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street sign post??'s

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by mrbb, Jun 3, 2021.

  1. mrbb

    mrbb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    NE pa
    OK maybe a little off topic
    hope no one minds
    looking for help drilling holes?
    seems simple right??

    But I have a bunch of old road/highway street sign post, I am using to help tie,railroad ties being used a a retaining wall together, till I can drive rebar in them, and then plane to leave attached
    these sign posts are like 12 ft long, 4-5 inches wide(didn;t measure to have exact size, but there from holding up larger signs like exit ramp signs and such()
    they were sunk about 4+ ft into the ground and are in place so cannot bring them into a shop to drill them with a my drill press(didn;t pre drill as unknown where holes would be needed)

    any how, I am trying to drill holes thru these metal posts to allow me to run some lag bolts thru to railroad ties(ties are 12x12x inch x 15 ft long heavy duty bridge decking railroad ties)


    any how for the life of me I cannot seem to get a drill bit that will drill thru them
    I don;'t have means to run power to where there at, so using cordless tools/drills

    I have tried a variety of different drill bits all claiming for harden metals
    tried rilling at slow speeds, higher and HIGH speeds, little to light pressure to as hard as I can push
    I am always using cutting oil
    and to date broken and dulled more bits than I made any holes

    I have NO clue what the metal type is on these posts, some are rusting on surface but solid under a light coat of it and are about 30+ yrs old and been outside all the time I have them

    anyone have any clue what BETTER drill bit to try or use here
    I am starting out at 1/8 inch here and just not getting any where

    I have cut these post with a cordless angle grinder and a thin cut of blade and they cut like anything else,

    but drill bits don;t seem to work on it HAHA!

    there was a bout 5 ft of pre drilled holes, so some how they made them, but not I am adding rows and need more new holes, I cannot e=seem to make any!!

    I don't have pictures handy but can get some if that helps

    looking for idea's on how to drill here, (don;t have torches or die grinders to use)
     
  2. ianjoub

    ianjoub Senior Member

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  3. Jonas302

    Jonas302 Senior Member

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    if you have a masonry bit give that a try you can google special ways to grind them to make them work better Otherwise the bits ianjoub linked to do work quite well

    A 243 would make quick work of it and get some target practice......
     
    Vetech63 likes this.
  4. hosspuller

    hosspuller Senior Member

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    I believe the problem is you. As you waver, the drill point stops cutting and rubs dulling the edge. A drill press has more pressure and able to hold on spot. I think the posts are rolled into shape work hardening the metal for rigidity. Even mild steel requires a good amount of pressure. Make sure the drills are marked HHS (high speed steel) Split point drills will help with the pressure needed to cut. Carbide drills will help too but since you're drilling by hand, likely to chip and break the insert.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  5. mrbb

    mrbb Well-Known Member

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    OK thanks guys for suggestions and info

    first,. as for shooting a .243, that's not a options as there currently both sunk in the ground 4+ ft and bolted to my retaining wall, and cannot go on neighbors side to do any shooting at it HAHA!
    ad for drill bits , I have tried these bits
    https://ttp-hard-drills.com/

    they would start to drill/cut metal for about 50 seconds and then just STOP and just spin doing nothing

    Not sure if there of a same or lesser quality than the one's suggested

    anyone have any experience with both?

    and s for the drilling problem being me?
    I gather i can be part of it, bit I have drilled thousands of holes without a press and never struggled any where near this before!

    I have tried some impact bits made for harden steel, and they did nothing, wouldn;t even start a hole at all, (using a punch for location too, not blind trying )


    I have NOT tried any carbide buts yet

    my goal is to make some 3/8 or 1/2 holes , if I can veer get a bits to work!

    I have tried again low and high speed drills and impact drivers(using bits for them)

    I have not tried a concrete bit, but do have many
    have to look into that and see what needs to be done to them to maybe work

    I have also tried some step bits as well
    dewalt ,Milwaukee , and then the Cheaper harbor freight one's, which to be honest worked just as well as the others on this stuff before stopping!
    only a LOT cheaper 5-6 times cheaper??

