Drilling a hole in a safe for power


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OilyPablo
April 19, 2013, 03:18 PM
I got a Liberty Colonial for a great price, but there is no power access hole.

Say I want to drill a hole for power - how would you proceed?

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1 old 0311-1
April 19, 2013, 03:47 PM
BIG drill, BIG bit, LOTS of time.

OilyPablo
April 19, 2013, 04:07 PM
This I have. I expect the bit will be ruined - well it will need resharpening. I don't need that big of a hole.

I will line said hole with a nice grommet and run industrial 20A/600V rated wire and terminated inside with an appropriate receptacle, then outside have a dongle with a plug.

X-Rap
April 19, 2013, 04:07 PM
I'd probably use a 1/2 bit and run cord through a rubber grommet then attach the plug just to minimize the hole.
If wiring a plug is a problem then use a good BiMetal hole saw that is larger than the plug and drill in the back or side since it is less noticable and the side and back is thinner.

PlaneJain
April 19, 2013, 04:07 PM
Doesn't it work better to use a small bit, then in steps, work your way up to the size you want?

sota
April 19, 2013, 04:21 PM
http://zenstoves.net/Supplies/KnockoutPunch.jpg

Highland Ranger
April 19, 2013, 05:42 PM
Wouldn't this compromise the fire rating?

sota
April 19, 2013, 05:50 PM
probably.

hence why I haven't tried it yet.

Hilljun
April 19, 2013, 06:01 PM
These are some good and sensible answers. But my way is way more fun and requires some skill.

1. Remove the door and lean it against the wall.
2. Carry the safe out Back ( You may want help with this)
3. Place the safe on cinder blocks (1 on each corner)
4. Clear the area
5. Drill through interior (just till you hit metal)
6. Select your tool of choice and proceed to Shoot a hole ( careful it lines up with hole from step 5.)
The next step is the most important and must be followed or udder chaos is sure to unfold!
7.Skip steps 1. through 6. and go to 8.
8. Take advice from someone other than me.:neener:But feel free to laugh at the thought of my way.

OilyPablo
April 19, 2013, 06:03 PM
Too thick for that punch plus the "drywall" layers AND again I don't need such a large hole.

Hilljun - I'll need to buy a .50Cal for that.

Teachu2
April 19, 2013, 09:04 PM
Actually, I suspect you will be extremely disappointed when you drill this - it's 12ga steel, slightly less than 1/8" thick. A Harbor Freight step bit will go through it without issue.

If you want a neat, clean hole, use a holesaw and start inside. Get as close to the bottom of the back as you can (but above the baseboard of the wall it's going against), and drill through the drywall and metal with the pilot of the holesaw. Stop when the cutter contacts metal, back it out and remove the drywall "plug" from the holesaw. Using the proper size to fit your grommet, enlarge the pilot hole from the outside - a step drill works well here. Install the grommet and wire it up, then use a little RTV to seal the wire entry.

Vacuum the interior of the safe before you load it up. I have a small shopvac that I use when I'm holesawing the drywall "fire lining", which really cuts down on the mess.

sota
April 19, 2013, 09:07 PM
personally I'd want to pass through power and network (put a backup storage drive inside)

Lagarto
April 19, 2013, 09:35 PM
It will definitely effect the fire resistance.

It's a trade off. What's more important fire resistance with all the attendant steam inside the safe or electrical power inside the safe?

I have an uninsulated safe and an over head sprinkler in the safe area.

PGT
April 19, 2013, 09:49 PM
what do you need power inside for? I've got a Liberty/Centurion and I used a rechargeable desiccant pack and battery powered motion sensing lights from Mr. Beam (available at Amazon). I did this after discussing drilling a hole for power in the safe with my local Liberty dealer (they recommended against it).

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41U5h3pdMsL._SY300_.jpg

I put one up top set for 30 seconds and one on each side under the divider set for 15 seconds. Constant movement keeps them on and from experience with these elsewhere in the house, the pair of AA batteries last about a year.

Grmlin
April 19, 2013, 09:55 PM
Are you sure there isn't a plug (hole cover) on the back bottom left (when facing the back). Both of mine had a small cover I had to remove, then I had to drill through the fireboard.

OilyPablo
April 19, 2013, 09:55 PM
Lighting is no problem.

I've about 15 good sized desiccant bags in my main safe, but really just don't want the hassle for this one. I want to go the heated route.

