Last updated on April 23, 2021 by qualified builder Aaron Barnett
Drill bits allow you to drill selected and correctly-sized holes. They’re essential in most tradies and DIY’ers apron, but unfortunately, the sharp tip doesn’t last forever. Not all drill bits are made strong, but almost all of them do share the common trait of losing sharpness eventually. Consider sharpening or replacing your drill bits if:
- They don’t cut like they used to.
- It takes considerable effort to drill through even the lightest of materials.
- It produces high-pitched and unsettling noise when in use.
What’s the best way to sharpen drill bits?
Your drill bits, as with all tools, will eventually dull over time. While you can simply replace worn drill bits, it isn’t the most practical way, especially if you’re looking to avoid unnecessary added costs.
Quality drill bits made of higher-end metals like titanium and carbide to regain performance from sharpening. There are many ways you can sharpen drill bits, but the best ways are to either sharpen them by hand, with a bench grinder or by using a drill bit sharpener.
How to sharpen drill bits with a file
Learning how to sharpen drill bits by hand saves you from specialized tools. Sharpening drill bits by hand involves only a file and a bench vise. Here are the steps on how to sharpen drill bits with a file:
Making a jig
Though not necessary, drill bit sharpening jigs provide you with more stability and freedom to move. A vice grip does well here for the most part.
How to sharpen a drill bit with a bench grinder?
Use a bench grinder if you want to quickly sharpen a lot of drill bits without a specialized sharpener. Models like the Dewalt DW758 and DW756 are quality bench grinders that have all the features and power that you’ll need for pretty much all grinding jobs including sharpening tools and drill bits. You’d want to use a 6-inch grinder for this job.
Take care as a bench grinder’s power can end up further damaging your drill bit if you don’t have a slow steady hand. Using these tools to sharpen requires a little skill since you need to factor in control and precision.
To sharpen drill bits with a grinder, you need to:
Making a jig
To make a jig, simply get a wooden block and cut a 60-degree groove that can fit the drill bit/s you want sharpening. Once in place, simply insert the bit and slide the jig across the grinder’s table until you reach the wheel.
How to sharpen drill bits with a drill bit sharpener?
A drill bit sharpener is the quickest and most efficient way to sharpen drill bits accurately. Though you’re going to need to purchase a specialized tool, a drill bit sharpener is a way to go if you’re after maximum speed, precision, and control.
One of the best drill bit sharpeners on the market is the Drill Doctor 750X with its range of features that offer versatile, precise, and ease-of-use sharpening. It can work with all kinds of drill bits; from wood to masonry bits, all the way to high-speed and carbide steel.
In the case of the Drill Doctor drill bit sharpener, the way you use it is like using an advanced electric pencil sharpener:
What affects a drill bit’s performance?
Drill bits come built in a variety of metals. High-quality drill bits are made from cobalt and can easily drill through aluminum, steel , and stainless steel. Drill bits sourced from less expensive materials are less durable and dull faster. Carbide-tipped drill bits are extremely durable and are specifically designed to retain sharpness significantly longer than most standard drill bits.
Drill bits can be coated to . Coating drill bits prolongs their lifespan and enhances their effectiveness. Among the common coatings are black oxide, titanium nitride, and titanium carbonitride. Black oxide is a staple coating and helps guard drill bits from intense heat, rust, and even water damage on its first out-of-the-box sharpness.
Twist blade type
Twist drills are the most common type of drill bits and are mainly used for everyday drilling across all types of material. As such, these bits also have the most number of size, tip, length, and material specifications.
A twist drill’s length influences its rigidity and reach, while the tip styles dictate which applications twist drills are compatible with. Know what type to use and when to prolong your drill bits’ longevity and save on maintenance costs.
Sample drill lengths:
- Mechanics Length
Sample tip styles:
- Raper Points
How can you keep your drill bits sharp longer?
It’s important to know how to sharpen wood drill bits and how you can better retain their sharpness. Regardless of the project or job demand, using cutting oil with your drill bits and wards off excess friction and heat.
The same can be said about choosing the appropriate coating. If you can, go for higher-quality drill bits such as carbide and titanium as these are naturally stronger and would require less frequent sharpening and more intensive drilling.
Can you use a belt sander to sharpen drill bits?
Yes. Once you know how to sharpen masonry or wood drill bits with a bench grinder, you’ll have no problem using a belt sander with a fine-grit belt as it pretty much works off of the same idea. You can also sharpen your drill bits with a Dremel rotary tool if you don’t have a belt sander or a bench grinder.
Safety gear needed when sharpening drill bits
Drill bits are very flexible and can perform a variety of drilling tasks, but eventually become dull with continued use. Fortunately, drill bits can be restored to near-perfect conditions via sharpening.
If you are looking to save money on drill bits, then look into the Drill Doctor 750X. It combines the precision and control of hand-sharpening with the efficiency and power of a bench grinder. Get clean, lasting results with its easy-to-use and versatile sharpening options. Sharpen up to ¾” drill bits at up to 140 – degrees with its included 180 and 100-grit diamond wheel.
Should your drill bits ever need medical attention, you know the doctor to call. Sharpen, use, repeat – this is not a drill.
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