How to Drill Through Steel Beam: 10 Easy Step

If the steel beam is too heavy or the drill machines are not strong enough, drilling may fail. The right tools and precautions are needed to ensure your safety when drilling through steel beams. So, are you currently planning on drilling through steel beams? Well, don’t be disappointed!

This article will teach you how to drill through steel beams. Also, we will provide some of the safety precautions you must take to avoid accidents when drilling steel beams. Let’s get started!

What’s Needed for Drilling Through A Steel Beam?

You must be able to drill through solid steel to demolish it safely and make it unusable. It takes a lot of tools, equipment, and skills to get this job done efficiently and effectively. Let’s look at what you need for this type of project.

  • A drilling machine with a high-powered motor
  • A steel cutting drill bit
  • High-speed steel cone tip inserts for the drill head
  • Specialty waterproof lubricating fluid.
  • Waterproof gloves,
  • Safety glasses
  • Specialized safety gear

How to Drill Through Steel Beam: Step-By-Step Guide

If you’re looking for a dangerous, dirty job, you can have it all with a career in drilling. One day you might need to drill a hole in something. When it comes to metal drilling, you should know precisely how to do this. It’s not an easy undertaking and can be very dangerous if not approached with the right amount of care and knowledge. If you want to learn how to drill into steel, you are going to need the advice below:

Choose the right tool

The tool you choose for drilling into steel will depend on the type of material you are working with and whether it is hard or soft. Mild steel drill bits are best because they can handle greater temperatures and won’t fracture under pressure. Wood and soft metals may require a special sharpening tip. We recommend purchasing the five drill bits that come from Gamma International. You can use this drill bit in wood, fiberglass, plastic, or any other type of metal.

Get the right angle

It might take some time to figure out how to drill into the steel. If you pay attention to the angles, you can save yourself a lot of headaches. The most important thing about this procedure is that it should be performed at 90 degrees. It can be achieved by twisting your hammer and holding it horizontally. If not, the hole will have a sharp and uneven edge, causing harm to the surrounding surfaces.

Hold your drill straight

Metal drilling is risky and should only be done with safety goggles and hearing protection. It is so because you will ruin your eyesight if you are not careful enough. If you’re working on something that is particularly hard, it will help to use a face shield to protect your eyes. When drilling away on metal, your drill mustn’t get knocked sideways or upside down. It would ruin the whole job, so hold the drill straight.

Calculate the force required

When drilling into steel, you need to apply enough force so your drill doesn’t shatter or break. You know whether or not you are applying the right amount of pressure when the drill is going through the metal slowly but with a good grip. If you go easy on it, it might take more time and effort to get through the metal.

Apply pressure

There will be more vibrations as the drilling goes deeper into the steel. So more force will be needed. It would help if you stuck to enough pressure to don’t break through your drill and create a massive hole in your workpiece. If you need to drill a large hole in metal, you should use a hammer drill instead of a standard drill.

Drill through a steel beam

Many people will drill into steel beams to fix a hole in the ceiling or to make a hole for a door handle. Though many will take this for granted, many dangers come with drilling into metal. It includes stones and dust being thrown down and settling on the floor beneath your feet. Though it might not be safe, getting through steel with just a regular drill bit is possible.

Drill at different angles

When drilling into steel, you don’t want to drill at the same angle throughout your whole project. It’s vital to adjust your angle based on the material you’re dealing with. It would help if you used a soft metal bit for drilling into hard metals and vice versa. In the end, you should always choose the best angle for your project.

Never drill sideways

You never want to drill sideways into steel because it will only cause more damage to the surrounding workpiece. Always drill with a steady hand in vertical and horizontal positions only. It would help if you used a little more force when drilling through metal and at a slower speed. If you are overly hard on the steel, it may break or produce cracks around the hole you drilled.

Use oil

Many people advise using water to cool your drill before drilling into steel since oil might create rust. The problem with using water is that it may cause the drill to freeze up from unwanted moisture. Oil is a better choice because it can easily be wiped off and cleaned. Applying oil to the drill bit will also help you remove any build-up from drilling into metal.

