I have one of those entry level drill doctors. SOmetimes, when I
sharpen large bits, the bit comes out with the point ground down. What
am I doing wrong and are these repairable?
Is there a better way to sharpen these?
Yeah, by hand--really not hard at all--and that's coming from a semi-spas.
Harder for really small drills, but then even these drill docs don't go
super-small. And easier iffin you got good eyes.
But 1/8 and up should be no problem.
Best to let a shop guy show you how. And it's just as quick by hand as w/
these gizmos. bip bip, yer done. Longer if the bit is actually broken.
I've been told that you really gotta pay some bux for a Darex or sumpn, and
*even then* you can get disappointing results.
formerly Droll Troll
Major NG sore spot! Drill Doctors are CRAP!!! One of my guys has one and
brought it in and sharpened a bunch of drills that then wouldn't cut. Upon
inspection they had a slight negative rake Hmmmm. If you learn to do them
by hand, you will learn empathy with the bit and become a better
My personal experience differs from your observations.
Can't imagine how that could happen unless he was using it very
wrong. The camming action of the drill holder is pretty un-screw-
Sure, but saying that Drill Dr. is crap because it's fundamentally
flawed isn't an accurate statement.
I have two of these. A 750 bought about 4 yrs ago, and a 400 bought recently. I
never could get the 750 to sharpen
correctly. The 400 works great. Discovered that the collet holder that came with
the 750 was different than the 400's.
400's holder works in the 750. Found out too late that they redesigned the
holder and were replacing the old holders for
That has to be some wicked grinder! Rake angle on twist drills is
established by the helix of the flute. Therefore, regardless of how the end
of the drill is ground, rake angle is not affected.
If you're telling us that the drill was higher at the heel than at the
cutting edge and wouldn't cut because the lip was lower than the heel, then
I would suggest to you that it had negative *relief*, not rake. They are
not the same, and should not be confused.
If one guy gets really good grinds from a DD and another guy gets unusable
grinds, it does NOT mean that one of those guys is a bozo. It could equally
well (and more likely does) mean that the DDs are not manufactured to close
tolerances and one machine is bad and the other isn't. There has to be a
reason that Darex dropped the DD. I suspect it has manufacturing problems.
Yes! The following is courtesy of the late and very much lamented teenut:
Anyone who wants to learn this skill should start large - and I mean
1/2 inch and above. This is a great way to make long drills short.
I believe I learned on a 3/4" taper shank drill..it is a lot easier to
see all the angles and begin to understand how they work and interact.
By the way..we had a handy little dohickey to help get the drill lips
level. I have never heard it described before..
For the morse taper shank drills from 1/4" up to about 1" diameter, we
had a piece of 2" by 1/8" hot rolled steel strap..about 14" long. One
end was bent at right angles, about 2" from the end to form an L shape
with one 12" upright and a 2" horizontal. In the geometric center of
this short leg was afixed a "dead" center..not a lathe tailstock
center!!...more like a 1/2" bolt, 1/2" long, turned or ground to a 60
deg point (Approx...no great precision required) and screwed in from
the under side. Thats IT..toolmaking over!
In use the inner face of the upright was coated with whitewash (Never
SAW marking blue 'til I got in the toolroom!) The drill was ground,
freehand, on the FACE of the wheel (not the flat side)...care being
taken to keep the POINT angle as equal as possible on both sides..I'll
tell you how to do THAT in a moment..
Lets do that now in fact..
Jim, You are dead right about not being able to grind a drill without
mechanical help! Well here's how you create your own "6 Million
Dollar Bionic Darex" ;^)
Let's assume we are going to sharpen a 3/8" diameter, 2MT shank
drill..it is about 8" long (these figures are arbitrary..I just want
every one to have the same mental picture of what I am describing. We
approach the wheel, which has been dressed on its face, dead straight
across with no grooves..(Ve SHOOT anyone ve catch putting grooves in
ze drill wheel!!..No Pity..No Prisoners..Ya! Verdampt!)
The drill shank is held firmly in the RIGHT hand...ALL the movement
and control is imparted by the RIGHT hand. For the purposes of drill
grinding, the left hand could be...with benefit..a LUMP OF CLAY!!
It is from this "lump of clay" that we fashion the Bionic Darex".
Place your left hand thumb and forefinger tips LIGHTLY together..Relax
the other three fingers and let them naturally curl against the palm
of your hand. Let the drill flute drop into the vee between thumb and
forefinger and let the tip of the finger "Find" the curve of the flute
where it fits comfortably. The tip of the thumb rests on the sharp
junction ot the land and the flute, about an inch back from the drill
Now...SQUEEZE HARD!!! YOUCH!...I said it would be easier if it were
clay! 8^) Lift the drill from your fingers...see the GROOVE?...Drop
the drill back in..it locates within a thou or two! Magic?..Bionic at
least! Squeeze again to set the groove. You have created a
customised drill guide that fits better that that on any machine ever
built! You can relax your grip now..feel how smoothly the drill will
ride back and forth, guided by the groove you have created for it.
