How to Sharpen Drill Bits. Metal grinder drill bit

How to Sharpen Drill Bits

There are several ways to sharpen drill bits, and it’s a handy skill to have if you install your own hardwired home security system. Drilling holes for home security devices and alarm wiring will dull your bits, even if you don’t hit any nails.

This page covers sharpening bits with a bench grinder. To see some other methods, check out The Best Ways to Sharpen Drill Bits.

Bits can be expensive, especially the long drill bits used for security system wiring. Sharpening bits instead of replacing them will not only save you money; it will make drilling faster and easier, since you’ll always have freshly sharpened bits on hand.

Commercial drill bit sharpeners are available, and many can bring a dull bit back to almost-new condition. If you’re like me though, you’d rather not buy a special tool that only does one job. Especially when a perfectly good drill bit sharpener may already be sitting on your workbench!

Using an ordinary bench grinder found in many home workshops, you can quickly sharpen bits free hand. They won’t be as pretty as a brand new bit, but they will cut like crazy and get you back in action fast.

If you already have a commercial drill bit sharpener and know how to use it, learning the bench grinder method gives you a back-up plan in case the ready-made unit isn’t available.

Be careful when sharpening drill bits or using any kind of power tool

Although I don’t wear gloves for sharpening drills, I always wear eye protection!

Read and follow all safety information that comes with your bench grinder!

How to Sharpen Drill Bits, Step-by-Step:

Follow these steps to sharpen drill bits on your grinding wheel:

1) Hold the drill bit so that the cutting face is parallel to the grinding wheel surface. The idea here is to remove only as much metal as needed to clean up the cutting edge.

2) Slowly bring the bit into contact with the wheel. Keep the bit as straight as possible, without rotating it. We aren’t trying to duplicate the original curvature of the factory grind. Instead, we’re making a new, flatter cutting face.

3) The heel portion of the cutting face should be ground slightly more than the edge. This will cause the cutting edge contact the drilled surface first, when in use.

4) When you sharpen drill bits, metal is removed and the steel will begin to heat up. Dip the bit into water frequently to keep it cool. If it gets too hot to hold in your bare hand, you’re either grinding too fast or not dipping and cooling often enough.

5) As soon as the cutting edge is sharp, spin the bit half a turn, and begin sharpening the other cutting face. The more evenly you can grind the two edges, the better the bit will perform.

6) When you’ve got both edges sharp, check to see if they are the same width. Look at the drill end-on. The two cutting edges should almost meet to form a point in the center of the bit diameter. There will be a short line centered between the two. If not, no problem; just grind a little more on the wider side until the two even up.

Are both edges sharp, the same width, and centered?

For a quick check, hold the tip of the bit against a piece of scrap wood and simply turn it slowly by hand (Clockwise, please). A properly sharpened bit will easily begin making a hole, even with very little pressure.

For a real test, chuck the bit into your drill. Try drilling into a piece of wood pushing just enough for the bit to “bite”. The bit should bite into the wood without you having to force it. After drilling an inch or two, pull the bit back out. It should send chips flying.

Does your bit pass the test? Congratulations! You’ve just sharpened your first drill bit! You’ll now be able to sharpen drill bits countless times before they have to be replaced.

If you do a lot of drilling, the money saved this way alone might well cover the cost of the bench grinder.

If the bit doesn’t cut very well, you may have ground too heavily on the edge, versus on the heel. Try regrinding at a steeper angle, so that the heel is formed “behind” the cutting edge.

It may help to think of a drill bit as two chisels, attached at angles to each other and rotating to create a hole.

When we sharpen drill bits, we’re just putting an edge back on each of these “chisels”.

A 6- or 8-inch grinder is the perfect size for sharpening drill bits. If you already own one, great! If not, consider getting one. They aren’t expensive, and can be used for many other sharpening chores and household projects.

Many bench grinders come with two stone wheels installed, one coarse and the other fine. You can use either or both wheels to sharpen drill bits. I tend to use the fine stone for bits that are just a little dull, and the coarse wheel for bits that are in really bad shape.

Drilling with Resharpened Drill Bits

Drill bits sharpened with a grinder work best for drilling wood or thin metal. The aggressive angle of the point won’t work as well in hard or thick steel. Since most alarm wiring is run through drywall and wood framing, this isn’t a problem.

For drilling thick metal, like lintels in masonry homes, I still prefer to use new bits. The perfect point on a fresh bit makes starting holes easy, without the bit “walking” around too much.

