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I need tiny drill bits. Where to go?

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I need tiny drill bits. Where to go?
Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Thursday, March 26, 2020 10:47 PM

While trying to do a bit of detail work, I had to drill some small holes for brass wire and realized that I'm out of tiny drill bits.  In fact, I haven't bought any since the hobby shop in town went out of business, and I'm not quite sure what the best source would be now.

Anyone have recommendations on where I can get drill bits as small as 0.5mm that can drill through metal?  Seems like everything on Amazon I can find is either meant for soft materials or is so cheap it dulls down after 2 holes, and the local hardware stores sure don't have anything that tiny.  If I have to get these exclusively from the internet now, I'd like to make sure I can get some bits that will last a long time if possible.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 10:48 PM

I get mine from drillbitsunlimited.com, they have always done well for me.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by wvg_ca on Thursday, March 26, 2020 10:59 PM

i found the best results with bits designed for pcb work, usually with a step, and  size ring ...

low prices for either used or resharpened, they are most always carbide bits, fairly short bit length, though

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Posted by dstarr on Thursday, March 26, 2020 11:50 PM

I get my small bits from either Walthers or Micro-Mark.  I get just plain steel bits, I never tried carbide.  You do want to get a drill index to keep them in.  Get a metal index, the plastic ones are not strong enough, you can push a big bit into a small plastic hole, which makes that hole permanently bigger than it ought to be.  Leading to a good deal of confusion. 

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Posted by Southgate on Friday, March 27, 2020 2:33 AM

Another possible idea is welding supply stores. They have (at least in the past) tiny drill bits in a little tube with a pin vise on the end for drilling out clogged up cutting torch tips. The little pin vise is awkward for the way we use them. I'd call to see if they have 'em before venturing. Dan

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, March 27, 2020 3:52 AM

I bought my small drill bits from Model Train Stuff since they sell them by the tube which contains various sizes.. 

 

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Your first mistake may be your last!" Safety First!

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Posted by zstripe on Friday, March 27, 2020 7:50 AM

Just one link of many Mfger's of tiny drill bits. I use Excel bits a lot in Model Railroading and My other vice, Ship building. I have found that they last the longest:

https://excelblades.com/collections/drills

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

 

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Friday, March 27, 2020 7:58 AM

I recently needed some #72 (0.0250) size. Bought a set of 5 from Micro Mark, but with shipping it was nearly $18. Then I searched Ebay (search by drill diameter, not number, or else you get a lot of useless results) and found a 10-pack from a place in California for under $6 including shipping.

Are the more expensive ones better? Will the cheaper ones work? I haven't tried them yet, but it is something to think about. Breaking a tiny drill bit is no fun, but if the bits are the exact same (and I don't know if they are) then paying 6x as much for the same thing is no fun either.

Modeling the D&H in 1984: http://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, March 27, 2020 8:54 AM

The drill I use (ding) the most is #75 (.021”/.53mm) and I’ve had good luck buying off eBay.
 
 
I’ve been using the #60 to #80 bits for most of my hobby life and the ones above are as good as any I’ve ever used.  None of the tiny bits last very long, I’m tickled if I get a dozen holes from one.
 
(Old Shaky Mel buys them in bulk)
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, March 27, 2020 8:57 AM

Without spending a lot of time looking, searching micro drill bits on Ebay comes up with bits that are in tenths of millimeters.  Some are as cheap as 10 for $1 with free shipping.  The math isn't hard and makes more sense the the number system.


I haven't seen anyone selling Black and Decker micro drill bits.  I'm sure some are better than others, but how would any of us know that they aren't simply the 10 cent bits from China, marked up in price and postage.

Micro drill break, the higher the number the more they break.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, March 27, 2020 9:34 AM

Check out this drill set, a bit pricy but lifetime warranty.
 
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, March 27, 2020 11:02 AM

I get my small bits from a local tool supply store, but they offer ones only down to #80 - nothing smaller.

These smaller ones are sold only in lots of 10, while #75 and larger are available individually.  They're not especially cheap, but last well if used carefully.  Made in Japan.

Wayne

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Posted by maxman on Friday, March 27, 2020 3:46 PM

RR_Mel

Check out this drill set, a bit pricy but lifetime warranty. 
 

A lifetime warranty?  I’d like to see that warranty and what the exclusions are.  A fruit fly’s lifetime, maybe.  I also noticed that Square Trade offers a two year satisfaction deal for this product for $2.99.

So I guess you can get protected for a lifetime plus 2 years.

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Posted by parts323 on Friday, March 27, 2020 5:00 PM

I have hand good luck with the part nuber listed below form MicroMark. On sale for $24.95 online at the moment.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, March 27, 2020 5:19 PM

RR_Mel
None of the tiny bits last very long, I’m tickled if I get a dozen holes from one. (Old Shaky Mel buys them in bulk)

A few years ago I bought 1,000 #78 drill bits when I found a good deal.

It should be a lifetime supply, and was one of the best purchases I have ever made. With the problems I have with my right arm, I break a lot of drill bits now.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Friday, March 27, 2020 5:37 PM

Thanks for all the replies!  I'll look through those and see what works best for me.Smile

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Posted by Little Timmy on Friday, March 27, 2020 9:18 PM

 I have "twitchy" hand's , and have broken my share of bit's  

One day, after exausting my supply of #80 bit's, I discovered I could make my own out of music wire ( Piano wire or Guitar string's ) I cut the wire into pieces about one inch long and cut a tip at a  45 deg angle. They work for wood and plastic, but not for metal or any thing hard.

Rust...... It's a good thing !

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, March 28, 2020 12:22 AM

Wow, e-bay has gotten real cheap for these.

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Saturday, March 28, 2020 4:26 PM

Got 60 bits for $6 from China!  Those should last for a while, and I can look into the good quality ones later now that I know where to look.

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Posted by dknelson on Saturday, March 28, 2020 5:40 PM

I get mine from Walthers but that is because it is a fairly short drive from my house.

The late Linn Westcott, former editor of MR, once suggested starting with a cheap set of small bits and then if one got worn out or broken, get its replacement in a higher quality.  His reasoning is that often you rarely if ever use all the bits in a set, and obviously you are using the one that wore or broke, so that tells you when you need higher quality.  Makes sense.

I started with the classic clear plastic domed Mascot round drill bit stand (same thing is available from others) and have tried to follow Westcott's advice on upgrades but 1) sometimes you really need a bit and you take what you can get and 2) if something is on sale ... well I find that hard to resist.  But it is true that there are bits on that stand which I likely have never used.  

Mascot, Excel, and Walthers itself are all OK.  I do note that the Gyros line of bits is marked "discontinued when sold out" on the Walthers website.  I have bought that brand now and then.  (Figuring, well, I've always liked their sandwiches Angel)

Dave Nelson

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Posted by hornblower on Monday, March 30, 2020 12:04 PM

Harbor Freight Tools is another possible source.  They offer high speed steel micro bits in metric sizes (see: www.harborfreight.com/high-speed-steel-micro-drill-bit-set-30-pc-61526.html) and carbide micro bits in assorted sizes (see: www.harborfreight.com/high-speed-steel-micro-drill-bit-set-30-pc-61526.html).  

The carbide bits are very sharp but very brittle.  They break easily! If you use a pin vise and exercise patience, they will drill many holes without breaking.  If you often break carbon steel or high speed steel bits, forget the carbide bits.

Hornblower

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, April 6, 2020 1:14 AM

SeeYou190
I get mine from drillbitsunlimited.com, they have always done well for me.

Drillbitsunlimited is having a 10% off sale through the end of April.

The checkout coupon code is "spring2020".

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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