A-FIXER
April 20, 2013, 12:53 AM
Go to the hardware store and buy a powercord 16-2 should do 4' long for about 3.50, a cord end plug in standard 2opening type to attach to powercord a 1/4'' drill bit, run unfinished cord through 1/4'' hole then attach cord end on and plug in the heater... less than 5.00 and a very small hole once you run your cord through hole the if you want buy the epoxy metal fill type and let setup.... your hole is resealed and you now have power inside your safe you can always use ext cord to reach your closest outlet on the wall.

DesertFox
April 20, 2013, 12:59 AM
This is far easier than you'd think. Drill away.

a1abdj
April 20, 2013, 04:20 PM
Are you sure there isn't a plug (hole cover) on the back bottom left (when facing the back). Both of mine had a small cover I had to remove, then I had to drill through the fireboard.

I do not think that I have ever seen a Liberty that was not predrilled for electricity. The newer ones even have the hole through the gypsum on most models, in the event you want to add their electrical kit.

This is far easier than you'd think. Drill away.

This is pretty much the truth. I don't know why people think that this flimsy light weight steel gains magical properties once it's bent into the shape of a safe.

12 gauge steel is 1/10" thick. 11 gauge steel is 1/8" thick. Any inexpensive drill bit, and a cordless drill, will have a hole in about 5 seconds.

The only thing you have to be careful with is the interior fabric. A drill bit will snag this, twist it, and make a mess out of your interior. Make sure you drill through the gypsum slowly, and then use a razor/really sharp knife to slit the fabric at the hole.

Magoo
April 20, 2013, 08:48 PM
I don't know why people think that this flimsy light weight steel gains magical properties once it's bent into the shape of a safe.

12 gauge steel is 1/10" thick. 11 gauge steel is 1/8" thick. Any inexpensive drill bit, and a cordless drill, will have a hole in about 5 seconds.


I'm glad you said this. I thought this was getting a bit carried away. The shop vac, grommet, and RTV are well and good, but this ain't rocket surgery.

themonk41
April 20, 2013, 11:28 PM
I use these and LOVE them in my safe. No FR compromise either! Motion sendored so as I open the door ... BAM light!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0079M7ASM/ref=asc_df_B0079M7ASM2481211?smid=A6FNOZU0CJ96X&tag=dealtmp52789-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395129&creativeASIN=B0079M7ASM

gk2410
April 22, 2013, 08:43 AM
Had to do this with one of my safes. Actually started with a smaller bit for easier penetration, then worked up through a couple more sizes until I could fit a power cord through. They aren't as tough as you think...

PGT
April 22, 2013, 09:25 PM
snapped a pic of my setup....works great (for me). Sounds like it wouldn't be hard to get power in if you really think you need/want it.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y124/PatagonianGT/photo-161.jpg

BSA1
April 27, 2013, 10:40 AM
I would not compromise a fire proof safe. I'm sure you realize that in a fire the electric cord would quickly burn away leaving a hole for the contents to become heated and smoke damaged. Depending on how the contents are arranged inside the safe I suppose there might be a chance of them being fire damaged.

Regular steel safe/security cabinet after drilling the hole I would use some fire resisitant chalking (runs about $6.00 a tube) liberally around the cord and hole.

Dave P.
April 27, 2013, 12:43 PM
It's just a piece of thin steel, drill a hole. pass the cord through.
Caulk it with this.
http://www.shop3m.com/98040054565.html?WT.mc_ev=clickthrough&WT.mc_id=shop3m-AtoZ-fire-barrier-sealant
Dave

lightman
April 28, 2013, 02:20 PM
Both my Fort Knox and my Browning came with a hole. Like the others have said, a cordless drill and a sharp bit will have you a hole before you know it. A hole may compromise the fire rating some, but electricity is nice. Lightman

joeponds
May 1, 2013, 09:34 PM
PGT.
Great info way to go.

docsleepy
May 3, 2013, 12:56 PM
What I think you want to avoid is a fire INSIDE the safe from your wiring getting melted in a fire. Put a small appliance cord thru a small hole and use spackle or what the last guy recommended to restore the heat shielding despite the hole. Separate the wires physically immediately upon entry into the safe so they will not short even if insulation melts from conducted heat. Put a just-large-enuf inline fuse back outside the safe, say 1 amp.

Jim K
May 3, 2013, 11:56 PM
What is a firePROOF safe? I would like one of those.