A tip to keep your bits sharp: Clear the chips often as you drill.

Drill an inch or two, then pull the bit back out until the wood shavings fall away from the flutes. If you don’t do this, chips will become packed into the flutes, creating a lot of heat. Running a drillbit while very hot will dull it faster, and is more work for you!

If you must drill very hard wood, keep a cup of water nearby.

Dip the bit into the water for a few seconds each time you pull it out to clear the chips. This will keep the bit cooler, and you won’t have to sharpen drill bits as often.

Here’s another tip to help increase the time between sharpenings:

Start holes using a new or like-new drill bit. Once the hole is started, switch to one of your resharpened drill bits (It helps to have two drill motors for this). This is even more important if you know the bit will be running into masonry.

Switching bits this way keeps your best bits sharp longer, and the ones you’ve sharpened before are easier to re-grind again.

If you happen to break a long drill bit, don’t throw the shaft away. The long shank can be used to fish alarm wiring, “feel out” a path for a fish tape, or check the depth of a hole while drilling.

If you’ll be using long drill bits for drilling doors, check out How to Use Long Drill Bits for Alarm Wiring in Doors

If you want to see some drilling techniques for flexible drill bits, have a look at Using a Flexible Drill Bit the Right Way

If you haven’t done so already, get a few Free Home Security Systems Quotes from companies in your area.

This will give you a good idea of what it would cost to have a system installed, as well as how much you could save by doing it yourself.

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Introduction: How to Sharpen Used and Dull Drill Bits (By Hand!!)

Have you tried to drill something recently and noticed your bits aren’t cutting like they used to? Maybe some of your bits are so bad, you can’t even get through wood or soft metals anymore without creating a plume of smoke and high shrieking squeaks. Well before you head over to the hardware store to buy yourself a brand new box of drill bits, try this simple technique first and save yourself a lot of time and money!

Follow these steps and you can transform your used, dull, chipped, broken, or otherwise useless drill bit, into a prime hole blasting instrument.

Sharpening bits is a tricky task. When I started my job as a machinist nine years ago, my trainer was skeptical about using any kind of automatic machine or fixture to re-sharpen our drill bits. In fact, you’ll notice that most of those fixturing devices or machines cost a lot of money, and very rarely do they ever give you something close to a factory sharpen (unless of course you fork out enough to buy an industrial sharpener). So what’s going to be demonstrated here is a kind of lost art—sharpening by hand on a belt sander or bench grinder.

Now, I’m not saying that after this tutorial, you’ll be able to achieve a perfectly sharp drill bit, but it will get you through the next job until you get enough practice to really put an edge on your cutting tools. My trainer and I have gotten so good, in fact, that whenever we’re given those cheap HSS China bits (that pretty much everyone has in their garage), we’ll pull them right out of the box and sharpen them before their first use.

So without further adieu, here’s what you’ll need:

WARNING! Your hands will be very close to the sharpening device, and dangerously at risk with losing some skin. DO NOT wear gloves as they can actually get caught into the sharpening device and pull you in. Be mindful and deliberate about where you position yourself on the sharpening device. And you should probably wear safety glasses too.

Step 1: Know Your Drill Bit

There are many features on a drill bit that can be defined. For speed sake, were only worried about 3 basic features on the bit: the lip, land, and chisel.

The “lip” is what does the actual cutting. The two lips on the twist drill should be symmetric if an equal cutting is to be done while drilling. If one lip is favored while sharpening, it will become bigger than the other and most of the cutting will be performed on one side of the bit. This is bad as it makes non-straight holes.

The “land” or “landing” is what follows the lip and will support the sharp edge while the bit is cutting. The landing must be angled in such a way that it leaves clearance between the part you are trying to drill and the lip. However, too much angle subtracts support from the lip, and will cause the bit to chip more often, especially on the corners.

The “chisel” is the line which is created when the landing from both sides of the twist drill intersect. In truth, this area does no cutting motion. Don’t think of it as a true chisel. In fact, while the drill is turning and being forced down into your work-piece, the chisel smears the wood or metal you are drilling into the lips. For this reason, it is especially important to create a very small chisel.

Step 2: Uderstand Why Drills Chip and Dull

In order for you to know how to better sharpen your bit, you should know why you’re even doing this.

Chipped bits are caused because the landing force behind them cant support the forces exerted by the drilling operation. So make sure your landing has a curved shape to it. Curved shapes add support to the lip.

