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Recommend some micro drills please


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I have a set 20 micro drills ranging 0.3mm to 1.6mm - this is the ubiquitous set that you find anywhere from eBay sellers to bigger more respected sellers like Radio Spares with prices ranging from a couple of quid to a tenner or more.  But regardless of the seller and the price they all seem to be the exact same product.

 

In the tradition of you get what you pay for, it looks impressive, it seems great value for money but I have always assumed that they are made from Chinesium.  And I have pretty much confirm this recently, when pinning some 28mm plastic wargaming soldiers for basing.  Using a 0.75mm drill, I have drilled 24 holes, 12 into the figure plastic and 12 into 2mm MDF - moving onto the 13th figure I realise that the drill is now very blunt.

 

So some questions

 

  • Is this just normal behaviour for micro drills and I would experience the same with more expensive brands
  • Or are better brands better, if so any recommendations please (UK retailer)
  • If buying individually rather than a set, what sizes would you recommend - I’m thinking whether it would be better to buy multiple drills of fewer sizes


Thanks for your help and advice,

 

Nigel

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In my experience micro drills don't last long. If they don't get blunt they break so I usually order 10-20 drills of the same size, they are cheap and expendable. 

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I’m happy to do that, but clearly don’t want to order 20 different sizes, so are there any sizes that you would recommend.

 

On the other hand, do I just order 10 of the 20 piece sets.

 

What I’m trying to get a handle on with whether the drills in the sets are junk and others may be better and last longer.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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The best of the microbox style bits I have found came from Proops Brothers. They're still generic Chinese but they are Titanium coated and seem to be lasting a bit longer than the usual ones. The packaging has changed but these are the ones I have

https://www.proopsbrothers.com/proops-hss-titanium-coated-20-mini-drill-bits-sizes-03mm-16mm-m0201-1384-p.asp

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7 hours ago, nheather said:

I have drilled 24 holes, 12 into the figure plastic and 12 into 2mm MDF - moving onto the 13th figure I realise that the drill is now very blunt.

MDF, & similar, is notorious for blunting drills, not just micro-drills Its he resin/binders used.

 

As for sizes, unless you've a particular size required, say for dirlling holes to be tapped to take a thread, you may find that ordering in steps of 0.2 mm gives the flexibility required/

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9 hours ago, Pin said:

In my experience micro drills don't last long. If they don't get blunt they break so I usually order 10-20 drills of the same size, they are cheap and expendable. 

Do you think the ones that they sell in quantities of 2, 5 and 10 are better or the same.

 

I ask because their set of 20 assorted is £4, but if you buy a single size you only get 5 for £4.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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2 hours ago, Circloy said:

MDF, & similar, is notorious for blunting drills, not just micro-drills Its he resin/binders used.

 

As for sizes, unless you've a particular size required, say for dirlling holes to be tapped to take a thread, you may find that ordering in steps of 0.2 mm gives the flexibility required/


Thanks for the tip about the MDF.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Spoken to Proops and they advise that the drills in their assorted set of 20 are identical to the ones that they sell in individual sizes.  I’d expect there to be some price advantage but not this massive.

 

Say you have identified 5 sizes that you want

 

To buy two of each (10 drills) = £10.50 compared with two sets (20 drills) = £8.00

To buy five of each (25 drills) = £20.00 compared with five sets (100 drills) = £20.00

To buy ten of each (50 drills) = £35.00 compared with ten sets (1000 drills) = £40.00


So unless you can get it down to there being only a couple of sizes that you use I can’t see the advantage of buying them singly.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

 

 

 

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Another alternative is Carbide drill bits that are used to drill circuit boards. They are very sharp and long lasting but they don't like any side force. If you even look at them sideways there will be a ping noise.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00C3YD1HK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glc_fabc_Q48ZV7CRGT9RNDCRA9FG?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

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22 minutes ago, AltcarBoB said:

Another alternative is Carbide drill bits that are used to drill circuit boards. They are very sharp and long lasting but they don't like any side force. If you even look at them sideways there will be a ping noise.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00C3YD1HK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glc_fabc_Q48ZV7CRGT9RNDCRA9FG?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1


Thanks, yes I have seen those, well ones in sets of 50.  Some of the reviews stated that those sets (not the ones you linked) were even ariving with many of drills snapped.

 

I think I’m too heavy handed for those.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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31 minutes ago, AltcarBoB said:

If you want sizes from 1mm upward you could try Tracy Tools. https://www.tracytools.com/drills-hss/metric-straight-shank-drills/straight-shank-drills-10-30mm

 

I have a set of their taps and dies and they are good quality.

