As an enthusiast DIYer, I love doing most of the handy jobs around the house on my own. I am an original Ohioan and one not shy of using the tools in my workshop. Drilling is part of the many mini projects I attend to around the house.
Name it; from drilling in holes for replacing the wainscotting, drilling holes for extending the home security system, to drilling holes for metal-based projects.
All these projects mean that regardless of how sturdy drill bits are, they get dull and need to be sharpened. I grew tired of always running to the hardware shop to have my bits sharpened. Not only is this expensive, but time-consuming.
Moreover, sharpening drill bits as opposed to tossing them when they dull, fastens the drilling process, as I always have several sharp drill bits within reach.
So how do I sharpen drill bits? The fastest way I use to sharpen drill bits is by using a drill bit sharpener. I use the minimal time to set it up, put on industrial grade eye gear (protection) and a pair of gloves, turn on the machine, and I begin sharpening.
Over the years, I have been learning numerous ways to sharpen drill bits to keep my costs of replacing drill bits low. Moreover, with my DIY-ing, I have breathed life into bits that I would have otherwise tossed, and they never disappoint!
The sharpener does wonders to large drill bits that seem to overwhelm many off-the-shelf sharpening tools that I have in the workshop.
Moreover, the professional drill sharpener is industrial, and that means that it handles all sorts of drill bits (including cobalt and titanium bits).
A drill sharpener awakens worn and broken drill bits. I often find myself working on plenty of hardwood and metal surfaces. At times, I hit the occasional nail or masonry which dull my twist drill bits.
A quick sharpening break and I get right back up without wasting time! I have always often wondered what the best drill sharpener is. I have various sharpening tools, including a bench grinder.
To fulfill my query, I embarked on an eight-month research journey using various sharpening tools, and I came to this conclusion…
What Is The Best Drill Sharpener?
Drill Doctor 500x does it for me. In the months I was conducting my study (while working on the never-ending home projects), I used various drill sharpening tools including;
The Bench Grinder: it’s one of the cheapest ways to sharpen drill bits. The setup is easy, and you can use the same grinder for grinding other tools such as a pair of shears.
However, freehand grinding drill bits isn’t easy, and you could end up hurting yourself if you’re not careful.
Diamond Files: hand operated (elbow grease) sharpeners, if you want to get a workout sharpening your drill bits, then this is the method to follow.
However, other than the time it takes to sharpen the bits, some parts will be sharper than others, and you will spend a lot of energy sharpening.
Drill-powered Sharpener: The sharpener produces high drill points and is slightly cheaper than other electric powered sharpening tools.
The downside is, it can be cumbersome to use. You have to position the tool properly and hold it in place while you sharpen your bits, adding extra work.
Why I Love The Drill Doctor 500x
First, as I found out, is the most accurate tool for sharpening drill bits. It sells for slightly below $100 and trust me it’s worth your money, and this is why:
It offers precision sharpening that makes the bits have symmetrical points. The bits will then drill precise holes on your wood or metal projects. It’s quick and sharpens up to 200 bits (my mate’s sharpened close to 240) before I had to replace the sharpening stone.
The noise level emitted by the Drill Doctor 500x is very low, and you can sharpen away in your workshop without having your family yelling out for silence lol!
I love that mine came with three years warranty and the option of buying an extra stone at a subsidized price.
These are the things that I discovered when I unboxed the package after ordering for the 500x. (it was delivered within 3 days by the way);
- 500x Drill bit Sharpener
- Pre-installed 180 grit diamond sharpening wheel
- Wheel hub wrench (for changing/replacing sharpening wheel)
- 500x user Guide Manual/DVD instructions
- ½” chuck (For bits ranging from 3/32″ to ½”)
I use my Drill Doctor 500x for sharpening all kinds of drill bits. What I love it most for is for grinding 3/32″ to ½” standard-twist bits, not forgetting that it sharpens 118° and 135° bits as well.
The sharpener features a durable, metal split-point that minimizes over-splitting. The magnet motor (permanently installed) produces enough power for all types of loads and speed.
In the months I’ve been using my 500x sharpener, I can comfortably say that I continue sharpening bits of all kinds including; split-point, masonry, cobalt, high-speed steel, and Tin-coated bits.
By the way, if you have standard bits, no need to toss them, as you can follow the video instructions to create split-points and make savings!
When it comes to alignment, I fiddled around and found out that I can adjust both relief and chisel angles.
I use the same to customize the bits to match the drilling projects I’m bound to do! The one-piece alignment system helps with precision and also the adjustments.
The 500x sharpener is quite flexible and sharpens a wide range of dull and broken bits. Ranging from the smallest to the largest bits (split-points and masonry bits). If you want to go big; use the ¾” chuck accessory and increase the capacity!
What I don’t like about the Drill Doctor 500x
I will be honest, I did try to take shortcuts (forwarding the instructions video), and I did a terrible job of sharpening initially. I could never get the right angles. I often cussed and thought that I bought a faulty machine.
However, a few forums did let me know that I had to watch the video and following instructions to the tee.
However, still, I had to practice getting the angles. In a nutshell, most people have trouble with getting the precise angles, so that counts as a downer for me.
Can Cobalt Drill Bits be Sharpened?
Cobalt drill bits have a high heat tolerance. They are great for repeat use, however, when they dull, sharpening them proves difficult. Not with the 500x sharpener though; start by selecting the lowest speed on your 500x grinding tool.
Hold the cobalt bit at a 60° angle, touch the grinding stone lightly having the conical top side sloped. Pull away the bit from the sharpener for a moment, and put it back again. Sharpen the tapered top sides but be careful of taking off all the material.
Use your fingers to gauge if the bit is sharp enough. If not, repeat the process (don’t ruin the bit by grinding it too much).
Can Titanium drill bits be sharpened?
Titanium drill bits have a sturdier coating that is almost 82 Rockwell C. Unfortunately when I sharpened my titanium bits; I noticed that their performance went down several notches since the coating goes over the tip.
But on the plus side, the coating remains in the flute as well as the sides of the bit making it do a better job than that of a standard bit!
Some other important details you need to know about the Drill Doctor 500x includes:
How To Take Care Of The Sharpening Tool
Find a clean, dry area to keep it after use, also when you’re done with sharpening your bits, always unplug the unit. Before putting it away, use either a dry rag or vacuum to clean it.
NEVER use cleaners on the sharpening unit as it’s likely to make it rust. Take care when cleaning the chucks and read the guide before you start cleaning the jaws to avoid rust.
Cleaning the sharpener helps extend its life, get a shop vacuum to get rid of the dust and debris that the dry rag couldn’t reach. Storage should be in a cool place preferably closed space where dust and weather elements will not cause rust.
If you want to know more about chainsaw sharpeners, I wrote an article listing some of the best chainsaw sharpeners you can find.
How Do I Go About Repairs?
When your unit breaks down, don’t attempt to fix it (i know we all want to do things for ourselves), If it’s still under warranty, get in touch with Drill Doctor through their official site, and you will get much-needed assistance.
For all DIY enthusiasts, using a drill is always almost paramount. It’s equally essential for us to know how to sharpen drill bits especially when we want to make savings both on time and money.
I found out that of all sharpening tools and methods, I prefer using the Drill Doctor 500x for my home projects.
I know there are other ideal sharpeners around, but I love my unit nonetheless because eight months in, it still works as new. What is your take on the same? Let me know.