Don’t forget your safety gear

Drilling through metal is extremely risky and should never be tried without the proper safety gear. Even if you are only drilling holes in scrap metal, you should always wear safety eyewear or a shield. If you don’t have one of them, at least protect your ears with protective headphones and hearing gear.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Drilling Through Steel Beams?

How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Drilling Through Steel Beams?

Drilling holes in steel is a common task for the carpenter and can be done relatively quickly. However, there are some typical drilling mistakes to avoid before starting your next project. These tips may help you drill more accurately, quickly, and less frustration.

  • As a general rule of thumb, make sure your drill bit is at least 3 times as thick as the piece of wood being drilled into. It will give you enough clearance for the drill to turn without catching or tearing up the material’s surface. If you are drilling a hole in any wood thicker than 1/4″ thick, always drill a pilot hole to start.
  • If you are drilling a pilot hole and the drill bit is smaller than the wood being drilled, make sure you drill to the grain. For example, if you’re drilling into a 2×4, drill with the grain rather than across it. It will help keep the wood from cracking or splitting along its length while drilled.
  • Make sure your bit is sharp and clean before drilling through any wood. Dull bits can tear up or split your material as much as a dull knife blade would cut. Also, these dull bits will slow you down because there will be more pressure to get them moving through the material.
  • Always use sharp drill bits. Dull drill bits induce chattering when the drill bit penetrates and vibrates against the wood. It makes a hole that is not clean and straight, leading to broken or splitting wood. Dull bits are also harmful because they tend to grasp and shatter wood when they catch during drilling.
  • The intense interaction of steel and metal can embed minute bits of fine sawdust into the surface of the wood. Remove color differences between darker and lighter areas before finishing your artwork. So they don’t damage your finish.
  • Wipe the surface with a moist rag before drilling into a dirty pallet or recycled steel. It will remove dirt and debris, so it does not end up in your drilled hole, causing a mark.
  • Ensure that your drill is connected to a leveling tool if you remove your drill from a deep hole. It will prevent the bit from getting out of line and ripping into the surrounding steel.
  • To remove a tapered drill bit, hold it upside down to remove it quickly and without burrs. To protect your hands from sawdust or other particles, wrap pliers in a towel first.
  • Before drilling, make sure that the wood you are using can take the heat generated from the drill bit. Always use wood that has been seasoned and dried out, so there is no danger of it warping from being overheated. If you use reclaimed wood, check for any dry rot or termite damage before drilling.


What type of drill bit is best for drilling steel?

There are a variety of bits available in the market. For drilling steel, you should use a carbide-tipped drill bit.

What drill bit should I use to drill through a steel beam?

You should select a drill bit that is rated for drilling steel. Check the drill bit’s manual for the recommended clearance hole size you need.

How often should I drill with the wrong type of bit per minute?

If you are using a carbide-tipped bit, it can be drilled in 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch per minute. Using a standard bit can be drilled at a much slower rate, 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch per minute.

Can I drill through and then weld both sides?

Yes, you can. Drilling a smaller hole than your desired hole size will provide you with a good start for your welding process. You should be able to spot weld the first side and then weld the other side to it with ease.

What type of machine should I use to make holes in steel?

You can use a conventional drill press or a portable drill press attachment. You can also use hand tools and an electric drill. It is advisable to replace the barrel after one thousand hours of usage if you want to make holes with a carbide end mill.

Final Words

Drilling through steel beams is a time-consuming and challenging task. This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to drill through steel beams. When you need to drill through a steel beam, keep a few things in mind. Use the correct drill bit for the material, use a drill press for accurate drilling, and take your time to ensure a clean hole. If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to drill through steel beams without any problems successfully. Remember to use protective gear and keep your safety in mind while drilling through steel. Happy Drilling!

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Sam Morgan is a professional interior designer and part-time content writer of Drill Villa. He has done hundreds of major projects and sharing his experience with you. He is a tools lover like drill, drill press, drivers, wrench etc. He used and tested thousands of tools and knows which perform better.

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