Sharpening small drill bits?

Topics include, Machine Tools & Tooling, Precision Measuring, Materials and their Properties, Electrical discussions related to machine tools, setups, fixtures and jigs and other general discussion related to amateur machining.

Moderators: Harold_V, websterz, GlennW

Mr Ron
Posts: 1638
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:36 pm
Location: Vancleave, Mississippi

Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by Mr Ron » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:30 am

I use small drill bits a lot. They are usually number size under 1/8". I have no problem sharpening bits larger than 1/8', but small number size bits pose a challenge. What is the smallest practical size bit that can be sharpened with the freehand method and how do you do it? I tried sharpening while wearing a magnifier head band, but it doesn't magnify enough. When I touch the bit to the wheel, material is ground off very quickly to the point where the angles are destroyed. I think I need to buy small bits in quantity instead of trying to sharpen them; is that right?
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

User avatar
mklotz
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 11:35 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by mklotz » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:48 am

Here's one way to do it...

http://www.homemadetools.net/forum/shar ... #post36588

but discarding dull ones is much easier, especially if you don't drill a lot of tiny holes.
Regards, Marv

Home Shop Freeware
http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz

User avatar
Gary Armitstead
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:35 am
Location: Burbank, CA

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by Gary Armitstead » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:13 pm

Here's another way. AND I have been sharpening drills by hand for over 50 years. This jig is very simple to make.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf5M2UIF-y0
Gary Armitstead
Burbank, CA
Member LALS since 1980
Member Goleta Valley Railroad Club 1980-1993

User avatar
BadDog
Posts: 4549
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by BadDog » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:14 pm

I have a Christen micro drill grinder. Nice machine, and 1/8" is actually a pretty big drill for it, though it can go up to 1/4" max. It h as a built in microscope and makes multi facet grinding and even splitting on tiny drills easy enough. But it's still pretty fiddly to set up, particularly when changing sizes and angles. So in my opinion, if you have any opportunity to predict what you will need, the only sane option is to buy extra drills. And I say that already owning the Christen, which I got for a very small investment, mainly because the previous owner had come to the same conclusion and stocked a Huot index with multiples in sizes he might need. I keep it on hand mainly because I never know what I'm going to need, perhaps even a custom grind, and so far I've not had a chance to stock for all possible requirements...
Image

My SRD is far more easily and quickly setup and used, but 1/8" is getting a bit small for it without changing wheels. I have the small diameter wheel, but resetting up for using it generally isn't worth the time (see above). I've even got diamond wheels for it "just in case", never got around to using it, though I do have one bit that will get the diamond one day. It generally stays configured for 3/16-1/2 bits, which are by far the most common that I need to touch up, or regrind a different angle, and/or web thin.
Image
Russ
Master Floor Sweeper

User avatar
Rich_Carlstedt
Posts: 1447
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 12:16 am
Location: Green Bay Wisconsin USA

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by Rich_Carlstedt » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:17 pm

mklotz wrote:Here's one way to do it...

http://www.homemadetools.net/forum/shar ... #post36588

.................s.
Marv, that is really a cool tool !
I sharpen most all my drills by hand.
Bought a book from Lindsey publications for 3 bucks back in the 80's that showed
how to sharpen small drills. I had a project that required over 1400 holes in .022" diameter.
I found that my technique (from the book) made drilling far easier than factory sharpened drills.
I basically do what your fixture does, only I hold the drill in a pin-vise at the same angle by hand
and give 3 strokes on a wet-stone and without moving my hand (and angle) I roll the pin-vise 180 degrees between my fingers and stroke the other flute. The pin-vise has two marks (at 180 ) so i can keep the bit faces mirrored.

When I show the technique to others, they have a hard time mastering it, but your fixture is the ticket for them
Even though I am pretty good by hand, I have to make one of yours for display ..

Rich

earlgo
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:38 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by earlgo » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:58 pm

My friend who was closing a plant a few years ago came across these on a forgotten shelf. The are hand sharpeners for very small drills. One is for RH and one for LH drills. Each comes with a few special bushings and a sharpening stone.
small drill sharpeners.JPG
This is a pic of the individual sharpener with the only hint as to its maker.
small drill pointer.JPG
The captured wheel on the left has index notches 180° apart. Apparently after the drill is positioned correctly, the hand stone is applied and then the drill is indexed and the stone applied again. Stoning the drill lips down to the curved surface (seen on the right) assures that the lips are the same length.

--earlgo
Before you do anything, you must do something else first. - Washington's principle.

earlgo
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:38 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by earlgo » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:20 pm

On the other hand, somewhere I found the design for this small drill sharpener, but I don't remember where.
The peaked 'roof' is 118°, but could be whatever you want. There is a small groove centered on the right hand half that clamps the drill straight. It is only a matter of eyeballing the proper point location and using a small india stone to repair or add a point. The center clamping screw is held in location by the set screw so that the drill can pass thru the hole. It puts a straight facet on the drill instead of a curved one.
This works really well after it is set up.
home drill pointer.JPG
small drill sharpener reduced.jpg
View of the drill In place.
small drill reduced.jpg
--earlgo
Before you do anything, you must do something else first. - Washington's principle.

User avatar
BadDog
Posts: 4549
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by BadDog » Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:38 pm

I think I saw that last one in one of the tool books, or maybe one of the Bedside Readers?
Russ
Master Floor Sweeper

GK1918
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:25 am

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by GK1918 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:41 am

I'm just saying the shop practice discards drills under 1/8: So don't discard save the shanks.
I got a bin of these >> ya never know, someday ?? you need a pin

Mr Ron
Posts: 1638
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:36 pm
Location: Vancleave, Mississippi

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by Mr Ron » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:35 am

Thanks all for your input. Apparently sharpening small drills requires small jigs. I'll have to work on that. The problem with buying drill bits in quantity is: they are sold usually in packs of 12 which can add up quickly in cost. The sizes I use most are tap and clearance drills for 2-56 to 6-32 machine screws. That equates to about 10 different sizes. When I buy drill bits in those sizes, I usually buy 3 or 4 of each size needed. I work mostly with aluminum and I found that using a coolant (WD-40), extends the life of the bits (and taps).
Another question: Are the coated and cobalt drill bits much better than ordinary HSS bits, since tiny bits break easily?
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

User avatar
warmstrong1955
Posts: 3146
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:05 pm
Location: Northern Nevada

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by warmstrong1955 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:00 pm

Mr Ron wrote:Thanks all for your input. Apparently sharpening small drills requires small jigs.
Yeah....me too. It's why I was curios about the Drill Doc a while ago, and if it works for the small bits.
I freehand all of 'em, but the little guys, even with a magnifier light over the grinder, is tough duty. Some.....are just too small, and they go into the dull bit box, for use for something.....maybe a jig later. :D

Not sure about coatings myself either. I have no real proof to tell one way or the other.
I do know it's best to stick with Name Brand made in USA stuff.

Bill
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

Carm
Posts: 457
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:14 am

Re: Sharpening small drill bits?

Post by Carm » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:47 pm

"Another question: Are the coated and cobalt drill bits much better than ordinary HSS bits, since tiny bits break easily?"

If your diet is largely alooneyum, no.
I like cobalt HSS for stainless 300's.
The coated bits might have an improvement in a high throughput situation and if you don't sharpen.

Post Reply