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When you’re boring through sheet metal — and make it look like you didn’t use a chainsaw while drunk — just any bit won’t do.  “Quick” and “simple” aren’t words we generally associate with drilling into steel or aluminum, but that’s what the Rotabroach promises. 

Rotabroach Cutters are designed for precision hole-making in mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum sheet metal and plate stock up to ½” thick.  Their power and finesse comes from the tooth geometry, which is designed to prevent chip clogging. 

We could see where this would be a plus.  It’s pretty easy for a burr or chip to knock the bit out of alignment with the hole.  Because the bits are hollow, they cut around the edge of the hole like a hole saw, so less work is required and no deforming of material or jagged edges occur — as long as you don’t push too hard. 

The Rotabroach system will fit 3/8″ and 1/2″ chucks and uses either spring loaded pilots or “skip-proof” pilots which eliminate pre-drilling operations.

They look like a good alternative to some of the older technology of hole making. Even a bad hole from a conventional drill can be cleaned up a bit with a file or in some cases (not sheet metal) plug welded and started over.  With that said the real point would of course be to drill it right the first time and go on to the next step in the project — and any advantage that a bit like the Rotabroach can yield is a welcome addition.

Street pricing starts at $23.

Rotabroach Cutter [Blair Equipment]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

 

3 Responses to Finds: Rotabroach Cutters

  1. Nick Carter says:

    A machinist friend uses these all the time on his milling machine – they make nice round holes. Much better than hole saws which really aren’t much good for deep holes. They get expensive as the size gets larger – and for a lot of stuff a unibit is just as good. People often use the rotaboraches in mag drills as well.

    There are also Val-Cut trepanning tools, which are pretty cool:
    (UK seller, not sure who handles them in the US, SPI maybe?)
    http://www.lineartools.co.uk/script/site/page.asp?artid=86&cat_id=70
    (homepage in German)
    http://www.valcut.ch/valcut-werkzeuge.htm

  2. Why didn’t they show a picture of a step bit or a punched hole? I would use almost anything before I would try to cut a big hole in thin sheet metal with twist bit.

  3. Jake Strait says:

    Street pricing starts at $23 for one size. Which means drilling a number of different hole sizes starts to add up – unlike a step bit that James mentions. This would certainly be more for a production enviroment.

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