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Grades of Drill bits?

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  • Grades of Drill bits?

    The MSC catalog lists different grades of drill bits, such as "heavy duty" "production grade" and "high performance." I can guess, based on price, which grade is better.

    But, what is the difference between the less expensive and more expensive grades? The type of metal is indicated in a separate column. Are the tolerances different between grades? Quality of grind?

    How much difference can thier be between two bits of the same diameter, length and material? Is it worth the extra money to buy the higher grades?

  • #2
    Is it worth the extra money to buy the higher grades?

    Short answer: Yes
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    • #3
      Enco has a 115 pc. "made in USA" HSS set for about $80- $90.



      • #4
        Ah, advertising is wonderful! Made-up terms defining grades that don't mean a damn thing.

        Good drills are worth the money. They'll probably be ground more accurately, for one thing. And all steel that's "the same thng" ...isn't.

        Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
        Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
        Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
        There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
        Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
        Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


        • #5
          I got a "D-" in drill bits.


          • #6
            PTD is a good brand,so is Greenfield and OSG,but Clevland twist drill passes their stuff off as American made,but it comes from Mexico not the US,cheap crap for a high price.
            I just need one more tool,just one!


            • #7
              Avoid import cutting tools (China) if at all possible. I have purchased larger drills from ENCO (made in China)that seem to be okay. The smaller drills drills like the 115 piece sets are crap unless your drilling wood.

              I bought a 115 drill set on E-bay a couple of years ago that were unheat treated. They would not drill mild steel.

              When it comes to cutting tools the American made stuff is still the best. The European cutting tools are good as well.

              Imported tools are sometimes okay in my home shop if they are used once or twice.

              So much to learn, so little time


              • #8
                34 years ago I bought some drill sets in Korea, had a paid vacation there. A fractional set and two 1 to 60 number sets made by C/L. Also a letter set made in Japan. The letter set is fine but they will chip more then the C/L drills do. That is just one thing I noticied over the years. I had a brand new drill at work that was made in China. I went to use it on a lathe and it split down the middle for an inch as soon as it touched the work piece. It was a 7/16".


                • #9
                  The problem is not so much where they are made, but who backs them up. I see the same Silver and Deming drill sets sold by lots of places, which ones are good and which ones aren't depends on who you buy them from. You can buy them from HF or KBC. It's funny because HF did replace one that broke. The ones from KBC are working well, had no problems with them.

                  The better sets that I have purcahsed are lasting longer than the cheap sets. I keep mine sharp and clean. The cheap ones I have bought in past years are pretty much thrown away, but the boxes are great for odd drills that I buy now and then.



                  • #10
                    A good rule of thumb: Buy from a reputable store so you can return stuff if it is crap.

                    Returned goods are a pain in the neck for the buyer and the seller. Therefore, it is better to not to sell items if they will be returned because of poor quality.

                    So much to learn, so little time


                    • #11
                      If a reputable store gets lots of returns on an item, they quit selling/stocking it.The cheap stores say, what do you expect for two bucks.

                      Remember you get what you pay for, that also includes the store and their support staff. Try getting tech support from the staff at a HF store.



                      • #12
                        My impression on the drill bits is that they are made in the millions, if not billions. They are sold in every hardware, home supply, Wal-Mart, even grocery and drug stores. Anything that is that common is going to attract the attention of the penny pinchers. The manufacturers will be looking for every 1/10 of a cent they can shave off the cost and there are certainly poor quality drills on the market because of this. This is one area where you have to be very particular about who you buy from.

                        In the past I have had good luck buying imported milling cutters, vises, and other items from Enco so I tried their 115 piece economy set in the Screw Machine length. I was very disappointed. Some were US made and were excellent. Others were Asian/Chinese and were total c***. I complained. They took them back and refunded my $s. Better buying from a well known outfit than off E-Bay or some Xyz outfit on the internet. I bought their US made set and it is excellent.

                        I think the difference was that the mills, vises, and other tools I purchased from them were sold in smaller quantities and by fewer retailers so there is less incentive for the manufacturers to cut costs as much. No Wal-Mart purchasing agent saying I want 500,000 but I will not pay any more than $xx. So the quality level stays higher.

                        You need to look at what you are buying, how many are sold world wide, where they are sold (not just where am I buying from), and what is the return policy of the place I am buying from.

                        As for the different "grades" I put more stock in a manufacturer's rep than any sales hype attached to the item. I have worked for an advertising agency and I can tell you that the only limit on the verbage is, can we get away with saying it without legal problems. Past that, some people will say almost anything to get you to buy something. Price can also be a poor indicator of quality. Many items are sold for whatever they can get or whatever price brings the highest total return. For many products it has little to do with quality, manufacturing and marketing costs, or in some cases what the identical item sells for elsewhere.

                        Paul A.
                        Paul A.

                        Make it fit.
                        You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


                        • #13
                          Remember, twist drills are usually considered roughing tools..This is because of the "probable hole size" and the surface roughness that they leave behind...I buy nothing but Precision Twist, except when I need a drill in the 1 1/2- 2.0" range..Thats when I buy the "made in china" crap..but these cheap drills are low price and they work just fine when you intend to bore out a hole afterwards....

                          Buy what ever you can afford...



                          • #14
                            I bought the house brand ("Hertel") of a 115pc set, with a Huot case, from J&L for $89. My reasoning was: at least I'd have a complete set, and then replace them individually with higher quality as necessary. But for homeshop use I've found them satisfactory, tho the shanks seem a little soft.
                            I bought a Silver & Deming set from my local supplier, which generally carries good stuff, since they're mainly supplying the professional shops. These were no-name imports (black oxide) at an attractive price. And I have no complaints at all about those. They seem hard as blazes and have shown no wear at all.


                            • #15
                              STM brand drills are great and cheap.Audrey