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  • Spring meet up in Ontario, Newmarket, April 6/2024. Discussion

Sharpening Drills.....

Towforce

Member
I took the time to read Harold Halls article on drill bit sharpening (http://www.homews.co.uk/page354.html ). Good read but unless I missed it, for jobber bits, using a bench grinder, what sort of stone/wheel is recommended?

I usually have a 1" wide 80-120 grit on my right wheel. Nothing fancy but considering a second "tool bit only" bench grinder... Any preferences for wheel choice would be appreciated (for bit and tool sharpening).

BTW, I've had Drill Doctor for years, must admit, it is incredibly frustrating and darn near useless. Watched all the videos, but can't seem to find anything that spells out how to get a great "bit" out of this contraption.... about the only thing it does well is "splitting bits".... I've just starting using a jig that Harold talks about and pretty pleased with my first efforts, looking at improving the setup.

(PS... I drink too much to sharpen anything by hand ;-) )

Cheers

Martin
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I have never really liked the drill doctor either. It works ok for drill bits that you use on wood, but it's crap for drilling steel.

I actually do better sharpening by hand. I have no tricks. It's not difficult to get a good edge. It's extremely difficult to get two symmetric edges.

Once I have to sharpen a bit it goes into my wood drill collection. I prefer to buy new jobber drills for metal.

Maybe when I get older and more experienced I might get good enough to drill steel with a bit I sharpened. ....
 

boilerhouse

Ultra Member
i am no bit sharpening aficionado, but I have decent success sharpening by hand with whatever "all purpose" wheel happens to be on whichever grinder, whether it was at work, home, or a volunteer organization I devote time to. I no longer even attempt smaller bits though, just buy those new.
I also own a drill doctor at home, and must be in the 50% camp that have actually had good results using it and can't explain my success or others lack of success other than it is a super finicky device, and luck plays a role.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
It's nice to have a rough stone and a fine stone imo, it makes saving broken or really chewed up bits a lot easier, get it profiled with the rough stone and clean it up with the finer stone.....I'm not sure the grit, whattever the combo that typically comes with bench grinders

If your doing a lot of bits often, a belt grinder is the cats a$$, rough the bit out with a 36 and clean it up with an 80

I have also done many bits with an angle grinder clamped in a vise on the back of the truck

So really you can do it with just about anything, the trick there is practice, knowing what your looking for is more then half the battle

I bat about 80% on bits, they all drill, but the trick is getting the back angle just right...to steep and its like drilling through butter...but dulls and chips very quickly and easily, to shallow and it takes way to much pressure, it's getting that sweet spot that really takes practice

If you need a very straight accurate hole...use a jig/tool or just buy a new bit, if the included angles are not exactly the same and exactly centered the bit can slightly wander through the material
 

Perry

Ultra Member
I think I will build one of these when the time allows.

https://gadgetbuilder.com/DrillSharp.html


4_Facet_Overview1.jpg
 

Tom Kitta

Ultra Member
For drills under 3/4 in I use Darex M1 - original from 1970s. It does excellent job and fast! Main problem is that to split points on it is near impossible automatically.

For drills over 3/4 to about 2" I have build an enlarged version of general drilling attachment. It also does a good job at sharpening drills.

I got rid of DD - it was slow and painful to use. Not even a mile within capability of M1.

I also know how to sharpen by hand. Main reason for sharpening jigs is to get more consistent holes. I.e. get holes within original drill bit tolerance.

The smaller version of general drill bit grinding attachment plus cup wheel is IMHO >> DD. But it cannot split points...
 

curmudgeon

(Steve)

LenVW

Process Machinery Designer
I was taught to sharpen bits and cutters by hand When I was a machinist at Ex-Cell-O.
Get familiar with the features of the required geometry.
(ie. Clearance, Rake, Included Angle . . .)
If you know the function of a cutter’s components you will be successful at producing it without expensive sharpening jigs.

This is the little band sander that I use to sharpen virtual any tool I have.
It has a 1.5 x 2” Vertical Backing plate that enables me to grind many contours by maneuvering the cutter tool at different angles to the grinding belt.
I do have a variety of belt grits (30 - 240).
 

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LenVW

Process Machinery Designer
It's nice to have a rough stone and a fine stone imo, it makes saving broken or really chewed up bits a lot easier, get it profiled with the rough stone and clean it up with the finer stone.....I'm not sure the grit, whattever the combo that typically comes with bench grinders

If your doing a lot of bits often, a belt grinder is the cats a$$, rough the bit out with a 36 and clean it up with an 80

I have also done many bits with an angle grinder clamped in a vise on the back of the truck

So really you can do it with just about anything, the trick there is practice, knowing what your looking for is more then half the battle

I bat about 80% on bits, they all drill, but the trick is getting the back angle just right...to steep and its like drilling through butter...but dulls and chips very quickly and easily, to shallow and it takes way to much pressure, it's getting that sweet spot that really takes practice

If you need a very straight accurate hole...use a jig/tool or just buy a new bit, if the included angles are not exactly the same and exactly centered the bit can slightly wander through the material
One of the best tools in my chest is a series of Center Drills to establish that critical position for the holes you are machining in a workpiece.
Once the position is established, the Center drill chamfer will guide your subsequent tools.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
One of the best tools in my chest is a series of Center Drills to establish that critical position for the holes you are machining in a workpiece.
Once the position is established, the Center drill chamfer will guide your subsequent tools.

