How to Sharpen a Step Drill Bit: Step by Step Guide

It does not matter how careful you are with your step drill bit, as it will eventually lose its sharpness. So, it is essential that you know how to make your tool regain its cutting power.

Of course, you have the option of purchasing a new unit anytime your bit loses its sharpness, but this is not a cost-effective solution to the problem. You should also note that allowing your unit to get too dull will make things even harder, and it may be impossible to regain its cutting edge.

We want you to be on the right side of things and therefore present you with this simple guide on sharpening your unibit.

Why Do Step Drill Bits Dull/Chip with Continuous Use?

Before we get into the business of sharpening your unit, it is crucial that you understand how you got into this position in the first place. We have a few good reasons why this happens:

I) If your step bit ends up being chipped, it is due to the excessive force exerted on it during the drilling operation. After all, this tool is mainly used to make holes in metal surfaces. In this instance, consider giving the landing some curves which will provide the lip with some support.

II) Then if the lip has been rolling over during the drilling operation, you could also end up with a chipped bit. So, you have to re-sharpen it, and you can now work on the material directly.

III) Lastly, if a chisel is not having it easy spreading the material onto the lip, you are likely to end up with a dull drill. In this instance, you will have to find a way of re-defining the lip at the drill’s face.

Tools and Materials Needed to Sharpen a Step Drill Bit

Luckily, sharpening your drilling unit is not complicated, and you only need a few things to get the job done. They are:

  • A step bit-the one that needs re-sharpening and will serve as the workpiece for the entire process
  • A bench grinder or a Belt Sander
  • Protective clothing (safety goggles and gloves)

Step Drill Bits

Guide to Sharpening a Step Drill Bit

With all the tools in place, it is time to get into the sharpening process. We have broken down the process into simple steps so that everything is presented clearly and you have an easy time getting the message.

Here is the guide:

Step 1

Even though our preferred sharpening tool is the bench grinder, some of us may have a hard time arranging it. You could always replace it with a belt sander to avoid encountering this difficulty. That being said, you wouldn’t be going wrong by settling on either option.

Step 2

This step will require you to use both of your hands, where one will be supporting the body while the other will be holding the bit’s shank tightly. Note that there will be a lot of flying objects in this process, and that is why we insist that you wear your safety goggles at all times to keep your eyes safe.

Step 3

Next, position your unibit such that it is facing the grinding wheel at a 45-degree angle. Ensure that the cutting edge does not lose its grip on the grinding wheel so that the sharpening process can be as effective as you want it to be.

If you are wondering why we are keen on the 45-degree angle, we shall tell you why. First, it helps you avoid breaking the bit’s tip during the process. On top of that, this angle ensures that you sharpen all the faces equally and not end up with blunt parts.

Step 4

At this point, we have two ends of the bit, i.e., the trialing and leading-edge, and you have to ensure that the latter is at a higher position than the former. This will facilitate smoother cutting as any rubbing will be eliminated.

And suppose you can’t maintain the leasing edge at a higher position than the trialing one. In that case, you could seek the help of another material whereby the trailing edge would be left below and the top edge higher.

And just like that, your step drill bit is now ready for use.

Other Tips on Sharpening your Step Drill Bit

Here are other pointers that you may find to be of great help as you sharpen your unibit:

  1. Be very observant during the entire process to avoid ending up with uneven sharpening.
  2. Avoid holding anything else during the sharpening. Only the tools that you are using for the job.
  3. The drill bit should not be wobbly, and your second hand should provide support to the one with the bit.
  4. As much as sharpening your bit is the ultimate goal, avoid doing it excessively as you may end up reducing its size.
  5. And if you feel like the sharpening process isn’t causing any difference, you are better off getting a new one.

Wrapping It Up

The steps we have presented above are pretty straightforward, and anyone can follow and understand them. All you have to do is have the required tools and materials in place and observe the safety protocols so that you come out of the entire project in one piece.

Another thing is that you should also take good care of your bits so that they maintain their sharpness and remain useful for a long time to come.

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