Drill Bit Chatter

As some of you know, my one and only purchase on eBay was the famous Fred G. Sanford Memorial Trailer or simply The Trailer. Tracy is still under-whelmed by its appearance but has conceded its occasional usefulness.

To bring everyone up to speed, the trailer is the back half of a ’67 Dodge Stepside half ton pickup. It really is quite the eyesore. Yet, as anyone who has been to the garden store knows, you really don’t want to toss three sacks full of chicken manure in your trunk. It’s on those occasions that the trailer justifies itself.

This year, the floor boards rotted out. The bed is made of wood, you see, and the old boards were breaking through in places. I said to myself, "This could be really cool. I can replace the old 1-by pine planks with sturdier 2-by douglas fir planks."

I’ve been reading George Buehler’s book, again. While I may have neither the time nor the cash to build an Archimedes class cruiser right now, I figured the little trailer project could be just the fix I needed for my boat building jones.

When I pulled the old planks out, to my surprise and dismay, the entire box fell off the frame. Seems the box was secured to the wooden bed and the bed in turn bolted to the frame.

Oh, well. To the drawing board.

I’ve created a design to better secure the box to the frame and use the planking for added rigidity. This included a set of 2 inch box channel crossbeams.

The crossbeams are 7/16 inch through drilled and then one side is again drilled to 1 inch. This allows a socket to pass through the 1 inch hole and secure the bolt or nut head inside the box channel.

Box Channel Crossbeam

I ordered 3/16 inch mild steel. In retrospect, I should have bought 1/8 or 3/32 inch steel. It would have been strong enough, easier to work, and cheaper.

I’m having trouble with drilling the 1 inch holes. The bit just chatters rather than biting into the steel and shaving out a continuous curl of metal.

I was using a friend’s drill press which was a life saver for the 7/16 inch holes. Yet even at the slowest speed, the 1 inch bit chatters continuously. On occasion of the bit gaining purchase, the bit stalls rather than cuts.

And that’s where we are to date. I was able to cut through one hole and part of a second. Time per hole was between 20 and 30 minutes. There are 90 holes. Do the math. Even if the bit were to hold out, which it wouldn’t, it is folly.

I’m now in search of a machine shop to drill the remaining holes. In the meantime, I’ll continue the pre-paint prep work on the frame. Stay tuned.