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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
scored a cool polished stainless rear fender strut at Flyrite's open house last week, but it is a 1/2 in. too long. I figger I can tape up the end, and cut with a cutting wheel, but how in the heck can I drill a new hole in it? It is 3/16 thick.

Also, the strut is tall and the middle, then has bends at the outer edges that come close to outer edges of the tire. I have plenty of clearance for tire growth or mud gobs in the middle of the tire, but it will be around 3/8 in clearance at the closest points near the outer tire edge. Is that enough clearance?

I could heat it up and bend it outward. It is covered, but how far will it burn the finish from the heated spot?

Thanks guys. I don't have much experience with stainless.
 

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you want to drill slow and steady any fast speed will temper it quick and it will be hell going through.
 

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I got about 3/8" clearance on my rear tires sidewall to
the fender. tight yes, but so far no probs.

Try a Cobalt drill bit when you drill the stainless, & start out with
a center drill, or smaller diameter bit (or two) & work up to the final
hole diameter. a little cutting oil won't hurt either.

do you already have the fender? then how's the fit between the struts?
 

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Stainless used in parts like this is usually 304. It doesn't get hard from heat because there's not enough carbon in it. It does work harden so you want to use a good sharp drill and keep constant pressure on it. Using a dull drill and trying to "wear" a hole through it will work harden that spot. Too high of a drilling speed will burn up the drill. A HSS drill should be run at 20-40 SFM in 300 series stainless which is around 200-400 RPM for a 3/8" drill so you can see why that creates problems.
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Stainless is great to work with. It TIG weld nicely. If TIG welding tubing, like for handlebars, you should do an Argon gas purge for a good through weld. It is an ornamental steel, not structural, but if used in the right format and thickness it is strong enough for brake mounts, rotors, struts, handlebars, and on and on. Polishes up nice as well if yah get a 180 grit or better!
 

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Stainless used in parts like this is usually 304. It doesn't get hard from heat because there's not enough carbon in it. It does work harden so you want to use a good sharp drill and keep constant pressure on it. Using a dull drill and trying to "wear" a hole through it will work harden that spot. Too high of a drilling speed will burn up the drill. A HSS drill should be run at 20-40 SFM in 300 series stainless which is around 200-400 RPM for a 3/8" drill so you can see why that creates problems.
Thanks for the info. Bookmarked! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the good info. I scored a small drill press at Cummins Tool sale, drilled it on the slowest speed it has. It cut thru it like it was balsa wood! Done deal!

The press and a slow feed rocked!
 

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Hope it's okay to reanimate this thread, 12+ years in the grave. Also, perhaps many of you guys know all of this stuff (discussed at the linked site) already. If so, I don't mean to insult anybody's intelligence. But as a general-purpose ignoramus I found valuable schoolings here, as well as admiring the clarity of the writing.

https://jrcengineering.com/technical-support/stainless-steel-tips/
 

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I copied millwrights real low rpm and water, squirt bottle or hole in water bottle cap or repurposed dish soap bottle. Try to be continuous with the water for best results.
 

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And if it starts 'squeaking' stop drilling! Sharpen the drill bit or get a new one.
 

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Having worked with stainless fasteners in aluminum around saltwater, amti-seize is imperative. The best all around product I've found is Tef-gel. Non-metallic, teflon based paste.
Messy, but, it always releases, cleans up with mineral spirits and will hold torque on critical fasteners.
 
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