Dull bits are caused when either the chisel is having trouble smearing the material to the lip and needs to be re-defined on the face of the bit. Or, the lip is rolling over and needs to be re-sharpened so that it pushes directly into the work-piece.

Step 3: Prepare Your Bit

Run a file across any burrs that bay be on the shank of the drill bit. If anything were to go wrong, and the bit were to slip in your fingers, you wouldn’t want these nasty burrs cutting into your skin.

Step 4: Choose Your Sharpening Tool

Either a bench grinder or a belt sander will work for sharpening bits. Just make sure that the guards on either one of these machines is less than 1/8″ away from the belt or wheel so that your bit doesn’t get caught between the guard!

Step 5: Practice Holding the Bit

Start in a comfortable position with your hand against the machine support and take the drill bit into both hands. Hold the bit at a 60 degree angle to the face of the belt sander. Place the end of the landing so that it is directly against the belt. Use steps 5-7 to move the bit across the belt into the finish position. Notice in these two pictures how little difference there is between the start and finish sharpening positions. Steps 5-7 are simultaneous steps to get you to that finish position but notice how the only hand that moves is the left hand. The right hand stays stationary, with only the fingers guiding the drill bit.

Step 6: Cut the Landing

Cut the landing by raising the left hand while applying pressure to the sharpening device.

Step 7: Shape the Chisel

By moving the left hand towards the right, you will create the chisel angle. Practice a few times until the chisel angle is 45 degrees from the lip.

Step 8: Shape the Landing

By rotating or rolling the bit counter clockwise, you will create a rounded landing that gives more support to the lip.

Step 9: Combine Cutting, Shaping, and Rotating

Combine all three movements while sharpening to make the perfect cut on the drill face.

Repeat this step a couple of times and rotate the drill bit 180 degrees in your hand to sharpen the other lip.

Step 10: Repetition

It may take a couple dozen times to get the two lips of the drill bit symmetric. That’s normal and requires a lot of patience. But keep on trying! Often rotate which side of the bit you are working on so that you don’t favor one side over the other. Always make deliberate cuts, don’t try to “feather” a sharp tip by pressing the drill bit lightly into the sander or grinder. This almost always leads to uneven lips or will cause you to roll your lip so that it no longer cuts.

If you’ve practiced a little with your bit, and have been able to successfully roll and shape your landing and chisel, you are ready to start drilling! Go ahead and try out your bit in a drill press or hand drill. If drilling is still difficult. look at your chisel and landing angles to make sure you’ve got enough relief. If you see chips only coming off one side of the bit, make sure the two lips are symmetric across the center-line of the drill bit. If you see chips come off of the bit on both sides of the drill bit, your good to go!

Thank you for ready this how-to on sharpening your own bit!

Step 11: A Final Word

If you happened to have purchased these really nice cobalt chromium split drill bits, I’ve got some bad news for you. That split through the chisel has made drilling a lot nicer for you, but its very unlikely you’ll get a good sharpen out of these bits by hand. You really need a machine that can go back and cut the relief on the back side of the landing to reduce your chisel size. Not relieving the chisel just makes too much smearing of the material during drilling and is practically impossible to get through most metals.

How To Sharpen Rock Drill Bits With Ease?

Are you tired of using dull rock drill bits? Do you want to improve the performance and longevity of your drill bits? Look no further than learning how to sharpen rock drill bits!

But many Drill enthusiasts need to learn how to sharpen rock drill bits? Fret not, I have the ultimate solution to rejuvenate your drilling game.

Sharpening rock drill bits requires using a grinding wheel and a sharpening jig. The grinding wheel will sharpen the drill bit’s face, and the jig will tilt the bit at a precise angle.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the process, from selecting the right tools to achieving the perfect angle.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, mastering this skill will help you achieve better results on your next drilling project. So let’s dive in and learn How To Sharpen Rock Drill Bits!

What are Rock Drill Bits?

Rock drill bits are specialized tools for drilling into hard materials such as rocks, concrete, and masonry. They are commonly used in construction, mining, and geological exploration.

These bits typically consist of a steel body with a tungsten carbide or diamond cutting edge. The cutting edge is responsible for the penetration and removal of the material during drilling.

Rock drill bits come in various shapes and sizes to suit different drilling applications, and they require periodic sharpening to maintain their effectiveness and prolong their lifespan.