Jim

arizona98tj
May 4, 2013, 10:08 PM
What I think you want to avoid is a fire INSIDE the safe from your wiring getting melted in a fire. Put a small appliance cord thru a small hole and use spackle or what the last guy recommended to restore the heat shielding despite the hole. Separate the wires physically immediately upon entry into the safe so they will not short even if insulation melts from conducted heat. Put a just-large-enuf inline fuse back outside the safe, say 1 amp.

Just maybe....since your house is on fire and it is hot enough to melt the insulation off the electrical wires inside your safe.....do you really think the house wiring is still intact and providing electricity throughout this blazing inferno? Seriously....maybe the wiring in the "uninsulated walls" of the house, that is burning, has failed....the breakers have long ago tripped (assuming the FD hasn't already cut power anyway)....and there isn't much in the way of electrical power available for your safe.

nyresq
June 10, 2013, 04:21 PM
Every Liberty safe I have ever seen in person had a premade hole for electrical. Many had plugs inserted in them at the factory, but easily pulled out. Check the back of your safe near the floor. If you cant find one, drilling through the back of the safe is not going to be a huge deal. Its heavy gauge sheet metal. Get a 1/2" drill, a new 1/2" drillbit and a good can of spray lube. Drilling steel is not high speed blast away. you will dull the bit in about 10 seconds. operate the drill at a low revolution (200-300 rpms at most) and use lots of lube. A shot of spray every 5 seconds is not too much. you want to keep the bit cool and lubed and it will keep cutting through the steel like butter. Once you are through the steel, the sheetrock is just that, sheetrock... The bit will just keep going. Use a knife to cut the interior carpet before you drill all the way through so the bit doesnt grap it and pull the interior carpet into a balled up mess.

Do not overthink it, its only sheet metal.

Sgt_R
June 10, 2013, 06:04 PM
We have a raised floor at work. The floor tiles are two layers of 12 gauge steel filled with about 1" of concrete (don't ask). I can go through them with a 2" bimetal holesaw and an 18v cordless drill in about 30 seconds. A standard RSC would probably be even easier.

R

Black Butte
June 28, 2013, 12:44 PM
Instead of using a half-inch drill bit, you could speed things up by using a .50 BMG. Simply open the door and shoot through the back panel. :)

neetan
June 28, 2013, 01:24 PM
May I suggest that you please do either of two things.

Choice #1
Spend lots of time drilling and going thru many drill bits. But please be safe just in case you get tired and have a beer. Then spend more time and more beer....... Then give up!!:cuss: And have beer.:fire:
Now the other option ~ send the Safe to me and go and buy a bigger and better safe with a light built in.:rolleyes:

Choice # 2
Buy a led with a battery from Costco's for about $15 and spend the rest of the time cleaning your GUN! :) :rolleyes:

I did #2... :neener:

Officers'Wife
June 28, 2013, 01:59 PM
Too thick for that punch plus the "drywall" layers AND again I don't need such a large hole.

Hilljun - I'll need to buy a .50Cal for that.
You say that like it's a bad thing. I'm confused.

06
June 28, 2013, 04:05 PM
Hope you are joking about shooting a hole in your safe. Way too many things can go wrong with this. My safe is actually a fire proof horizontal file safe. Weighs about 800#s with 8 1" pins. It sits on a concrete slab with brick walls on either side. Am not too concerned about fire with it. If placing your safe on a wooden floor be sure to support it well. Placing a couple layers of gypsum wallboard(sheet rock) on the sides, back, and top will greatly help if a fire starts. If in a closet then line it with double layers of sheet rock to slow fire.

rondog
June 28, 2013, 05:13 PM
People that think a fire is going to enter a gun safe through a 1/2" hole near the bottom and ravage the contents make me laugh. Not to mention the fact that most "gun safes" aren't even close to fireproof. Unless you have a 5-digit true safe, most any RSC won't protect your stuff worth a poot in a fire. Might keep the flames off, but the RSC will just turn into a big steel oven. Protecting valuables from fire effectively is gonna cost you big bucks.

Jim K
June 28, 2013, 08:01 PM
I don't hold with the idea that nothing less than 5" thick face hardened armor plate is acceptable, but anything that can be cut with a chassis punch wouldn't be much of a safe.

