How to Sharpen Drill Bits | Hand, Dremel, File, Grinder
Learning how to sharpen drill bits is a must know if you’re using old tools. When the bits get dull, you find yourself putting more pressure on the drill, which can be detrimental to your tools and your repair project. When the drill bits are sharp and pointed, it makes work easier and faster. It also ensures that your work is accurate, neater, and longlasting. Drilling with blunt bits can end up causing damage to the material you’re working on so it is in your best interest to have sharpened drill bits that will go through any material like a hot knife through butter.
There are numerous ways to learn how to sharpen your drill bits, and there is no better time to learn the skill than now. If you work with drill bits a lot and are looking for some tips on how to keep sharpen bits by hand, with a dremel, a file, or a grinder, then you’ve come to the right place.
How to Sharpen Drill Bits
If you want to learn how to sharpen drill bits, then there is no better place to start than our guide. As you’ve probably guessed, using sharp bits will go a long way to making a home improvement project much easier. Maybe you can’t afford a new set of bits or you’ve found the best drill bits on earth and don’t want to get rid of them, so why spend unnecessary money when you could follow a few simple steps and sharpen the bits yourself? In our guide, we will show you how to sharpen drill bits by hand with a bench grinder, a file, and a dremel.
Find a Dull Drill Bit
Ever try using your drill bits only to notice that it isn’t cutting like it used to? You may think that you’re doing something wrong when in reality the problem is your drill bits. In all likelihood, they’ve become dull over time and need some sharpening. However, sharpening drill bits is a little tricky in general, especially if you’ve never had any experience with sharpening your drill bits by hand.
So, how do you sharpen your drill bits by hand? Well, for starters, you’ll need a dull bit. You can easily tell if a drill bit is dull if it takes a lot of effort to drill into a soft material, like wood. Further, if you look at the bit and see a chip, or find that it isn’t smooth, your bit is likely dull. Lastly, a dull drill bit won’t be very shiny or metallic-looking. Of course, just because a bit is not longer shiny doesn’t mean it needs to be sharpened, but it is a sign that it’s starting to get dull.
With the dull bit picked out, you’re all ready to begin the sharpening process. There are three main ways to sharpen a bit by hand, with a bench grinder, a file, or a dremel. Before you begin the sharpening process, we should mention that unless you’re using a file, you will have your hands close to some dangerous machines. So you’ll need to be extremely careful when sharpening your drill bits by hand.
The likely reason that your bit is dull is as a result of a chipped bit, if you find that a lot of your bits are dull, you may want to check out our top drilling tips to ensure you’re doing everything right. It often occurs when the landing force behind them can’t support the pressure exerted during drilling, but don’t worry, you can fix it by sharpening your bits. So pick out the bits you’d like to sharpen and you’ll be ready to move forward.
With a Bench Grinder
There are different methods you can use to sharpen your drill bits, and one of them is a bench grinder. To sharpen your bits with a bench grinder, hold the bit so that the cutting face is parallel to the grinding wheel. Although this method won’t give you that new bit impression, they sure cut like crazy.
When sharpening using a bench grinder, slowly bring the bit into contact with the wheel. You’ll want to get a good grip on the bit at the bottom with your dominant hand, and then use your other hand to support the side of the bit. Slowly lower it to the grinder and lightly touch the tip of the dull bit to the belt.
Don’t forget to keep the bit as straight as possible, without rotating it. Pay attention to the tip of the bit as you gently touch it against the grinder, you should notice that with every touch it becomes a little bit sharper and rounded.
When sharpening your drill bit, you should be aware that it might begin to get hot. A little heat is normal, but if it gets too hot, you’re likely holding it against the grinder for too long. If this happens, simply dip it in cold water to cool the bit. Once it’s no longer hot, you can pick it up and begin once again.
When you’re through with the cutting edge, spin the bit half a turn and start working on the other cutting face. Try to make sure that the two sides are even and you maintain the same level of sharpening on all points. Keep rotating the bit until you’ve sharpened up all of the edges.
With a File
Before you begin sharpening your drill bits with a file, first wipe away all of the debris or dust that is on the drill bit. We suggest you use a wet rag to get that done. Then, clamp the drill bit in a table vase to ensure that it stays steady while you’re trying to file it. If you don’t own a table vase or clamp, you can improvise by holding the base of the bit with a firm grip.
Since there are two blades on each side of the bit, you’ll need to take note of the type of file you’re using. Specifically, you’ll want to use a regular file for a long, brad-point drill bit, and a mill file for a spade bit. Using the filing tool, run it down the edges of the bit over and over again until it begins to become sharp.
While filing, make sure your take note of any metal burrs on your bit and get rid of them. Keep filing the bit until the edges are smooth and the bit looks shiny. When you’re through, you can grease the bit with some machine or household oil if you have any, if not, it’s no big deal.
If you don’t have a dremel, then you’re missing an essential tool in your toolbox. Not only can this tool drill and grind, but you can also use it to sharpen your drill bit when it’s dull. Before you begin sharpening your bit using a dremel, you’ll want to put on some protective eye gear so you don’t accidentally get a piece of metal in your eye.
With the help of a bench vise, clamp down your bit so that it’s nice and tight, then use the dremel to gradually scrape away the debris from your bits leading edge. Keep grinding until you have a smooth and sharp cutting point. Additionally, make sure you do this for both sides of your bit.
To make sure it’s sharp, try to drill into a stud. It should be easy to drill and give you a smooth hole, so if you notice any wobbling, squealing, or jagged edges, then you’ll need to head back to the dremel to round up the edges.
Drill Bit Sharpening Tips
There are lots of tips for sharpening your drill bits, but only a few are absolutely essential. After all, the overall goal of sharpening your bits is to ensure that your home improvement project is done easily and smoothly, so why wouldn’t you take note of a few quick tips? Below we’ve listed our top three tips for sharpening your drill bits.
- Don’t forget to wear protective gear, especially for your eyes. An eye injury is no joke.
- Don’t oversharpen your bits. This goes for any sharpening technique, if you file or grind away at your bit too much, they’ll become unusable and you’ll have to buy new ones. You can always sharpen them more if need be.
- Make sure the cutting edge of the bit is well angled and remain perpendicular to the shanks. You don’t want to end up with an uneven bit.
There are many ways to sharpen your drill bits, some more common than others. However, the benefit is the same — working with a sharp bit is tremendous, as it will make your home improvement project a whole lot easier. There are a variety of different tools that you can use to get the job done, and it really comes down to personal preference. Just remember, if you’ve never done this before, take a minute to read up on the proper techniques so you don’t hurt yourself or your drill bits!