How to Sharpen Drill Bits

Drill bits are common cutting tools, usually used with a drill machine or likewise, for drilling holes in materials of circular cross-section. The bit goes into the chuck of the drill, which grasps its upper end, the shank. Drills are made from

  • · Low-carbon steel
  • · High-carbon steel
  • · High-speed steel
  • · Cobalt-steel

High-speed steel (HSS) are the most commonly used bits these days. They work well with metal and hardwood, with a much higher speed and resistance to heat than the high- carbon steel.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

The best drill bit is the one that cuts through the surface without much effort, leaving a hole with a smooth circumference.

Bits are good to work with if they are fully polished and sharp. A dull bit is dangerous as it can both delay time and break during work. The image below shows a dull bit on the left and a sharp one on the right.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

In this guide, I help you teach how to sharpen drill bits. Thus, if you have to drill a hole in your wall for hanging a painting or so, you can do it yourself and in no time.


STEP 1:

Select a suitable tool for sharpening the bits. You can visit a hardware store and ask the salesperson there to help you with it. The one shown in the image can take bits of different profiles. And by that, I mean the angle on the cutting edge of the bit. The bit I am using has 59-degree profile, so I will set the tool to this angle. Secure the thumbnut in place so that it doesn’t move. Generally speaking, this tool guide is most suitable for bit size of 1/8 inch or above. For smaller sizes, some other technique is put to use.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS
HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS


STEP 2:

When you adjust the bit inside the tool, it rests against the small tip of the tool. Now you can adjust that tip accordingly to fit the bit inside it snugly. This you can do by raising or lowering the tip.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

See the image below for what you have to do next. You have to make the overhang equal to the radius of the bit. The yellow lines show the former and the green lines the latter. Thus, you have to make the yellow distance equal to the green one.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

The yellow line in the image below shows a bit with the shortest cutting edge. This is ideal for cutting steel. This is the overhang you wanna fit in the sharpening tool.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

STEP 3:

With the overhang set to an optimum value, tighten the screw on the trough. The bit is securely in place now.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

You will set the tool according to the length of the bit, whose end is in the movable trough. You will adjust the black nut by first loosening and then re-tightening the metal-colored nut.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS


STEP 4:

Make sure that the tip of the bit is in line with the center of the grinding wheel motor. The tip of the bit has just to touch the wheel a little, otherwise, if the surface in contact is more than necessary, you may end up wasting more material.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

The green lines in the image below show how you have to place the tool base on the grinding stone. Now, as you can see the yellow line is slightly at an angle with respect to the green line, this is just the position of the upper portion of the tool. Move the tool forward in a way that the bit lightly contacts the grinding wheel and there clamp it to the table.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS


STEP 5:

Move the upper arm of the tool to the left; it will make the tip of bit point in the right direction. Switch on the motor.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS


STEP 6:

Now swing the arm to the right by holding its rear end. The bit on its top end will move to the left, touching the wheel. The yellow sparks in the image show that the wheel is grinding the bit as it encounters it.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS


STEP 7:

Continue working in the same way by swinging the tool arm back and forth. A point will come when the bit will no longer be in the wheel’s range. It’s time you reverse the direction of the bit and repeat the same process with the other half of the bit.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

However, do not hasten to do so. It is better to turn off the motor and let the wheel come to a complete halt. Then you can loosen the nuts holding the bit and take it out. Now place it again in a way that the lower end is now on top and the sharp tip is inside the tool.

Repeat the same cutting process with this tip of the bit too.


STEP 8:

If you think the cutting is not going satisfactory, you can always turn off the motor, check the cutting-edge center, and readjust the overhang. This way you can obtain desired results.

HOW TO SHARPEN DRILL BITS

The image below shows a sharpened bit. This is how your bit will appear after you have taken it out of the tool guide. Its tip is smooth with very fine and crisp edges and no hint of roughness or rounded edges remains after the process is complete.


CONCLUSION

Sharpening drill bits is not an arduous task, only if you know how to do it. With this guide, you can easily accomplish it at home. Try it out today; however, I advise you take professional help in case of an accident or mishap and don’t try it if you are not sure about yourself or if you are a novice in working with cutting machines.

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