Types Of Rock Drill Bits

  • Steel tooth bits
  • Tungsten carbide inserts
  • Diamond bits

Explanation Of How Each Type May Require Specific Sharpening Methods

Each type of rock drill bit may require different sharpening methods to maintain its efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Tri-cone bits: Tri-cone bits have three cones attached to the bit’s head and are mainly used in oil and gas drilling. These bits require a specific type of sharpening method involving a grinder with diamond blades and a grinding wheel to sharpen the cones’ teeth.
  • Steel tooth bits: Steel tooth bits are the most common rock drill bits with sharp steel teeth that cut through hard rock.
  • Tungsten carbide inserts: Tungsten carbide inserts are used in complex rock formations and are attached to the bit using a welding process.
  • Diamond bits: Diamond bits are the most expensive yet effective drill bits in drilling hard rocks. They require specific sharpening methods that involve resetting the diamonds by welding and polishing them diamonds to increase their lifespan and maintain their cutting efficiency.

Therefore, each type of rock drill bit requires distinctive sharpening methods to maintain its effectiveness and prolong its lifespan. Always sharpen your bits regularly to avoid unnecessary expenses and save time during drilling.

Tools Needed For Sharpening Rock Drill Bits

Before sharpening your rock drill bits, you must gather the necessary tools.

  • A bench grinder: This tool will help you grind the bits to the desired shape and sharpness.
  • A jig or gauge: This tool will ensure the bits are sharpened at the correct angle. You can purchase a jig or gauge online or at your local hardware store.
  • Safety gear: Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from flying debris during the sharpening process.

Safety Precautions To Take Before Sharpening

  • Test the wheel for cracks or damages before turning on the bench grinder. Damaged wheels can easily break during operation and cause severe damage.
  • Securely clamp the bits before sharpening them to prevent them from moving around.
  • Wear the appropriate safety gear, including safety glasses to protect your eyes from any flying debris and gloves to keep your hands safe from sharp bits.

Remember, if you need help with how to sharpen your rock drill bits correctly, consider consulting a professional.

Step-By-Step Guide To Sharpening Rock Drill Bits

Rock drilling is a complex and demanding task that requires excellent tools to perform correctly. In particular, rock drill bits require considerable upkeep and maintenance to keep their effectiveness.

Sharpening rock drill bits is necessary to ensure they operate at their full potential. I will discuss the different methods for sharpening drill bits and the step-by-step guide to make it happen.

To sharpen a rock drill bit, follow some standard procedures to ensure the process runs smoothly and safely.

Step 1: Clean the drill bit.

Ensure the drill bit is clean and free of debris. Any dirt or rocks present underneath the drill’s flutes could cause the bit to bind, leading to improper sharpening.

Step 2: Assess the drill bit.

Look at the drill bit and determine its number of lips or edges. A standard rock drill bit usually has two lips, but some may have three; a higher amount may have more. You must assess the number of edges present before proceeding.

Step 3: Place the drill bit into the jig.

A drill bit jig is necessary to keep the bit stationary while sharpening. Place the jig onto the grinding wheel and adjust the drill bit’s angle according to the bit’s lip angle.

Step 4: Begin the sharpening process.

Start the grinding wheel and slowly bring the drill bit toward it until it contacts the grindstone. Continue sharpening until the grinding wheel removes enough material to point the lip correctly.

Step 5: Alternate sides.

Sharpen one lip, then a short lip on the other side, then back to the first lip and so on. Ensuring they are sharpened evenly and giving extra attention to issues such as flat spots that might require attention.

Step 6: Use the marker.

After tightening your jig’s grips and beginning to sharpen the bit, it’s essential to always use a marker on the drill bit’s lip’s web. The marker will indicate the contact point.

Step 7: Cool the bit and jig.

Remove the bit from the jig and cool it thoroughly. This process is critical if your drill bit is made of high-speed steel to keep the steel from overheating, which can damage the bit.

Step 8: Test the bit.

Once the sharpening process is complete, clean the bit using a cloth. Now, test the drill bit by using it on a metal sheet to see the improvement.

Different Sharpening Techniques For Drilling Through Different Types Of Rock

Bits used in hard rock require a higher number of more extended carbides to help penetrate the more rigid surface.

Sharpening rock drill bits is crucial, and it’s worth emphasizing that not doing it correctly can lead to ineffective drilling that can be dangerous. Follow the steps outlined above to make your sharpening procedure as effective and easy as possible.

Knowing how to sharpen drill bits might make a big difference in how well your equipment performs and ultimately leads to better and more accurate drilling with less downtime and fewer equipment failures.

