Cutting Oil For Drilling Metal – (A Complete Guide)

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.

4 Best Metal Cutting Fluids

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

Model  Brand Volume Weight Price
TAP Magic 10016E EP-XTRAOZ Tap Magic 16 oz 1.08 lbs Check Price
Rapid Tap ‎04Z-NRT Heavy Duty Cutting Fluid Relton 0.12 liters 0.28 lbs Check Price
Oatey G30203 Dark Cutting Oil Morris Products 1 pint 1.06 lbs Check Price
CRC Truetap HD Cutting Fluid 03400 CRC 16 oz 0.92 lbs Check Price

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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