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A Compressive Guide to Brass Drilling in 5 Steps

A Compressive Guide to Brass Drilling in 5 Steps

Drilling brass is a critical metal fabrication technique where you make holes in brass sheets, rods, pipes, or tubes.

Whether you want to drill small holes in brass or make large holes, some variables guarantee a successful machining process.

The best part – this guide explores all details of successful brass drilling.

Step 1: Choose the Best Drill Bit for Brass

Whether you are using a manual or automated system, choosing an appropriate drill bit is critical.

Usually brass tends to stick on the sharp edges of a drill bit.

Consentingly, this will reduce the quality and consistency of the drilled holes in brass. To avoid this, you must understand the tools’ basic geometry.

Now, how do you choose a drill bit for brass machining:

Modify HSS Drill Bit


In most cases, the HSS drill bit has a sharp edge. However, will give you problems when cutting brass during the drilling process.

As a result, you may grind the sharp edge to make it flat. The flat edge will cut bras while eliminating the possible material-grabbing phenomenon.

You can learn more about how to modify the HSS drill bit for brass cutting.

Understand Drill Bit Geometry

Knowing drill bit geometry will help you choose the perfect tool for all your drilling applications. Remember, it is the geometry that determines whether the tool is suitable for drilling brass or not.

Among the fundamental aspects you must consider include:

Parts of Drill Bit
Parts of Drill Bit

Rate of twist

There are two scenarios here:

  1. For a high feed rate, always choose a high-twist drill bit. Here, you will remove a large quantity of chips.
  2. High cutting speeds are suitable for low twist-rate drill bits.

In short, you must understand how you wish to drill brass before considering the rate of twist in drill bits.

Point Angle

It is the geometry of the drill bit just at the tip. Remember, according to Rockwell hardness, the values for brass vary between 46 and 90.

Similarly, drilling very hard brass will require drill bits with a large pointing angle.

Lip Angle

First, the point angle will determine the lip angle. Second, it is worth noting that with a large lip angle, the drill bit will be more aggressive.

Therefore, it is important to have a clear balance to avoid:

  • Brill bit failure
  • Binding or
  • Wear

Functioning Length

The length determines how dip the drill bit can cut through brass material. Even though drilling dipper holes in the brass may require longer lengths, it increases the chances of inaccuracy.

In short, when choosing a drill bit for brass, you should consider the following parameters:

  • Pointing angle between 90 and 118
  • Helix angle between 0 and 20
  • Lip relief angle between 12 and 26

For all your brass drilling applications, you can choose straight fluted bit. It has a low tendency to grab the material.

Remember, your drill must have zero rake cutting edge.

Step 2: Know the Drilling Brass Speeds and Feeds

Drilling Through Metal
Drilling Through Metal

When machining brass, there are no specific rules determining the specific drilling brass speeds. Remember, the different conditions will determine various drilling brass speeds and feeds.

On average, when drilling brass, you should opt for 150 to 300 surface feet per minute (SFM).

With this, you will get high-quality surface finishes when preserving the tool’s quality.

Step 3: Understand the Importance of Drilling Brass Lubricant

Drill bit with Lubricant
Drill bit with Lubricant

Drilling results in high frictional and shear forces that can:

  • Damage to the tooling system
  • Compromise accuracy of the tooling system

Therefore, you need a suitable cutting fluid or lubricant to help in heat dissipation. When it comes to brass machining, you can choose:

  • Cutting oils
  • Paste
  • Solid lubricants
  • Water miscible fluids

Not any lubricant or cutting fluid is suitable when drilling brass. Take, for example, active sulfur or chloride in lubricants that may stain drilled brass sections. Therefore, you should avoid cooling fluids containing such chemicals.

In most cases, diluted soluble oil (for light-duty work) and mineral fatty oil (heavy-duty work) will be sufficient.

You can learn more about Choosing Fluids for Machining Metals.

Step 4: Familiarize Yourself with Drilling Brass Tips

Let me share some useful tips that will help you drill brass successfully:

  1. Choose the right drilling machine
  2. Select a recommended drill bit
  3. Wear safety gear – eye, hand, leg, and body protection
  4. Know the brass-grade material you want to drill
  5. Always crate a dimple before main drilling starts
  6. Use lubricant for safe drilling
  7. Properly clamp brass material to prevent unnecessary movements
  8. Start by drilling a small hole
  9. Always deburr the drilled holes
  10. Adhere to recommended drilling speed
  11. Clean and store tools after drilling

Step 5: Start the Actual Brass Drilling Process

Let’s get to the practical aspects of the process. Assuming you have;

  • Suitable drill bit
  • Drilling machine
  • Set brass drilling speed and material feeding speed
  • Chosen suitable cooling fluid or lubricant

It is now time to drill brass metal:

Making Holes on Brass
Making Holes on Brass

# 1 : Clamp Brass

You should clamp brass metal to ensure there is no movement during the drilling process.

# 2: Mark Section you Want to Drill

Identify and mark the exact section you would like to drill.

# 3: Configure Drilling Machine

Fix the drill bit on the Machine. Then make a dimple of the brass section you want to drill.

With these in place, you should begin the metal drilling process. Carefully lower the drill bit on the brass surface. Press the drill bit gently on the brass.

After drilling the desired hole, clean the surface and confirm quality.

Learn more about Safety Drilling Brass and Brass Cutting Drill Bits.

Bonus: Applications of Brass Metal Drilling


In most cases, drilling forms part of the brass fabrication process. For instance,

  • Drilling brass sheets is popular in enclosure systems, mailboxes, etc.
  • Drilling brass plates works well in making brass staircases, brass enclosures, etc.
  • Drilling brass rods makes vital assembly parts in many structural applications such as buildings, automotive systems, etc.


Before you start drilling brass, it is important to choose a suitable drill bid, necessary clamping equipment and configure the machine appropriately.

At KDMFAB, we help you get all the necessary fabricated brass parts depending on your unique requirements and specifications.

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