Jump to content

Micro Drills, Revisited.


Recommended Posts

I just received more micro drills from the US distributor of Proxxon. 

They have a thick shaft and are made of solid tungsten carbide. The ones I ordered were 0.5 and 0.8 mm in diameter, others (bigger) are also available. The second picture is of the three at 0.5 mm.

post-246-0-48571000-1436833511.jpg  post-246-0-58402800-1436833524.jpg

 

I have a supply of 'micro drills' that are simply straight pieces of metal with a slight spiral at one end. They are the typical Chinese made products available at most places. Those cheap ones break easy; they burn their way through the wood (don't try to drill metal) and leave a hole of unknown diameter. I use them for places that are not critical (holes for eye-bolts, etc).
But if you want to be a bit more careful, use the Proxxon drills - they are also made in China, but apparently under better controlled conditions-. Here is the web site http://shop.prox-tech.com/k/search?q=micro+drill

 

The big question is 'Will Proxxon be willing to make other drills that cover the smaller ranges' so often used by us? 

 

PS. This is not intended as a plug for Proxxon, just my thoughts about quality and what I need.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

May want to use them in a drill press to reduce/eliminate the sideways stresses. It'll slow your progress down a little, but saves funds in the long run.

That's right, Ken. The reason I had to order more is for that same reason. Drilling those tiny holes by hand (pin-vise) is not too secure.

I have had much better results by using my dremmel-like tool mounted on the mill or drill press. But some times you don't have a choice.

What I also like about these drills is that the shaft has a larger and constant diameter which makes it easier to interchange bits without having tho switch collets.

 

Side pressure on those tiny drills or milling cutters is indeed an issue and even with a 1/16 inch milling cutter on wood, I have to be very careful. I have not tried any smaller. But if tungsten-carbide bits break easily, I don't see the advantage of using end mill bits (with the same kind of twist) versus twist drills. They are about twice as expensive (Proxxon).

Edited by Modeler12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I was following the conversation and thought I would add what I have been doing.

I found a place called drill bit city online that sell re-sharpened bits. (at its sister site it has new ones plus mills and other bits.)

 

post-4218-0-70149400-1436920111.jpg

 

The shafts are all a common size and the plastic ring gives an easy to read bit size and also serves as a stop when putting it in the drill.  They are easy to handle and hold up well... unless I use them by hand or without a holder.  Then, like others, they tend to break if I breathe too hard. For quick holes they can be used without a holder.

 

best part is they are cheap.  The set shown is about $10.00. You can also get sets of 5, 10, etc of the same size.  I have sets of 10 in # 74,75,77, and 78. 

 

(No connection with them, just a customer.) they can be found at 

 

https://www.drillbitcity.com

 

 

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Richard - I use those bits too, and I like them, but I've found that they're very brittle and need to be held in a drill press or milling machine.  

 

Hi Jay:  I also use HSS drill bits with 3/32 shanks for all of my hand power drilling.  This is the set I have:

 

http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/30-PIECE-DRILL-SET-3_32/productinfo/627020/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The Proxxon 0,5 mm are good, much better than the same kind of 0,5 drills from the DIY departments (at least in Germany)

 

On modeling fairs one can also find the 0,3 mm with shaft :-)

 

XXXDAn

Edited by dafi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had bad luck finding inexpensive numbered drills that are accurately sized. I recently ordered some from an online company called Drills & Cutters. Every one of them was undersized. For example, all the drills in the package of #71s were actually #72s (.025 instead of .026). I'd ordered 6 different sizes and all exhibited the same problem. The drills, by the way, are actually made by Drill America, which has their own website. I contacted Drills & Cutters about the problem and they sent replacements without charge and didn't ask for the bad ones back. Sadly, the replacements were just the same - every one undersized. I suppose you could take a chance and order one size larger of each to maybe get what you need, but I've asked for a full refund and intend to send them all back. I just don't want to deal with them any more. I'd ordered some from MicroMark as well before that and saw the same issue - some were even two sizes smaller than they should have been. Of course, companies like MSC Direct and Harvey's have drills that are probably accurately sized, but the price! Geez - around $10 apiece. That's a bit much for my pocket book. The ones from Drills & Cutters were all under $1 apiece. I guess you get what you pay for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a chart of what size each bit from #80 to #60 is supposed to be, and I just use digital calipers to measure the bits to get the right size for the hole I want.  The undersize issue seems to be common with 'cheap' micro-drills no matter where they are coming from.

For work on the mill or drill press, I also use the PCB bits, which can be had from Amazon or very cheaply on Ebay as well.  PCB bits are the ones pictured above in rtropp's post.  As Frank and others have said, they don't do sideways pressure at all, but they are great for use in a press or mill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a chart of what size each bit from #80 to #60 is supposed to be, and I just use digital calipers to measure the bits to get the right size for the hole I want.  The undersize issue seems to be common with 'cheap' micro-drills no matter where they are coming from.