Jim

mwmjones
July 1, 2013, 04:37 PM
With the many LED options out there I would say you might not need to drill a hole at all. just my .02 CENTS

oneounceload
July 1, 2013, 08:52 PM
I used a bit just big enough to run the cord from my goldenrod through it. From the inside, it took me about 1 minute with a good bit - it isn't a big deal

natman
July 2, 2013, 02:34 AM
Too thick for that punch plus the "drywall" layers AND again I don't need such a large hole.


Not to mention that the punch requires a hole in the first place.

rondog
July 2, 2013, 02:40 AM
It seems that the Liberty safes I've looked at came with a hole already, and some had a power outlet or strip in them too. Been awhile though since I've looked at one.

razor1334
April 9, 2014, 04:59 PM
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I thought I might add a solution others may find helpful.

If you have a safe without a hole for power and drilling would be impractical or unpalatable to you, and you have half decent soldering skills, you can always repurpose an old computer ribbon cable for running low current power. They are usually thin enough to fit between the door and wall of the safe easily. You will need a pair of terminals for it, then just solder neutral power to one half of the pins and hot to the other. I have used this method to power goldenrods for years without issue. Just make sure the clearance isn't so tight that the door rubs the ribbon.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yp55dlzfkqhxubt/IMG_0070.JPG

sota
April 9, 2014, 06:34 PM
since this thread is active I guess I'll update with the following.

Turned out there already WAS a hole in the back of the safe, just not through the interior panel (drywall.) I drilled that out and did the following...
took a flat 16ga 3 wire extension cord, cut the plug off it, ran it (and a network cable) through the hole, then replaced the cut plug on the wire. That gives me enough electric power inside the safe for the network storage box (Buffalo LinkStation Duo, fyi) and if needed later on a small heater. Annoyingly the LinkStation doesn't make enough heat to raise the temp inside the safe any amount.... was kind of hoping it would kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Drail
April 10, 2014, 11:14 AM
I have drilled safes and unless you are attempting to drill into the lock mechanism they're no different than drilling a hole in your car's trunk. A standard high speed steel bit is fine (you don't need to run it at high speed) Most safe bodies are just two layers of sheet metal with a wet gypsum compound in between. If you're concerned about causing an electrical fire inside look at low voltage lights for patios and decks. Be sure to use a heavy rubber grommet where the wire passes through your hole.

CaptHank
April 10, 2014, 11:24 AM
I did the same as sota, but added a timer to turn the lights on. The heat generated, keeps the safe nice and dry.

http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n539/TheCaptHank/Valhalla/Valhalla001.jpg

razor1334
April 10, 2014, 12:07 PM
Some safe walls are comprised of 12,000 PSI corundum-impregnated concrete surrounded by thick layers of plate steel, and I can tell you that drilling through that is not at all like drilling through a car's trunk. :) Which is why I offered an alternate method if that were the case.

tiamat
April 10, 2014, 12:47 PM
That gives me enough electric power inside the safe for the network storage box (Buffalo LinkStation Duo, fyi) and if needed later on a small heater. Annoyingly the LinkStation doesn't make enough heat to raise the temp inside the safe any amount.... was kind of hoping it would kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

That's a bummer to hear - I was planning on doing the same thing for the same reason. At least it will be secure though.

CaptHank
April 10, 2014, 12:47 PM
http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n539/TheCaptHank/Valhalla/Valhalla002.jpg?t=1397147633

RainDodger
April 14, 2014, 04:05 PM
I've got a 10 year old American Security - one of their pretty good quality safes. I was told it had a hole in it for a power cord. After delivery... no hole. It took me quite a while and about 3 drill bits to get a power cord hole in it. Everything is a trade off. Where I live (on a lake), you definitely want a dehumidifier rod in there, and lights are nice to have as long as there's power there.

sota
April 14, 2014, 06:09 PM
That's a bummer to hear - I was planning on doing the same thing for the same reason. At least it will be secure though.
yea. but it does beat the alternative of TOO much heat. :)
I have the same evr-dry dehumidifer as a lot of other people... so far no signs of issues or even of it being remotely too moist in there.
I can always add a heat rod at a later date... or another LinkStation. :)

jmorris
April 15, 2014, 08:19 AM
I have drilled safes and unless you are attempting to drill into the lock mechanism they're no different than drilling a hole in your car's trunk.

This is correct the only place they have hard plate (behind the mild steel) at is to keep you from unlocking it.

This is still not impossible to drill I have seen a "lock smith" do it once with masonry bits and a hand drill but carbide bits for steel and a mag drill would make it go real quick.

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