Where do you purchase your drill bits?
I have been buying my drill bits (1/16 --- 1/2) at the local hardware stores, sears, etc. and they used to be OK, but now they last about a hole or two when shot through soft steel. Today I was astounded but what happened.
Most bits just loose their temper, break or even bend, but this one started to unscrew.
I'm ready to let those hardware store bits on the shelf and purchase a better quality bit. Any suggestions?
The best I have found so far are sold under the Dewalt name.
I had a bit twist and the drill about broke my arm a couple weeks ago.We straightened it and we are still useing it.
They have a small starter end on them.Will even start a hole at a slight angle.
And seem to last a while.
Be sure to buy high speed steel drills for drilling in steel and it sounds like you are
running your drills to fast Drills can be sharpened
Good place for a question on drill bits (taps too) for the machinists out there:
One thing I was taught in high school machine shop (yes, that was back in the '50's) was that if a drill bit or tap was NOT marked "HS", or "HSS" (high speed steel),....don't buy it!
Is that still good advice, or just an old fashioned term that is now obsolete?
Lee,....you must have read my mind as we were both typing at the same time!
Ralph Ricks term,..."ChiCom" comes to mind here!
Mike, you would be doing us all a big favor if you would reveal the brand name of the bit in the picture. That is one brand that we need to stay away from. Pure JUNK!
Well.... I purchased this bit at True Value. It was a Master Mechanic Titanium bit. The wrapper says "for heavy duty industry applications". "Ideal for increased speed and feed rates". "Lasts 6X longer than High Speed Steel drill bits".
Now I'm sure that every manufacture will have problems with a batch of product once in a while and maybe this bit is just that. I use a Delta drill press running at about 600 Rpm. And I use oil as much as possible. I've tried to sharpen the small bits, but can not seem to get the hang of it. I have more success with the larger bits. Maybe I can see them better. But this was the first use of this bit, right out of the package.
I'd appreciate any suggestions as to where a good product can be bought.
You can purchase a full set of numbered, fractional, and letter scale bits in an index box from Harbor Freight and they are cobalt and they are good. Not everything from China is bad, just the bad stuff that is ordered to save initial cost.
China makes excellent products if the middle man wants to purchase them and sell them to the distributor.
We were towing our boat and got a flat tire first time out. I did not have the proper lug wrench for the trailer wheel. I unhooked the boat and drove five miles back to a Walmart and purchased a four way lug wrench. Mary stayed with the boat.
I returned and placed the wrench on a lug nut and gave it a twist and the socket part of the wrench cracked like a broken walnut because it had been die cast and not forged.
I drove back and got my money back after ranting at the poor sales person who had no clue about the junk he was peddling. I asked him where the closest auto parts store was and he guided me to another place ten miles away. It was an Auto Zone Store and they had that same die cast wrench and also a forged one for a dollar more. But I purchased a set of black impact wrench sockets and I also got a set of black impact quality extensions to get in to the nut. I didn't have those items at home so selected that rather than the lug wrench which I accidentally left at home. Went back to the boat and changed the wheel.
Just don't buy junk and if things are not good immediately return them and get your money back. If they get a bunch of that action they will purchase better stock.
Harold, ChiCom is the old military (and maybe civilian) term for Chinese Communist. They have capitalism, but they are still a Communist oligarchy (shared dictatorship.)
Frank Harris is right. Buy the large set from Harbor Freight that are gold in color. They are Tin Nitride rather than colbalt however. Look at the shanks and they are marked HSS. You will have every size you need. I see too many folks running drill bits in steel as fast as the drill will turn them and not even a drop of oil on them. Slow them down and use oil. They will last a Loooonnnnng time.
Ralph - Yeah, I knew what the term meant, and in many cases on the forum when discussing inferior import stuff, it fits.
Back to the drill bits, Mikes last post is an example of what Mr. Murray, my high school machine shop teacher in the '50's used to tell us,....don't pay any attention to drill bits advertised with words like,....high carbon steel, chrome vanadium, super tough, blah, blah, blah......" And now I'm wondering about modern terms like Mike mentioned,...."titanium", for increased speed and feed rates, special tough coatings, and on and on.
So, my question is, it the main thing to look for STILL "HSS" or "HSS" stamped or etched on the drill bit, or is there now something better than "high speed steel" drill bits?
