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Where do you get carbide drill bits?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by i4Marc, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. i4Marc


    Oct 19, 2011
    Where do you guys go for decent quality but relatively inexpensive solid carbide drill bits? Which types work best on hardened steel, fluted, spade etc.?
  2. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com

    Jun 11, 2006
    I’m a big fan of the spade drills. Easy to resharpen. I just get mine off Amazon when I need them.
  3. Jrmysell


    May 18, 2014
    I’ve gotten mine from McMaster Carr
  4. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com

    Jun 11, 2006
    I normally make my own out of carbide round stock for drilling out the center marks from the plasma cutter. Another option is friction drilling. Talk about a glass smooth hole. I use this on 15n20 some times. I have done it in hardened D2 as well that was .163 thick. I grind a 4 sided point onto carbide. I spin it in a hand drill first to create a centered point while grinding on a green wheel. Then hand grind the 4 sides. Then chuck it up in the mill or a drill press. Run it around 2500-3000 rpm and start drilling. It will start to drill a hole and you will see dust. Once it gets into the material aways you will see it starting to get hot. Then I push harder and you will see the carbide glow red and the steel around it will as well and it will go right through. What ever you do don’t stop. Once through pull it out and let it cool. Then grind off the rolled out material on the entry and exit. Or you can leave it and use it as scale retention and run a loveless bolt through the center hole. It’s a slick way to do it.
  5. Robert Erickson

    Robert Erickson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 2, 2014
  6. i4Marc


    Oct 19, 2011
    JT, what are you using to grind points on the carbide rounds, a bench grinder? Are the carbide rounds much cheaper than buying drill bits?

    Rob, I bought some stuff to hold me over for a short while today. Good thing because it seems USA knifemaker is out of everything I need. McMaster has some stuff but they are more expensive.
  7. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com

    Jun 11, 2006
    I will take some pictures when I get home. But yea a bench grinder with a green wheel.
  8. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    As short as possible. Screw machine or stub.

    McMaster shouldn’t be that much more expensive.... never hesitate from buying from them because their service is exceptional and they take anything back

    ebay works too. Look for name brands
    Look forward A dealer in FL called suncoastprecisontooloutlet

    i’m guessing you are looking for in the 1/8th inch to 5/32 range and that’s about a $15-$20 carbide drill.

    make sure your setup is rigid when drilling with carbide
  9. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com

    Jun 11, 2006
    yeah a wobble drill press will make short work of your nice carbide lol.
    HSC /// likes this.
  10. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com

    Jun 11, 2006
    This is a mod I do to carbide burrs to drill hardened steel. I call them hole poppers
  11. TheEdge01


    Apr 3, 2015
    I ordered mine from Mac Tools. The bits themselves are somewhat pricy, but you have the option to order them individually instead of being forced to buy a whole set and end up paying for bits you don’t need.
  12. Sam Wilson

    Sam Wilson

    Sep 3, 2012
    @i4Marc I'm guessing you do not have a mill, or do you? I'm sure you know this, but if you have a mill, a carbide endmill will make very short work of the hole in hardened steel. Being much more rigid and less run out than a drill press will keep the bit from snapping, too. Just a thought.

    HSC /// likes this.
  13. Scaniaman


    Jun 15, 2012
    KLOT on ebay are good.
  14. i4Marc


    Oct 19, 2011
    JT, thanks for that. Interesting. But you have to run them red hot? Does that affect the life of the bit?

    Sam, I do NOT have a mill yet (and I'm not happy about it). I'm making do for now. I might be upgrading to some better equipment soon.

    Scaniaman, I will check those out. Thx.
    Sam Wilson likes this.
  15. Storm W

    Storm W KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 19, 2019
    I have been using Amazon spade and would recommend them but I just checked and they are double to triple what I paid for them last year. Seems weird. Anyone know the reason?
  16. Sam Wilson

    Sam Wilson

    Sep 3, 2012
    @i4Marc Do it, my man. Get the mill as soon as reasonably possible. Will change many aspects of how you make knives. I don't even use a file anymore to fit guards. You'll love it.:thumbsup::thumbsup:

  17. i4Marc


    Oct 19, 2011
    It is definitely on my short list.....along with a lathe, forging press, truck, new driveway, etc., etc., etc.
    Storm W and Sam Wilson like this.
  18. butcher_block


    Dec 6, 2004
    been really happy with kodiak end mills look into them for drills they might make them too.
  19. i4Marc


    Oct 19, 2011
    Thx Butch.

    Edit: A carbide countersink I ordered a couple of days ago arrived today. It is a Kodiak!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
    butcher_block likes this.

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