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  • "Sharpening Drills" Guide/Article

    Is there a "go to" article, perhaps in HSM magazine, that you consider the best for non master machinists? I am giving a presentation on the subject of "Drilling, Tapping, and Sharpening you own Drills" to some colleagues (mechanics) next week. Looking for some literature to use as a guide.

    Also, I'm sure the first question I'll be asked during my presentation is "Why don't I just get a Drill Doctor?" I've never used one. I've heard good and bad about them. What specifically are the weaknesses of the DD?

    Any other suggestions for an interesting and successful presentation?

    Thanks,
    Roland
    -Roland
    Golf Course Mechanic

    Bedminster NJ

  • #2
    The problem with all sharpening methods and machines is that they all require one thing you can't buy. Practice! I got pretty good at hand sharpening, but only because I actally sharpened a few thousand. I still bought a Darex M5 and with practice it was consistently better than hand sharpening. We now have a Black Diamond which is a thing of beauty. However it also takes practice to use it correctly. By the way I prefer hand sharpening on a belt sander. The big table and the fact it doesn't change shape quickly are nice.

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    • #3
      My metal work teacher gave us all a brand new 3/8 drill, then told us to grind it again just like what was already there, and keep doing it till you run out of drill, not all at once, every day for five mins or so, it worked, ok he showed us how too!, my way is from the back towards the cutting edge, I've seen loads of other ways but it works for me!
      I would also like to see it done on a video because I'm bound to be doing something wrong, I usually am
      Mark

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      • #4
        Personally, I love my Drill Doctor. I have a TDR sharpener that is far superior, but the DD is so handy to use.

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        • #5
          For years I have sharpened twist drills by hand. If I used any thing it was a General gauge to measure the cutting edge length and angle. For some unknown reason I purchased a DD machine. Rats! Try as I might I was unable to get even close to a decent cutting drill bit. As I was using the DD I noticed a distinct bearing noise. After phoning DD and letting them hear it over the phone they very generously sent me a replacement unit. I bring it out once in a while but still cannot get a serviceable drill. The main fault seems to be the cutting edge is not given the proper rake so that the tool rides on the heel.
          Stil have the DD but sharpen my drill bits "by hand".
          Jim

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jim Hubbell View Post
            For years I have sharpened twist drills by hand. If I used any thing it was a General gauge to measure the cutting edge length and angle. For some unknown reason I purchased a DD machine. Rats! Try as I might I was unable to get even close to a decent cutting drill bit. As I was using the DD I noticed a distinct bearing noise. After phoning DD and letting them hear it over the phone they very generously sent me a replacement unit. I bring it out once in a while but still cannot get a serviceable drill. The main fault seems to be the cutting edge is not given the proper rake so that the tool rides on the heel.
            Stil have the DD but sharpen my drill bits "by hand".
            I had the same problem getting the proper clearance. There's a note in the problems section at the back of the manual on how to address that. IIRC it involves changing the rotational registration just a bit. Mine looked good after that.
            .
            "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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            • #7
              TGTool, thanks for the response.
              The rotational registration is done with two spring leaves engaging the drill helix. Any change is made by "eye" and is difficult to do with consistency. Is there a way to change the setup so as to be the same each time?
              Jim

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jim Hubbell View Post
                TGTool, thanks for the response.
                The rotational registration is done with two spring leaves engaging the drill helix. Any change is made by "eye" and is difficult to do with consistency. Is there a way to change the setup so as to be the same each time?
                I don't have it in front of me, but I think you rotate the lever that changes between 118 and 135 degrees one way or the other. Then the spring leaves can be in the same place but the flats for the collet are repositioned.
                .
                "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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                • #9
                  There's a video on YouTube from the Darex company showing DD operation and adjustment for rake. Search "drill doctor." I found that with rake adjustment often for larger bits you have to rotate the bit past the limits built into the machine. Not difficult to estimate by eye.
                  Gary


                  Appearance is Everything...

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                  • #10
                    I have the SRD unit, it works well but you have to be careful how you load the drill in the fixture, if you look on my YouTube channel I did a video on my unit. Just search James Dedmon

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                    • #11
                      I haven't done a search, but I thought there was an article in HSM or Machinists Workshop in the last year or so about drill sharpening by hand. One of those guys with a professional shop whose articles are generally near the back.
                      .
                      "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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                      • #12
                        I got a general drill sharpening jig at a flea market a while back which does a great job, using the side of a nice Norton white wheel. Doesn't leave a heel and the drills cut true and to size. Larger than 1/2in I do freehand using the take set to the right angle, then I flatten the cutting edge (small 6in grinder = pronounced hollow grind) and check that they're the same length using a digital caliper. Then I split the point and round the heel. Learned that from a tubalcain or mrpete YouTube video.

                        Other than that there's not much to it other than practice - I had a whole S&D set and a 29pc drill set to do, so I got lots

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rmcphearson View Post
                          Is there a "go to" article, perhaps in HSM magazine, that you consider the best for non master machinists? I am giving a presentation on the subject of "Drilling, Tapping, and Sharpening you own Drills" to some colleagues (mechanics) next week. Looking for some literature to use as a guide.

                          Thanks,
                          Roland
                          Sorry for the delay in my reply; been too busy to look at the board the last few days.

                          The May/June 2014 issue of HSM had an article by columnist Sandro Di Filippo titled "Sharpening a Drill by Hand," which sounds like what you are looking for. The other recent article on drill sharpening covered building a drill grinder, which doesn't sound like what you need.

                          You can email me at gbulliss(at)villagepress(dot)com if you have any questions and I'll try to get back to you a little quicker.
                          George
                          Traverse City, MI

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                          • #14
                            Thank you George. I plan on ordering that back issue. I gave the "seminar" already and it went over well. I've been asked to do another one so I'm working on improving the presentation. 20% (2 of 10) of the mechanics present did not even realize drills can be sharpened in their shop without a DD.
                            -Roland
                            Golf Course Mechanic

                            Bedminster NJ

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                            • #15
                              I liked Sandro's article and think you will as well. It's short and simple, concentrating on the basics, but this helps to keep things clear and concise. He's a full-time toolmaker and knows his stuff.
                              George
                              Traverse City, MI

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