The term TiN is really referring to Titanium Nitride and it's a coating applied to the steel of the drill. So whether the drill is carbon steel or a better alloy, the TiN is only a coating. Cobalt on the other hand is part of the steel alloy and it makes the steel harder. So TiN by itself does not guarantee the quality of the steel used in the drill. I've been buying Hertel drills from MSC with good success.
Don't buy machinist cutting tools at the hardware store. Buy the very best HSS you can afford at the machine shop supply. Unless you just love aggravation.
What the photos is of is stuff made by idjits for idjits
My untwisted bit has on the shank "1/8 HSS HNA" Looking closely at the bit's point, it is flat and about 1/16" wide. This bit didn't get hot, didn't have time to, so I think that it is a material problem. It must be too soft.
Since everyone is giving their opinion, I might as well put mine in too. The HF drill bits are CRAP. I've had three sets for just utility bits. They aren't accurately sized and you'll need to sharpen them before you use them. Over 50% of the bits in a set will be bent. Any one that says they're good bits has never used a GOOD bit; that's for sure.
Any Carbon Steel, HS, HSS or cobalt bit from China might be worth using for wood or utility. Don't expect it to hold up or be accurate though.
So,........from what I've "gathered" so far, HS or HSS is still the markings to look for on a drill bit, however, with modern day business ethics (or rather, the lack of same) such markings may be meaningless if it's an "import". Again,...."buy American", right? Thanks guys,......harold
I posted this one a few weeks ago:
Well. I've been nosing around the internet and found a place called MSC Industrial Supply. They have drill bits, literally thousands of them. I need a little education about the material. I looked up 1/8" jobber bits and found that there are High Speed Steel, Cobalt, Carbide (expensive, must be good) and carbide tipped. There are many makers. Seems that you can purchase a HSS bits anywhere from $0.80 to about $5.00 each, Cobalt is a little more and carbide is around $15 each. Is a $1.50 HSS bit as good as a $5 bit. Is a cobalt one better yet?
Do yourself a favor and only buy good tools. We buy lots of tooling from McMaster Carr and MSC Industrial supply Co.
The first picture of the drill bit looks like it's been shot out of a gun into a brick wall!
No... I was drilling an 1/8" hole in a piece of steel and in an instant the point caught and got stuck and twisted into the mess you see. I would have expected it to skip and tick or break, but not what it did.
I buy from MSC, have several good sets. For fractional I prefer Cleveland or Chicago Latrobe. The cheaper ones are all made in Brazil, China or Israel. The Hertel brand is mostly made in Israel. Pretty marginal quality. I don't buy any Hertel. Interstate brand is MSC's in-house brand, they are made in China or Taiwan and are a good value for the money. Value brand is crap. One of the better and reasonably priced American brands is Trinado. I have several sets in indexes from them and they stand up well and don't get lost any faster than the cheaper ones or more expensive ones.
Thanks Stan, just the advise I was looking for.
My .02 on drill bits. I have been using Dewalt for several years and find them outstanding. The only problem with them is that they seem to walk off and I end up with less than a full set. Dick C,
I think Lee gave some good advice when he commented about running drills too fast. Best decision I have made recently is getting a Milwaukee variable speed 3/8" drill. Slow drilling speed makes things much easier, safer and you will not burn, break and twist your bits. I get my bits from a local mechanics supply store.
If you have a big old geared drill, you can tickle the switch on and off to achieve low speed.
I bought a small set at Hershey a few yeasr ago from Max at Winters drill bit city. For 30 bucks I would give them a try, went back the following year and bought the big set. The best, US steel, and made in the US, he tells you dont drill a pilot hole and use lubrication. Here is the web address, a little pricey but you get what you pay for.
Lard makes a good lub when drilling metal. Get a one pound tub and poke or drill a half inch hole in the lid, dip the bit in before you drill. A nice curl of metal instead of chips is the result. John
I must not know what a good drill bit is because I have had my HF big set for almost 10 years and they have surprised me. I didn't expect much when I bought them, but they have performed great. I also got the set of 3 stepped bits because they used them on OCC. I thought they looked interesting. I also was surprised in their ability.
Drill bits arent the only things that are in general not as good as they use to be. Screws and fasteners also fall in that catagory also.
Quality bits and fasteners are still out there but as far buying then from your friendly hardware store down the street what you will find will be the lower quality stuff.
Wood screws at most common hardware stores are a prime example.
I don't know much, but I do know this:
Drill bits that come in a box that looks like this...
