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How to sharpen drill bits by hand

mofugly13

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Maybe someone could make this a sticky?

Here is a great written description on how to hand sharpen drill bits. This is how I do it. I used to frequent the shooters.com gunsmithing forum when shooters was stil around, teenut was as regular there as 'fumes is here. I learned a LOT from him on that site. RIP


DESCRIPTION:
This is a copy of instructions for hand sharpening drill bits as
originally posted in rec.crafts.metalworking by Robert Bastow (teenut).
Posted by Ted Edwards <Ted_E@bc.sympatico.ca>. Ted provided the
following description:
================================================== ===============
I just posted Teenut's description of how to sharpen a drill by hand
to the dropbox.
Ted
------ Teenut's instructions ----- Anyone who wants to learn this skill should start large - and I mean
1/2 inch and above. This is a great way to make long drills short.

I believe I learned on a 3/4" taper shank drill..it is a lot easier to
see all the angles and begin to understand how they work and interact.

By the way..we had a handy little dohickey to help get the drill lips
level. I have never heard it described before..

For the morse taper shank drills from 1/4" up to about 1" diameter, we
had a piece of 2" by 1/8" hot rolled steel strap..about 14" long. One
end was bent at right angles, about 2" from the end to form an L shape
with one 12" upright and a 2" horizontal. In the geometric center of
this short leg was afixed a "dead" center..not a lathe tailstock
center!!...more like a 1/2" bolt, 1/2" long, turned or ground to a 60
deg point (Approx...no great precision required) and screwed in from
the under side. Thats IT..toolmaking over!

In use the inner face of the upright was coated with whitewash (Never
SAW marking blue 'til I got in the toolroom!) The drill was ground,
freehand, on the FACE of the wheel (not the flat side)...care being
taken to keep the POINT angle as equal as possible on both sides..I'll
tell you how to do THAT in a moment..

Lets do that now in fact..

Jim, You are dead right about not being able to grind a drill without
mechanical help! Well here's how you create your own "6 Million
Dollar Bionic Darex" ;^)

Let's assume we are going to sharpen a 3/8" diameter, 2MT shank
drill..it is about 8" long (these figures are arbitrary..I just want
every one to have the same mental picture of what I am describing. We
approach the wheel, which has been dressed on its face, dead straight
across with no grooves..(Ve SHOOT anyone ve catch putting grooves in
ze drill wheel!!..No Pity..No Prisoners..Ya! Verdampt!)

(Sorry)...

The drill shank is held firmly in the RIGHT hand...ALL the movement
and control is imparted by the RIGHT hand. For the purposes of drill
grinding, the left hand could be...with benefit..a LUMP OF CLAY!!

It is from this "lump of clay" that we fashion the Bionic Darex".

Place your left hand thumb and forefinger tips LIGHTLY together..Relax
the other three fingers and let them naturally curl against the palm
of your hand. Let the drill flute drop into the vee between thumb and
forefinger and let the tip of the finger "Find" the curve of the flute
where it fits comfortably. The tip of the thumb rests on the sharp
junction ot the land and the flute, about an inch back from the drill
tip.

Now...SQUEEZE HARD!!! YOUCH!...I said it would be easier if it were
clay! 8^) Lift the drill from your fingers...see the GROOVE?...Drop
the drill back in..it locates within a thou or two! Magic?..Bionic at
least! Squeeze again to set the groove. You have created a
customised drill guide that fits better that that on any machine ever
built! You can relax your grip now..feel how smoothly the drill will
ride back and forth, guided by the groove you have created for it.

Place the knuckles of your left hand, LIGHTLY on the ginding wheel
tool rest, and swing the drill shank, from left to right (using ONLY
your right hand) and push the drill lengthways though that groove in
your fingers back or forth using the groove to make the drill twist or
"rifle" in your fingers. Do NOT move your left hand in any way..it is
made of clay remember!

UNTIL....

A) The drill axis is "eyeballed" to be at half the required point
angle to the wheel face...You can scribe or chalk reference lines on
your grinder benchtop to help you line this up..at least untill it
become almost second nature.

B) The drill axis is dropped JUUUst below horizontal. This will
ensure that your soon to be ground drill lip will start with a
"smidgin" of cutting clearance.

(Ideally, and certainly for a beginner, the grinder rest should be set
dead radially to the wheel center and about half the drill diameter
below the true center of the wheel)

C) The two cutting edges of the drill..the straight, sharp bits,
formed by the junction of the flute and the back face (the only bit
you grind), should be horizontally disposed..with the edge uppermost
on the side closest to your left hand..the other sharp bit of course,
pointing downwards (Jeeze this would be a lot easier with a sketch
pad)

This I will call the SET or START position!

