drill bits for steel - what's good?

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  1. #1
    Member scubabob's Avatar
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    Default drill bits for steel - what's good?

    My daughter and i use drills for mild steel on a regular basis. We have tried various brands of drill bits from expensive to real cheapies with varying results. What is the popular concensus on the best brand to buy?.
    You can't truly experience a rainforest without the rain

  2. #2
    The Master's Apprentice Bedford's Avatar
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    I've been happy with P&N or Suttons drills, but I think "Nashi" (sp?) is pretty good too.
    Posted by John2b, And no, BEVs are not going to save the planet, which doesn't need saving anyway.

  3. #3
    1K Club Member Godzilla73's Avatar
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    G'day,

    What are you having issues with, breaking, going blunt to quick? A decent bench grinder and technique for sharpening is a handy skill to have, i prefer to sharpen mine for speed thru MDF and the like, i only need a few sizes for this, but a different pitch is better for steel and aluminum. Drill speed also plays a big part in the life span of a drill bit. For the record i have Sutton drills which sharpen up nicely...

  4. #4
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    I have a set of Sutton Titanium drill bits for metal work. Check them out.

  5. #5
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    Yep, what Godzilla mentioned. Drill speed is important, not too fast, don't get the bit hot. Run some lube too, even just water works fine to keep the bit cool.
    Remember the 7 p's.
    Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

  6. #6
    1K Club Member Pulse's Avatar
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    I was lucky to pick up some sutton blue jobber drill bits in a pack of 4 8mm ones, they worked so well I went back and bought 4x10mm and 4x12mm, they will drill 10mm steel plate in a drill press and give you two long steel spirals on the ground, rather than 1000 bits of steel shavings, they are a pleasure to use, drill speed is important but these last really well, I restumped the house and drilled 120 holes through 8mm plate with one bit, no worries. I have also used them with a hand drill and they are razor sharp on steel.

    Cheers
    Pulse

  7. #7
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    All of the above. What you pays for is what you gets! P&N and Suttons have been around for yonks and are good, but cheap sets are just that. The secret is KEEP THEM SHARP. Godzilla is right, get a bench grinder and learn how to sharpen them by hand (without one of those flash drill grinding jigs).My experience is that you don't have to get the rake perfect, just keep the edge sharp. Every now and then I go through mine and sharpen them and so they are always ready and I rarely have to buy new ones (only when I lose them!)

  8. #8
    Owner Builder Belair_Boy's Avatar
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    Sutton, P&N or Dormer are my drill bits of choice but any QUALITY high speed steel (HSS) bit will be OK.

    As has been said above, speed is important, too much on a larger drill and it will rub, generate heat and go blunt very quickly but small drill bits require much more speed.
    eg a 3mm diameter bit 3100 rpm in steel where as a 10 mm diameter bit 1000 rpm. Most hand drills cant go fast enough for small drill bits.

    A constant pressure will also aid cutting rather than rubbing. That is why it is easier to produce a continuous swarf with a drill press than a hand drill.
    With deeper holes, the swarf must be cleaned out of the drill flutes to prevent binding and drill breakage.

    Sharpen often and if you have a lot of holes to drill, have a couple of bits and change them over when a bit becomes blunt rather than pressing on. It is easier to touch up a dull bit than completely regrind the point of a drill that has been used blunt.

    When drilling over about a 6mm diameter hole, a pilot hole should be drilled first and then opened up with the larger drill bit. If you look at the end of the drill bit there is a small chisel edge between the two cutting lips. This has to grind its way through the steel and takes a lot of force with a larger drill bit. The pilot hole gives a clearance for the chisel edge on the larger drill and only cutting takes place.

    Sutton make a drill bit they call a "Viper bit" which has been sharpened with four facets, bringing the chisel edge to a point. This reduces the cutting pressure required and also prevents the drill bit from wandering over the surface when you start (especially if you have not center punched the position of the hole).
    I would recommend using a Viper bit of 5mm or so as a pilot hole and then opening it up with a normally ground drill. A set of 1 - 10mm Viper drills is a good purchase and will be cheaper than buying each individually.

    Hope this is of some help.

  9. #9
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    x 2 with BB. Feed speed or pressure is just as important as drill speed, specially with larger holes. With pilots, the pilot hole should be no bigger than the final hole size divided by 4. ie - 12 mm or 12.5 mm ( 1/2 inch) final hole the pilot should be 3 mm or 1/8 th otherwise the larger drill bit will bind and potentially be damaged or jamb. WD 40 works great as a lube.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ScroozAdmin's Avatar
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    Dormer ... definately
    www.scrooz.com.au

  11. #11
    Member scubabob's Avatar
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    appreciate all your time and efforts here. Thank you to all, we will take everything on board. cheers
    You can't truly experience a rainforest without the rain

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