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Thread: How to make a long drill bit.

  1. #1
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    Default How to make a long drill bit.

    I was using one of my of my home made drills today drilling some pilot holes through hardwood and thought it possible that not everyone knows how to make them. Firstly I should say that they work just as well or better than twist drills in wood. They are made of motorcycle spokes or if you need small ones bicycle spokes.There always seems to be a junked motorcycle around somewhere or failing that a wrecker would probably give you a bent wheel, it's no use to him.

    Cut a spoke out of your wheel with a grinder, if you can use side cutters the spokes are probably soft and you'll have to harden and temper them ...which is more than I want to do usually. I take the spoke and cold forge it flat ... any steel hammer on a hard piece of steel but even a piece of soft mild steel will act as an anvil. The newly flared area will be a around 2mm or 3/32" wider than the original spoke.

    I then take it to the grinding wheel and work two bevels coming to a point at the tip .They can be pretty crude too...with my eyesight that is guaranteed. Probably a 30 degree angle on the relieved faces. The photo might help but it's hard taking photos of small things with cheap cameras!












    A couple of test holes to see if my sharpening was working . This drill will drill a 3/16" hole 3 1/2" deep in hardwood in 20 seconds .You will have to pull it out once or twice in a hole that deep to clear the swarf.

    This idea was shown to me by a boatbuilder about 40 years ago, drill bits were expensive and wages were low. The bloke who told me the trick never bought small twist drills to drill rivet holes in a carvel hull. A small drill bits were bike spokes, his bigger ones, up to 5/16" were motorcycle spokes.
    Last edited by PeterSibley; 01-03-2012 at 04:42 AM.
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    I think I might come down for a visit, just on the strength of that Brilliant!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    What a lovely tip Peter! I'm not sure I'll be cutting up my bike's wheel anytime soon but I will be tracking down a few extra spokes.
    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Brilliant Peter, thankyou for that, well worth posting mate!!!!
    Larks

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    The cycle spoke drill has always been popular with clinker boat builders. They are ideal for boring pilot holes when renewing a plank or a timber, as they are flexible enough to tolerate a bit of misalighnment in the hole that they are extending.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    "Tiger teeth" insulation supports are hardened steel, 16 and 24 in. long and make pretty good drill bits.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Using a spoke for a long bit is genius.

    My first boat was a Skimmer, a 16' Inland Lake Scow sort of a boat that was once popular in So Cal. My first maritime disaster was a lost shroud on that boat, causing a busted mast and the destruction of 4 or 5 deck planks. Replacing the stick took most of our meager 13 year old life savings so we decided to repair the deck ourselves. Enough clear fir and bronze screws for the deck repair took the rest of our boat fund.

    I had no idea what a Fuller tapered bit was, so I started going after the deck using a small drill bit for a pilot hole, and then following with a larger bit to accept the bung. After breaking 2 bits on the first half dozen holes I calculated that at that rate, the deck repair would cost twice what we paid for the boat. Just as I had almost decided that we would need to sell the boat to finance its repair, I spied a nice shiny finish nail lying on what served us as a work bench. I chucked it in the drill and went after a piece of scrap decking. It was slow going, there was lots of smoke, and the hole was too small, but it made a better hole than the busted nub of a drill bit.

    I unchucked the nail, took it over to a concrete step at the back of the house, and went after the tip of the nail with a ball peen whammer. The tip of the nail flattened into a nice sharp teardrop shape which I then attacked with a fine mill bastard. It took a few tries to get a result I liked, but the rest of the holes were drilled without incident.

    When I found and purchased my first Fuller bit, some months later, I truly learned the lesson of "the proper tool for the job", but drilling holes with that store bought bit somehow has never given me the satisfaction of the first decent hole I got with that finish nail.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The cycle spoke drill has always been popular with clinker boat builders. They are ideal for boring pilot holes when renewing a plank or a timber, as they are flexible enough to tolerate a bit of misalighnment in the hole that they are extending.
    Yes, they have the wonderful advantage of never breaking ! The thick one above drills a straighter and far fast hole than a long series twist drill of the same size.
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Great post!!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Great to know, thanks to share.
    http://www.peacefuljourney.ca/
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Smart. I'll keep that one in mind.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Thanks -- very neat idea.
    If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. Will Rogers

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Nice idea for a quick and dirty drill bit. I make mine from welding rod, but I spend a bit more time. I chuck the welding rod up in the lathe after gringing a glat on one end. I then chuck a twist drill backwards in the tailstock. I slide the drill up against the rod and silver solder the two together. Makes very nice straight long drills. Right now I am using 316 stainless welding rod which I buy in 3' lengths.

  14. #14

    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    A nice thing about this tip is that one can get the needed materials after normal business hours. Many taverns have large selections of motorcycle wheels to chose from in their parking lots. :^)

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Good thread Peter.

    Thank you.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to make a long drill bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd D View Post
    Nice idea for a quick and dirty drill bit. I make mine from welding rod, but I spend a bit more time. I chuck the welding rod up in the lathe after gringing a glat on one end. I then chuck a twist drill backwards in the tailstock. I slide the drill up against the rod and silver solder the two together. Makes very nice straight long drills. Right now I am using 316 stainless welding rod which I buy in 3' lengths.
    Actually Todd, it's better than quick and dirty, it's better than a twist drill for long deep holes.Try it, you'll be surprised.
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

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