Place the knuckles of your left hand, LIGHTLY on the ginding wheel
tool rest, and swing the drill shank, from left to right (using ONLY
your right hand) and push the drill lengthways though that groove in
your fingers back or forth using the groove to make the drill twist or
"rifle" in your fingers. Do NOT move your left hand in any way..it is
made of clay remember!
A) The drill axis is "eyeballed" to be at half the required point
angle to the wheel face...You can scribe or chalk reference lines on
your grinder benchtop to help you line this up..at least untill it
become almost second nature.
B) The drill axis is dropped JUUUst below horizontal. This will
ensure that your soon to be ground drill lip will start with a
"smidgin" of cutting clearance.
(Ideally, and certainly for a beginner, the grinder rest should be set
dead radially to the wheel center and about half the drill diameter
below the true center of the wheel)
C) The two cutting edges of the drill..the straight, sharp bits,
formed by the junction of the flute and the back face (the only bit
you grind), should be horizontally disposed..with the edge uppermost
on the side closest to your left hand..the other sharp bit of course,
pointing downwards (Jeeze this would be a lot easier with a sketch
This I will call the SET or START position!
NOW, move your left hand for the first, last, and ONLY time during
this whole exercise. GENTLY ease the cutting edge towards the
spinning wheel, carefully maintaining all the angles and orientations
of the SET position..until the cutting edge is JUST shy of touching
the wheel. If you listen carefully you will hear the tone of the
entrained air, whistling through the narrowing gap. You will hear a
subtle but distinct change of tone JUST, I mean Just...a couple tenths
of a thou BEFORE the edge touches the wheel. STOP!!! FREEZE!! DO
Now, press the knuckles of your lump of clay..sorry, your left hand
FIRMLY down onto, into and around the grinding rest..establish a
"Groove" on the back of your hand as well as between your fingers.
We are now ready to grind, Your left hand locked to the drill and
grinding rest is otherwise quite relaxed..letting the drill slide,
twist and tilt wherever your right hand and the groove in your fingers
tell it to go.
The actual grinding is a bit of an anticlimax.
You have previously studied a new drill point, you have read about
clearance, and cutting angles, and rakes and......
With the RIGHT hand in control, gently, kinda, lean forward... bending
or squeezing your arms hands and body..rather than actually moving
them..untill you take up that last couple of tenths and the wheel
begins to cut. Let it cut..don't force it, and don't rush it..it
really won't hurt anything if you take a full minute per pass per
face. YOU and your "Bionic Darex" are totally in control of that
drill and the wheel..Forget the times when, close to panic, you swung
the drill wildly past the wheel, hoping to get "the dirty deed" over
with as quickly as possible.
Take your time, enjoy the moment, THINK about the shape you are trying
to generate. Just the one face is left to "Interpretation"...every
other aspect,angle, facet, what have you...Has ALREADY BEEN TAKEN CARE
OF!! and is locked in place under your control!
The right hand should perfome a "Lower Quadrant sweep" for want of a
better term. An observer behind you would see your hand move from
about 17 minutes past the hour on a clock face, to roughly 25 minutes
past. But it isn't a smooth arc of a circle, more a sector of an
elipse..You see, as your hand starts to drop slowly, you are also
rotating the drill in "the groove"..the first third of the turn needs
to maintain that very slight clearance angle on the cutting edge, and
not increase it too rapidly.
You need the clearance to cut..But too much at that point will WEAKEN
the edge, and cause the drill to snatch and chip...So the first part
of the rotation is ALMOST but not quite, just as though you were
grinding a straight cone point on the end of your drill. Only as you
approach the second third, does your right hand start to noticably
drop..kinda "Catching Up" on the rotary motion...increasing the
clearance as it does.
In the last third of the rotaion the right hand drops quite
rapidly..Thogh not enough to catch the OTHER drill lip on the
wheel..that lip is coming around quite rapidly by now.
Above all, take your time, if it helps, move the drill one degree at a
time, and think ahead what shape or angle the next degree of cutting
face needs...Remember, you have control, and IT ain't going nowhere
'til you decide.
After a pass on one face, flip the drill in your "Bionic Darex" DO NOT
MOVE THAT LEFT HAND!!, return to SET position and repeat, the pass on
the other face.
Having done a couple of passes on each face..it is now time to check
the results on our homemade "Optical Comparator"
(Sorry Jim I couldn't resist!!) ;^)
Rest the center hole in back end of the drill shank, on the center
point of the "Comparator" and use, first one and then the other drill
lip to scribe a light line on your whitewashed (OK Blue or red dyed)
You will readily see if the lines coincide..if the lips are even..or
not, as the case may be.
