Introduction: How to Sharpen a Drill Bit

Picture of How to Sharpen a Drill Bit

Video tutorial on how to sharpen a drill bit. After usage a drill bit can either dull or chip which does not make it cut as efficiently as it should. A drill bit can be resharpened to make it functional again, there is no need to throw it away. Even broken drill bits can be resharpened. This tutorial applies to a standard style drill bit. Make sure you wear safety glasses when doing this procedure. A drill bit angle gauge can be used, but is not necessary. The more practice you get, the better you will become at sharpening drill bits. I do this by free hand, no special tools are required for the procedure.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • bench grinder
  • square
  • drill bit
  • safety glasses

Step 1: Procedure

Picture of Procedure

A drill bit should have a cutting/leading edge angle of 59-60 degrees. Use a square to ensure that the center point of the bit stays centered using a square. The cutting/leading edge should be the closed surface to the material you are cutting and the relief area/trailing edge should be angled at least 5 degrees back from the cutting/leading edge. This maximizes cutting efficiency, reduces heat, and ensures the drill bit works correctly. Be careful not to overheat it so it does not wreck the temper of the metal, so dipping the drill bit in water to cool it down can be done or just simply stop once the bit becomes warmer. When sharpening, move the bit along evenly on the grinding wheel which ensures even wear on the grinding wheel.

Step 2: All Done!

Picture of All Done!

Reinspect the area to ensure the point is on center, all damaged areas are removed from the top, the cutting angle is correct, and the relief cut is also correct. Now you're ready to use the freshly sharpened drill bit!

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roxanne.benn1 (author)2017-03-16

I can't believe how many people do not know how to do this my father taught me when I was about 7. I used to have to sharpen bits for mechanics at a shop I worked at most of them didn't know either. Thanks for sharing I know it will help others.

pfred2 (author)2017-03-06

I would not worry about wheel wear. You can always dress a worn wheel back to a proper surface. I frequently dress grinding wheels just to expose fresh cutting surface anyways. That's the first mistake most folks make right there. They try to use worn out grinding wheels. Then they're done before they even start.

I split points on drills I sharpen too. Sometimes it is tricky, and I end up messing up a cutting edge, then I have to go back, and sharpen the bit again. But I like how split points drill a lot better than chisel points.

Mindmapper1 (author)pfred22017-03-07

wheels wear cos thats what happens to grinding discs. Yes you should dress them and the ones in the pictures do need dressing. Also always inspect a wheel for damage cracks etc because they make a hell of a mess when they go bang!

Mindmapper1 made it! (author)2017-03-06

Hi just a couple of points to make really, firstly the easiest way to check the angle of the drill tip is to use two hex nuts as shown below in the pictures, this gives a 60 degree point. The other point to make is that the item being ground should always be held against the tool rest not floating mid air as you are showing. Remember that the flutes on a drill are sharp and if the drill catches while free air grinding it will snap agains the rest with your fingers between and you will probably get injured.

To be honest the best way to grind a drill is to use an appropriate drill grinding jig designed to work on your grinding wheel.

BeachsideHank (author)2017-03-05

I hand sharpen also, the final check to verify centering of the point is to drill a piece of scrap, if the chips ejected from the spiral are equal, you're done. ☺

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