For work on the mill or drill press, I also use the PCB bits, which can be had from Amazon or very cheaply on Ebay as well.  PCB bits are the ones pictured above in rtropp's post.  As Frank and others have said, they don't do sideways pressure at all, but they are great for use in a press or mill.

 

I do the same plus I use a drill gauge and find that even easier. I keep one of each size drill in a block of wood that has holes with numbers to tell me what I'm picking up. The thing is though, when you need to order more drills, you can't be sure of what size to order if you can't rely on getting what they say it is. If I need a #72, do I order a #71? What if the #71s turn out to be #73s? What if it actually turns out to be a #71? It took a week to get the original order from Drills and Cutters and another week to get the replacements, and I still don't have the drills I need.

 

I'm in the middle of an email conversation with the president of Drill America about the problem since it was his drills that I bought. He tells me the drills are not actually made by them but rather by another firm in Cleavland if I recall correctly. He was upset that I got the wrong size drills in his packaging and is trying to get to the bottom of it. Their prices are much cheaper than Drills and Cutters so if he can guarantee I'll get the right thing, I'll place an order with his company. He told me he personally went into the warehouse, opened up a package of drills and mic'd them and they were right on. So no telling what's going on with Drills and Cutters. I'll report back anything I learn of value. Drills and Cutters did refund my money in full, including the shipping charges, and did so before I'd even sent the drills back They also arranged to have UPS pick up the drills at no charge to me. So I'm happy with that. But I'm not happy with getting the wrong size drills.

 

Cheers -

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just had a phone conversation with Michael DeWitt, who is president of Drill America - https://www.drillamerica.com/

It turns out that the owners of Drills and Cutters are cousins who split from his business about 15 years ago. They have created their own packages for drills that they obtain from China. The packages are similar to but different than the real thing from Drill America, who gets their drills from Precision Twist Drill in Crystal Lake, Illinois. His business is a small one and short of bringing an expensive lawsuit, he is unable to stop Drills and Cutters from their deceptive practices. His prices are certainly more expensive, but he guarantees they are American made and accurately sized. His primary business is wholesale but they do a small amount of retail business through their web site. Michael offered to sell me the bits I need at wholesale prices, which I thought was very nice of him indeed. He said if anyone on the forum called, he'd do the same for them.

 

Be aware that there is also a drillamerica.net website, which is also fake. The drills they sell are not produced by Drill America or made in the US.

 

Cheers -

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wanted to add that if you go to Drills America's website (the real one) the pricing is a bit confusing. In the description of each drill, it says "Package Qty.: 12" and the price is listed as, for example, $2.72 for a #72 drill. That price is for EACH drill and they only sell the small drills in packs of 12. So if you order 1, you will be ordering a single drill and it will show the price as $2.72 in your cart, but I'm not sure the order would go through since they don't sell less than 12. I mentioned this to Mr. DeWitt and he agreed it needs to be changed. In any case, I just told him what drills I wanted over the phone, gave him my CC number, and he put the order together for me. He also told me he opened each package that I ordered and mic'd one drill from each and they were spot on for sizing. So, a very helpful guy. Wholesale price on the #72s was $1.31 each, by the way. So if you call to order, be sure to mention the forum and ask for the wholesale price.

 

Cheers -

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am looking at the site. I see many categories for "DRILLS" but I cannot find anything approximating "Micro Drills". What should I be looking for?

https://www.drillamerica.com/product-categories/drills/jobber-drills/standard-118-point-jobber-drills/

 

In the area where it says "Narrow Your Selection" find the size you want in the "Size (diameter) pull down. You'll see all the numbered drills listed there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a novice observation, but isn't a bit strange to worry about a drill dimension to be over or under by .001" and then use it in a hand held pin vise?  And what kind of hole short of a carberator orifice needs that kind of tolerance anyway?

I don't typically use a pin vise - more likely a drill press for precise work. But, let's say you want to put a piece of .025 brass rod into a piece of sheet brass and you plan to silver solder it. When you silver solder, the parts need to touch to get a good solder joint (in this case, all the way around the rod). So, if you choose a #71 drill, the hole may be too large (.026) and you'll wind up with a weak joint. If you choose a #73 drill, the hole will be too small (.024) and the rod won't go into the hole at all. Your best choice is a #72 drill (.025), which is just the right size.

 

Of course, if you're putting a piece of brass rod into a piece of wood and you're planning to epoxy it in place, then, yes, such precision is unneeded.And, in fact, you'd want a hole that's larger than the rod to allow room for the glue. If you want to use thin CA to glue in that rod, you'll want a snug fit since thin CA doesn't fill gaps (kind of like silver solder).

