General Use Drill Bits

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by Markgrubb, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Markgrubb

    Markgrubb Member

    Jan 3, 2016
    Looking for a fractional/letter/number master set of drill bits for general use in wood, composites and a variety of metals. I know there are optimal bits for these different materials but have done OK with basic drills for everything

    TopLine Cutting tools any good? M2 steel, USA made. Located a set for $150, shipped.

    What do I need to spend to get adequate bits? I detest crappy tools.

    Thanks for your input.

  2. nikerret

    nikerret Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2019
    Norseman and Triumph are my go-to, for quality. Of course, you will pay for them.
    Mike Meints likes this.

  3. seagiant

    seagiant Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    This particular set maybe over kill for you.
    I only use them in my Mill (no hand drills)
    I have resharpened "junk" bits for hand drills and house work.
    Look into the Norseman brand drill bits, they are made in the USA and worth every penny!
    I think they have some regular "bright" finish 118 degree sets for just over $200!
    TheCollector and Mike Meints like this.
  4. Markgrubb

    Markgrubb Member

    Jan 3, 2016

    Is 135 degree split point the best configuration?
  5. seagiant

    seagiant Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    FWoo45, Acco40, TheCollector and 2 others like this.
  6. Capthobo

    Capthobo NRA Endowment member Supporting Addict

    Nov 9, 2016
    My good bits are Snap On Blue Points.
    Secondary general use mostly Craftsman.
    Both have great warranties.
    seagiant likes this.
  7. Slapshot

    Slapshot Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2017
    Norseman/Viking is a decent drill and the price on the link is fair. Precision Twist Drill, Morse Cutting Tools, YG-1 (Korea), Nachi (Japan) make good industrial quality drills. There are some secondary companies like Ohio Drill, Rocky Mountain Twist Drill, Drill America, etc.. that also make a nice drill.

    Most HSS drills are 118* drill point and Cobalt drills are usually 135* Split Point drills. Generally the cobalt drills will hold up better but they're more expensive. The 135* split point is a more self centering point but they have a thicker web (center section) that will generate more heat and make resharpening more difficult. Good drill sharpeners have web thinning capabilities because the farther back you push the point the thicker the web gets.

    The best way to prolong tool life is to understand Surface Footage (Drill Speed) in relation to the material you're cutting. Most people pop a drill in and pull the trigger (WOT) without thinking about the heat they're generating. The Mfg will provide Speed and Feed info for their product and if they don't you may want to find a different supplier.

    I'm not really sure how anybody can warranty a drill bit because it's a perishable tool. I've sold a lot of drill bits over the last 40+ years and I've never replaced one under warranty.
    FWoo45, seagiant and Acco40 like this.
  8. seagiant

    seagiant Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    When I worked on Ships in the Engine Room, I was the guy that usually did any fabricating that was needed.

    The problem on a Merchant Vessel is you are coming behind a lot of people that maybe didn't take care of or know the right way to use tools and had to fix things to fix things if you know what I mean.

    I learned how to sharpen any size drill bit (up to a point) with a simple drill gauge and the grinder in the machine shop.

    For my home shop I went on the Bay and found a NOS Drill Doctor that is not made anymore.

    It has the ability to go from 118 to 135 and will split the point.

    When I hand sharpen the larger drill bits I also "thin the web"...

    Drill bit sharpening by hand is worth learning, but I always used a gauge to help me keep both flutes the same length.

    Old Machinists can do it by eye alone, but I think that takes time!
    wrmiller and Babboonbobo like this.
  9. seagiant

    seagiant Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    This guy test some drill bits that are available locally.

    Thought I would link to it for those interested

  10. Markgrubb

    Markgrubb Member

    Jan 3, 2016
    Thanks for the wealth of information!
  11. Babboonbobo

    Babboonbobo Avatar is back to my favorite things!

    Nov 18, 2014
    For general purpose use in all materials I wouldn’t buy anything other than a standard 118 deg set. Easiest to sharpen and drill with in all types of materials. Use of cutting fluid in all metals is highly recommended.
    Definitely learn to hand sharpen a drill, it will save yourself headaches and frustrations!! I’ve received brand new drills with the wrong relief on them as new and had to sharpen them to use them the first time!

    Take my advice for what its worth. Just an FYI, I’ve been a journeyman machinist for over 30 and this is one of the most basic skills that a lot of people don’t have! Like sharpening a knife with stones, another skill all should learn.
    FWoo45, Rick McC. and seagiant like this.
  12. wrmiller

    wrmiller The Tinker

    Oct 29, 2016
    I don't spend a lot of money on drill bits, so I tune them up a bit on the grinder before I even use them. I have a drill doctor my son bought for me, but I've never used it. I'm just a hobby machinist, but I've been doing this by hand for a few years with pretty good results. :)
    seagiant likes this.
  13. seagiant

    seagiant Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    This is what I use for bigger drill bits, it's for 118 degree bits.
    Keeps me straight on the length of the flutes, they have to be the same length with the same angle.
    I then, thin the web on the corner of the grinding stone, this makes it easier for the chip to escape.
    Drill bits look easy, but to get them to cut as they should, they have to be ground correctly.
    The Drill Doctor is nice, as it is a no brainer so to speak, and quick to sharpen a drill that you are using, and back to work!
    wrmiller and Babboonbobo like this.

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