How To Test The Effectiveness Of Sharpened Rock Drill Bits

If you are a rock drill operator, you know that a blunt drill bit is a nightmare that leads to inefficiencies, costing you a lot of time and money.

But, by sharpening your rock drill bits, you can improve the efficiency of your drilling operation and cut down on expenses.

However, sharpening is only half the job. You need to test your sharpened rock drill bits to ensure that they are effectively sharpened, and this is what this section will FOCUS on.

Here are a few ways to test the effectiveness of newly sharpened rock drill bits:

Check for sharpness

by running your fingers across the tip. If the tip feels sharp, that indicates that the sharpening worked.

Drill a test hole.

Choose a position and drill a test hole with the newly sharpened bit. Assess the time taken to drill the hole and also the overall quality of the hole. A sharpened bit should make a clean and precise hole.

Hammer test

The easiest test to perform is by taking a hammer and tapping the head of the drill bit. A well-sharpened drill bit should make a clear metallic sound, indicating effective sharpening.

Testing newly sharpened rock drill bits is essential to assess their effectiveness and ensure they perform optimally. By implementing these testing methods, you’ll be able to approbate the effectiveness of your newly sharpened bits before putting them to use.

This will save you time and money and improve your overall efficiency in the long run.

The Dos And Don’ts On How To Sharpen Rock Drill Bits?

Remember, adhering to these do’s and avoiding the don’ts will ensure a safe and effective process when sharpening your rock drill bits, maximizing their performance and longevity.

Tips And Tricks For Maintaining The Sharpness Of Rock Drill Bits Over Time

  • Avoid drilling in areas with a high water-to-rock ratio, as it causes rocks to soften and wear out the drill bits quickly.
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  • Always check the weight of your drilling machine and ensure that it is optimized; a heavy drill makes it challenging to maintain the bits’ sharpness over time.
  • When operating your drilling machine, ensure that all the parts are well lubricated, as it reduces the resistance and provides a smoother drilling experience.
  • After every drill, take some time to clean the bits with a brush and compressed air to remove accumulated rocks and prevent rust formation.

Explanation Of Regular Maintenance Practices

As mentioned earlier, maintaining rock drill bits is critical to the success of your drilling operations.

  • Regular cleaning – removing the accumulated debris from the drill bits is essential. Use water and the right type of brush to clean the bits thoroughly.
  • Check for wear and tear – examine the bits carefully for any signs of wear or tear. Replace any bits that are beyond repair.
  • Sharpen the bits – you can either use specialized grinding tools or take them to a professional to get it done.
  • Proper storage – always store the bits appropriately, dry and rust-free.

Keeping your rock drill bits sharp is crucial to your drilling operation’s success. Follow the tips and tricks we have shared, maintain your drill bits regularly, and you’ll ensure that they function correctly over extended periods, maximizing your drilling efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Sharpen Rock Drill Bits?

How Do You Know When A Rock Drill Bit Needs Sharpening?

If a rock drill bit no longer cuts efficiently, it could be dull and needs sharpening.

What Is The Best Way To Sharpen A Rock Drill Bit?

Use a good quality bench grinder, but a drill attachment is ideal for fieldwork.

How Often Should You Sharpen Rock Drill Bits?

It depends on how frequently you use them. Generally, once a month is recommended.

Does The Type Of Rock Affect Drill Bit Sharpness?

Yes, harder rocks like granites wear down the edge of the bit faster than softer rocks.

Can Rock Drill Bits Become Too Sharp?

Over-sharpening can lead to brittle tips and decrease the bit’s lifespan.

In Summary,

Properly sharpened rock drill bits can help you save time and money when drilling. Following the right steps to sharpen them is important to ensure they work efficiently.

Whether working in a quarry, mining site or construction project, knowing how to sharpen your rock drill bits can make all the difference in the world.

Remember to wear protective gear when sharpening your drill bits. To sharpen them effectively, clean the bits, secure them, select the right grinder and grind them, and sharpen the carbide buttons. Following these steps can extend the life of the drill bits and prevent costly replacements.

Sharpening rock drill bits is a crucial skill every expert in quarrying, mining, and construction must have. Take the time to sharpen your rock drill bits properly and reap the benefits of efficiency and long-lasting use.

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I will guide you with genuine knowledge that can assist you with deciding whether a drill is appropriate according to your requirements or not. If you want to find the best drill and know which type of drill is most suited for your needs, then I can guide you with my expertise. My passion lies in helping others find the correct products they need at an affordable price.

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