Drill Bit Sharpener - Drill Doctor

As I’ve mentioned in the previous article, sharpening drill bits is a very important ability to have. Whether you have a fancy cordless drill or a high tech drill press, you job won’t get done if the bits are dull. So if you are going to spend on tools, do yourself a favour, and get drill bit sharpener.

Drill Doctor is the most popular brand of sharpeners. It is fairly easy to use. It does take a little manual dexterity to fit the bit in properly, but not nearly as much as if you were using a bench grinder.

Now what many newbies don’t realize is that when sharpening drill bits, you’re only sharpening the tip of the bit. Not the whole thing. The side flutes are not there for cutting, but for passing the waste material out. When you think sharp edges, you’re thinking end mills, which are a totally different tool, used in milling machines. So don’t make it more complicated than it has to be. Recite yourself this mantra “I’m just sharpening the tip of the bit.”

Which is essentially the principle of how a drill bit sharpener such as Drill Doctor works. You stick the bit inside, so that the tip is appropriate distance from a rotating wheel that does the grinding. Inside the Drill Doctor there is a grinding wheel with artificial diamond coating.

The sharpening is done in two steps. First the bits are properly aligned in the holder chuck (clamp). To do that, you must first level it properly by inserting the holder on the side of the Drill Doctor that will help you to get it to the exact position depending on the size of you drill bit. When you get the level properly, the drill bit is then tightened (fixated) for good in the chuck. And then the holder itself is inserted into the sharpening slot.

Then turn the machine on, and as you push the holder inside, slowly rotate it until the characteristic “metal cutting noise” disappears or goes down considerably.

Naturally, when you’re done, inspect the drill bit to make sure it’s as sharp as you want it to be.

Pretty easy. And it sharpens High-Speed Steel bits, carbide bits, cobalt drill bits, Tin-coated and masonry drill bits (confirm for individual models, though... just to be on the safe side.)

Drill Bit Sharpener

Unfortunately nothing lasts forever, and thus regardless of how careful you are with you drill bits, eventually they’ll need sharpening and you’ll be looking for a drill bit sharpener (or new bits… but that’s up to your budget, of course).

Obviously most of us want to save some money and not waste it on a whole new drill bit set, when just some sharpening is required. So what are the options?

Going to a professional sharpener is one. May cost you as much as buying a whole new set, depending on how often you have to pay the visit. Not to mention that there just might not be a professional around when you need him.

Do it yourself is the most cost (and time) effective option. But how?

There are some people who use bench grinders (also called pedestal grinder). Bench grinders are machines that have a spinning wheel with abrasive surface. This method however has some serious safety issues, as one has to keep the hands really close to the wheel. Definitely not recommended for inexperienced users. Though experienced tool-smiths take great pride in being able to do so. Just check out the cnczone.com forums for proof (and tips).

(Note that there are some devices that are aimed at helping with sharpening on the bench grinder. They hold the bit at a proper angle, thus keeping your hands off the danger zone. Referred to as a drill bit sharpening jig, they can be found in most hardware stores for a very reasonable price.)

Luckily for those averse to hovering their hands millimeters from a grinding wheel, there are numerous drill bit sharpeners on the market. These are particularly useful for twist and masonry drill bits.

Drill bit sharpeners come in different types, and you should do your homework to research which is the best for your drill bits, based on their size, type and material. These machines are generally easy to use and require no special extraordinary skill or experience.

Most likely you’ve already heard about the Drill Doctor drill bit sharpeners. Those are a very popular choice, and the company makes many models ranging in price from about $70 to $200 dollars.

There are also cheaper Drill Doctor rip-offs on the market. But with those you never know what you’ll get.

Some sample other manufacturers that make drill bit sharpeners are Plasplugs, Buffalo Tools, Bosch, Westfalia, etc..