 

But, again, no matter what the number on the drill or the application for the hole it will produce, when you decide you need to order a particular size drill, you want to know that you're going to get the size you order.

 

Cheers -

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't typically use a pin vise - more likely a drill press for precise work. But, let's say you want to put a piece of .025 brass rod into a piece of sheet brass and you plan to silver solder it. When you silver solder, the parts need to touch to get a good solder joint (in this case, all the way around the rod). So, if you choose a #71 drill, the hole may be too large (.026) and you'll wind up with a weak joint. If you choose a #73 drill, the hole will be too small (.024) and the rod won't go into the hole at all. Your best choice is a #72 drill (.025), which is just the right size.

 

Of course, if you're putting a piece of brass rod into a piece of wood and you're planning to epoxy it in place, then, yes, such precision is unneeded.And, in fact, you'd want a hole that's larger than the rod to allow room for the glue. If you want to use thin CA to glue in that rod, you'll want a snug fit since thin CA doesn't fill gaps (kind of like silver solder).

 

But, again, no matter what the number on the drill or the application for the hole it will produce, when you decide you need to order a particular size drill, you want to know that you're going to get the size you order.

 

Cheers -

John

Good information, John.  My thinking is that there are times that you need precision and if that is what you need them buy precision drill bits from a trusted precision supplier. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sad to report that I received the drills from Drills America last nite and measured them. Every one is undersized. No better than the less expensive drills I bought from Drills and Cutters. I began to get suspicious of my measuring tools and techniques, so I took a piece of .020 brass rod and a piece of .028 brass rod from brand new, unopened packages and measured them with both the drill gauge and digital calipers. They measured the exact size. So it's not me or my tools. I contacted Mr. DeWitt and his reply was:

 

"John, I have no argument with you because the customer is always right.
It's just one of those unexplained phenomena like Stonehenge, the statues of Easter Island or Donald Trump.
Please return the drills at your convenience and we will refund all your money.
Thank you for giving us a try and best of luck in the future."
 
So, indeed, I will be returning the drills. I guess I'll just go back to Drills and Cutters because they are less expensive and order drills that are labeled as one size larger than I need in hopes that I'll get some that are right. Very disappointing.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has been my experience that drill bits most often drill a hole larger than the shank due to unequal length cutting edges from the sharpening process, at least that is true in brass, aluminum, steel and cast iron.  I believe that would be true in wood but I have never checked it.  Not only that, but a drill bit is not a precision tool any way.  They do not produce a round hole but usually make something that is three cornered with round sides. 

 

The important thing is not the size of the shank but the size of the hole which would be very difficult to gauge in soft wood.  In metal work, a precision hole is not usually drilled, it is bored.  If the hole size is very small, the best way to assure precision is to drill undersize and then use a reamer to make the hole both round and to size.  If you have any machinist friends, ask what they think about drilling a precision hole.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will gladly concede that drill bits are inaccurate. But that's not really the point here. Consider this scenario. I'm working on a project and decide, regardless of the hole size or accuracy required, that for whatever reason I want to use a #75 drill bit. I'm happily drilling away and manage to break the bit. So I go to the box where I keep my spares, open the packet of #75s and see there's only one left. "I'd better order some more," I think to myself. So I place the order and a week later, a packet of drills arrives. It's labeled #75 but when I measure them, I discover they are really #76s. As it happens, I already have a dozen #76s in the spare box. I don't need more #76s - I need more #75s. All I'm saying is, if I order #75s, I expect to get #75s. I don't want to have to order #74s and hope they are really #75s. A while back, I ordered some drills from MicroMark and one of them was actually 2 sizes smaller than what the package said they were. If I were to order a pair of pants with a 36" waist and the company sent pants with a 34" waist, I'd be a bit disappointed! :(   I might be able to squeeze into a 35" waist but I wouldn't wear them to a big dinner. 34" waist - no way. :P

 

Cheers -

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I wonder if there is a source for mixed unsorted small bits.  If so, then they should be dirt cheap.  Then you could mike them and sort them and know exactly what you have.

 

Your idea is not all that far fetched. 

I inherited (among other things) a large box full of drills from my father-in-law. He had a die-casting shop where they made their own dies. The machinists would replace a dull drill rather than sharpening it. 

My 'source' of unsorted bits took a while to sort, but, after sharpening them, I had a pocket full of nice drills. 

Of course, most were larger than the #60's and up.

 

Is there a machine shop in your area?

 

PS Drill bits are notorious for having unequal cutting edges. If the center is off a tiny bit and one edge is wider than the other,  . .guess what? A bigger hole than wanted.

In addition, the cutting edges have to be standing out, meaning the back of each edge should be lower. If not, it won't cut and maybe burn a hole in wood.

Here is a quick video about this. http://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research-bench-tip-01

Edited by Modeler12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...