The interchangeable metal element at the end of a hand drill is known as a drill bit. A step drill bit is a type of drill bit. It has a pyramid-like shape with a pointy tip and a large base. The circumference of a step drill bit is covered by paced-out rings of varying sizes, forming the illusion of steps. But, what is it used for?
A step drill is used by professionals to drill through sheets of metal, wood, or acrylic. The unique shape of the drill allows the user to drill holes of various sizes without having to change drill bits. Step drill bits are known for being versatile and capable of performing various types of tasks at once.
It can be especially confusing for people who do not have experience with tools or drilling to figure out what a step drill bit is. Beginners may spend hours simply staring at the shiny object and wondering, what is a step drill bit used for? To make sure this does not happen, I have listed what a step drill bit is and all the different ways it can be used below. So, dive right in!
What Is A Step Drill Bit?
As already mentioned above, a step drill bit is a type of drill bit. It is usually shaped either like a pyramid or a cone with a thin tip that expands as you approach the base. This drill bit is not used for deep drilling as it can only drill through surfaces that are 1.4 inches thick. Step drill bits are typically used on metal sheets. However, they can also drill through wood, plastic, or acrylic.
The main function of a step drill bit is to make holes of varying diameters within a sheet of metal or other surfaces. However, it can also be used to make small holes larger or deeper. A typical step drill bit kit comes with three to five drill bits of varying sizes. Bits in a step drill bit kit can also come with different features such as step angles, grooves, pointcuts, etc.
Types of step drill bits can also be differentiated depending on the type of material the drill bit is made from. The most common materials used to make step drill bits are steel, titanium, high-speed steel, cobalt, and carbide. The best type of step drill bit to purchase depends on what you intend on using it for.
For instance, steel-coated step drill bits are weaker and thus work best on softwoods, while titanium-coated ones work on wood, glass, metal, etc. The price of step drill bits varies depending on the material they are made from. Steel step drill bits tend to be the most affordable, while the carbide ones are the most expensive but last much longer than the others.
4 Uses Of A Step Drill Bit
Step drill bits are one of the most versatile and multifunctional drill bits. While their main purpose is to drill holes of various sizes through tough material, there are many other ways in which they are useful. Here are four ways of using a step drill bit.
Drilling Through Various metals
Step drill bits are regarded as one of the most versatile drill bits because they can drill through various types of material. While step drill bits generally drill through metal sheets, they can drill through just about any material as long as you have good quality step drill bits and the surface you are trying to drill through isn’t too thick.
Along with metals, step drill bits are also capable of drilling through wood, glass, marble, ceramic, acrylic, etc. What materials you can drill through may vary depending on the type of drill or step drill bit you are using. On the back of the packaging for a step drill bit kit, you may find a list of materials you can drill through.
One of the benefits of using a step drill bit is that it lets you do various things without needing to change the drill bit. A regular drill bit would require you to change drill bits every time you drill a hole of a different size. This can waste a lot of time as finding a different drill bit and reattaching it can be a time-consuming process.
A step drill bit eliminates this issue. You can drill holes of various sizes and expand pre-existing holes without having to stop and replace drill bits. Though this may not seem like a big deal, it saves a lot of time in the long run. It also prevents disruptions in the workflow, which allows for a better final result.
Smoothing Out Sides
Another amazing use of the step drill bit is that it can act as a chamfer or a deburring tool. Since a step drill bit has slightly jagged edges, it scrapes the sides of the material while drilling. This allows it to function similarly to sandpaper.
As the drill rotates, the “steps” of the drill bit make contact with the rough edges of the hole. This moment of contact lets the drill bit smooth out any rough corners or sides. This allows a perfectly smooth drilled hole to be formed. This also prevents excessive wood dust from forming, making for a cleaner experience.
Forming Perfect Holes
A typical drill bit is long and skewered. These produce holes that, though round, are not perfectly circular. Step drill bits have a cone shape. The base of the drill bit is perfectly circular, as is the rest of its body, all the way to its tip.
Using a step drill bit allows you to drill holes that are clean and perfectly circular. Since the shape of the drill bit itself is perfectly round rather than skewered or flat, the margin for error is almost nonexistent. The drilled hole ends up being as circular as the base of the drill bit itself.
How To Prevent A Step Drill Bit From Overheating?
Drills, just like any other electronic device, can get overheated when used for an extensive period. Step drill bits, in particular, are mostly used to drill through metals. The drill bit itself is also made from metal. This metal-on-metal clash can generate large amounts of heat. This can be extremely dangerous, so be sure to take the necessary precautions to reduce overheating.
The best way of preventing overheating is to take breaks between drilling. Try to schedule times when you can unplug your drill and let your device cool down. Another option is to use cooling agents and lubricants. You should also avoid drilling at high speeds. This practice generates a lot of heat and can end up damaging your drill bit or the drilled object.
Step drill bits are a versatile tool that can speed up your work and help you work more efficiently. Despite its small stature, this tool can make a big difference in the way you work. If you were wondering what is a step drill used for, I hope this article was able to provide you with adequate information. Step drills are not a complicated tool to use. As long as you take proper safety precautions and do proper research, you should have no problem figuring out how to use them. Thank you for reading this article all the way through. May every step of your drilling adventure be a success!