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Old 06-12-2007, 03:47 PM   #1
aqua6306
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How do I drill thru this darn tile?!

Hey guys. Love the advice from the site so far on this project and another I've done. I'm in the middle of a bathroom makeover, and am having a problem with drilling thru the 3/8" porcelin tile in my shower to get ready for my shower door.. I'm using a 5/32 masonry drill bit(slighly smaller than the manufacturers spec- 3/16). Problem is I'm putting all my weight into this tile and can't get thru. In fact, it appears I have melted the tip of the bit a little, even though I stop every few seconds to cool the tip off with water. It cracked thru the surface pretty quickly and then BAM! Any other better product or technique out there that would make this a bit easier. Thanks for any input.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:50 PM   #2
jgleason
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Hi Aqua,

Diamonds! You need to get yourself a diamond bit. Available through the TYW store or Lowes or HD carry them too.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:51 PM   #3
Rd Tile
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PTC drill bits.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:54 PM   #4
Brian in San Diego
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Aqua,

IMHO, the only way to drill through porcelain is with something made of diamonds! I use this eBay store for the diamond stuff I've purchased. I will tell you this...the regular diamond coated twist drills don't work well on porcelain either. I would recommend using a diamond hole saw for porcelain. Some people have used the bits in the TYW store.

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Old 06-12-2007, 04:05 PM   #5
jadnashua
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You need diamonds as indicated. Some porcelains are almost as hard as the diamonds! Have a spray bottle or a wet sponge and keep the bit wet if you want it to last. Drill the size needed, trying to enlarge it after just risks more problems.

the core bits (look sort of like a pipe) take a little skill to start and finish a hole exactly where you want it since it has no center bit. There are a couple of methods to this: slowly, with the bit on an angle so you are starting with only one edge start the hole then slowly bring the drill to perpendicular and then finish it. Another is to drill a through hole in some scrap, center it over where you want the hole, then just go through that until you've got it started all the way around, then you can take the guide off and finish it.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:23 PM   #6
aqua6306
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Thanks guys

Soulda thought of that before-wasn't thinking
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Old 06-12-2007, 05:37 PM   #7
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Best bet is to get a diamond bit, but a good glass/tile porcelain bit will work if you do the following:

- DON'T lean hard on the bit. This will only make it heat up faster, not cut faster.

- DON'T use high speed, this will only heat the bit faster and not speed cutting. A few hundred rpm is all you need.

- DON'T spray water on the bit as it's cutting. This will only make the bit cut more slowly or fail to cut at all.

- DO wobble the drill/bit slowly in a circular fashion as you cut. Wobble only enough to let it grab and cut. Put your hand on the back of the driver, apply moderate pressure, and start moving slowly (2 or 3 seconds per orbit) in a small circle increasing the "angle" (off of straight on) until the bit starts cutting - the difference will immediately be noticeable and a pile of "tiledust" should start trickling down.

- DO pull the bit from the hole and dunk it in a cup of water every 30 seconds or so to cool it. Wipe it off before drilling again or just let the heat from the first few seconds dry it off - it won't cut very well when wet.

I drilled 12 holes with a 5/16" $7 bit this way and the bit is still like new. One hole actually touched the outside of a 13" porcelain tile and I was concerned about chipping or breaking, but no problem - clean hole touching the edge. I put masking tape on the tile first to eliminate walking when starting.

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Old 06-12-2007, 06:48 PM   #8
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Thumbs up

I'll second and third the THK-diamond-tools on ebay.
Their prices are good and shipping is fast. It took 6 days to get mine from time of purchase. I'm in Houston. Someone else reported getting one from them in a couple of days too so perhaps it varies some for the better on either coast.
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Old 06-12-2007, 07:17 PM   #9
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Aqua,

I just drilled five holes in porcelain tiles for a toilet flange. I bought three Bosch carbide bits at Lowe's for about $9.00. It took about ten minutes per hole, though it seemed like ten days. Have a cup of water handy and drill, dip and repeat 'til finished

Point is, if you're looking to do it a.s.a.p. and as cheaply as possible, it can be done. Otherwise, listen to the experts above
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Old 06-12-2007, 07:21 PM   #10
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Not all porcelain tile is created equal...
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:45 PM   #11
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Get a hammer drill and buy some Bosch hammer drill bits. Trust me, nothing works better. I've used them to drill holes as small as an 1/8" and as large as 3/8". They work better and faster than anything else I"ve tried.
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