Quick Drill Bits




Breaking or losing a drill bit can be frustrating especially in the middle of a project. You have to go back to the hardware store and buy a new one. Or you could make one yourself, its simple and while not that durable, it will allow you to finish the job.


- A nail (don't use galvanized) or steel rod of the same diameter hole you want to drill

Don't use galvanized steel for this, zinc powder or the fumes that it produces when heated to high temperatures can be harmful so don't use it.


- File

- Hack saw

- Drill

- Sharpening stone

- Torch (optional)

- Small jar or bucket of water or oil

Step 1: Shaping the "Bit"

First you will want to take off the head of the nail with the hack saw.

Then chuck it up in the drill with the point out and sharpen the point with the file.

then take it out and file down a side of the nail so there is a flat

This is a finished bit but isn't as durable as we want so now we have to harden and temper it.

The steel in a nail isn't ideal or even good for hardening or tempering but, we can still get it to last a little longer by doing it anyway.

Step 2: Hardening and Use

Nails don't have much carbon in them so hardening doesn't make it as hard as high carbon steel but it will still make it more durable.

Heat the flat on the nail until it is glowing orange and no longer will stick to a magnet and quench it in water or oil (be careful with oil as it can burn).

Clean off the oxides that form and heat it up again until another oxide layer forms in a yellowish (straw) color. Be careful with this because the color change is very fast and can quickly go too hot. This softens it so that the steel isn't so it won't crack.

Polish it up and feel the edge of the flat. If there is a rolled edge then remove it with a sharpening stone.

Thats it the drill bit is done. This bit drills wood and soft thin metals like sheet copper or aluminum. This bit isn't like any twist drill bit, it doesn't have self cleaning flutes, so you need to clean it out more often than you would normally while drilling. Also while it can, it isn't very good at drilling holes it is better at widening them so a pilot hole or a deep center punch helps speed up the process.

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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Zinc fumes off a nail? Maybe if you huffed the fumes off 100 nails you might get a touch of fever? But just one isn't going to adversely affect anyone.


    3 years ago

    hey I just made a single flute drill bit out of a bright alloy steel dowel pin three days ago knowing how to make one and that you can, can save a lot of time in a pinch! a few recommendations standard point angle is 118 degrees, if your using an drill press with automatic feeds cut the feed per Rev in half!


    3 years ago

    Thanks, I will try it