Must Knows

Drill bits: Uses, types and maintenance

[] Drill bits are made to drill holes in wood, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, porcelain, and concrete.

A drill is a great addition to any home toolbox and is required for almost every job, whether it’s a minor decor update, a huge room upgrade, or a large structural expansion. However, a decent drill is useless unless it is used with the appropriate drill bits.

You are reading: Drill bits: Uses, types and maintenance

What are drill bits?

Drill bits are made to drill holes in wood, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, porcelain, and concrete. Drill bits are also available for steel, aluminium, copper, cast iron, sheet metal, fibreglass, brick, vinyl flooring, and other materials.

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Construction of drill bits

Drill bits are made in various forms to assist with various activities and are sized for their diameter. The shank and the chuck are two easily recognised sections of drills that you should be familiar with.

The shank is the end of the drill bit that is fastened by the chuck and fits into the drill. A circular shank makes it easier to centre a bit in the chuck. Hex shanks have flat surfaces that help the chuck grip the drill bit more firmly.

The chuck is the component of the drill where the drill bit is attached. A 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch chuck is standard on most household power drills. Larger chucks are available in 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch diameters, and are often seen on industrial and heavy-duty power drills and drill presses.

Materials used to construct drill bits

  • Carbon Steel
  • High Speed Steel
  • Cobalt Steel
  • Tool Steel with Carbide tips
  • Solid Carbide

Coatings used on drill bits

  • Black Oxide– Black Oxide helps in corrosion protection and drilling lubricants, increases tempering, stress relieving, and reduces galling and chip wielding.
  • Bronze Oxide– Bronze Oxide helps increase tempering and stress resistance of the drill bit.
  • Titanium Nitride- This is an expensive coating. It aids in increasing the hardness of the bit and offers a thermal barrier, which increases production rates and the life of the tool. 


Types of Drill Bits

  • Twist Drill Bit

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Twist drill bits are the most commonly used drill bits at home. Light metal, wood, plastic, metal, ceramic, and masonry can all be drilled using twist drill bits. They are useful for metal, wood, or ceramic home repairs, maintenance, and construction tasks.

  • Brad and Pilot Point Drill Bits

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This drill bit type is frequently the ideal drill bit for wood DIY tasks. Wood can be drilled with broad point drill bits. A clean exit hole is produced by the W-shaped centre point. Furniture, cabinetry, and general carpentry are all possible applications.

  • Auger Drill Bit

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The screw-tip for auger drill bits aids in drilling and requires less pressure. Wood can be drilled with auger drill bits. They are also used for major woodworking and construction tasks.

  • Spade Drill Bits

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Since spade drill bits create large-diameter holes, they are used for framing, electrical, plumbing, and precision woodworking operations, drill holes in wall studs. Wood can also be drilled with spade drill bits. 

  • Drill Bit Forstner

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Forstner drill bits are used for woodworking and construction projects. It works better in a drill press than in a portable drill for creating clean holes with a flat base. 

  • Countersink Drill Bit

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Countersink drill bits are useful for cabinets and general woodworking. Wood can easily be drilled with countersink drill bits. Since it creates a recess for countersinking fastener heads, countersinks are used to drill pilot holes as per the required depth.


  • Installer Drill Bit

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Installer drill bits produce wood plugs for concealing countersunk fasteners. These are useful for cabinetry and woodworking tasks.


  • Drill Bit with Steps

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Step drill bit allows drilling holes of multiple sizes with the same drill bit; it can be used to clean away waste material in holes. With this tool, you can drill pilot holes in woodworking and sheet metal applications. 


  • Drill Bit for Tiles

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When drilling various types of tile, a carbide-tipped bit reduces chips and cracks. Tile drill bits help in installing or renovating flooring, backsplashes, and tile walls. Ceramic and porcelain tile can both be drilled using tile drill bits.

  • Drill Bits: Drill Bits for Glass

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Glass drill bits are useful for do-it-yourself house improvements and repairs. Non-tempered glass and ceramic can both be drilled with glass drill bits. Use it only at modest speeds with a rotary drill to drill holes in glass and ceramic.

  • Drill Bits for Masonry

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Masonry drill bits are suitable for work with concrete, brick, and masonry and for home construction and repairs. It is best used with a hammer drill; certain variants are built for rotary drill use, but they are significantly less effective.


  • Hole Saw Drill Bits

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Hole saws are used for cutting holes in wood, metal, tile, and masonry. It’s a multi-purpose drill bit for construction, renovation, and repairs. It is attached to a shank for connection to a drill; it drills huge cut-out holes, which are frequently used to fit pipes.


  • Screwdriver Drill Bit

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Screwdriver drill bits are useful for construction, renovation, and machine work. Depending on the type, it is used with handheld drills and impact driver.


  • Core Drill Bits

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Depending on the tip type, coring drill bits can be used with masonry, brick, wet concrete, concrete, concrete blocks, and other materials. These are useful for heavy-duty construction projects. For concrete work, this is usually the ideal drill bit, it is frequently used in conjunction with a rotary hammer and impact tools.


Drill Bits: Bit Holders and Extensions

  • Many different bit types can be used with bit holders and extensions.
  • It is useful for extending the reach of your tool for difficult-to-reach jobs.
  • Used with hand drills and impact drivers. 

