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  • Drill bits/Reamers/Taps New or Used

    I need to start purchasing some drill bits/reamers and taps. Already projects are slowing as I have to wait for a certain drill bit.

    I have come across a few deals on used items and just curious if others think it is worth buying used. I definitely want to make sure if I buy something used they are true and in tolerance. I have never sharpened bits but understand it's fairly easy to do.

    Just seems cheaper to buy a few lots of used so I will at least have a larger variety faster.

  • #2
    At least with used bits you can sharpen them regardless of their quality and be reasonably sure they will drill a hole the size they say within the tolerance limits you would expect for drill bits.
    If I was buying a reamer, it would be to make a very precisely dimensioned hole, and I wouldn't expect a used reamer to be able to do that for me. Personally, I'd stick with buying new when it comes to reamers, and buying quality ones at that.
    Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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    • #3
      I learned my lesson the hard way. I now buy only new, good quality. Nothing is more worthless than a dull tap, and you can't really tell by looking. And I have been to any number of garage sales or auctions where reamers are just tossed into a box along with other tools, thus banging up the edges and ruining what is supposed to be a precision cutting tool. I would not trust any reamer that isn't new. Drill bits are easier to sharpen but unless you need a bunch of them or some unusually large size, I don't think it's worth it to buy used. The name brand ones just seem to cut better and hold an edge longer.

      If you buy what you need as the need arises, you will soon have a good collection of the sizes you use and you won't have spent money on a set that might include sizes you'd never use.

      There are many places in the shop to save money but in my opinion this is not one of them.

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      • #4
        I have never sharpened bits but understand it's fairly easy to do.



        get back to us after the first hundred or so, off hand, or course.

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        • #5
          I bought a 135 piece set of foreign import about 20 years ago. I use them daily and have only broken the #21 bit.

          I bought a set of SASE tap and dies from Harbor Freight and now that I use a guide to start the taps plumb, I've had no problems. I bought a seperate set of under size bits and chucking reamers from Enco for when I need precise holes of 1/4, 5/16, 1/4, 3/8, 1/5 and plan to buy more for when really accurate sizes are needed.

          I'm home shop and don't do any commercial work. If I did, I might feel otherwise but I think my bits and taps are a good deal for me.
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          • #6
            Thanks for all of the quick replies. I was leaning towards buying reamers and taps new, but wanted to get some input. So will probably just keep buying what I need as I need it.

            Guess I'll look through Enco for a few of the sizes I need the most.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Your Old Dog
              I bought a 135 piece set of foreign import about 20 years ago. I use them daily and have only broken the #21 bit.

              I bought a set of SASE tap and dies from Harbor Freight and now that I use a guide to start the taps plumb, I've had no problems. I bought a seperate set of under size bits and chucking reamers from Enco for when I need precise holes of 1/4, 5/16, 1/4, 3/8, 1/5 and plan to buy more for when really accurate sizes are needed.

              I'm home shop and don't do any commercial work. If I did, I might feel otherwise but I think my bits and taps are a good deal for me.

              For now I am home shop as well, at least for a while but will never really do any production. I am mainly doing one-offs and prototypes.

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              • #8
                I only talk about machining, so used works fine for me.

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                • #9
                  Drills are OK to buy used. They're easy to sharpen.
                  Taps and Reamers should be bought new.
                  Dull taps like to break in holes, and dull reamers make over-sized holes.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with the others -- don't bother with used taps and dies or reamers. Buy top-quality stuff, as you need it, and the incremental expense spread over time won't be too bad.

                    Personally, I wouldn't bother with most used drills, either. Buy a top-quality set and you won't have to worry (for a while, anyway).
                    ----------
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                    • #11
                      I have 300+ "used" reamers... and no issues - it all depends on where you buy them. Mine were from the estate of a machine shop. I have acquired a few dozen more large reamers from garage sales for close to free, but most were dull and worthless in their current condition.

                      I also have a reamer sharpener - just does the end that cuts, but haven't used it yet.

                      To fill in the gaps (there are always gaps!), I bought on Ebay a set of old Keystone adjustable reamers - in pristine condition or less than $00 delivered.

                      Drill bits - Try pricing a set (that's one of each drill..) of quality USA brands from #80 to 1 inch in just machine screw length... I did.. wow! So... I bought another machine shop liquidation inventory at auction. Everything from #80 to over 1 inch, in letter, number and fractional. Dozens of new drills (mainly cobalt) in most size compartments with machine screw, jobber and many "aircraft" lengths. Total drills? Maybe 1500+... I paid $450 - less then the price of the cabinets even when on sale.

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                      • #12
                        With taps, may I suggest buying spiral point taps. They drive the chips forward so you don't have to turn back every quarter turn to break the chip. They also require a good bit less torque to cut, so they are less likely to break. They are excellent for tapping under power, but can be used by hand just as easily. For blind holes, you'll want to either drill a bit deeper so the chips have someplace to go or use a spiral flute tap (flutes have a helix angle like a drill), which draws the chips out of the hole.
                        Stuart de Haro

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                        • #13
                          I will probably order a few batch's of used drills, reamers and taps definitely new based on feedback. I guess that is the same reason I buy new vehicles instead of used

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hornluv
                            With taps, may I suggest buying spiral point taps. They drive the chips forward so you don't have to turn back every quarter turn to break the chip. They also require a good bit less torque to cut, so they are less likely to break. They are excellent for tapping under power, but can be used by hand just as easily. For blind holes, you'll want to either drill a bit deeper so the chips have someplace to go or use a spiral flute tap (flutes have a helix angle like a drill), which draws the chips out of the hole.
                            Yes.. That's what I buy and I really like both of them... On the spiral flute it's neat to watch the three spirals of swarf curling cleanly out of the hole Sharpening the Spiral point taps is a breeze.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lakeside53
                              I have 300+ "used" reamers... and no issues - it all depends on where you buy them. Mine were from the estate of a machine shop. I have acquired a few dozen more large reamers from garage sales for close to free, but most were dull and worthless in their current condition.

                              I also have a reamer sharpener - just does the end that cuts, but haven't used it yet.

                              To fill in the gaps (there are always gaps!), I bought on Ebay a set of old Keystone adjustable reamers - in pristine condition or less than $00 delivered.

                              Drill bits - Try pricing a set (that's one of each drill..) of quality USA brands from #80 to 1 inch in just machine screw length... I did.. wow! So... I bought another machine shop liquidation inventory at auction. Everything from #80 to over 1 inch, in letter, number and fractional. Dozens of new drills (mainly cobalt) in most size compartments with machine screw, jobber and many "aircraft" lengths. Total drills? Maybe 1500+... I paid $450 - less then the price of the cabinets even when on sale.
                              Estate sells is what I was thinking as I would assume the condition would be a lot better than just buying used from individuals. Would like to think a shop took better care of the tools.

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