Center Drill Bits Buying Guide
Center drill bits, occasionally known as Slocombe drill bits, are used in metalworking to provide a starting hole for a larger-sized drill bit or to make a conical indentation in the end of a workpiece in which to mount a lathe center. In either use, the name seems appropriate, as the bit is either establishing the center of a hole or making a conical hole for a lathe center. However, the true purpose of a center drill bit is the latter task, while the former task is best done with a spotting drill bit.
Drill Bit Materials and Finishes
The materials from which bits are manufactured and the finishes applied to them play a significant role in the life and performance of the bit. Common materials and finishes include:
- High-speed steel (HSS) drill bits can drill wood, fiberglass, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and soft metals such as aluminum.
- Cobalt drill bits are extremely hard and dissipate heat quickly. They're mostly used for boring in aluminum and tough metals such as stainless steel.
- Black oxide-coated HSS drill bits have a finish designed to help resist corrosion and increase durability. They last longer than basic HSS bits and work well on a variety of materials including metal, hardwood, softwood, PVC and fiberglass.
- Titanium-coated HSS drill bits produce less friction. They're tougher than basic HSS bits and stay sharp longer. They work for drilling wood, metal, fiberglass and PVC.
- Carbide-tipped drill bits stay sharp much longer than steel, HSS or titanium bits. They're effective for drilling tile and masonry.