NOW, move your left hand for the first, last, and ONLY time during
this whole exercise. GENTLY ease the cutting edge towards the
spinning wheel, carefully maintaining all the angles and orientations
of the SET position..until the cutting edge is JUST shy of touching
the wheel. If you listen carefully you will hear the tone of the
entrained air, whistling through the narrowing gap. You will hear a
subtle but distinct change of tone JUST, I mean Just...a couple tenths
of a thou BEFORE the edge touches the wheel. STOP!!! FREEZE!! DO
NOT MOVE!!

Now, press the knuckles of your lump of clay..sorry, your left hand
FIRMLY down onto, into and around the grinding rest..establish a
"Groove" on the back of your hand as well as between your fingers.

We are now ready to grind, Your left hand locked to the drill and
grinding rest is otherwise quite relaxed..letting the drill slide,
twist and tilt wherever your right hand and the groove in your fingers
tell it to go.

The actual grinding is a bit of an anticlimax.

You have previously studied a new drill point, you have read about
clearance, and cutting angles, and rakes and......

With the RIGHT hand in control, gently, kinda, lean forward... bending
or squeezing your arms hands and body..rather than actually moving
them..untill you take up that last couple of tenths and the wheel
begins to cut. Let it cut..don't force it, and don't rush it..it
really won't hurt anything if you take a full minute per pass per
face. YOU and your "Bionic Darex" are totally in control of that
drill and the wheel..Forget the times when, close to panic, you swung
the drill wildly past the wheel, hoping to get "the dirty deed" over
with as quickly as possible.

Take your time, enjoy the moment, THINK about the shape you are trying
to generate. Just the one face is left to "Interpretation"...every
other aspect,angle, facet, what have you...Has ALREADY BEEN TAKEN CARE
OF!! and is locked in place under your control!

The right hand should perfome a "Lower Quadrant sweep" for want of a
better term. An observer behind you would see your hand move from
about 17 minutes past the hour on a clock face, to roughly 25 minutes
past. But it isn't a smooth arc of a circle, more a sector of an
elipse..You see, as your hand starts to drop slowly, you are also
rotating the drill in "the groove"..the first third of the turn needs
to maintain that very slight clearance angle on the cutting edge, and
not increase it too rapidly.

You need the clearance to cut..But too much at that point will WEAKEN
the edge, and cause the drill to snatch and chip...So the first part
of the rotation is ALMOST but not quite, just as though you were
grinding a straight cone point on the end of your drill. Only as you
approach the second third, does your right hand start to noticably
drop..kinda "Catching Up" on the rotary motion...increasing the
clearance as it does.

In the last third of the rotaion the right hand drops quite
rapidly..Thogh not enough to catch the OTHER drill lip on the
wheel..that lip is coming around quite rapidly by now.

Above all, take your time, if it helps, move the drill one degree at a
time, and think ahead what shape or angle the next degree of cutting
face needs...Remember, you have control, and IT ain't going nowhere
'til you decide.

After a pass on one face, flip the drill in your "Bionic Darex" DO NOT
MOVE THAT LEFT HAND!!, return to SET position and repeat, the pass on
the other face.

Having done a couple of passes on each face..it is now time to check
the results on our homemade "Optical Comparator"

(Sorry Jim I couldn't resist!!) ;^)

Rest the center hole in back end of the drill shank, on the center
point of the "Comparator" and use, first one and then the other drill
lip to scribe a light line on your whitewashed (OK Blue or red dyed)
surface.

You will readily see if the lines coincide..if the lips are even..or
not, as the case may be.

Lets assume they are..Now look directly DOWN on the end of the drill
to check the clearances. HUH? How can you check radial clearance by
looking it staight in the face? Surely you need to look at it
sideways?

Well no you don't...for once all those interacting and confusing
angles and faces and clearances are going to work together in YOUR
favor and make what could be a tricky bit of metrology..quite simple.
While we are looking at the end of the drill, we will also check that
the POINT ANGLE is correct too!!!

(Ok guys, leave quietly..teenut has finally lost it!!)

No really, trust me. IF you look straight down on the point of a well
sharpened, standard drill, you will see the two cutting edges, joined
by the CHISEL edge which crosses over the web of the drill. The angle
fromed by the chisel edge to each cutting edge should be ABOUT 50
deg...anywhere between 40 and sixty is ok for a first attempt. (I can
hear the purists and theorists screaming and lighting up their flame
throwers.) But believe me, get it in that ball park and your drill
will CUT. If the angle is too steep..you don't have enough
clearance...negative clearance will give you an angle event greater
than 90 deg. Too MUCH clerance and the angle will appear too shallow!