Drill Bits: Spectacular Drill Bits and Accessories

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Other options and accessories for more specialised work can be found among the numerous wood drill bits, glass drill bits, and concrete drill bits:

  • Installer bits are used to connect wires. A hole in the side of the drill bit is used to feed wiring through the drilled hole.
  • The self-centering drill bit ensures that the drill hole is precisely aligned each time it is used. This tool is great for pre-drilling holes for screw-mounted components.
  • Drill bits are used to make uneven holes in metal or wood. It’s best for minor work, but it can’t replace a jigsaw.
  • Pocket hole bits, when combined with the appropriate jig, allow you to drill angled screw holes. ideal for constructing wood joints.
  • Masonry is scaled and chiselled with scaling chisels. to be used with hammer drills.
  • Right-angle drill attachments allow you to access areas where a drill would not fit.
  • Screw extractors enable the removal of stripped or broken screws.
  • Uses a reversible drill/driver.
  • Depth stops allow you to drill to a specific depth.

Drill Bits: Materials and Finishes

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Drill bits are frequently classed based on the materials used to make them and the coatings applied to them.

  • Drill bits made of high-speed steel (HSS) are used to drill wood, light metals, fibreglass, and PVC.
  • Black oxide-coated drill bits are more durable than conventional HSS drill bits, and the coating aids in rust resistance. These work well with hardwood, softwood, PVC, fibreglass, and steel.
  • Titanium-coated drill bits have less friction, require less effort, and are more durable than black oxide-coated bits. These work well with hardwood, softwood, PVC, fibreglass, and steel.
  • Hard metals and steel are drilled with cobalt drill bits. They disperse heat quickly and are very resistant to abrasions, making them superior to black oxide-or titanium-coated drill bits for drilling into hard metals. When comparing cobalt drill bits to titanium drill bits, cobalt bits are usually the best drill bits for stainless steel.
  • Hard metals and steel are drilled with cobalt drill bits. They disperse heat quickly and are very resistant to abrasions, making them superior to black oxide-or titanium-coated drill bits for drilling into hard metals. When comparing cobalt drill bits to titanium drill bits, cobalt bits are typically the best drill bits for stainless steel.
  • Carbide-tipped drill bits retain their sharpness over extended periods of operation and are mostly used for concrete, tile, and masonry. These are frequently the most effective masonry drill bits for your project.
  • Bi-metal drill bits are ideal for a wide range of materials, including light metal, wood, and PVC; they cut quickly and smoothly with minimal vibrations.
  • Glass, sea glass, fused glass, rocks, and minerals are all good candidates for diamond drill bits.
  • Drill bits made of alloy steel are commonly used in machine shops to cut sheet metal of various thicknesses. If you’re only working with thin materials, these are often the ideal drill bits for metal.

Tip: When using drill bits and accessories, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and safety. Even if they are the same brand, make sure the drill bit is compatible with the drill you are using.


Drive Styles for Drill Bits

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Drill bits are available in a variety of driving designs, and depending on the job, different solutions can be beneficial. Here are some common categories to be aware of:

  • Hex bits are commonly used for furniture construction and disassembly when an Allen key won’t fit.
  • Square bits, like hex bits, are commonly used in commercially manufactured products and furnishings. Hex goods are frequently used to replace them in modern manufacturing.
  • Torx bits are six-sided star-shaped bits that are commonly used on vehicles and in electronics.
  • Phillips and slotted bits are two types of screwdriver bits that are commonly used for basic home construction and maintenance jobs.
  • Combination drill bits are a versatile bit set that may be used for a variety of construction and repair projects.


Drill Bits: Upkeep

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Drill bit maintenance helps extend the life of your drill bits and keeps them ready for the next project. Drill bit maintenance is also a concern for safety; dull or damaged drill bits can cause issues in the workplace and for the worker.

 Cutting tools are drill bits. Drill bits must be sharpened on a regular basis if you conduct a lot of home projects or heavy-duty building work. Drill bits that are dull can increase the amount of time and effort required to finish a job, as well as harm the materials you’re working with and even cause injury. To keep your drill bits in tip-top form, consider investing in a sharpening tool.

 Most drill bit sets come in a case with compartments for each bit. This prevents nicking or scratching of the drill bits while also providing superb organisation. Each location is labelled with the bit’s size and type, making it simple to find the correct bit for the job at hand. Add a storage box with dividers to your tool set if it didn’t come with one or if you’ve been buying individual drill bits. Use a permanent marker to mark each spot with the size and kind of drill bit you put in there. Don’t keep more than two bits together. shape.

Maintenance Tips for Drills and Drill Bits

  • After you’ve finished your project, let the drill bit cool down.
  • With a clean, dry towel or cleaning cloth, wipe the drill and drill bit.
  • Brush off any shavings or other material that may have clung to the tool with a clean, dry toothbrush.
  • With a paper towel or microfiber cloth, lightly apply machine oil. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping away any remaining oil with a fresh paper towel.
  • Inspect drill bits for any significant damage and remove damaged drill bits from the set for replacement.
  • Return drill bits to their cases and store in a cool, dry location.



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Category: Must Knows

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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