What are Step Drill Bits Used For

There are different kinds of drill bits in the market and they can be used for different applications. However, we want to talk about step drill bits and what they are used for.

Why don’t we start by defining what a step drill bit is? Well, it is just a bit like any other and the only difference is that it comes with different steps to cut different hole diameters. That means that you get to create multiple-sized holes using a single bit.

Types of Step Drill Bits

Essentially, step drill bits come in two fundamental forms. One is smaller and self-starts. That means that you do not need a pilot hole or pre-drill one before using the step bit.

The other kind is larger and usually requires your surface to have a pilot hole that is the same size as the smallest breadth on the bit.

Types of Materials that can be Drilled Using a Step Bit

A step drill bit is usually used to create holes in metal and wood but the most common between the two is metal that is ¼ inch thick or less. Depending on the step drill you are using, your workpiece should not be thicker than 1/8 inch.

The bit is recommended for plastic applications as well.  Most of the twist drill bits designed for metal and wood come with a cut angle of 118-135 degrees with a positive rake angle on the cutting edge. That then removes material through scraping seeing as the positive rake angle works by drawing the drill bit further into your workpiece.

Now, that is a good thing, but not for plastic and this is because the material has a low softening temperature that generates a lot of heat and friction.

When you use a twist drill bit on plastic, it embeds into the material and stresses it to form cracks on the backside of the hole created. Another thing that can happen is that the workpiece attaches to the bit and spins vigorously causing a safety threat.

With a step drill bit, you get a 90-degree angle or less with no rake on the cutting edge. That makes it ideal for cutting through the plastic.

Uses of Step Drill Bits

A step drill bit can be used for several applications to create different-sized holes. Let us look at what exactly this kind of bit can do.

Deburring Holes

Usually, we use a twist bit to drill holes especially on metal surfaces, and usually, there burrs on the perimeter. The same applies when it comes to step drill bits, only to a lesser extent.

The burrs can be sharp hence posing an abrasion and cutting hazard. They also mark the surface of your workpiece that can interfere with the assembly of components later.

Typically, a power grinder with a flap disc or wire wheel or a rat-tail file is used to deburr and if you already used a step bit to make a hole bigger, then the next course of action would be to use it to deburr.

Simply use the edge of the next size from the hole you have to create a clean edge.

Removing Burrs

A burr is a formation of ridges or rough edges on metallic or wooden pieces due to the tools involved in the production or the manufacturing process.

Burrs can affect the performance and quality of workpieces such as susceptibility to rust and reduced safety due to sharp edges.

A step drill bit can be used to smoothen the sharp edges and ridges.

Electrical Applications

A major application when it comes to step drill bits is electrical work.  At times, you need to make holes of significant diameters on enclosures to accommodate sockets, switches, and buttons.

You may also need holes for routing cables and although unction boxes usually come with holes, you will need a step drill bit for control panels and personalized end-user modules.

Final Thoughts

Step drill bits can be used for several applications aside from making holes bigger. From deburring holes to creating openings for electrical installations, these tools are quite useful.

You get to save the time you could have used changing from one bit to another Now that you know what you can use it for, there is no reason why you shouldn’t invest in one or even a set.

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