Drilling in Brass

I need to drill some 1/8" holes in .07 brass with my shapeoko XXL. I broke off two Amana 51459 0 1/8 bits in short order. Obviously not the correct bit for this job!! I have used it a lot with plastic and aluminum without problem. What would be a good bit to drill into brass sheet?


get a cheap carbide or HSS spot drill and peck drill it.

Brass is soft, and somewhat stringy like copper ( which brass has a large percentage of ) but speed sensitive in drilling, routers generally don’t offer a speed setting of less than 3000 rpm. High RPM will generate lots of heat drilling holes. This likely kills your bits. Coolant or lube may be required if you cant slow the RPM adequately. A cheap 1/8" high carbon cobalt drill bit should adequately drill brass, but its the RPM that the root cause likly. Tom

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Yikes, yeah, don’t try drilling holes in metals with your Shapeoko. You can get away with it somewhat in wood but metals are unforgiving and as you can see, exert a lot more force on your endmills.

You should instead bore the holes with a smaller endmill. Pick up some inexpensive 1/16" 2-flute endmills on eBay and then bore the holes using a helical toolpath. Endmills do not like cutting in a parallel direction to the shaft, they like cutting perpendicular.

Like a couple people mentioned, you can try some drill mills but be very careful! Standard drill bits are meant to run at <3000 RPM, not at 10,000 RPM and that speed can easily cause them to deform and shatter.


As an alternative (that depends on how thick .07 brass is and how many holes you have) you can make some shallow locator cavities (maybe 2mm) using the CNC and then, later, use a drill press to drill them through.