Cutting Oil For Drilling Metal - (A Complete Guide) (2023)

Do you ever wonder about cutting fluids? What do they do when you are drilling through metal? If you are getting into drilling, you will surely come across cutting fluids. So, knowing about them is important otherwise, you won’t get the best use out of them.

Let me tell you; they are quite crucial for drilling through metal. And here, I will be answering most of the important questions associated with cutting oil for drilling metal. Stick till the end to learn about cutting fluids in depth.

Also that is a must read guide, In case if you are having hard time in choosing drill bits for stainless steel.

Why A Cutting Fluid is the Secret Weapon For Drilling Metal?

1. It reduces friction & speeds up the overall drilling process.

2. It helps to cool down by working as a coolant. Regardless of how slowly you operate a sharp tool, the cutting edge will create significant amount of high temperatures. Instead of the whole device, the cutting edge plays a crucial role in cutting. You need to keep the temperature condition of this cutting edge at a minimal level, just enough for melting and separating the molecules. Instead of cooling the edge, the fluid reduces the temperature for the bulk of the cutting tool.

3. It helps to get rid of chips. You can see practical results when using softer abrasive metals, such as stainless, copper, aluminum, etc. Despite being cut with a highly sharp tool, the chips can still be prone to have clogged-up issues. They may jam themselves between the cutting machine and the remaining stock.

(Video) Does Cutting Oil for Drilling Metal Help? Let's find out!

How do you apply cutting fluid while drilling metal?

Well, the application of the cutting fluid is pretty straightforward. The purpose is to provide lubrication and give it a little bit of coolant. You can simply apply some cutting fluid to the area where you want to start drilling. Just take a brush and wet it with the cutting fluid. Lastly, dab onto the metal and then start drilling.

How do you choose the best cutting fluids?

You can’t just go to a store and pick any cutting oil. You will have to consider several factors to choose the best one for your needs. These are the following factors that you have to think of –

  • The material type that you want to use the fluid on. Different oils are suitable for different materials.
  • The kinds of machining you are looking to get out of the cutting fluid.
  • The safety and health factors that may impact your surroundings. You have to think about that before you choose cutting fluid for your need.

4 Best Metal Cutting Fluids

Here’s a quick look at some of the best metal cutting fluids you can find out there.

Model BrandVolumeWeightPrice
TAP Magic 10016E EP-XTRAOZTap Magic16 oz1.08 lbsCheck Price
Rapid Tap ‎04Z-NRT Heavy Duty Cutting FluidRelton0.12 liters0.28 lbsCheck Price
Oatey G30203 Dark Cutting OilMorris Products1 pint1.06 lbsCheck Price
CRC Truetap HD Cutting Fluid 03400CRC16 oz0.92 lbsCheck Price

What are the major types of cutting fluids?

There are typically 7 types of cutting fluids that you get to see. They are –

  1. Straight oil
  2. Mineral oil
  3. Soluble oil
  4. Synthetic liquids
  5. Solid paste lubricants
  6. Cutting oil
  7. Semi-synthetic fluids

What is a good substitute for cutting oil?

There are several substitutes that you can try out for cutting oil. Kerosene is quite effective if you are cutting or drilling through metal. Other than that, Windex, water, silicone spray, and any kind of thick lubricating oil should also work.

(Video) How to Use Cutting Oil for Cutting Metal - Kevin Caron

Can olive oil be used as cutting oil?

No, olive oil doesn’t have a similar smoke point as cutting oil. Because of the properties of olive oil, it doesn’t provide the similar effect as a cutting oil would provide.

What is the difference between cutting oil, regular oil, and motor oil?

The major difference between cutting oil, regular oil, and motor oil is in their additives. Usually, cutting oil is sulphurated, which isn’t the case for the other two oil. Because of this, the characteristics of the oils are also different.

While cutting oil provides great lubrication and coolant features, regular oil turns out to be sticky. Motor oil, on the other hand, tries to keep metals from touching each other ultimately. So, these are all different in how they react to metal applications.

Can I make my cutting oil?

Yes, you can easily make cutting oil by yourself. It’s quite easy, and there are plenty of methods to make your cutting oil.

