Best drill bits? Unibits, hole saw bit -
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Unread 12-17-2010, 08:29 AM   #1
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Best drill bits? Unibits, hole saw bit

Well, I'm tired of going through unibits on my never ending projects. I always use cutting oil and control my RPM's, but the firse few steps of the bit always get worn out pretty quick as they are used the most. What unibits have you guys found that last a long time? I don't mind paying the extra money for a good quality bit as long as they pay for themselves over time.

Also, what about good drill bits? I have used DeWalt bits and they also don't last all that long. I always buy the "better" (more expensive) bits, but to me they all seem the same.

I have had pretty good luck with my ACE Hardware hole saws. Is there something better then a hole saw for cutting out 1 9/16" holes that you guys would recommend?

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Unread 12-17-2010, 09:27 AM   #2
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real "unibits" are usually pretty good. Check out Klein Tools version. We use them for electrical boxes and mild steel alot. I started using "popper" bits that sheet metal workers use as pilot bits to get more precise and avoid wearing out otherwise good bits. They are short (3" long) double ended drill bits, good for up to 1/4" thick material.

We also use Lennox holes saws in the field. There is a really good hole saw that cuts stainless real well, but I can't recall the maker. It has 3 slots in the saw, using carbide teeth. I remember them lasting a long time too.

Also, try using Anchor Blue for drilling/cutting. Its more like a paste and seems to help alot when I'm drilling/tapping structural steel.
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Unread 12-17-2010, 09:49 AM   #3
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I've had really good luck with my Craftsman cobalt drill bits. I think there's only one in the set that is burned up and I would like to try sharpening it. The cobalt bits were a huge improvement over the old black oxide bits, and I have burned up some titanium coated bits as well, these have held out the best for me.

I have a cheap unibit (Auto Zone special) that has done fine, but I only have used it on thinner sheet metal.

Had pretty good luck with the Ace hole saws as well for drilling into exhaust pipe for O2 sensors and the like. They don't last forever, they did dull out on us after a while, but they had a good life.
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Unread 12-17-2010, 09:51 AM   #4
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harbor frieght has a $20 air file that i use for sharping my unibits. i have some blue point brand unibits that are older than me. and sears has some titanium coated brill bits that are the best ive used for under 50bucks. i agree with shadowwulf-klein tools are very well built, you wont go wrong by beefing up you tollbox with them.
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Unread 12-17-2010, 01:22 PM   #5
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Jeremy here are a couple of places that I deal with to order tooling for my shop. Industrial Supply Equipment from MSC Industrial Supply &

The later is almost always better on price but does not have the variety to choose from. One thing you can do with MSC is to ask to be added to their email offers. Sometime they will have 50% off on something that I need. You won't get this deal without the email notifictation they send you and the rebate code that's in it.

Also buy only American made drill bits. Chicago Latrobe is a very good brand name, and always buy the cobalt drill bits. You're using cutting oil and getting your rpm set right so you ought to see some good life out of your drills. Also if you order the larger drill bits, like about 1/2" they make them with 3 flats ground on them so that they won't be as apt to spin in the drill chuck, get these. You'll be glad you did. Oh and get the ones that say they are ground with a split point, they really drill easier.

Get an account setup with these two places and you'll get great service. I can order from MSC and have it the next day on regular ground UPS. Maritool takes one more day but that's still pretty good service.
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Unread 12-17-2010, 04:04 PM   #6
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For the larger holes (like 1 9/16") a hole saw should last a long time if RPM is kept slow and the teeth kept cool. I've been using the same 1 1/2" Milwaukee hole saw for the past 2 years.. and have drilled hundreds of spindle holes thru 3/16" with it. Also, there are "carbide tipped" hole saws that are basically like annular cutters. A few months ago, a small shop down the street closed their doors. The owner gave me a trash bag full of brand new carbide hole saws still in their boxes. I tried one out and it went thru 3/16" like an annular cutter.. like buttah!!

