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Every now and then I have to re-work my steel landscape edging at the joints. Expansive soils, frost heave, and roots all work on the steel pieces over time and then suddenly I have one corner sticking up an inch higher than the adjacent piece. This creates a hazard for mower blades and the person using the mower.

My solution is to bolt the 2 pieces together using galvanized fence bolts. I've found that you have to use 2 bolts. If you only use one, the 2 pieces will pivot on the bolt and you'll have the same problem.

Besides all the work required to clear the area around the joint, I've found this steel edging to be a real booger to drill holes in. This time I tried 4 different bits that all appeared to be sharp and felt sharp. Most of them wouldn't even put a mark on the edging. I finally dug one out of a 40 year old set that I have that seemed to drill holes pretty quickly. But I don't know what was different about that bit other than the set it came from was pre-China.

I know some of you are experts in this sort of thing. I'd be grateful if you could recommend some bits I can buy for jobs like this one.


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By the way, the root cause of the problem this time was actually a couple of roots that had grown up against the bottom of the edging. I had to cut out the roots to get the steel edging to return to the proper level.

Keane
 

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You want these Milwaukee cobalt drill bits that say hard metal on them. They are expensive, but worth it. I ordered a set recently because I could not drill into galvanized steel. However, I can use my hammer drill/driver and drive a metal screw into the galvanized steel if I use the hammer function. It goes right in.

Dave

Milwaukee 48-89-2332 29 Pc RED HELIX Cobalt Drill Bit Set

milwauke bits.jpg
 

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You want these Milwaukee cobalt drill bits that say hard metal on them. They are expensive, but worth it. I ordered a set recently because I could not drill into galvanized steel. However, I can use my hammer drill/driver and drive a metal screw into the galvanized steel if I use the hammer function. It goes right in.

Dave

Milwaukee 48-89-2332 29 Pc RED HELIX Cobalt Drill Bit Set

That looks like a nice set. Don't you just hate though when they include a 1/2" bit but there is no place in the case to store it. :-(
 

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Just a note, DeWalt drill bits have been my go to drill bits for a long time, beats anything available locally.

Recently had 2 new 1/4" drill bits snap on me in drill press about 3/8" from point.
Thank goodness I had a 1/8" pilot hole drilled and was able to use a punch to drive the broken tips out.

The break looked very brittle, like a poor temper job on the bits.

Was a 5/8 shaft I was drilling, not particularly hard steel, drill press turning at proper speed, using oil, shaft
locked in drill press vice.

Very odd occurrence for DeWalt bits, also bit drill pack said, "Made in China". :banghead::banghead:
 

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I drill 30,000-35,000 holes a year, building stabilizers (through cold rolled, hot, and pickled). I'm no expert, but I've gained some insight.
I've used high quality bits, and low. I've got a decent sharpener (not a drill doctor!), and I maintain my bits on a daily basis. I typically use DeWalt, Milwaukee, or Ace Hardware
bits. They are all made in China.
The angle, and the split point, makes the difference. I suspect that while your bits look or feel sharp, they aren't at the split point, or the outer edges. Buying new bits will help initially, but they won't maintain that edge. Anybody in your area sharpen bits? That would be a better solution. If they know what they are doing, they can get them sharper than a new one.
 

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I drill 30,000-35,000 holes a year, building stabilizers (through cold rolled, hot, and pickled). I'm no expert, but I've gained some insight.
I've used high quality bits, and low. I've got a decent sharpener (not a drill doctor!), and I maintain my bits on a daily basis. I typically use DeWalt, Milwaukee, or Ace Hardware
bits. They are all made in China.
The angle, and the split point, makes the difference. I suspect that while your bits look or feel sharp, they aren't at the split point, or the outer edges. Buying new bits will help initially, but they won't maintain that edge. Anybody in your area sharpen bits? That would be a better solution. If they know what they are doing, they can get them sharper than a new one.
Regarding the value of a properly sharpened bit - I couldn't agree more. There's a machinest nearby who runs a sharpening business on the side. I took a bunch of bits to him - he sharpened them for $1 per bit. They are better than when they were new. And, sharp bits seem less likely to grab/bind, hold an edge longer and take less power to drill with them.

My high school shop teacher used to say "A dull tool is more dangerous than a sharp tool."

What sharpener do you own and use.
 

