When I mention the drilling of a solid steel rod it sounds complicated. First it’s a rod and made of solid steel. I am going to help you and save you the precious time which you would spent in going through various different user answers on different kinds of forums. Here everything is given to you in one simple short article – pretty handy right?
Well, there are a few important things. First comes your safety, then a suitable drill press, the right drill bit type, the position of the rod, and of course the drilling speed.
I am going to present to you one of the methods of finding the drilling center on the rod.
So, insert the rod into the chuck of a power drill (generally the chuck accepts up to 1/2” diameter). A drill chuck should center the rod exactly, but run the drill slowly to confirm there is no wobble. You are required to hold the drill firmly and with a hard tip scribe or punch move the point slowly toward the center of the rod. And there is the center, you are half way there.
Another option is to put the rod in a vice, then file a small flat on the top and put a center punch mark on the filed area. You have the option of using a hand drill or a drill press. With a hand drill you need to be very careful because it all depends on your precision. You probably want to first drill the hole with a 1/8″ drill before you go to the 1/4″. Using a drill press is more practical, but just watch the circle the drill bit makes when you are starting to drill, if it is not the same on both sides of the hole you may need to rotate the rod slightly so that the hole goes straight through.
Use cutting oil or liquid dish soap which will keep the drill cool and helps with smooth extraction. Remember that with steel it’s better to go slow! Let the drill cut, don’t put too much pressure on it and know that too many rpms will overheat the drill and dull it. Please also be aware of cheap drill bits, they are known to break easily.
To sum up, choose the right drill press, or if you are a very accurate person, a hand drill, the right drill bit type (you can look at the selection by clicking on the link), lubricate your drill bit, put the rod in vice or chuck, take it slowly and you will get your perfect hole in no time.