How to sharpen drill bits on a bench grinder?


Best Answer, How to sharpen drill bits on a bench grinder?

Probably, you made a mess while drilling through a workpiece. Could you figure it out why this happened? Maybe yes. Of course, the drill bit you are using is the culprit!

Before proceeding further, you need to check a few things.

1. Are the chips that came out of the workpiece crumbled?

2. Is the bit taking long enough to make any hole?

3. Do you need to apply more force while working with the drill?

In general, all the symptoms that are mentioned above can be seen while working with a damaged drill bit. Don’t worry! This is the damage that all drills encounter now and then during their lifetime.

So, as you can guess, this problem is solvable. Certain steps are to be followed for that. Above all, you have to be passionate to do this all by yourself.

Using Bench Grinder to sharpen a drill bit 

One easy and effective way to achieve the goal is to use a bench grinder. As you know, the bench grinder is a portable version of big-scale grinders of different factories.

These machines sit on a bench and are very handy for doing some fine-tuning. A common bench grinder has two different wheels on two sides to serve a different purpose. One is there to do some rouge grinding or shaping any object in bulk. Another is for doing some fine-tuning.

We do not need to go deeper on the usages of a bench grinder. A short knowledge with some working experience will do for this task.

You can go to any friend or fellow worker and can do it there. This task will not leave any damage or scar on the grinder, no worries!

Busting some myths about bench grinder  

There are a lot of small talks going on about the grinder. Especially, about how to sharpen a drill bit on it. You probably have seen on the internet that there is a lot of content that is suggesting how to get this thing done.

One thing is common in those articles or videos. They all have presented this task as a difficult one and then narrated the way. It is quite possible that if you are going to follow those contents, you will end up with a spinning head!

Some have said that you have to pay attention to the angle of the drill bit, especially, when you are sharpening it. You may end up with an improper drill bit if not done correctly. 

Okay, relax.  You need not be worried about those angles and end up being a math professor!

Another group says that you have to point the bit exactly in a certain direction. Otherwise, it will not receive proper treatment. Okay, that is almost the case, but not literally. You have to place the bit at a certain position and then start to work on it. But you do not need to worry about the exact position of the bit nor to check it repeatedly.

You may have seen that group of people that are strictly against using the grinder sidewise. This is a great concern about the wellbeing of the machine, no doubt. But if you face a greater difficulty to use the forward face of the grinder, then doing it sidewise is a time saver. But this is not the recommended procedure and will harm the grinder if you do this repeatedly.  

There are certain steps to be followed. But it is not an army drill. Just stay tuned and follow the mentioned procedures.     

Necessary equipment

It is easy and not so time-consuming job to perform. But it does require some basics along with a bench grinder!

1. Tools:

 Aside from a bench grinder, you need a dressing stick, preferably made of silicon carbide. This is necessary for cleaning the wheel. Some may want to skip this part, but it is important to have a perfectly working grinder that can provide the best result in this case.

2. Safety gears:

Safety instruments are not compulsory in this case but they are something ‘better to have’. If you are not that familiar with this task, it is better to be equipped with these. A goggle is important here. It will protect your eyes from the crumbled chips.

Besides, hand gloves can protect you from accidents. If you are comparatively new with bench grinders, you may accidentally touch the running wheel. In this particular case, gloves can be a true friend. However, it is quite important to watch out for your hands’ movement during the task.

Follow these steps to sharpen drill bits on a bench grinder efficiently

Okay, now the task begins. Do make sure that you are not skipping any of these important steps.

Step 1: Preparing for the task

In this step, you have to perform some necessary actions. These are prerequisites for the task. First of all, clean the workbench and the surroundings. Make sure that no loose elements are on the bench that can simply rush towards you.

It is time for starting the grinder. Power it on and let it run for 10 to 20 seconds. Then bring the dressing stick and push it against the rotating wheel. This will flatten any unevenness on the wheel and make it smoother.

Step 2: Aliening the bit

Probably you will find a notch in front of the wheel. This notch is helpful to serve this type of task. Anyways, place your finger on the notch. A significant gap between the finger and the wheel has to be made sure. 

Let the drill bit stay on your finer. You may wonder why we are not directly putting the drill bit on the notch. Okay, it is because we want to raise the drill bit above the imaginary center line of the wheel.

This is a line that runs parallel to the line at which you are supposed to hold the drill bit. Raising the drill bit above the line will make sure that the bit receives a fair treatment at every side.

Step-3: Grinding

Roll the drill bit up and down by hinging it on the finger. Do not push it harder rather give it a gentle gentle push. Roll the drill bit to level. No need to go down further.

Do this three times on each side. That means the drill bit comes down once and goes up and then repeats it two more times. According to veteran machinists, this can ensure smooth grinding.

Once you have done it three times, flip the bit 180-degree. Repeat the same step three times at this side. Make sure that the cutting angle is greater than the relief angle. After all, this is the condition that makes this drill bit work.  

Step-4: Test

It is time to test the bit. Find a scrap wood and make a hole in it. If the sharpness of the bit is enough, it will easily penetrate through the wood. If not, you can see the broken chips and feel that the bit requires more pressure to penetrate through that wood.

If the bit passes the test, then go to the next step. Otherwise, return to the grinder and repeat the steps.

Step-5: Further checking

Once the testing and refining are done, it is time to end the task. Finally, check the sharpness at both sides and if you are satisfied, shove the bit into the cool water. This will help to sink the heat and help it not to sustain any damage.    

Some Points to remember   

Presumably, no one wants the bits to decay further. But for that, some steps are to be followed. Let’s check.

  1. Try not to make the bits very hot. You can do it to put out the bit after an inch drilling into any workpiece. This will free up the chips from the flute of the bit and thus lessen the friction. This will also help to sink heat.
  2.  Try not to use any bit for long. Experts suggest having two different sets of bits. The newer ones have to be used when starting to dig a hole. Then you can switch to the older ones. It will ensure that the newer bits are sharp for a long time.


Hopefully, you got the answer to your question– How to sharpen drill bits on a bench grinder? If you follow these simple steps without skipping, sharpening a drill bit is really easy. But the most important thing is- do not force the bit against the grinder. It will only wear them. Push it gently and smoothly.