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Drill bit sharpeners


1256pickett
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Anybody use them? Got a good brand?  
I had one years ago and was unimpressed, I think it broke after 4-5 uses, maybe just wouldn’t get them sharp it was 20 years or so ago. I have decent luck with doing 5/16 or bigger by hand on the bench grinder but that’s only 50/50 luck! Right now I got a case of smaller bits (1/2 and under) that are all dull just wonder if I could get more life out of them or just buy a new set. Dull bits annoy the h#*! Out of me. 

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For the price of a good sharpener I can buy cobalt steel sets in the 1/2 to 1/16 range where I mostly drill. Those bits will probably last as long as the sharpener. 

I mostly use chinese bits sold by Walmart and toss them when they end their 10 hole service life!

NOW if you are into to greater than 1/2 or 13MM I would get a sharpener.  I have used a drill doctor model (mostly a toy) that uses sandpaper grind bands, very short life!

Good commercial sharpeners with a real motor in the 1/2 HP and 6"  grinder size are going to be costly even with the made in China label.

 

 

 

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I have heard DD used by many, wanting to hear from the machinist types, there is a learning curve for doing by hand but once you have it you are set for life with nothing more required, I would say sharpening your bit centered and back grinding the flute and maintaining your angle are the 3 biggest challenges 

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I use my 6 inch bench grinder. When I worked for Kalcevic Farms, back in the mid 80s, they spent a couple hours showing me how to sharpen bits. In a crisis I can sharpen one on the chop saw, but it won’t last. 

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I do both. Drill dr on smaller stuff and bench grinder for big stuff.

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I just use a bench grinder or angle grinder clamped in a vise.  Sharpened drills hundreds of times that way.  Really don’t have a desire for a dedicated tool for drills.  Youtube has plenty of videos to learn from.  I am not bothered about super precision of drill bit grinding.  My foray into machining has taught me that drill bits are an efficient but inaccurate way to make holes, and no amount of lipstick will disguise the pig.

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6 hours ago, 1256pickett said:

Anybody use them? Got a good brand?  
I had one years ago and was unimpressed, I think it broke after 4-5 uses, maybe just wouldn’t get them sharp it was 20 years or so ago. I have decent luck with doing 5/16 or bigger by hand on the bench grinder but that’s only 50/50 luck! Right now I got a case of smaller bits (1/2 and under) that are all dull just wonder if I could get more life out of them or just buy a new set. Dull bits annoy the h#*! Out of me. 

Is eyesight the issue with a bench grinder? I can do down to 1/8 easily. Needs a fine stone. 

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If you can find a Lisle Drill Grinder, make sure it has all the attachments including a diamond stone dresser. I did see a couple on ebay where the stone was shot, the bit holder was missing and the pedestal for the bit holder was gone. The one I linked to looks complete (Jackson, Mississippi).

Another one in Boise, ID  (Drill Bit Grinder) looks complete.

They are precision machines and will sharpen up to 1-1/4" bits. For anything under 3/16" I sharpen by hand.

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2 hours ago, vtfireman85 said:

Is eyesight the issue with a bench grinder? I can do down to 1/8 easily. Needs a fine stone. 

Not necessarily although eyes ain’t getting better. Just have bad luck with the small ones. Mostly lack of practice. Might not help using the old wore out stone that’s on it. 

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7 hours ago, 1256pickett said:

Not necessarily although eyes ain’t getting better. Just have bad luck with the small ones. Mostly lack of practice. Might not help using the old wore out stone that’s on it. 

You need a flat fine stone, light touches so you don’t overheat the bit. 

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10 hours ago, vtfireman85 said:

Is eyesight the issue with a bench grinder? I can do down to 1/8 easily. Needs a fine stone. 

 Yes!!!!

Eyesite issue is Not JUST the bench grinder but everything!

Tried to sharpen a small bit the other day, I need some way stronger magnifiers for that!!!!! Larger ones are a bit easier on a grinder imo. 

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10 hours ago, DT Fan said:

A belt sander is the greatest thing for hand-sharpening. Provided the belt isn't shot. We have some really high-dollar sharpeners at work, not sure what brand.

Definitely! This is what I always use unless bit has a large chip out of it. Can sharpen any size bit in seconds.

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Back in the day there was a guy who picked up all our bits and returned them in like new condition for cheap money. Most were small stuff used on sheet metal - #s 40; 30; 21 and the like. They'd even do the short reversible knock outs. The extension bits are expensive and well worth sharpening. They could not do threaded bits that were used in angle drills. Often when drilling out hundreds of rivets you could pick up the dimple of an AD rivet and stay centered, but only with a split point. I've never seen anyone successfully hand sharpen a small split point. There must still be a sharpening service like that somewhere. Aluminum is soft but it still will wear bits out to the point that they wander or cause you to use too much pressure thus ensuring that they'll wander.

We used cobalt almost exclusively as they were worth the extra money.

Somewhere I have a Drill Doctor. I stopped using it for some reason that I forget. It did a reasonably good job on split points above about a 3/16th, if memory serves.

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I use a Lisle for 3/8 and up. Accurate sharpening is essential for an accurate hole which requires finishing with a reamer. I have some other ones including drill doctor which haven't been all that good but they are used and probably need attention.

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Dad left Me his  big Drill Doctor, they made zero to 1/2" and zero to 3/4", not sure If I got the VCR instruction tape, our version player died decades ago.  But Dad could sharpen bits so they cut better than new. Dad used to buy replacement stones 2 or 3 at a time. I probably have close to a 5 gal bucket of sharpened bits. I grab my MIT dial calipers and find a bit Dad sharpened if I need an accurate hole.

   When I worked for Giddings & Lewis one of their products was the "WINSLOW drill bit sharpener" I got to be WAY too good of friends with the production scheduler for them,  He'd bribe me to get HIS parts faster by offering to sharpen a bunch of my old bits. I hated to show him how badly I abused bits, I never took any in.  But most of the new bits from drill bit companies are sharpened on a Winslow sharpener. MY buddy actually had a bit sharpening company, companies like Boeing, Cessna, Beechcraft all use twist drills to drill rivet holes,  they send out a couple thousand 1/8" bits for sharpening at a time. My buddy's Wife & Daughter do all the sharpening, he has 5-6 Winslow sharpeners in his garage.

    I find I do less damage to bits if I use a drill press.

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29 minutes ago, DR.EVIL said:

1/8" bits

Actually #30 , .1285 - clearance for a 1/8" rivet. Imagine just how many a manufacturer goes through! Even a small shop like the one I worked in would go through a handful on a repair.

I wonder how much a Winslow sharpener costs?

Edit: Never mind. I found used on Ebay for 4 grand!

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2 minutes ago, New Englander said:

Actually #30 , .1285 - clearance for a 1/8" rivet. Imagine just how many a manufacturer goes through! Even a small shop like the one I worked in would go through a handful on a repair.

I wonder how much a Winslow sharpener costs?

Back in the mid-1990's they were around $25,000 I think. The plant had a major reorganization a few months after I left. I think the Winslow product line was bought and moved to another plant. Looks like there several for sale on the Internet, one for $4000 but that's way too cheap for some reason.

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1 hour ago, int 504 said:

I use a Lisle for 3/8 and up. Accurate sharpening is essential for an accurate hole which requires finishing with a reamer. I have some other ones including drill doctor which haven't been all that good but they are used and probably need attention.

The man who owns the YouTube channel, Cutting Edge Engineering uses that method, on the repair/fabrication work that he does.

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