For 1/2"-1" bits, you might consider using Annular Cutters. Most that I've seen require a 3/4" chuck but they're what I use for things like drilling shackle mounts. I think my current 1" cutter has done about 250 holes (1" diameter thru 1" thick hot rolled bar) without being sharpened yet. Again, a nice slow speed to allow the bit to take a good "chip" and liberal coolant/lube.
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Unread 12-17-2010, 05:34 PM   #7
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I'll agree with BESRK about "cooling". A lot of guys talk on here about drilling/milling with cutting oil, and for low rpms and/or deep mill cuts, that's fine. But for faster RPM's and smaller drills (Anything under 1/2" diameter), I like to use a water soluble oil. Use that, and you will get a lot more work out of your tools between sharpenings. Makes cleanup easier too. MSC will carry that, several brands in fact. The stuff we use at work you mix 50 to 1 with water. Keeps your drill nice and cool, which means longer life, and it cuts easier. How do you sharpen your drills? During my apprenticeship, the guy who taught me my trade (Tool and Die Maker) insisted I learn to sharpen drills by hand. His reasoning was that most common drill sharpeners only handle up to a 1/2" drill. What happens when you have to sharpen 2" drill? And you need it right now? When I buy drills for myself, I buy Hertel. They are also available at MSC. As far as bigger holes, I cheat and use a 3-axis machining center and just circle mill them, so not much help for you there.
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Unread 12-18-2010, 12:40 AM   #8
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i might have posted this on here once before if i did im sorry. one way to save any bits life is to drill pilot holes. but then you need to sharpen or keep buying small drill bits at a couple $$$ a piece it sucks. what i do is go and buy a pack of self tapping metal screws usually they have a 5/16 or 3/8 hex head and drill about an 1/8 hole. use a center punch to mark your hole location and then use a drill with the self tapper to make the pilot hole. sometimes it takes two if the screw is junk or material is thick i've used them up to 3/16 carbon steel plate but you get like 50-150 in a pack for under 6.00 at hd. this way if you go buy the expensive irwin uni bits it really saves the 1/4 inch tip on the bit
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Unread 12-19-2010, 03:07 PM   #9
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The "Drill Doctor" sharpening system is great for bits up to 1/2".
Even broken bits can be saved with this little machine.
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Unread 12-19-2010, 04:09 PM   #10
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You know they have a bigger Drill Doctor that can do up to 3/4" bits (IIRC). I think it's the Drill Doctor 750..
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Unread 01-02-2011, 09:15 PM   #11
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in adition try some elmer's glue my machine shop teacher says it really helps

haven't tried it myself but he's a really sharp guy.
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Unread 01-02-2011, 09:37 PM   #12
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I dunnow we use evolution (british) or Nitto (japanese) bits for our Nitto/Slugger style magnetic drills
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Unread 01-16-2011, 04:14 PM   #13
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I've had good service from my Hitachi drill bits. Use oil and slow RPM's.........

And my Miluawkee bits are good.
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Unread 01-23-2011, 07:41 AM   #14
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I'm a glazier, I install glass and aluminum framing in high rise commercial buildings. Sometimes my job requires me to drill alot of holes in 1/4" thick steel. My company supplies us with jobber bits, these are not high speed bits, but lots of newbs burn these bits up after only one hole. The reason for this is you have to use low RPM's like you said, but ALSO lots of pressure. If it is not a high speed bit (HSS) you must use low RPM's, coolant is your freind (I prefer cool-tool, the pink stuff) and most importantly pressure. I mean you have to really bear down on these things, it's not uncommon for me to use a 2x4 on the end of the drill for leverage. When done right I can make one bit last all day, and blow through steel in half the time.
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Unread 01-23-2011, 07:58 AM   #15
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we use Iriwin Unibits at work, had the same one in my toolbox for 2 years now, and hard telling how long it was in there before i acquired the box. no issues other than the 3/8 size on it is a bit dull. But i always drill a pilot when using it, i never start a hole with my unibit.

for other bits, we jsut titanium coated one, not sure of brand but with proper cooling and correct RPM they will last forever. we use Kool-Mist cooling fluid for everything.

hole saws, Only Lennox is used in our shop, and we have some hole saws probably eveyr bit of 10 years old we still use and are sharp
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