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Old 07-24-2005, 07:46 PM   #1
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Cutting Holes in Aluminum

I will soon be installing some small low-voltage recessed lights in my Airstream. I need to cut small (approx. 2 1/2") holes in the aluminum ceiling for them. Has anyone tried using a hole saw on their coach? Is there a hole saw available for metal (and one that won't tear the vinyl)?

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Old 07-24-2005, 08:17 PM   #2
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I would cut the vinyl using a razor knife before cutting with a hole saw.Use a compass to draw the circle,then drill a pilot hole using the same diameter bit as the hole saw , insert the hole saw so the teeth are above the vinyl before starting the cut. I think you may risk ripping the vinyl otherwise. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 07-24-2005, 08:21 PM   #3
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Just make certain that the centering drill bit doesn't go thru the outside skin.
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Old 07-24-2005, 10:37 PM   #4
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And keep in mind if lights are on the ceiling - to not cut the electrical wires running fore to aft.

Do a search to find out exactly where the wires are.

If the holes are more to either side, then you only have to be concerned with the individual wires dropping off the center bundle.
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Old 07-25-2005, 01:29 AM   #5
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A little trick I use when drilling through material that is finished with a hole saw is to run the hole saw backwards for mabey 5- 10 seconds. This will run the cutting teeth backwards and precut the finish without ripping it when you go forward.
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Old 07-25-2005, 03:58 AM   #6
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Watch out for ribs and wiring! I believe I would rather cut those holes by hand using snips rather than the hole saw...with a bit of practice you can cut them just as neat and just as quick by hand as by using the hole saw...less chance of something going astray and causing damage. Also you are going to have insulation wrapping itself around the pilot bit causing problems.

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Old 07-25-2005, 08:34 AM   #7
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Keep in mind that the bit may wander as the saw's teeth hit the aluminum. You may consider cutting a template for the hole saw out of 1" stock, and have someone firmly hold it up against the ceiling where you want to cut the hole. This might help minimize any wandering and keep your hole centered and true
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