What is a Split Point Drill Bit (#1 Guide)

Do you want to know what a split point drill bit is?

Great. You are in the right place!

In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com guide, you will learn:

  • What it actually is.
  • Various use cases
  • Why the drill is used
  • How to grind a split point drill bit
  • And so much more!
What is a split point drill bit

Before we delve into more detail, please read the table below.

What is a split point drill bit? (Things you need to know)

When looking at various drill bits, it is important to understand a couple of key distinctions.

Point Angle

For any typical drill bit the point angle basically determines two things, namely:

  • The type of material of which the drill bit is best suited to drill; and
  • The stability and accuracy of finished hole.

Split point drill bits have a flatter point angle, usually around 135 degrees as opposed to your standard 118 degree drill bits.

This makes them more suited for drilling through hard material such as 10(18) steel and alimunium.

The flatter point is great for drilling accuracy and stability. Reason being it allows for fewer oscillations during the drill. This allows the drill bit to remain more stable than the standard 118 degree drill bit.

The small difference does not sound like much, but it can make the difference between an accurate hole or a wasted piece of steel because of poor alignment or shoddy workmanship.

Read More:>>> Want to know the best corded drill perfect for your split point drill bit?

what is a split point drill bit


Bit Size

Typical bit sizes include 3/16 inch (4.76mm) or 3/32 inch (2.38mm) drill bits.

They are usually made up of high carbon steel or a cobalt alloy of  high speed steel.

These sizes basically describe diameter of the hole that will be created.

In my experience when using a standard drill bit on hard material. What I often saw was that the hole comes out slightly bigger that the actual measurement diameter.

This is because of the instability we spoke of early.

When using a split point drill on material such as 10-18 steel or alimunium, you get a much tighter fit in terms of the actual diameter.

We are talking millimeter differences here, but trust me – if you are making holes for high precision applications, this cannot be ignored.

Read More:>>> How do you really drill into a brick wall properly?


What is a split point drill bit(Common use cases)

These drills are similar to other drill bits in that they are primarily used for creating holes in material.

This drill is different in that it is specifically suited for hard materials.

It’s uniqueness is due to the rounder tip.

What I can further tell you about the split point drill is that it doesn’t crawl across the surface when you start drilling without a punch hole.

This is the main reason you would use split point drill bits over the more common universal bits.

What are the two main types of drill bits

Overall when trying to understand which category a drill fits into, it is worth understanding which drill bit to choose.

There are primarily two categories when attempting to make this choice. Namely:

Material specific bits

These type of drill bits are selected for the purpose of drilling a hole in a specific material. Be it wood, masonry or steel.

In the hardware store these drills are usually labelled with descriptive packaging to make it easier for you to choose.

However, as you have been exposed in this guide, these drill bits are easily identifiable because of a larger point angle (i.e. shallower point).

They are more adept to surfaces with low initial friction. Hence why they are recommended for hard surfaces such as metals.

The diameter and the helix angle play a critical role.

These determine the volume of debris that gets discarded as you drill. Split point drill bits have a very broad helix angle with a steady shank. Making the drilling more accurate on hard materials.


Universal bits

Universal drill bits are exactly that. They are designed for various material types. And can be used throughout.

From my experience, these drill bits tend to be less reliable over the long terms and tend to break more often, especially if you are consistently interchanging them on different materials.

They also tend not to be the best for material specific applications.

Various tests have been done on holes created from universal drill bits vs holes created from material specific drill bits.

In term of finishes to the hole and overall stability of the hole diameter. Material specific wins all the time.

My view on this is very simple – if you know what you want to drill. Rather go for the more material specific option. If you are not sure then a universal drill can work as well.

How do you grind a split point drill bit

Now that you know what a split point drill is and how to use it. I have added this section to add more value.

Often what will happen is that the drill bit as it is being used, will begin to wear out. This reduces overall drilling efficiency.

What you will need to do is either get a new drill bit or use a grinder to sharpen your drill bit.

Here are the general steps below:

Step 1

Take the drill bit and place it in a holder/prism. Lock the Prism and fasten tight.

This is important as it will ensure that the drill bit does not move whilst it is being grinded.

Step 2 

Put the setting of your grinder to approximately 155 degrees. We do this to sharpen the edges of the point angle.

Step 3

Sharpen the edges according to your grinders settings

Step 4

Change your bit around and repeat Steps 1 to 3.

Watch the video below to see how you can sharpen your split point drill.

Differences between Split point drill bit vs Standard Drill bit

Standard drill bits

  1. Has two curving grooves (called spurs). The purpose of the spurs is to remove debris from the drilling hole.
  2. 118 point angle. This creates a smooth but slightly sharper point.
  3. They can slip from position due to insufficient friction between drill bit and material being drilled (Technically this is called “walking”).
  4. Because of Walking this is best suited for soft material such as wood.

Split Point Drill bit

  1. 135 degree point angle. Because of the increased contact surface area between drill and material. This practically removes the effect of walking.
  2. The shaft is the width of the drill’s diameter and usually consists of 3 grooves that lift out debris from the drilling hole.
  3. They do not require a punch mark before you start drilling

Read More:>>> What is the best right angle drill in the market really?

Final Thoughts on what is a split point drill bit

Split point drill are great for steel and non-ferrous material. In my option if your aim is to reduce walking/wander and drill accurately whilst keeping the centre on hard materials then this drill is perfect for you.

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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