The variety of drill bit types can feel overwhelming to the average DIYer. It’s crucial that every worker, no matter experienced they are, use the appropriate tools for the job. Drill bits will likely play a significant role in your work, so here’s what to know about drill bits and their various uses.
What Is a Drill Bit?
The concept of a drill bit is simple; it is a rotary cutting tool that helps create holes. The drill bit point makes contact with the material, while the shank—also known as the back end—clamps it into place through the drill chuck jaws. Many drill bits suit different purposes, help increase productivity, and prevent unnecessary wear.
Types of Drill Bit Shapes
There are several common drill bit types, ranging from the simple twist bit to the spade bit. Each bit shape creates different kinds of holes, so picking the correct shape for the task is essential.
The twist bit is a common drill bit that offers dozens of uses. This bit’s name derives from its spiraled groove design, also called flutes. As it makes its way through the work material, the body’s flutes help push waste material up and out. These bits work well for creating holes up to an inch in diameter.
Step bits provide the function of many types of drill bits in one tool. They’re a cone-shaped staircase style, with each step becoming larger than the last. Step bits create holes to the exact size you need. They can also give you the ability to drill multiple holes in differing sizes without the tedious action of changing bits.
Spade bits are flat bits with a sharp point in the center and bat wing-like material flaring out on either side. They help you remove a considerable amount of work material. While the sharp point of the spade bit prevents your tool from skating across smooth surfaces, the flare wings help score the outside perimeter.
Drill Bit Working Materials
Drill bits offer a variety of uses for DIYers and professionals alike. However, some applications work better than others, especially for DIY work.
Drill Bits for Metal
High-speed steel (HSS) drill bits make the perfect choice when working with stainless steel and drilling into metal. They offer greater resistance to high temperatures, and the drill flutes dispose of excess metal strands as you work.
HSS twist drill bits also make the perfect choice for working with thin material or widening existing holes. However, there are some dos and don’ts for working with metal that anyone using drill bits must understand before drilling, even if they use twist drill bits.
Drill Bits for Masonry
Working with concrete, asphalt, and brick requires sturdy, dependable drill bits. Drill bits with a carbide fin break up masonry with minimal effort, as the drill flutes help remove waste materials. Moreover, masonry bits often incorporate a hammer drill, which adds a rapid hammering motion to help the bit reach new masonry and remove excess dust.