Which cutting fluid is used for drilling in cast iron?

You won’t be using any traditional cutting fluid for drilling in cast iron. You will have to use a dry air jet to drill through cast iron.

Why can’t I drill through metal?

You can’t drill through metal because you are probably not following the correct method. You will need to have proper lubricants, drill bits, and a drill machine to drill through metal. It’s because metal is known for creating a lot of friction, which makes the drilling process quite difficult.

(Video) Best Lube for Drilling Stainless Steel

Before you start drilling any metal, preparation is key and it is worth taking the time to complete the following checklist.

  • Determine which metal you are going to drill
  • Chose the correct type of drill bit to drill metal
  • Pick an ideal power drill
  • Get a metal fluid or lubricant
  • Keep your hands, eyes, nose, and body protected
  • Decide at what speed you are going to drill
  • Make sure you know whether the steel is hardened or work-hardened

How to Drill into Metal?

Want to know how to drill into metal? Let’s get through the basics very quickly.

  • You have to wear all the safety gear first.
  • Then, put a wooden piece above the metal you want to drill.
  • Make sure to create a pilot hole on the metal before drilling through it.
  • Apply some cutting oil or fluid to the metal and then start drilling through it.
  • Don’t forget to lubricate in between the drilling process.
  • Take it slow with the drilling process.
  • Whenever you see smoke coming out, stop for a bit.
  • Finish off the drilling with some cleanup.

What is the best speed for drilling metal?

Slow speed works out the best when you are drilling through metal. Any drill with a 3000 RPM speed should have the capability to drill through most metals. So, I would say that’s the best speed for drilling metal.

What Experts Recommend For Drilling Metal Effectively?

  • Norseman stuff is an excellent option for drilling or tapping anything dry. You will get precise results even for power tapping. However, cleaning it is a little bit of a hassle due to its stickiness.
  • Viking and Norseman are great brands for bits. With magnum bits, you are less likely to get slipping issues when using in hand drills. You can even handle tough materials precisely since they feature a 135-degree angle. This makes the bits more long-lasting. They function better than others.
  • If you use a cheap quality drill or tap oil, your drill bit may refuse to cut your particular object. Don’t rush. Take time for drilling each hole to get professional-grade results. The drill bit will give you a sign if you are doing wrong.
  • Using the right tools, proper feed rate, correct pressure, and a good-quality cutting fluid can make your drilling and tapping procedure smooth and straightforward
  • Make sure to start with a small hole when drilling any metal items, regardless of the bit size. This is even more crucial when you are not using a drill press to drill metal. Otherwise, you will see the skating in the whole area.
  • It is a good rule of thumb to use an ideal grade of metal cutting fluids or oils when drilling in any ferrous metals. Always use cutting oils instead of lubricating oils since they are not the same.
  • Before drilling, dip the bit’s cutting edge into the oil to make everything easier. Bits will show long-term durability. Every time you drill, make sure to use the oil.
  • Also, knowing about the ideal speed of the bit is vital. Larger drill bits will need reduced drill speed.


All in all, now you know everything about drilling through metal and where the cutting fluids come into play. They are a very integral part of drilling metal because they can fight the friction that you usually get on metal drilling.

Douglas Harper

We love that Douglas Harper is a Tool Mechanic Expert. Born in Milwaukee and Harper has always had a fascination for all things mechanical and received an engineering degree from Vaughn College in the United States.

Feeling motivated by the success of his early projects, Harper proceeded with a focus on beginner DIY Tool Projects and simple home improvement solutions. Harper has been in this niche for more than 15 years. he’s a super knowledgeable woodworker and a metalworker, homesteader and so much more.

At Present days, he is a father of two kids. If he’s not working on a project at his workshop then you can find him checking out new tools online or at the nearest hardware. He also splits his time to create contents that share his practical experience.

(Video) How To Drill Holes In Steel - The Ultimate Guide!

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When drilling metal should I use cutting oil? ›

We recommend you always use a metal cutting fluid or lubricant when you are drilling. There are 3 main reasons you should use a cutting paste: Reduce friction. Assist cooling.

