View Full Version : Anybody Have Recent Experience with Harbor Freight Drill Bits?

The Doctor
03-24-2005, 03:35 PM
I already have a decent set of drill bits, letters, numbers and fractions, but over the years several bits have gone missing. I am considering purchasing a set of M42 HSS bits that Harbor freight has on sale for $40, TiN coated and coming in their own index case.

Yes, I already am fully aware that the TiN coating doesn't mean a thing if the substrate is poor quality, but it will make it easy to separate these from my regular, higher-quality drill bits. And yes, I realize you get what you pay for, but sometimes you can get considerably less. So here is my question..... Are these drill bits actually usable at all? materials being drilled would typically be various aluminum alloys, 1018, and 1144. Maybe on rare occasions some 4140, possibly even in pre-hardened condition. Am I likely to get $40 worth of service out of these bits in this application, or are these bits a waste of money at any price?


03-24-2005, 03:50 PM
I have a set that I use quite abit for aluminum and mild steel, I definately got my $39 worth from them.

3 Phase Lightbulb
03-24-2005, 03:58 PM
The Drill master M2 TIN bitset (Item #01611) is a great set:



I also have the 115pc Cobalt set:


Both sets are great.. All of the bits that I've used so far were straight with no visible runout... I think I paid $39 for the M2 TIN, and $79 for the Cobolt set when it went on sale last year.

I'm very happy with my sets.


03-24-2005, 04:58 PM
I bought a set last year as a 'beater' set, also with the idea that I'd modify them to zero rake for use with brass. The material may be ok but the point grinding was erratic (some good some not very good)

For those purposes they're adequate, but if they were my main drill set I wouldn't be happy with them.

Gary Helmick
03-24-2005, 09:37 PM
Speaking of drill bits, what is some of the best drill bits setd you can get?

I already have a "beater" set now but would like to up grade to some of the better sets.

Gary Helmick

3 Phase Lightbulb
03-24-2005, 09:44 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Gary Helmick:
Speaking of drill bits, what is some of the best drill bits setd you can get?

I already have a "beater" set now but would like to up grade to some of the better sets.

Gary Helmick</font>

Definitely solid 24 karat gold would be the best...No? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


Frank Ford
03-25-2005, 02:21 AM
I don't know from "best" but I've been getting good mileage from some 135-degree split point "ThunderBits" made by Triumph.

03-25-2005, 05:28 AM
..........Using quality bits is a pure joy, like a fresh sharp file. When I was first 'tooling up' several years ago I bought a set of number bits from HF (1-60) and they have done really well. I haven't drilled any exotic stuff with them though.

Just yesterday I drilled 12 holes with the #40 bit to tap 4-48 through some 3/8" steel and the last drilled just as nice as the first. Most exciting to me was that I just freshened it by hand before starting!

Don't know if they were from China, India, Brazil, Honduras or Timbuktoo but they make holes.

I did replace my fractional set (Hansen) and letter (HF) with sets from Cleveland Twist.


Steve Steven
03-25-2005, 07:51 AM
I have bought drill bits (in packages, black coated type) from HF and they worked well. I bought a 115pc TiN coated set from GRIZZLEY for $40 on a "special" and they are a dissapointment, they wouldn't drill mild steel without dulling noticibly. I would steer clear of any $40 set after that.

03-25-2005, 05:58 PM
Awhile back I wrote some words regarding my experience with the harbor freight drill bits. Kinda long winded, gotta lay off the coffee abit http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//tongue.gif JRouche