... are good for drilling through balsa,
styrofoam and the soft end of asparagus tips.
The good stuff looks like this:
And $4 isn't a too much to spend on a
decent drill bit. Home Depot carries this brand.
Here's what brand I buy: "Made in U.S.A."
Not to start a big political discussion but I no longer buy Irwin tools. They bought Vise Grip, made for 80 years by a little company in Nebraska; shut down the plant and moved production to China. The quality of Vise Grip is now crap, the jaws are soft and it is just not the same tool it was.
What a shame!! Any company that would do this does not get a nickle from me.
World War II established markets for hundreds of products that are now household names. At least one such product became a standard component of every farmer's toolbox and was manufactured in a small rural town in Nebraska.
The product was the Vise Grip locking pliers. The small town was, and is Dewitt, Nebraska. The agricultural innovator was an immigrant Danish blacksmith named William Petersen.
Petersen came to the U.S. just after the turn of the century. He tried his hand at farming, but he was in incurable inventor. At one time, he even tried to build and sell early motorcars. Each of those enterprises failed. In the early 1920s, he arrived in Nebraska and opened a blacksmith shop.
At some point, he realized his job would be a lot easier if he had a set of pliers that would clamp down and hold the piece of metal he was working on "in a vise-like grip." He undoubtedly had sets of pliers and at least one vise in his shop. But the pliers couldn't be locked and the vise was hard to set up. Somehow, he came up with the idea of combining the function of the two tools.
He figured out that a screw mechanism in the handle could adjust the opening of the pliers. Later, he figured out a way for the other handle to lock it in place. He built several prototypes, first out of cardboard and then wood. Finally, he hammered one out of metal on his forge. It worked.
He got his first patent for a primitive version in 1921. The patent for the locking lever was issued in 1924. He built an inventory and starting selling the Vise-Grip Pliers out of the trunk of his car to farmers and mechanics in the surrounding towns. Gradually, he built a business, but the Depression slowed its growth.
In spite of hard times, the tool was popular. In 1934, the Petersen Manufacturing Company was formed, but it wasn't until 1938 that they opened their first official manufacturing plant in a defunct drug store in "downtown" Dewitt. That first plant had a staff of 37.
When the war started, Bill Petersen was still working on refining the product, two of his sons, Chris and Ralph, handled manufacturing, and another son, Richard, was struggling to put together a network of sales agents. One of them sold the government on the advantages of the Vise-Grip.
By 1941, the little plant was operating at capacity to fulfill government contracts. Defense industries used thousands of Vise-Grips. Thousands more were shipped to England for their aircraft industry. Builders of the Liberty cargo ships found them so useful – and the time pressures to finish ships so great – that welders simply welded the Vise-Grips into the hulls rather than removing them from the pieces they were holding together. At the time, the tool sold for $1.25.
The war saved Petersen Manufacturing because 1941 was the same year that their original patent ran out. Without government contracts, competition could have destroyed the fledgling company.
Bill Petersen kept inventing and expanding the market. Right after the war in 1945, the first National Hardware Show was organized tapping into the huge interest that returning soldiers and their families had in building their dream homes. Vise-Grip tools were there.
In 1957, the easy release lever was added to the pliers. In the 1950s, the company incorporated. In the 60s, they opened a second manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. In recent years, the company has gone through several ownership changes and mergers. They are now known as Irwin Industrial Tools and are now a division of Newell Rubbermaid, Inc.
In 2008, the original Vise-Grip manufacturing plant in Dewitt, Nebraska, closed when the parent company moved production to China. Over 330 people from Dewitt (population 600) and surrounding communities were out of work.
Vise Grip is not the only American company Irwin has done this to.
I think the Maytag Man is now living in China.
I purchased a full set of high speed Jobber's Cobalt Drills with the name Chicago on the light blue pained box, they are a division of T.R.W. located in River Grove, Illinois. I got the full set fractional, letter, and Numbered drills at an auction for $85 and think I got a good deal. They are marked with a black disk on the shank end.
In the 80's, I purchased a set of 1/16th to 1/2 by 32nds inch cobalt drills and paid about $185 for the set and think that my Chicago set was a good value although slightly used. I have the high-zoot drill doctor that makes the split point if you want to go to the effort. Haven't broken one yet.
There are no good drill bits. i tried buying some nobody sells them anymore. If they do exist the local engineering shop wants to know about them. And irwin sucks, They move stuff to china and manufacture unemployment now.
