What are drill bits?

Drills are necessary for a variety of tasks, ranging from home maintenance and repairs, DIY projects to office renovation and building projects. However, a drill is of no use if the right type and the right size drill bit are not connected to it. Using the right drill bits is also necessary for maintaining the longevity of your drill. You can find a great range at RS Components. 

What are drill bits?

Drill bits are the small cutting tools that can be fit into your drill machine to drill holes into different materials. Drill bits can be used on brick, fiberglass, concrete, metal, plastic, vinyl flooring, tile, and different types of wood. Drill bits come in a wide variety of materials, coatings, lengths and sizes, so it’s important to know which drill bit is ideally suited for the drilling work you intend to do.

Drill bit materials

Drill bits are made of different materials. The most commonly found drill bits are made from carbon steel, high-speed steel, cobalt steel, and tool steel with tungsten carbide.

  • High-speed steel: High-speed steel or HSS is a commonly used drill bit. If you need an affordable drill bit, HSS is the right choice. Suitable for everyday projects and for drilling materials like wood, soft metals, fiberglass, and plastics, HSS bits are primarily made from carbon steel with some additives of chromium and vanadium.
  • Cobalt: If you need to drill tougher metals like heavier steel or stainless steel, you need a stronger drill bit material that is resistant to abrasions. A lot of heat is generated while drilling heavier metals, so you need a drill bit to withstand it. Bits made from cobalt are expensive than the HSS bits, but a good choice that will assure you a quality drill for tougher surfaces. 
  • Carbide tipped: Carbide is an extremely strong metal and stays sharp even after repeated use. As they can withstand enormous force, carbide tip bits can be used to drill concrete, tiles and for your masonry projects. Here, only the tip of the drill bit is coated with carbide.
  • Solid carbide: However, if you need to drill harder materials like hard metal and steel, you would need to invest in solid carbide bits. Here the entire drill bit is made of carbide. Solid carbide bits can be used on nonferrous metals and fiberglass. Solid carbide bits work better on automatic drill machines than hand drills. 

Drill bit coating

The drill bit tips are normally coated with a variety of additives. These are used to increase the performance of the drill and the life of the material.

  • Black oxide coatings prevent rust and reduce friction when drilling. 
  • TiN coated bits are coated in titanium nitride, are durable and can be used at speeds higher than other drill bits.
  • TiCN coated bits have a titanium carbonitride coating that is hard and resists wear.
  • TiAIN coated bits are coated with titanium aluminium nitrate and offer high-speed resistance to heat and abrasion.
  • Bronze oxide coating allows for high-speed drilling without causing friction heat buildup.
  • SG coated bits have a silicone multilayer as a coating which works well for extremely dense metals.
  • Bright finish coating tips are used on wood and soft metals. These bits are affordable and hard-wearing.

The common types of drill bits and their applications

  • Twist: These spiral-shaped drill bits that are used for rotary drilling are the most commonly used drill bits. Jobber, stubby, pilot and prentice styles are the different types twist drill bits.
  • Countersink bits: Useful for general woodworking and cabinetry, these bits are used best on your finished wooden surfaces.
  • Auger bits: Auger bits can be used to bore deeply into hard-wood and are useful for huge woodworking and building projects. 
  • Spade bits: These spade-shaped drill bits are commonly used in electrical, plumbing and woodworking projects. Use them if you need holes with a large diameter.
  • Hole saws: Used for large diameter drilling, hole saw drill bits are often used to fit pipes.
  • Forstner bits: These bits allow you to drill holes with a flat base.
  • Brad points: Brad point bits can be used on wood to make furniture, cabinetry and for your DIY projects. These drill bits produce a clean and precise exit hole.
  • Reduced shank bits: For a large diameter hole, reduced shank bits are the best choice. 
  • Step bits: These drill bits are ideal when you want to make different sized holes without changing the bit.
  • Self-feed bits: Self-feed bits have a screw tip at the centre that guides the bit into the wood and helps to drill large holes cleanly. 
  • Masonry bits: These are used to create holes on masonry materials like bricks, stones, or concrete.

Length of the drill bit

Drill bits come in different lengths; if you need to drill a larger hole, you would need to connect a larger drill bit. 

Choosing the right drill bit may seem to be a daunting process if you do not have the right information. Need help finding the right drill bits for your project? Find an extensive assortment of drill bits on our website.

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