How To Use A Step Drill Bit (5 Step Guide)

Want to learn how to use a step drill bit.

Great! You are in the right place.

In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com blog, you will learn:

  • Why they are used?
  • Use of Titanium Nitride coating
  • Various use cases
  • And so much more!
how to use a step drill bit

Before we delve deeper and I show you how to use a step drill bit. Please read the table below. 

What you need to know about how to use a step drill bit

These bits are quite recent inventions, they were created primarily to reduce the often inefficient and laborious task of changing drill bits for different size holes.

However, the step drill bit offers a lot more of which I will detail in this guide

Read More:>>> Find the best corded drill to use with your step drill bit

Different kinds of step drill bits

There are a couple of different types available to you. But before I explain them. It is important that you understand the chemical make up of your step point drill and how this affects your drill bits performance.

Cubic Crystalline Boron Nitride (CBN) is a process used to add the chemical compounds of various elements to ensure that the resulting material is stronger than your conventional abrasive drill bit.

This is the primary process in the making of high speed steels (HSS).

HSS is fantastic for working and operating at very high temperatures. It also cuts through surfaces such as sheet metal and plywood with relative ease. Leaving very little debris around the edges of the hole.

Furthermore, you get bits that use Titanium Nitride coating. These are fantastic because they provide additional friction, heat and extend the step bit drills life.

how to use a step drill bit

Key technical parameters to understand about step bit drills

Your typical step bit drill comes in a variety of increments, typically between 1/8’’ and 1/32’’.

The shank diameter usually ranges between 1/4 to 3/8 inches.

You also get a variety of flute types, namely the straight flute step bit drill and the spiral flute step bit drill set.

When looking at the point style you get your typical standard 118 degree drill tip of your wider 135 degree split point drill tip.

This information is typically provided in the  datasheet.

The important thing to recognize here is that you must select you bit in accordance with the your specific drilling application and requirement.

For example, if you are drilling into steel or metal sheet, you might want a split point drill bit that has a slightly broader step increments to allow for deeper and clear holes.

Alternatively when drilling into plywood, you might want to use a bit that is slightly longer to give you more penetrative power to avoid wood chips and splitter around the edges.

Safety

Whenever you use any high speed and high powered application, I will always stress the importance of using basic personal protective equipment.

Make sure that you at least use workman gloves, protective eyecare and if you are in very noisy environments some ear protection.

Read More:>>> Learn how to drill into a brick


Equipment You’ll need to know how to use a step drill bit

  • Your preferred bit of choice
  • PPE (Personal protective equipment)
  • Hammer Drill or cordless drill
  • Drill material (sheet metal, plywood or thin plastic)

Multiple step process on how to use a step drill bit (5 Steps explained)

Step 1 – Create pilot hole/Indentation

Step drill bits work very well when you create a small indentation or pilot hole before starting your main drill.

This is due to the split point being much broader (135 degrees) as opposed to your standard 118 degree drill point. 

A pilot hole can be created by the actual drill bit itself with a bit of manual force, or it can be created with a screw drive or mechanical pen.

Another reason you should add your pilot hole for your step drill bit is because this reduces any option of slippage occurring, helping you create smooth and and clean holes.

No matter what size of hole you decide to drill with.

Step 2 – Secure stock material

Many weekend warriors and DIYers often ignore this step because they believe everything is ultimately dependent just on the selection of the right step drill bit.

This could not be more wrong.

Especially if you are going to be drilling into a very thin piece of metal, steel or wood.

You will need to secure this metal to your wooden work bench or machine using clamps.

The reason clamps are used it because they not only keep the piece of plywood, metal or thin sheet plastic secure.

They also reduce the effects of vibration, which can cause microcracking.

These microcracks may not be visible to the human eye, but they greatly affect the long term stability and aesthetic of your hole.

This might sound a bit complicated but all you need to remember is that when using a step drill bit make sure that whatever material you are drilling into is secure.


Step 4 – Lubricate drill area

Now that you have the pilot hole and have secured the drilling material, it is time for the last step before we actually start the drill.

Lubricating the drill area.

This is a must especially if you are planning to drill holes greater than 1/8 inches.

Cutting fluid is typically adequate. If you do not have cutting fluid you can also use any typical 3 in 1 lubricant.

This will increase the longevity of your bit.

From what I have seen, mechanical damage to the step drill bit is usually due to a lack of pre-applied lubricant to the drill surface.

Step 5 – Drilling your hole

Well done, now it is time for the easy part, drilling your hole.

For the most efficient drill, always make sure that you apply straight line force in perpendicular to the drill surface. i.e. do not drill into your sheet metal or plywood at an angle.

The reason for this is simple, the flutes are designed to remove any debris from the hole via direct perpendicular entry.

In this way you avoid “feathery” holes.

Read More:>>> Best Right Angle drills to hard to get to places

Final Thoughts on how to drill into brick

I hope after reading this article you can see and realize that it is not very difficult to drill a hole using a step drill bit.

All you need to know are the different diameters you want to drill and a little bit of technical know how around the various parameters such as: the point angle and profile of the flute.

Also be sure to practice, and I assure you that you will be drilling like a pro in no time.

Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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