Many times only the name stays the same. Irwin quality of years past should not be expected. The same goes for Stanley and many more.
Hmm, I thought I remembered this was one of the brands Romney's group bought and sent production to the ChiComs. What I just read on wiki is little different:
Newell Rubbermaid has been criticized in the UK for systematically closing British factories including those of Parker Pen, Berol, Record and Marples tools.
The Newell Rubbermaid Merger:
In 1999, Newell Company acquired the Rubbermaid and Graco brand names in a megamerger deal worth $5.8 billion, and later renamed the combined firm Newell Rubbermaid. This was an acquisition ten times as big as the last biggest acquisition Newell had made before. This nearly doubled the company's size, and significantly increased Newell's portfolio of brands.
According to the November 10, 2004 Frontline documentary series' "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?" episode, Newell's chance to buy the Rubbermaid brand resulted from the original Rubbermaid corporation's bankruptcy and fire sale-style liquidation of its remaining assets. The original Rubbermaid had risen to enormous market share and profits by making Wal-Mart the near-sole distributor of its products—shifting away from a previous, years-long policy of diversifying its product distribution by using multiple retailers. At some point after it had become dependent upon Wal-Mart for almost all of its sales, Rubbermaid claimed that it needed to raise the retail price of its products by a small, single-digit percentage. Rubbermaid said that this price increase was needed to keep pace with operational costs and inflation, without sacrificing its legendary product quality.
Despite Rubbermaid's insistence that it couldn't afford to stay in business without it, Wal-Mart—citing its strict commitment to its "everyday low price" (EDLP) policy, and language in their contract with Rubbermaid allowing it to control pricing—refused Rubbermaid's request.
Rubbermaid's business collapsed shortly thereafter. Most of its physical assets had to be sold off at discount prices to satisfy its creditors; its biggest remaining asset was the Rubbermaid brandname itself.
However, the merger in 1999 was dubbed as the 'merger from hell' by Business Week magazine. Newell shareholders lost 50 percent of their value in the two years following the closing and Rubbermaid shareholders lost 35 percent. In 2002, Newell wrote off $500 million in goodwill...
As of October 2010, more than 10 years after the merger, the Newell stock price (NYSE: NWL) was still valued at less than half of the 1999 pre-merger price.
I do know that it costs the same to make junk as it does to make good items. It is the cost of labor in the U.S. that chased the companies to foreign countries. I don't understand why they can't make good things with cheaper labor and still make a profit. They do not have to make junk. Some items are well made and use good materials. All you have to do it write specifications for them to follow. Test the product for quality and don't pay if it doesn't meet specs. People will know what is good and will buy there. The story of the wheel wrench I purchased makes me never ever go to Walmart again. The old story goes like this. "Do it to me once shame on you, Do it to me twice shame on me".
Junk has to be replaced more often. You need to make it just a little better than the competition to succeed; and when your competition is all ChiCom, well...
I bought a Sharp Nuke (microwave), assembled in NJ(?) about five years ago. It quit recently, so I dug into it. I found the shutoff microswitch that is activated by door opening was burnt up, and some of the wires were scorched. The normal timer or manual STOP button provides a soft shutdown of magnetron power, not stressing anything. The open door microswitch is in the main power circuit, shutting power off by brute force.
I didn't know that. I know, I should RTFM, Read The Manual, but who does that on such an intuitive item?
I have had good luck with Gyros "Premium HSS industrial grade black oxide" dill bits. They are made in the USA.
I use only Australian & New Zealand made "Sutton" brand drills, dies & taps made in the Castlemaine area of Victoria. Most of the rest out here are Chinese made crap and wouldn't cut butter to bake a cake.
Sutton also make a range of "Tin" coated & tungsten tipped masonary drills. Their solid tungsten carbide drills are amazing, but damn expensive.
It is like all tools. My grandfather always told me "...th buy the best you can afford". He has proven to have given great advice many times over.
I bought some drill bits at the hardware store today. If you read the label it reads something like made for Master Mechanics in Chicago Ill. Search the small print and you will find that they were made for the hardware chain in....
wait for it...
Yep, there were two levels of drill quality... expensive and very expensive. All said high speed steel, but all were Chinese. They do not have a single bit made in USA.
The reason? They can sell them for less than USA tools. The sell all they can buy and the public has no choice. We keep buying them because they keep breaking and we need the size selection.