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Drill bit sharpening options?

Occasionally I come across a thread on this forum that hits on a problem I have, that I don't even know I have until I read the thread. Knowing what type of bit works best in steel and how to keep bits sharp is a problem for me as well. For those of you that do sharpen drill bits, any particular sharpener you would recommend. Do the Drill Doctor sharpeners work well? I'm not sure if I know of a place locally that sharpens bits but admittedly I've never asked around. Hopefully I'm not taking this thread off course.
 

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You really don’t need anything special to sharpen drill bits. A bench grinder or a belt sander is all that’s needed.I have even managed to sharpen bits with an angle grinder.

Some types of steel are very difficult to drill. Slowing the bit speed down and using lots of cutting fluid to keep the bit from heating up may help.
 

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You really don’t need anything special to sharpen drill bits. A bench grinder or a belt sander is all that’s needed.I have even managed to sharpen bits with an angle grinder.

Some types of steel are very difficult to drill. Slowing the bit speed down and using lots of cutting fluid to keep the bit from heating up may help.
Do they make a guide for this?

I figure that freehand the only thing I would do is dull it more.
 

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Sharpening drill bits freehand on a bench grinder was one of the first things they taught in my machine tool class in college. You couldn't pass that lesson until you took a bit that was ground flat by the instructor and made it sharp enough for that instructor to drill multiple holes with.

Like sharpening anything else its easy to do in concept but it takes a lot of practice to do well.
 

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Sharpening drill bits freehand on a bench grinder was one of the first things they taught in my machine tool class in college. You couldn't pass that lesson until you took a bit that was ground flat by the instructor and made it sharp enough for that instructor to drill multiple holes with.

Like sharpening anything else its easy to do in concept but it takes a lot of practice to do well.
:thumbup1gif:

Figures.

Guess if I was a tool maker / machinist I would have this knack.

I guess I can't ruin a dull bit. I'm gonna need a BIG magnifying glass though. :laugh:
 

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For steel you are shooting for a 105-120 degree angle on the cutting edges. Steeper for softer material, flatter for harder material.

The leading edge of the bit needs to straight and even. Where the two leading edges meet should be dead center on the bit. The line where they meet should be flat and straight about as long as the metal of the flutes is wide.

Taper the grind of the trailing edge of the flutes away from the cutting edge. Again at about a 110 degree angle. This is the tricky part to get used to as you need to rotate the bit as you grind the trailing edge away. I was taught to use the tool rest of a bench grinder and gently twist and feed the bit to the wheel.

Also remember the quench the bit frequently to prevent overheating the edge and making it too soft or too brittle.
 

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That looks like a nice set. Don't you just hate though when they include a 1/2" bit but there is no place in the case to store it. :-(

Not sure why that is. Mine came with all bits inside the case. Mine is the 29 bit set. It was the best deal. Too many missing sizes on the others. Just make sure you get the one that says "hard metal".

Dave
 

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Shop Tools and Machinery at Grizzly.com

Paid for itself in the first 6 months. I've been using it for almost a year and a half, and I'm still on the original grinding wheel. The only drawback is that it's only good up to 1/2" bits. The next option is about $1800.

The drill doctor is a well intentioned piece of junk. I used one for years- actually, two, wearing the first one out. It is marginal at best, and that's if you really know how to use it. The Grizzly is a thousand percent better at sharpening bits.

I can take a brand new bit out of the package, and drill a hole. Then, sharpen it with the Grizzly. Drill a second hole, and what a difference! A new bit can't match the performance of a well sharpened bit.
 

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You really don’t need anything special to sharpen drill bits. A bench grinder or a belt sander is all that’s needed.I have even managed to sharpen bits with an angle grinder.

Some types of steel are very difficult to drill. Slowing the bit speed down and using lots of cutting fluid to keep the bit from heating up may help.
Stainless steel falls into the category of very hard to drill.
 
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:thumbup1gif:

Figures.

Guess if I was a tool maker / machinist I would have this knack.

I guess I can't ruin a dull bit. I'm gonna need a BIG magnifying glass though. :laugh:
And me :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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I have a drill doctor, but I never got the hang of using it. All I managed to do is mangle up some bits with it.
 

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To the OP

With smaller gauge metal like that you could try just putting in self tapping screws. I use self tapping screws all the time to drill my holes.
 
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