What is cutting oil for drilling? ›

Cutting oil is designed to maximise the life of cutting and drilling equipment; working under extreme pressure, improving performance and extending the life of tools. Cutting oil improves machine finish, lubricates to reduce tip welding and prevents pitting and metal seizures.

What oil do you use for metal cutting? ›

WD-40 and 3-In-One Oil work well on various metals. The latter has a citronella odor; if the odor offends, mineral oil and general-purpose lubricating oils work about the same. Way oil (the oil made for machine tool ways) works as a cutting oil.

Can you use WD-40 as a cutting oil? ›

WD-40 Specialist® Cutting Oil - WD-40 Specialist® | WD-40 Company Asia. Suitable for use on all metals. Designed to prevent pitting and metal seizures, ease mechanical processing of metals, reducing frictional heat accumulation and frictional forces. Reduces cutting torque and improves cutting efficiency.

Where do you apply cutting oil? ›

How to Use Cutting Oil for Cutting Metal - Kevin Caron - YouTube

Can you use mineral oil as cutting oil? ›

Mineral oil could be recommended for use with local cutting machines reducing the huge amounts of waste oil produced in the country. (resist thermal breakdown). However, water is a good conductor of heat but its boiling temperature is low and cause rusting of moving parts and therefore it is not a good lu- bricant [1].

Can you use vegetable oil as cutting fluid? ›

Compared to mineral-oil-based cutting fluids, studies have demonstrated that vegetable-oil-based cutting fluids meet cleaner manufacturing standards with good or better efficiency.

What is the difference between cutting oil and regular oil? ›

The key difference between cutting fluid and lubricant is that cutting fluids can lubricate the interface between the cutting tool's cutting edge and the chip, whereas lubricants can lubricate between hard materials by reducing the friction between the objects.

How do I make my own cutting oil? ›

How to Make Cutting Oil
  1. 1 quart of motor oil.
  2. 3 cups of dish soap.
  3. 4 gallons of water.

Does canola oil work as cutting oil? ›

Experimental results show that canola- based cutting fluid gives the best performance due to its higher lubricant properties with respect to other cutting fluids at the constant cutting conditions (spindle speed of 750 rpm and feed rate of 0.1 mm/rev).

What is the ratio of cutting oil and water? ›

Product Recommendations: SYNTHOMAXX-111 Cutting Oil is typically recommended for use at water/oil ratios of 10:1 to 20:1 in grinding, cutting, drilling, forming, planning, milling and turning operation on a variety of carbon and alloy steels ranging from soft to medium hardness.

What are the four types of cutting fluids? ›

Types of cutting fluids
  • Soluble oils (emulsions) Soluble oils are stable emulsions formed by the addition of mineral oil to water in specified proportions (usually 1-20% of oil to water). ...
  • Straight oils. ...
  • Synthetic fluids. ...
  • Semi-synthetic fluids. ...
  • Cooling. ...
  • Lubrication. ...
  • Improvement of tool-life. ...
  • Removal of chips.

What are the advantages of using cutting fluid? ›

During machining, use of cutting fluids improves machined surface finish and reduces cutting tool wear. In general, cutting fluids also have anti-corrosion properties, which protect machined surfaces from corrosion. Cutting fluids also save power consumption by reducing the machining forces.

Why do we use cutting fluid? ›

What is cutting fluid? Cutting fluid lubricates, cools and protects metalworking processes such as machining, grinding, finishing, broaching and cutting.

What is the best speed to drill metal? ›

Drill at a Slow Speed

Hard metals like steel and larger drill bits require even slower speeds. With a small twist bit (1/16 in. to 3/16 in.), you can drill through most metals at 3,000 rpm. For larger twist bits (11/16 in. to 1 in.), 350 to 1,000 rpm is recommended.

Why is my drill not making a hole in metal? ›

Regular drill bits are not designed to cut through metals. Therefore, they can easily wear away. So you need hard bits which can drill through metals without being damaged.

How do you dilute cutting oil? ›

  1. LUBEGARD Cutting Oil is a heavy duty water emulsion coolant designed for use in all metal cutting processes. ...
  2. Stock No. ...
  3. · Safe and easy to use and clean up. ...
  4. For general purpose, use a dilution of 1-part oil to 40-parts water. ...
  5. “If you don't have. ...
  6. lubrication qualities.

