.
  • Determine the location of the hole.
  • Wear the necessary safety gear.
  • Check the carbide-tipped drill bit’s sharpness.
  • Set the power drill to moderate speed and pressure.
  • Drill the hole.

You’ll get a detailed explanation in the below step-by-step guide.

6 Easy Steps to Drill Titanium Alloy

Things You’ll Need

  • Power drill
  • Carbide-tipped drill bit
  • Suitable titanium object for drilling
  • A clamp or bench wise
  • Coolant lubricant
  • A pencil or marker pen

Step 1 – Clamp the Object You Will Be Drilling

First, find a suitable place to clamp the thing you will be drilling. For instance, a flat table would be a great choice. Use a suitable clamp for this process. Securing the object to a table will help you significantly during the drilling process.

Or use a bench wise to secure the titanium object.

Step 2 – Determine the Drilling Location

Then, inspect the titanium object and determine a perfect location for drilling. For this demonstration, I choose the center of the object. But your requirement might vary, so change the hole location according to it. Use a pencil or marker pen to mark the drilling point. If needed, create a small pivot hole before the actual drilling process.

Step 3 – Wear Safety Gear

Because of their toughness, drilling titanium alloys is not an easy task. Due to the complicated nature of this process, an accident can happen anytime, anywhere. So, it is best to be ready.

  1. Wear safety gloves for hands protection.
  2. Wear safety glasses for eye protection.
  3. Wear safety shoes if you are concerned about electrical shock.

Step 4 – Check the Drill Bit

hand holding a drill bit in zoom
Video | Project Farm

As I mentioned, I’m using a carbide-tipped drill bit for this process. Carbide-tipped drill bits are the best option for drilling titanium. But remember to check the drill bit properly before starting the drilling process.

For instance, if you use a dull drill bit, it might begin to shake during the drilling process. When the drill bit cannot go through the titanium, it will rotate at the same position and shake.

Hence, check the drill bit’s sharpness. If it is dull, use a new one that can get the job done.

Step 5 – Set the Speed and Pressure

To drill successfully, you must use the right speed and pressure.

Too much speed or pressure might overheat the drill bit. Before you know it, you’ll have to deal with a broken drill bit.

So, set the speed to moderate settings. And apply medium pressure while you are drilling. It is essential to let the sharp metal pieces escape during this process; high speed and pressure won’t allow it to happen.

Step 6 – Drill the Hole

After double-checking everything, you can now start the drilling process. The drill bit will heat up quickly due to the high friction between the drill bit and the titanium, and eventually, it will break.

coolant lubricant
Video | Project Farm

To avoid this, you can use coolant lubricant.

heat sink lubricant in action
Video | Project Farm

I’m using a LENOX Protocol Lube, an excellent heat sink lubricant for cutting and drilling metal. For the drilling process, follow these steps.

  1. Connect the drill bit to the power drill.
  2. Connect the drill to a suitable outlet.
  3. Place the drill bit on the marked location (or the pivot hole).
  4. Start drilling.
  5. Remember to apply Lenox Protocol Lube while drilling.
  6. Complete the hole.

Best Drill Bit for Drilling Titanium Alloys

Choosing the best drill bit for the job is vital when drilling titanium.

For the above demonstration, I used a carbide-tipped drill bit. But is it the best option? Are there any other drill bits for drilling titanium? Carbide-tipped drill bits are the best option, BUT- You can also use Cobalt HSS and Titanium-tipped HSS drill bits.

Carbide-tipped Drill Bit

The carbide-tipped drill bit is best if you want to drill nonferrous metal, and these drill bits will outlast cobalt drill bits by a factor of ten. So, if you drill 20 titanium sheets with a cobalt drill bit, you can drill 200 sheets with a carbide drill bit.

Quick Tip: Aluminum, copper, bronze, and brass are nonferrous metals. Precious metals such as gold, titanium, and silver are also nonferrous.

Cobalt HSS

Cobalt HSS, aka Cobalt High-Speed Steel drill bits, come with a higher steel strength and excellent heat resistance capabilities.

Titanium Tipped HSS

These drill bits are specially designed to cut through hard metal such as titanium. And they can reduce heat and friction significantly. (1, 2)

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) titanium – https://www.thoughtco.com/titanium-facts-606609
(2) friction – https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z78nb9q/revision/2

Video References

BS in The Shop

Haas Automation, Inc.

HomeMade in Lviv

Mistry MakeTool

BS in The Shop

Ultimate Handyman

Project Farm

The Honest Carpenter

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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