 


Thanks, but at the moment I’m looking at drills below 1mm.  The ubiquitous sets of 20 go from 0.3mm to 1.6mm.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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6 minutes ago, Black Knight said:

I get, and have got for years, all my drills* from UK Drills selling on ebay

99p - £1.50 or so for 10 of a size, prices include postage

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HSS-DRILLS-PROFESSIONAL-HIGH-QUALITY-JOBBER-ROLLED-DRILL-BITS-LOWEST-PRICES/352966905605

 

Not only micro-drills but all the ones I need, up to 12.5mm so far


Wow those are cheap.  What they are like - I don’t expect them to last long but at that price they are disposable - but are they sharp to start with and stay sharp for a reasonable time

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Rolled jobber drills are the lowest quality drills available, there's a clue being named 'jobber' they are intended to do one job then be discarded.

 

They are usually made from plain carbon steels and size control, sharpness, straightness & true running are variable affecting hole quality, if you need them to drill accurately sized holes avoid them.

For modelling the issues these cause are minimised when using a pin vice and hand drilling, put them in a power drill then the issues will escalate.

 

For accurate drills stick with precision ground high speed steel drills.

 

You can distinguish between the two in that jobber drills will have a black finish left from the heat treatment process ground drills will be bright finished.

 

As to whether the coatings affect drill quality there is some debate, but beware that coatings can be used to hide other shortcomings.

 

That said each have their uses.

 

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I have had some of those black jobber drills that were so wobbly you could drill a square hole.

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3 hours ago, Circloy said:

there's a clue being named 'jobber' they are intended to do one job then be discarded.

 

A jobber drill bit is actually a bit where the length of the flutes ( the twisted part ) is 10 times the diameter of the drill bit and has nothing to do with quality.

 

There is a shorter drill bits called stubby or screw machine bits which due to being shorter are not as prone to breakage. I don't know if you can find wire gage or very small metric size screw machine bits as I have never looked for them. 

 

Black oxide coated drill bits are often carbon steel and now a days are typically at the lower end of the quality scale.

 

If you want good quality bits you need to buy good brand name types like Dormer, Precision Twist Drill ( PTD ), KnKut,  and Triumph are the ones I tend stick with in high speed steel ( HSS ) or cobalt. 

 

Sets from DeWalt, Milwaukee, Irwin, and other "house brands" are not made by themselves rather being outsourced and quality will vary accordingly.

 

cheers, Graham 

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17 hours ago, AltcarBoB said:

Another alternative is Carbide drill bits that are used to drill circuit boards. They are very sharp and long lasting but they don't like any side force. If you even look at them sideways there will be a ping noise.

This 

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So this is where I am.  I bought some of the jobber drills, did so before the warnings were posted.  In hindsight I possibly bought too many, should have just tried one pack at first so may have wasted more money then necessary but in the grand scheme it is small change.

 

So when they arrive I will report back about what I think of them and how they compare with the set of 20 which are potentially titanium coated (based  on their finish and colour).

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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11 minutes ago, Black Knight said:

If you bought the drills via ebay, according to their rules and DSR you have the rights to return the drills for full refund if you find them unsatisfactory

Agreed - and if they are bent then I will.  But if they drill okay, even if they become blunt quickly then I won’t be bothered to return them.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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On 4/2/2021 at 10:47 AM, nheather said:

So this is where I am.  I bought some of the jobber drills, did so before the warnings were posted.  In hindsight I possibly bought too many, should have just tried one pack at first so may have wasted more money then necessary but in the grand scheme it is small change.

 

So when they arrive I will report back about what I think of them and how they compare with the set of 20 which are potentially titanium coated (based  on their finish and colour).

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel


Well they have arrived - the good news is that they were shipped and delivered very quickly.

 

Now the bad news.  Firstly, one of the bags only contained 4 drills (there should be 10) and I found a tear in the bottom of the bag so I guess they have been falling out.  If that were the only problem it would be easily resolved.

 

But I tried a few and they are very blunt compared with what I had been using - I may as well use piano wire, probably no worse.

 

So I’m sending them back.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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My Proops drills arrived today - a little pricey at £7 for 10 - but light years better than the jobber ones from eBay.

 

I’m drilling plastic figures for pinning onto bases.  The jobber ones just spin and make an indent at best.  The Proops ones cut through the plastic like a hot knife through butter.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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