How do you test for cutting oil? ›

A refractometer can be used to test the concentration of industrial / metal cutting fluids. Testing the concentration is important as having a high or low concentration can contribute to adverse health effects, ineffective lubrication, machine breakages and bacterial contamination.

What is the best cutting fluid for aluminum? ›

Tap Magic Aluminum is the cutting fluid of choice for any work on aluminum, brass, copper, and other soft metals. Unlike some other fluids on soft metals, it will not stain the surface of the work. Precision is always excellent and the finish is always superb. All cuts on aluminum, magnesium and other soft metals.

Is cutting oil flammable? ›

Users also should check the flash point of their cutting oils so they know the temperature at which an oil emits enough vapor that it is likely to ignite. Typical flash points range from 250° to 350° F (121° to 177° C) or higher.

Can you use vegetable oil for drilling metal? ›

Vegetable oil is a good choice because it won't burn and the metal doesn't come into contact with water. The key here is to use a fluid that is non-abrasive and able to withstand heat. That's why I said everything will be fine even used motor oil.

What type of vegetable oil is used in machining processes? ›

Metalworking fluids (MWFs) are one of the major types of lubricants used in machining. Mineral oil-based CFs are cheaper and possess good shelf-life, hence the usage of them is quite high in the industries.

Does cutting oil go bad? ›

Normal Shelf Life: In general, the recommended shelf life for oils and greases is typically five years when stored properly in the original sealed containers. Industrial and automotive oils may show deterioration by one or more of the following: • Cloudy appearance or strong odor.

What is a good substitute for cutting fluid? ›

Thus neem oil and water melon seed oil was studied and made as an alternative as cutting fluids in order to improve the life of the tool, improve surface finish in work piece, prevent corrosion in a steel, maintaining dimensional accuracy.

What kind of oil do you use in a drill press? ›

Dual and trig-purpose oils can be used in hydraulics, lube boxes, and oil sumps. On the other hand, a drill press machine or grinder will need oil with light viscosity. This is to optimize the cooling rate, flush the metal chips, and deliver high-pressure without producing foam.

What is a water soluble cutting fluid? ›

Soluble cutting oils contain 50% to 80% mineral oils which form a milky white emulsion when mixed water. And semi-synthetic cutting oils contain 30% to 50% mineral oils which form white translucent when mixed water.

Can you use olive oil for cutting oil? ›

What Not to Use on a Cutting Board. You should not use any type of cooking oil on your board, such as olive oil, vegetable oil, or regular coconut oil, because they will go rancid. Also keep in mind that excess moisture is bad for wood. Never soak your cutting board or let it sit in water for extended periods.

Can you use cooking oil for drilling? ›

Vegetable oil should NEVER be used to lubricate mechanical parts.

Do you mix cutting oil with water? ›

Care should therefore be taken and the oil should be poured gradually into the water. The emulsion will remain stable if the oil molecules are dispersed into the water and not the other way round – which would result in something similar to mayonnaise (water molecules dispersed in water).

What are the two most common categories of cutting fluids? ›

Cutting oils and water miscible types of cutting fluids are the most widely used. Gasses are sometimes use.

What is soluble cutting oil? ›

Soluble and semi-synthetic cutting oils are emulsified in water and used in both light and heavy-duty operations. These products are a blend of naphthenic oil, emulsifiers, additives and suitable bactericides which can be used for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

What kind of oil do you use for a drill press? ›

Machine Types

Dual and trig-purpose oils can be used in hydraulics, lube boxes, and oil sumps. On the other hand, a drill press machine or grinder will need oil with light viscosity.

How do you drill through a steel plate? ›

How to Drill Hard Steel - YouTube

Is cutting oil different from motor oil? ›

The key difference between cutting fluid and lubricant is that cutting fluids can lubricate the interface between the cutting tool's cutting edge and the chip, whereas lubricants can lubricate between hard materials by reducing the friction between the objects.

Is WD-40 good for drilling steel? ›

Why Use WD-40 Multi-Purpose Cutting Oil | Toolstation - YouTube


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