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My daughter has asked me to fill out a wish list for Father's Day and my Birthday.  So I was wondering what are the most common micro drill bit sizes used for the many sized blocks and dead-eyes?  Looking to get a selection that could/would/should get me started and cover most instances in future builds?   Thank you in advance for your input.

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Good Morning Peanut6:

 

The scale you are working at will determine the size needed for the parts you mentioned and any model will bring plenty of need for small holes of other sizes.  A set of wire-gage drills - #61 through #80 - is a good place to start.  These 20 drill-bitt sets make holes ranging from 0.039 to 0.0135 inch.  MSC Industrial Supply sells three sets made in USA ranging from $54.00 to $95.00 - #52358819 bright finish, made by Irwin, $54.00; #45488442, bright finish, made by Chicago Latrobe, $72.00; and a TiN coated set made by Chicago Latrobe for $95.00.  McMaster Carr sells a USA, bright finish set for $52.00; #8907A17.  Asian imports are available much cheaper - and you, or rather your daughter, will get what she pays for.

 

A precision drill press will handle these sizes as will a hand-held pin-vise.  You will need one or the other.

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    Check out "MICRO MARK".  Go to their website and open their digital catalogue.  Page 32 (I believe) has several micro drill bit sets ranging from about $15 to $30.  Once you see what is available, you can get from MM or shop around.  I have seen them at hobby shops, a local model railroad store, etc.   

 

    Once you get the set and start using it, you will get a feel for what sizes you get most.  You can then get individual bits just in this sizes when they break...and they will break.  I find I use 60, 72 and 76 the most.

 

    I would recommend the hand held pin vise over the drill press.

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30 minutes ago, drjeckl said:

I've used Chucks recommended site

Chuck Passaro, I am assuming, not me. 

 

Great bits of you have a mill or good drill press.  If you plan to drill by hand, I still recommend the pin vise, which will not accommodate the 1/8 inch shafts.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Chuck Seiler said:

I still recommend the pin vise, which will not accommodate the 1/8 inch shafts

I don’t know if this qualifies as a pin vise, but it took me awhile to track this down so that I could use 1/8” shank bits by hand. I’ll see if I can recall where I picked it up and add it to this post if I do.

10EEB4E9-6966-4097-BC65-AFFA92D2A85C.thumb.jpeg.1b1fcd8460e2dbe0b53cad5d1e5125a7.jpeg
 

Edit: I believe this is it - https://www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/acatalog/Modelcraft-Pin-Vice-English-pattern-Type-124-T_PPV4001_D.html#SID=1879

Edited by VTHokiEE
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Posted (edited)

Since your daughter not you is buying this, I’d advise you to keep it simple. Tell her to go to MicroMark and buy the round drill stand with drill bits 80 through 60 included.  She may not be getting a great deal but the bits will be usable for 90% of the model building that we do.  Small drill bits like these are somewhat disposable.  They break easily and must be replaced.  The drill stand is needed to keep them organized.

 

I agree that you will need a set of pin vices.  They usually come in sets of three to accommodate a range of drill sizes.  There are also available from MicroMark.

 

Roger

Edited by Roger Pellett
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3 hours ago, Chuck Seiler said:

Chuck Passaro, I am assuming, not me. 

 

Great bits of you have a mill or good drill press.  If you plan to drill by hand, I still recommend the pin vise, which will not accommodate the 1/8 inch shafts.

 

 That looks like a good site for drills. I notice they have a pin vise that will take a 1/8" shaft - https://drillbitsunlimited.com/Hand-Tools-Pin-Vise-C300864.aspx

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Drill Bits Unlimited and Drillbit City sell essentially the same bits.  If you have a tremor, stick with HSS bits unless you are using a drill press.  Using a carbide bit in a Dremel is not a problem as long as you Have a steady hand and do not put any lateral pressure on the bit.  I would never put a carbide bit in a pinvise.  

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Thank you to everyone for your suggestions and guidance, I do appreciate it.  I do own a pin vise with a double collit that I'm believe can handle an 1/8" diameter shaft, 3/16" for sure.  My Dremel kit with the flexible shaft is the only mini power tool I have and others will have to wait until my craftsmanship warrants the cost.  The sources you all have given will be of great assistance when its time for bit replacement as I'm sure I'll continue to break more bits.  Thanks again.

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Posted (edited)

What you want are pin vises like those immediately above that will hold variously sized collets. A pin vise that will hold even down to 1/32 of an inch diameter, will be too big for the small bits in the Rogers drill index and drills. 

 

Excel Tools Assorted High Speed #61-80 Drill Bit Set (20) (Dome Stand) |  Internet Hobbies

 

Tell your daughter to shop around. There are two apparently identical items, one by Rogers and the other by Gyros, another drill bit company. You will find them listed for fifty bucks at Fundemonium, a hobby store chain, to thirty bucks in the Micro-Mark catalog, to twenty bucks on Amazon. Buy the twenty buck one and wait until you break a bit, then buy a capsule of ten bits from a reputable bit retailer. (Model Expo sometimes has bits in packages of ten on sale at half price... stock up when you get the chance.) By waiting until a bit wears out or breaks, you'll discover which ones you use the most and need to keep in stock. You'll find other sizes are used much less frequently. Bits are also sold in packages of two. You'll end up in the poorhouse quickly buying them this way. It's far more economical to buy them in packages of ten.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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Bob, that is the plan, get a decent set for the money to get started and then stock up on my own as necessary.  My pin vise looks very similar to the silver one above and it has a dual collet.  And I misspoke in my last post, I should have said my pin vise can hold a bit up to 3/32".  I already have four #60 bits (how they got into my hobby tool box I'll never know) and my pin vise handles those just fine.  Thanks again. 

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What you are drilling is also very important. If you are only drilling wood, then almost anything will do. If you are planning on drilling metal the something from MSC, McMaster, Travers, etc will be much better. Finishes have to do with chip clearance, nothing you will worry about with a pin vice. If you are drilling at 15000, rpm with commensurate feed, then you do. If you are going to drill fiberglass then carbide is almost essential. Twist drills are not required, for thin metal you can do quite well with homemade spade drills, even in hard steel. George Daniels tells you about them in Watchmaking. You can also grind your own D bits. Drills like these can be much better to use because you can chuck them much closer to the tip. This will reduce the chance of breakage.

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mnl, thanks for the input.  At this point I can only see myself using the micro bits for use in model ships.  Cleaning/clearing the holes in blocks, dead-eyes, making holes in wood to install eye bolts and thin sheet metal used for rudder hinges.  

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