How to Drill into Sheet Metal

If you’d like to hang that nice piece of sheet steel on the wall to hold your magnets, you may need to drill some holes in the corners. Here’s an easy and safe way to do it.

Sheet metal is really inexpensive, and makes a nice wall display showcase for your many magnets. But drilling through the corners can be tough – if you support it on your table, you’ll poke a hole in the table. But you’ll bend it if you don’t support it. What to do?

The easiest thing to do is to put a piece of wood, like a piece of 2×4 or something, under the place where you’re drilling your hole. Since it’s scrap wood, it won’t matter when you drill a hole into it.

Now, before you drill, take some steps to protect yourself.

Most important, wear goggles. Sawdust in your eye is bad enough, but those little metal chips that the drill kicks up can seriously mess up your eye.

Next, the edges of the sheet steel can be razor sharp. Once you’ve drilled your hole, the edge of hole will be like that, too. And the little chips are nothing more than pieces of sharpness. Don’t touch them, don’t step on them with bare feet, and don’t inhale them. Brush them into a trash can as soon as you’re done drilling.

If you can, clamp the sheet steel down to the wood. This keeps everything from spinning around and getting dangerous. In the picture, that’s a C-Clamp in the upper right corner.

Clamp the sheet metal to a piece of wood, and use a screwdriver and hammer to make a dent where you plan to drill.

Now, before you drill, mark the spot where you plan to drill. Put the point of a Phillips screwdriver, or just a screw if you have one, at the spot. Smack it with a hammer to make a little dent. When you go to drill the hole, the drill bit will center on that dent and be much safer.

Select a drill bit that is slightly larger in diameter than the screw you plan to use and put it in the drill’s chuck. Tighten the chuck.

Put the tip of the drill into the dent, and press the drill’s trigger. Don’t drill too fast, and don’t push too hard. Just let the drill bit do its work. You’ll know it’s right when you see the little metal chips start curling around the bit.

Drill right on into the piece of wood. Hold the trigger down and lift the bit out of the hole. By spinning the drill in the forward direction but dragging it backwards, you somewhat blunt the sharp edges of the hole.

Sweep the chips and sawdust into the trash right away.

If you’re a perfectionist, you can gently ream out the holes with a rat-tail file to further blunt the sharp hole edges. But, if your plan is to put a screw into the hole, the screw will cover the sharp edges.

There! You did it! And, if you ignore all the warnings about sharp edges, you can use the same method for sheet plastic, acrylic, plywood – just about anything that comes in a sheet and needs a hole. Except bed sheets, of course…

Please note: do not do this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it doesn’t seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability for your usage of it.


©2022 All right reserved


Published by John D Reinhart

Author, technical writer, videographer, actor, and naval historian John D Reinhart is a very busy guy. You can find his novels as

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: