Sources for machinist/watchmaker-quality small twist drills redux


Richard Townsend
 

Long ago, Ben King had an article in MR on building a drill sharpener. He was the designer and builder of a miniature precision drill press that was the forerunner of the Brazleton drill presses. He also published an MR article on that. His work was masterful.


On Jul 25, 2019, at 10:29 AM, Daniel A. Mitchell <danmitch@...> wrote:

I’ve not found a source that’s 100%, but generally drills purchased from a machinist’s supply will be much better than those from the usual hobby shop. That’s true whether the drills are imported or domestic. True that domestic drills are usually better, but I’ve still had good luck with many imports. The biggest problem with machinist’s drills is usually not sharpness, but some are overly hard and break easily (much like carbide).

Machinist’s sources include:  MSC, Wholesale Tool, Traverse Tool, Grizzly, Little Machine Shop, etc.

The use of Jeweler’s Pivot drills has also been suggested. These are often good, but are usually flat “spade” drills and not at all suitable for drilling deep holes.  The meaning or “deep hole” is any hole more than six or so times the depth of its diameter. In the model RR uses for drilling grab-iron holes and such, about 98% of the holes need to be “deep” …usually “through” holes. The lack of helical flutes on pivot drills means they can’t lift the chips out of the hole, so have to be withdrawn to clear the hole frequently.

There are also “instrument” drills … be prepared to spend $$$ …. Like $50 per drill. Many of these are also spade drills. Search for “micro-drills”. One source used to be Louis Levin and Son, Inc, but apparently they no longer sell the drill bits … just the drill presses and lathes to use them.

Thus we’re back to paragraph one, using “Machinist’s Drills”. I buy them in packs of ten or a dozen, They’re cheaper, and even the imports are almost always much better than “hobby shop drills”.

P.S. These little drills CAN be resharpened. You need to use a strong magnifier, good light, and a fine sharpening stone. You also need to know what a properly sharpened drill LOOKS like. Such resharpening does not produce a truly correct tip shape, more like the tip of the spade bits, but is quite adequate for most hobby uses. 

Dan Mitchell
==========

On Jul 24, 2019, at 4:39 PM, Denny Anspach <danspachmd@...> wrote:

My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny 


Daniel A. Mitchell
 

I’ve not found a source that’s 100%, but generally drills purchased from a machinist’s supply will be much better than those from the usual hobby shop. That’s true whether the drills are imported or domestic. True that domestic drills are usually better, but I’ve still had good luck with many imports. The biggest problem with machinist’s drills is usually not sharpness, but some are overly hard and break easily (much like carbide).

Machinist’s sources include:  MSC, Wholesale Tool, Traverse Tool, Grizzly, Little Machine Shop, etc.

The use of Jeweler’s Pivot drills has also been suggested. These are often good, but are usually flat “spade” drills and not at all suitable for drilling deep holes.  The meaning or “deep hole” is any hole more than six or so times the depth of its diameter. In the model RR uses for drilling grab-iron holes and such, about 98% of the holes need to be “deep” …usually “through” holes. The lack of helical flutes on pivot drills means they can’t lift the chips out of the hole, so have to be withdrawn to clear the hole frequently.

There are also “instrument” drills … be prepared to spend $$$ …. Like $50 per drill. Many of these are also spade drills. Search for “micro-drills”. One source used to be Louis Levin and Son, Inc, but apparently they no longer sell the drill bits … just the drill presses and lathes to use them.

Thus we’re back to paragraph one, using “Machinist’s Drills”. I buy them in packs of ten or a dozen, They’re cheaper, and even the imports are almost always much better than “hobby shop drills”.

P.S. These little drills CAN be resharpened. You need to use a strong magnifier, good light, and a fine sharpening stone. You also need to know what a properly sharpened drill LOOKS like. Such resharpening does not produce a truly correct tip shape, more like the tip of the spade bits, but is quite adequate for most hobby uses. 

Dan Mitchell
==========

On Jul 24, 2019, at 4:39 PM, Denny Anspach <danspachmd@...> wrote:

My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny 


Paul Doggett
 

Beeswax is a good lubricant for the smaller sizes down to number 80.

Paul Doggett England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 


On 24 Jul 2019, at 23:19, Curt Fortenberry <curtfortenberry@...> wrote:


I buy the micro drills off ebay, the ones with the larger shank, usually with a size coded color ring.  They say used but all the ones I've bought have been sharp.  I've never had one break in plastic.  The only time I break one is in a resin part, even with lubrication.  I've bought multi size sets, but now buy the bulk sets of the size I break the most.

Curt Fortenberry


Matt Goodman
 

Another thumbs-up for McMaster-Carr. They often don’t list brand names on their website, but the bits they’ve shipped to me have all been from Richards Micro Tool (a U.S. made product, if that’s important to you).

The bits I’ve received all have 1mm shanks, necking down to the drilling diameter. The cut depth is about 3mm (.11”), so they won’t be useful if you need more reach. Material is cobalt steel, and have withstood some rough handling (I did get cocky and broke one drilling hand-held nickel-silver rail with a pin vice).

They’re all metric dimensions, though McMaster-Carr provides decimal equivalents (no wire gauge listed). Expensive and probably overkill (they’re intended for tough metals), but they should stay sharp forever. Oh, and almost all tooling I’ve purchased from McMaster come in tough zip-lock bags - very reusable.


You also can’t go wrong with Pierre’s MSC suggestion.

Matt Goodman
Columbus, Ohio, US

On Jul 24, 2019, at 8:14 PM, Ralph W. Brown <rbrown51@...> wrote:

Hi Denny,
 
I’ve yet to read to other replies, but my “go to’ for things like that is McMaster-Carr (https://mcmaster.com/drill-bits).  I’m particularly fond of the uncoated cobalt steel wire gauge bits.  I recently purchased a new HHS 2-56 taps from them as well, and it is far superior to any others I’ve seen or used in that size.  Service has always been excellent as well.
 
Pax,
  
 
Ralph Brown
Portland, Maine
PRRT&HS No. 3966
NMRA No. L2532

rbrown51[at]maine[dot]rr[dot]com
 
From: Denny Anspach
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 4:39 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Sources for machinist/watchmaker-quality small twist drills redux
 
My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny 


Ralph W. Brown
 

Hi Denny,
 
I’ve yet to read to other replies, but my “go to’ for things like that is McMaster-Carr (https://mcmaster.com/drill-bits).  I’m particularly fond of the uncoated cobalt steel wire gauge bits.  I recently purchased a new HHS 2-56 taps from them as well, and it is far superior to any others I’ve seen or used in that size.  Service has always been excellent as well.
 
Pax,
  
 
Ralph Brown
Portland, Maine
PRRT&HS No. 3966
NMRA No. L2532

rbrown51[at]maine[dot]rr[dot]com
 

From: Denny Anspach
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 4:39 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Sources for machinist/watchmaker-quality small twist drills redux
 
My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny 


Jack Burgess
 

Drill Bit City is on eBay…

 

Jack Burgess

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of steve_wintner via Groups.Io
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 3:16 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Sources for machinist/watchmaker-quality small twist drills redux

 

A long time ago I found a stock of spade drills - watchmakers drills, if i recall correctly - on eBay. Hundreds, in little tins of like 12 each. They certainly are sharp, came in a variety of sizes (.010, .013, .014, etc) etc. I've not used them on steel but they go through brass and styrene just fine in a pin vise.

I'll admit i had doubts about the roundness, clean cut, and size of the result. But they work just fine, and are more durable than tiny twist drills.

This sort of thing : https://www.esslinger.com/mascot-flat-pivot-drills-004-050-sold-individually/ 

You may want to see if you can find an economical source and try them.

Steve


Curt Fortenberry
 


I buy the micro drills off ebay, the ones with the larger shank, usually with a size coded color ring.  They say used but all the ones I've bought have been sharp.  I've never had one break in plastic.  The only time I break one is in a resin part, even with lubrication.  I've bought multi size sets, but now buy the bulk sets of the size I break the most.

Curt Fortenberry


steve_wintner
 

A long time ago I found a stock of spade drills - watchmakers drills, if i recall correctly - on eBay. Hundreds, in little tins of like 12 each. They certainly are sharp, came in a variety of sizes (.010, .013, .014, etc) etc. I've not used them on steel but they go through brass and styrene just fine in a pin vise.

I'll admit i had doubts about the roundness, clean cut, and size of the result. But they work just fine, and are more durable than tiny twist drills.

This sort of thing : https://www.esslinger.com/mascot-flat-pivot-drills-004-050-sold-individually/ 

You may want to see if you can find an economical source and try them.

Steve


Pierre Oliver
 

Denny,

Try these guys. More drill its than you'll ever want to know about
https://www.mscdirect.com/browse/tn/Holemaking/Drilling-Drill-Bits/Metalworking-Multipurpose-Drill-Bits/Micro-Drill-Bits?navid=12106217

Pierre Oliver
www.elgincarshops.com
www.yarmouthmodelworks.com
On 7/24/19 4:39 p.m., Denny Anspach wrote:

My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny 


Jack Burgess
 

Denny…

 

I’ve been buying from Drill Bit City for years. Their website is a little hard to navigate so I bookmarked the two types of drill bits that I use:

 

Regular small drill bits:

https://drillcity.stores.yahoo.net/highspeedtools.html

 

Carbide small drill bits:

https://drillcity.stores.yahoo.net/10wirsizpac8.html

 

Jack Burgess

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Denny Anspach
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 1:39 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Sources for machinist/watchmaker-quality small twist drills redux

 

My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny 


anthony wagner
 

On Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 3:39:13 PM CDT, Denny Anspach <danspachmd@...> wrote:


My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny 


Denny Anspach <danspachmd@...>
 

My most hateful modeling chore is locating and drilling for grabs and handrails, etc. I machine drill when i can with carbide drills, but practically,  most have to be done by hand; and I am totally frustrated by the sheer plethora of dull #78-80 twist drills that seem to be endlessly supplied to us by almost all usual hobby vendors. This morning, after a failure to adequately be able to hand drill through some tough plastic (#79), I tossed the errant drill in favor of a new one, also from a popular hobby supplier.  The new one could not cut butter either, and in the attempt to do so actually  bent over (did..not..break!) at a right angle like bending a wire!  Now, I do have a large supply of sharp (and brittle) carbide tip drills, but they are too risky to use with hand drilling- as you all already know.

So....where do you all find high quality reliably sharp tiny twist drills, most favorably from American, German, Swiss, or Japanese origins?

Denny