I just got a sale e-mail from Enco that has 115 bit sets. They run from
30.00 to 180.00 with free shipping. I would imagine that many others here
have received the same e-mail and my question is - are any of these sets
worth having? I certainly don't need the best as most sizes would never be
used and those that get used often I would replace with good ones. It would
be nice to have every available size for just occasional use though. 98% of
my drilling is either into wood or aluminum. If it were you buying, under
same circumstances, which set would you buy or would you just pass
I have a couple of the cheap sets.
One has been fully ground for use on Brass and Acrylic, both tend to
suck in a drill bit.
The other is right beside the drill press, I refer to it a the
"Visitor Drills", to those that get on my case for having an el-cheapo
set. Truth be known, I use them all the time on Aluminum, for pilot
holes, and non critical clearance holes. And I have replaced the tap
drill sizes I use the most with good drills.
I keep the good set out of sight.
Personally I went with the middle of the road price point, decent drills
in a nice case (might even be Huot?), from Enco, around $120 several
years ago. For metal use consider screw machine length, much more rigid
and you can often get by without center or spot drilling. Forget the
flashy gold coatings and all that, although split point grinds are
definitely worthwhile. Unless you're doing production and in difficult
materials the titanium coatings et.al. are just gimmicky in my opinion.
I do keep a set of jobber length fractional drills for deeper holes
(mostly lathe work). I've found that cheesy twist drills always
disappoint, even the sizes you rarely use. Even a good set will end up
with replacement drills for the more popular sizes. Just my
experience.. Oh yeah, don't loan em out, they tend to last much longer
[ ... ]
As did I -- for about the same price. Made-In-USA bits, but not
Cleveland (which were in the top-of-the-line sets at the time).
The HUOT index is a *lot* better than the import cases. And one
thing which is not said anywhere, but which I just discovered. There is
a clip on the divider between the fractionals and the letter-sized bits
on the letter-sized side. That clip will very nicely hold a HUOT index
for the #61-#80 bits, which I already had.
Indeed so. I later picked up a set of machine-length in high
cobalt steel with split points. The only disadvantage is that the set
is only number-sized bits. The full 115 bit set is just too much for me
to afford these days.
They do tend to shed welding of built-up-edges better for things
like aluminum. But you want to make sure that the drill bit *under* the
TiN coating is a good metal. The import ones tend to put the coating on
junk metal, so you still have a junk drill bit.
The really cheap ones will have unequal flute length (making
oversized holes), and sometimes even were ground with negative
clearance, so they don't drill at all. A nasty thing to discover the
first time you use a given size.
And the metal is likely to be so poor that you can wind up with
a reverse twist by the time you give up. :-)
Of course -- but make sure that these are the best quality bits
you can get. Buy them in package lots (10 or a dozen in the smaller
sizes, perhaps five to a package in the larger sizes.)
Amen. *That* is what a cheap Chinese set is for. :-)
Right on, Mike! Hertel is American made, also.
It's been a while since I checked but J&L used to regularly run a $95 sale
on their Hertel 115-bit sets. I've found them to be well worth the money.
Black oxide, good on steel, bad on aluminum. shiny, good on both, but
the black is a little better on steel, keeps the chips from welding to
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Well ... it really depends on what you drill most. The shiny
ones (if they are shiny in the flutes as well) mean polished flutes,
which causes some materials to exit easier, and perhaps less chance of
built-up-edge welding. (I think that aluminum qualifies there). But
other materials do better with the black oxide finished bits.
FWIW -- I got the shiny ones and have been happy with them (as a
hobby metalworker), but if I were doing serious production work I would
contact the drill manufacturers and find out what *they* consider the
best choice for that specific material.
And -- my indexes of metric drill bits are black oxide -- but I
don't use them often enough to have really developed an opinion on which
is better for what I drill -- mostly aluminum, brass, and mild steel
(12L14 by preference), but occasionally drill rod and other hardenable
steels. Obviously, a modified set of bits would be better for the
brass, but I have yet to pick up a spare set which I am willing to