While looking at the end, check the point angle, How? Look down the
axis of the drill at the cutting edges. Are they straight? If so,
your point is pretty close to the right angle (As designed for that
drill, by its manufacturer when he set the helix angle and the cross
section of the flute) If the edges appear CONCAVE the point is too
flat and if they appear CONVEX, the point is too "Pointy"

If your drill passes all these tests, which take but a second or two
to perform, THEN IT WILL CUT..pretty close to size, without
chattering, chipping, overheating, wandering or seizing. I guarantee
it!

Hey, thats a pretty good start for the first drill you ever ground!
All it takes now is a bit of practice for it to become second nature
and almost as easy with a little 'un or a big 'un!

Hey guys!

My apologies for "goin'on" but If it helps just one person to pluck up
the couragre and go hand sharpen his (or her) first drill, by hand...

Then I hope you will bear with me.

It is late, I am tired and I am not even going to proof or spell check
this,

'night all

teenut
 

tRustyK5

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Sticky...thanks Matt. :waytogo:

Being able to sharpen a bit by hand is a very handy skill. I've done it at home using an angle grinder, but of course a bench grinder is a ton easier.

Rene
 

BlazerBud

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An old Weldor taught me how to do this a very long time ago when he was teaching me. Basically, the idea is to put the exact same shape on the bit that it had originally and don't get it hot or it'll loose it's tempering. Most everything that I have ever drilled has been mild steel or 304 and 316 stainless. Using cutting oil and keeping the bit cutting while drilling keeps it sharp longer, it looses it's edge faster when you drill incorrctly. I usually only use high speed tool steel jobbers, and I have retempered some bits with a torch and then plunging them.
 

blazin_blazer

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i'm glad i already know how to do this b/c that didn't make sense to me....alot of my drill bits are 1's people have used incorrectly and got them hot where they lost their temper and won't stay sharp...i'd take them out of scrap, grind the right angle and landings back on it, heat w/torch orange...not white hot, just pass cherry red to orange and dunk it in a bucket/bottle of oil until cool enuff to hold, let it air cool the rest completly...good as new!
 

Blue85

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Anybody have a well-written version of this or some pictures?
 

BlazerBud

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Check out the following for heat treatment.

http://tidewaterblacksmiths.net/2.html

I saw Dave Smucker in person at one of my Blacksmith Meetings and he gave this same demo.

As for grinding on the drill bit, you can hold it at the correct angle on a belt sander and then just twist it, but once you get it almost perfect, make sure that the leading edge bites a little.
 

sweetk30

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the newer drill doctors kick a$$ super easy to use and most people i know think thay are sharper than factory edge.

best money you could spend for fast / easy / and it works !!!
 

thatK30guy

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I use a Drill Dr. a lot at work. Can't mess up the bits if you know what you're doing. Sharpens them quick with precision. I'll never sharpen them by hand again.
 

sweetk30

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Can't mess up the bits if you know what you're doing. .

unless you try to make a right hand bit a left hand cause you grabed the wrong chuck. :doah: my old boss did that took him 10 min to figure out his mistake. fixed that dam left hand chuck with black marker ( left only ) :haha:
 

76zimmer

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I use a Drill Dr. a lot at work. Can't mess up the bits if you know what you're doing. Sharpens them quick with precision. I'll never sharpen them by hand again.

which model did you get?
 

thatK30guy

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which model did you get?
Can't remember.

Been too long since we bought it and I don't pay attention to any wordings/numbers on it anymore. Just use it and get busy with the bits.

Will check when I go back to work Monday....if I remember. :whistle:
 

sweetk30

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which model did you get?

around 2 years now thay got 10x easyer to you than the first style.

get dull bit.

pop in chuck head.

set in side hole to get bit at right depth and twist position.

clamp tight and remove chuck with bit tight.

turn on and do 5-10 revolutions and done.

when you do a few and use to the machine around 30-40 sec setup time and 1 min or so sharpen time. its just that easy. :waytogo:

edit : link http://www.drilldoctor.com/ i have used the 500x model.
 

thatK30guy

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around 2 years now thay got 10x easyer to you than the first style.

get dull bit.

pop in chuck head.

set in side hole to get bit at right depth and twist position.

clamp tight and remove chuck with bit tight.

turn on and do 5-10 revolutions and done.

when you do a few and use to the machine around 30-40 sec setup time and 1 min or so sharpen time. its just that easy. :waytogo:

edit : link http://www.drilldoctor.com/ i have used the 500x model.

Exactly how I do the one we have at work.

Quick!
 

76zimmer

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Just found a brand new one for 100$ shipped...DD500X
 
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