I have a bunch of these bits now, and am looking for a quality set of U.S.A. made bits to replace them with. I may have to source through MSA or other order house since they are not available retail in my small community.
Ill bet the chinaman uses USA tooling in making his junk repop stuff! troop
After reading Stan's comment about Hertel being made in Israel, I made a trip to my shop and I checked my drill box.
Every drill in my numbered, lettered, fractional Hertel index is stamped HSS USA. Apparently I now own a collectors item. I did buy them from MSC but when the local store was still a J&L branch. As I noted before, I am happy with their quality. Apparently a lot has changed since then.
Israel normally make some great metal cutting tools. Due to blockades over the years they were forced by necessity to develop their own technology. Iscar brand carbide tips and tooling were some of the best in the market for many years. I suppose you will develop this technology when you need to equip an army and defend yourself!
You are correct Israel does make good cutting tools...they are usually launched from aircraft and cut through anything they aim at!
This has been a very informative thread. I guess I have decided that not only should drill bits be purchased from an industrial supply company like McMaster & Carr or MSC instead of ChiCom junk from the "big box" stores, or, because I purchased a good "Drill Doctor" several years ago, I think a good plan would be to do as Steve Jelf does in buying used tools at auctions and such and maybe pick up used and/or broken US made HSS drill bits and re-sharpen with my "Drill Doctor"!
If you're buying drills, end mills, cutting tools, taps dies,etc. from an industrial supplier, Cleveland is a wonderful brand. I've had fractional, number, letter sets for over 30 years and 99% of them are still from their original set.
Other good quality brands:
The moron boss at work a very few years ago got us some Master Mechanic drill bits. We twisted several of them into backwards in moderately soft woods.
I wonder how Vermont/American bits are now? Do they still make them? I have many from years ago that I have used a lot and hard.
I bought some new holes saws yesterday, I did not even bother to look at where they were made. I was shopping/purcahsing under the assumption of a known name brand.
I always bought Craftsman tools because of the Made in USA quality and lifetime guarantee. Now Sears outsourced the tools to China I will not buy anything from Sears and hope they go under. Every tool that breaks I take back to get a replacement, if it says made in China I ask for money back. I bought everything from Sears at one time, no more. Corporate greed, tools at the same price with a tenth of the labor cost.
The Chinese are capable of making good quality items. The problem is when "Cheap Charlie" picks an item strictly based on price. A Snap On tool made in China is nearly always going to be better than a Harbor Freight tool made in China.
I have a guy that sells tools under the brand of Parts Master. He trades tools for my work on his car. Yes the Parts Master tools are made in China but I have never used such good tools. The wrenches are slim but very strong and the open end wrenches do not seem to spread under pressure. These tools are much better than the Sears tools I bought when I worked for Sears in the early 80's.
I am saying this to show that all products made in China are not junk. Do I like that our manufacturing jobs are going to other countries? No! But it is the world we live in.
I enjoy the fact that we here on the forum keep each other up on what products are good and what products are not.
Just a note of caution. The guy that gives me the tools is a buyer for the company that sells the tools and he makes regular trips to China to check on the factories and quality controls. He also told me that with the rising labor costs in China that some of the manufacturing is moving to India. If you think the products made in China are junk, just wait till you start getting products made in India.
Just my rant for today
"The Chinese are capable of making good quality items. The problem is when "Cheap Charlie" picks an item strictly based on price. A Snap On tool made in China is nearly always going to be better than a Harbor Freight tool made in China."
In this case "Cheap Charlie" was Starrett. Three of the hole saws would not thread onto the arbor, and the one that did stopped with about about a 0.040" gap before the bottom of the arbor. When I had called Starrett yesterday I was told the gap should be no more than 0.008" between the back of the hole saw and the bottom of the arbor.
The holes saws and arbor were all returned to the point of purchase and replaced with the lower priced, American made Morse hole saws and arbor. It never even entered into my mind that Starrett would have such a quality issue, let alone be made off-shore.
There was a time when Starrett was made in USA and had a reputation for quality. Apparently Cheap Charlie is running the company into the ground. They won't be around long. Too bad.
"Cheap Charlie" Was a "fugal" GI in Vietnam. I am not sure if he existed before that ??
"Cheap Charlie" '69-'70
On many brands today only the name is the same. Today a good name is no guarantee of qualiy.