    IF I can get a 1/8 inch or so hole started, I was able to get them to about a 1/4 inch using these, but then they will just stop cutting as well

    never thought it would be this hard to drill some simple holes in rather thin metal!
     
  6. Nige

    Nige Senior Member

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    Any chance that the existing “drilled” holes were actually punched into the steel.? That would explain why you can’t drill it.

    A photo would probably provide the answer.
     
  7. Jonas302

    Jonas302 Senior Member

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    if you have a cheap masonay bit just try it as is I was just pointing out that there is a special way to grind them to make it work better.
    Boss decided he was a knife maker one day so buys some blanks and tells me to drill holes in them hard as glass we ruined a dozen good bits in the drill press tried a cheapy carbide tipped masonry bit and blasted strait though I haven't used that trick since but worth a try

    Oh and sign posts are hard and brittle made to shear when you hit them
     
    mrbb likes this.
  8. mrbb

    mrbb Well-Known Member

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    ]

    I have no idea if they were punched, but its possible I am sure
     
  9. Bootheal

    Bootheal Senior Member

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    Small generator and mag drill???
     
    donkey doctor likes this.
  10. eastroad

    eastroad Member

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    Lot of small equipment, I know, but do you have a plasma cutter? Generator and a small air compressor required too, but will cut pretty near anything. Slip a piece of tin between the post and the tie to keep from starting a fire.
     
  11. mrbb

    mrbb Well-Known Member

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    NO I don't have a generator or a plasma cutter
    and where its at its just not worth trying to get them things there, its not critical I drill these holes, its more about just making life easier if there there, not a structural deal here!

    but i I could with tools I have to can buy for a fair price, I will make a go at it
     
  12. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    Instead of drilling holes, would a clamp and a lag screw on each side of the post be doable ?
    It wouldn't need to be a clamp. Short pieces of galvanized angle iron should do the same thing.
     
    DB2 likes this.
  13. mrbb

    mrbb Well-Known Member

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    thanks for idea,
    however I am just trying to keep things looking the same way if I can
     
  14. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    Oxy-acty torch for the entry hole ? Drill the exit hole ?
    Can you turn the post to be able to burn both holes ?
    A pipe reamer works awesome to make burnt holes pretty to the eye. I have done a lot of holes with one.
     
  15. Old Doug

    Old Doug Senior Member

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    I would go to a highway barn and ask the guys there what they use to make a hole or at least they could put you in touch with the sign guys.
     
  16. mrbb

    mrbb Well-Known Member

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    the post are sunk in the ground already and bolted to several timbers already where holes were
    so NO cannot torch hole in things(don; have torches where this wall is or have any to take there)


    and I doubt going to the DOT station would be any help,as I am gathering the sign post come pre drilled when they buy them, as when I got mine yrs ago, that's how they all came to me, all the same size , hole sin same places!
    not to mention the one's I have are maybe 25-30+ yrs old, so doubt they even use teh same supplier or posts , and new one's might be made of different metals?


    I ordered a few different bits to try and if none work , I plan to try converting an angle grinder with a 1/2 drill chuck, and then try a carbide double cut Burr bit, as I would have to think that would work, and if not, use die grinder bits to make holes I need!

    as I do have a cordless angle grinder, but don't have a cordless die grinder! and regular cordless drills won;t turn things fast enough to do anything! or would take a month of Sundays or more !
     
  17. mrbb

    mrbb Well-Known Member

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    Just to add an update
    I ordered a few drill bits and have been waiting on shipping, but today my repair guy gave me a step bit to try, one made by a company called TEMO (bit # 1525)
    and the sucker just ate right thru the metal
    I tried other step bits I have by a few different brands and none would drill thru these sign posts, but thins thing just went right thru with a slow speed and some pressure on things and just ate!

    so a heads up if anyone one need a good step bit for hardened steel

    the other two bits in pic's , I tired (as well as others wouldn;t drill thru at all along with many others I didn;t know who made them
    so I am impressed at this Temo one working so well!
     

    Attached Files:

    donkey doctor and Jonas302 like this.