Lets assume they are..Now look directly DOWN on the end of the drill
to check the clearances. HUH? How can you check radial clearance by
looking it staight in the face? Surely you need to look at it
Well no you don't...for once all those interacting and confusing
angles and faces and clearances are going to work together in YOUR
favor and make what could be a tricky bit of metrology..quite simple.
While we are looking at the end of the drill, we will also check that
the POINT ANGLE is correct too!!!
(Ok guys, leave quietly..teenut has finally lost it!!)
No really, trust me. IF you look straight down on the point of a well
sharpened, standard drill, you will see the two cutting edges, joined
by the CHISEL edge which crosses over the web of the drill. The angle
fromed by the chisel edge to each cutting edge should be ABOUT 50
deg...anywhere between 40 and sixty is ok for a first attempt. (I can
hear the purists and theorists screaming and lighting up their flame
throwers.) But believe me, get it in that ball park and your drill
will CUT. If the angle is too steep..you don't have enough
clearance...negative clearance will give you an angle event greater
than 90 deg. Too MUCH clerance and the angle will appear too shallow!
While looking at the end, check the point angle, How? Look down the
axis of the drill at the cutting edges. Are they straight? If so,
your point is pretty close to the right angle (As designed for that
drill, by its manufacturer when he set the helix angle and the cross
section of the flute) If the edges appear CONCAVE the point is too
flat and if they appear CONVEX, the point is too "Pointy"
If your drill passes all these tests, which take but a second or two
to perform, THEN IT WILL CUT..pretty close to size, without
chattering, chipping, overheating, wandering or seizing. I guarantee
Hey, thats a pretty good start for the first drill you ever ground!
All it takes now is a bit of practice for it to become second nature
and almost as easy with a little 'un or a big 'un!
My apologies for "goin'on" but If it helps just one person to pluck up
the couragre and go hand sharpen his (or her) first drill, by hand...
Then I hope you will bear with me.
It is late, I am tired and I am not even going to proof or spell check
Well, they could be using it wrong. If you don't get the depth of
the bit as compared to the camming surface correct, all bets are off.
That'd be my guess as to where the most likely error would be made.
If you were familiar with the mechanism, you'd understand why that
statement is nonsensical.
Yes to the former, I doubt it to the latter. An injection mold isn't
going to change randomly from unit to unit, so user error is much more
likely than manufacturing problems. A distributor chosing not to sell
a particular product can happen for any number of non-quality-related
(shrug?) Mine works great, for what it is. I just don't like seeing
one person's bad experience be expanded out to badmouthing an entire
It is possible that the bad grinds could have come from user error and
not manufacturing tolerances. You are being a bit sensitive when you say
that what I wrote was nonsensical. More accurately, it is logical, but you
assert is is unlikely. OK. It's just another point of view. Have I looked
closely at the Drill Doctor? No. I have a better drill grinder.
Dave H> >
I've managed to come up with good grinds as well as bad grinds using my DD.
Not orienting the drill properly will absolutely cause the
trailing-edge-higher-than-the-cutting-edge problem mentioned earlier. I've
found that when I pay attention to getting the drill positioned properly,
that the DD does a very nice job. It can be a little persnickety, but
ninety five percent of the time I get a good result on the first try.
I believe the inconsistency on the Drill Doctors is due to the method it
uses to rotate the drill to the correct angle so that the cam mechanism will
put the right relief angle on the drill. If the drill is rotated incorrectly
you will not get the right angle on the point.
The mechanism used to set this angle is a pair of sheet metal edges that
come out and are supposed to squeeze the drill inbetween the flutes and
rotate it to the correct angle.. I'm not convinced that even if it was
consistent that this method will work correctly for all drill sizes, but
even aside from that I'm having problems getting the drill rotated to the
correct angle to get ground properly.
I would prefer if they just showed you which angle the drill is supposed to
be oriented in the collet so you could do it by eye, but I guess I'll have
to play with the thing to figure that out.
On some drill sizes my Drill Doctor is working ok, but on the size I
actually needed it for I'm also getting the wrong relief angle.
Except that it does not seem to do a good job with the
split-point drill sharpening with the smaller sizes.
One thing to watch for, however, is that it is sensitive to the
helix angle. The common jobbers' style bits work fine in it, if it is
used as it should be. Those with either lower or higher helix angles
wind up mis-positioning the flutes, and can wind up with excessive or
negative relief as a result. (What is needed is a couple of more index
marks for those differing helix angles, and matching detents.
When you put the drill in the alignment clam you have to look down on the
sheet metal clamp jaws and besure they are still aligned. If the drill is
canted or not correctly inserted the jaws will be offset.
I get really good results with mine and I learned to sharpen drill bits by
hand a long time ago. I just can't see well enough to do the itty bitty