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Old 10-31-2006, 09:36 AM
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When to use step drill bits?

Harbor Freight has some step drill bits on sale now for $9.99.
When and on what type of metal should they be used?
I don't believe they are as good as regular drill bits for drilling in thicker metal.
Thanks.

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Old 10-31-2006, 10:13 AM
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I really haven't used them on thick Metal, but I have used them a lot for 18 gauge (drilling things like rosette welds and such) and I really love 'em-I haven't tried the HF ones, but I bought Unibits at Home Depot-
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:56 AM
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I have the same set from HF as your picture.

I have found them to be great for "reaming" out a hole in relatively thin (1/8" -1/4") plate such as brackets and etc. That is what they are really meant for. They will not "grab" like regular twist drills. They are not really intended to "drill" a hole.

texastomeh
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:37 AM
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Step drill bits can be used to drill or ream a hole to any size step on the bit. I have used them to drill holes in frame rails for brake lines and wire bundles with ease, through A-pillars for dome light door switches, through body panels for weld-nuts, etc.

As for the Harbor Freight ones, they're probably made in China, so no telling if they're a bargain or not. I use "Greenlee" or "Unibit", and they last forever.

George
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Old 10-31-2006, 12:44 PM
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I had a friend who drilled a 1" hole through a piece of 1" thick steel on a homemade trailer hitch with a unibit . Dry....

There was alot of smoke and I think that unibit mostly burned its way through.

Somehow I don't think they were designed for that type of work.

Later, mikey
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Old 10-31-2006, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
I had a friend who drilled a 1" hole through a piece of 1" thick steel on a homemade trailer hitch with a unibit . Dry....

There was alot of smoke and I think that unibit mostly burned its way through.

Somehow I don't think they were designed for that type of work.

Later, mikey

LOL,
The step drill bits are made for sheet metal each step is 1/8" you will see the sheel metal guy with then electrial guy and even me the millwright used them to pop hole in conveyor section side guards and so on. A must have if you can afford the good one last forever if you take care of them. Once you have a pilot hole its like cutting through butter and it will not walk on ya.

One other little thing it make a nice champfer edge if you bring it down to the next step hole cutting edge no need to have a deburing tool. beats the heck out of changing drill bits. Pilot bit and a unibit, that all you need on sheet metal.

Craig
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Old 10-31-2006, 04:40 PM
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The step drill is useful drilling a GOOD, ROUND HOLE ... where you want it. I have a few quality ones ( Not Harbor Freight junk ) and use them quite a bit. I get a good round hole where I want it ...
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:10 AM
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Especially good on Lexan and Plexiglass. It won't break, like it does with twist drills.

Works great for fiberglass too.

Nothing beats it for sheetmetal.
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:16 PM
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Most Step Drills Are For 1/8" Material Or Thinner Irwin Also Make Step Drills For Use Up To 1/4" Between Steps Make Sure Use Plenty Of Lubricant When Drilling Or You Will Burn Up Your Bit Really Fast Rapid Tap Is The Brand I Use
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrot
Harbor Freight has some step drill bits on sale now for $9.99.
When and on what type of metal should they be used?
I don't believe they are as good as regular drill bits for drilling in thicker metal.
Thanks.
These tools definitely have their purpose - Irwin makes a good tool but for what the cost of 1 of the Irwin bits - I've bought a couple of the HF sets (and believe me I'm abusing the heck out of them) and although a couple of the bits are worn the rest are holding nicely for the price.
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