How To Drill And Tap Stainless Steel Tubing?


Below are instructions for properly installing a handrail bracket to a stainless steel tube. This requires tapping and drilling the handrail and then attaching the handrail bracket to the handrail. This may require two people. Another way to connect the handrail bracket to the post, is by welding.

NOTE: For cable systems, handrails must be installed before your cable. The handrail and handrail brackets will provide the necessary support for the posts while the cable is being installed.

Caution: Wear protective ANSI approved safety glasses, working gloves and breathing mask at all times

Tools Required (links included)

Drilling and Tapping

  1. Position handrail on saddles or handrail brackets
  2. Mark your drilling points with a pen using the posts and saddles as a template
  3. Remove saddles from post or handrail bracket (in the case it is removable)
  4. Center punch your marked drilling points; this will keep the drill bit from skidding
  5. Adjust the drill press to 620 rpm
  6. Apply cutting oil; drill the tube at your marked points using Cobalt drill bits. [For round tube only: you will need a self-centering drill press jig
  7. Tap the tube using the hand-powered drill (at low speed) and the corresponding tap
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 to all your marked points
    Screw or Bolt Use this Drill Bit Closest Fractional Decimal Inches
    10-24 NC #25 5/32" 0.1495
    10-32 NF #21 5/32" 0.1590
    M5x0.8mm* 4.3mm 11/64" 0.1693
    M6x1.0mm 4.3mm 13/64" 0.2047
    M8x1.0mm 7.1mm 9/32" 0.2795
    M8x1.25mm 6.9mm 17/64" 0.2716

    Note: If there was an issues tapping, tap again with the next size and corresponding screw


    Tip Sheet - Installing End Caps and Flush Angles