I was more refering to once the bit is in the material, past whattever centering mark you have made. Seems to be that if you have one side cutting better than the other, or more than the other, the bit wanders through the material and doesn't make a perfectly square hole...I'm talking about deeper holes 3/4+...it can be slight...sometimes not so much

I'm sure you know with practice it's not really much of an issue, but when a guy is just learning I notice they don't often get both sides equal in clearance and included angle, and then it's easy to watch the nice curly only comming off one side, or not equally, if it's a concern a jig or a new bit is the more fool proof route IMO

That being said...

I don't own a jig, I do everything by hand, I've thought about buying a nice sharpener, but I can get satisfactory results by hand so it's hard to justify. And if I'm worried about having a perfectly square hole, I'll just buy a new bit.

I don't really think a guy needs a jig or sharpener for general use, it doesn't take a terrible amount of practice to be able to turn out satisfactory bits, and if you screw it up you can always try again, there is plenty of hard bit to sharpen on standard bit.


Another good benefit.....free bits, I don't know how many free drill bits I've gotten because someone doesn't want to, know or care to learn how to sharpen them, or tosses them because they broke it
 

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
Fingerprints make great sharpening jigs. Press the bit in your hand and grind with your arms tucked into your sides. Then after you sharpen one edge and can index the bit 180* and it will register in your finger print fixture again and you can repeat the process. Keeping your arms tucked in helps make the motions repeatable (like putting). Use you back hand to rotate, and don't move the top one. It doesn't take a lot of pressure, and it really helps to keep the point on center with both lips equal length, and angles.
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SetBPlPl.jpg


Drill sharpening by hand takes some practice, like all muscle memory skills, but once you do it's a valuable skill to have and one worth puting the time into.

That being said I would still like to build a nice sharpening fixture someday.
 

Tom Kitta

Ultra Member

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
Fingerprints make great sharpening jigs.

My fingers make marks in the drill bit.

Press the bit in your hand and grind with your arms tucked into your sides. Then after you sharpen one edge and can index the bit 180* and it will register in your finger print fixture again and you can repeat the process. Keeping your arms tucked in helps make the motions repeatable (like putting).

Sounds like Red Skelton pretending to be a chicken...

Truthfully, all I can picture with that description is blood everywhere. Speaking of which, what's that on the end of your nasty finger?
 
Does Lee Valley have the same thing for 1/2 price?
Yes it is the same one. The only thing that is a drawback is you grind on the side of the wheel.

That being said if you don't do it often of are drill bit grinding impaired, its a grinder that works well.

I also have a Drill Doctor 700x and for a limited range does extremely well, key word is limited which is far less than it advertises.

I have ground by hand and did ok, but since I don't do it often enough it is a skill that is relearned each time and while I like learning skills, when I'm on a time constraint it is not one of my favorite pastimes.

Now while I mentioned the General, it is the same method that Deckel (clones) and other systems use because it is very effective.

However with the Deckel (clones) you have other options depending on how you approach things and with the right setup even do split bits.

As to the General the larges I've done is 51/64's with a little modification of the jig.
 

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
My fingers make marks in the drill bit.



Sounds like Red Skelton pretending to be a chicken...

Truthfully, all I can picture with that description is blood everywhere. Speaking of which, what's that on the end of your nasty finger?
Working hands....blood blister from last weekend. Words were invented. You can just see the tail end of my thumbnail growing out too. As my Daughter used to say when she was little and looking at my hands "daddy, you have too many booboos, you should be more careful".

You're pressing too hard if you're marking the bit.....and if you picture blood everywhere, your supposed to stop pushing when you hit the squishy parts....:D. You, or anyone can do it if you put the time and effort it. Practice makes adequate!

Edit: The elbows locked at your side reference is to lock down as many degrees of freedom as you can so you can be repeatable. Be comfortable though, just not all loose and floppy. Everyone will be different.
 
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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Coming from Lee Valley, it's prolly made in Canada though.....
I'd bet you a Canadian Tim Hortons coffee its made in China. Some of the tools from their Veritas line were made in Canada, or partially sourced from Canada, or conceived in Canada, or unboxed in Canada... Other than those, the vast majority of stock is name brand stuff from wherever. Although its still a nice shopping environment & some useful assortments. I used to really like Lee Valley. They pioneered mail order at a time when it was either the hardware store or nothing. Some of their tools were a bit farfetched. But hey, tools-r-cool, guilty as charged. But they are drifting towards lower quality nick-knacks indistinguishable from AliExpress & often at inflated prices.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I'd bet you a Canadian Tim Hortons coffee its made in China.

I was having fun Peter. My facetiousness was maybe a wee bit too subtle but I wanted to avoid being political.

I suppose I could have said "Canada, is becoming the new China". But now that I'm explaining it, it's not really political anymore.
 
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