Drill Bit Sharpening

I was rather tempted to try jumping in the deep end with the new Tormek Drill Bit Sharpening jig, but decided to err on the side of caution, and rtfm.

Probably a good thing – it is a significant jig, and able to achieve a lot more than standard drill bit sharpening systems. The ability to produce a 4-facet point is significant, and only available on more expensive systems, such as the top of the range Drill Doctor models, and of course the Tormek.

A standard sharpened bit (and typically as a bit comes when it is new) has 2 facets, coming together as a chisel tip. These cannot self-centre, and slip around badly on harder materials. For these bits to cut, that chisel has to be pushed into the surface to expose the cutting edges. This significantly decreases bit life (blunting the bit), and results in a higher temperature for the bit.

The four facets come together at a point, so immediately the drill bit is able to drill into the surface rather than simply rub against it.

Two facet conventional tip

Superior Four Facet Tip

The formation of the four-facet tip using the Tormek seems more sophisticated and controllable that the 500X and 750X of the Drill Doctor, (the 350X cannot produce one at all). The significantly different radius of the cutting wheel is another point (excuse the pun!) to compare the two systems. I’ve never had an opportunity to try the Drill Doctor, so can’t say how well that system works in practice.

The Tormek controls point angle (from 90 degrees to 150 degrees) and lip clearance angle (7 to 14 degrees). There are also adjustments to limit the total amount of material removed

Unlike some other systems, the formation of the primary bevel (the actual cutting edge) is given the attention it deserves, with the secondary bevel formed to produce the 4-facet tip – it serves no other purpose, so why focus on it for the majority of the operation? You can even grind away quite a bit of the heel (the back half of the secondary bevel) to minimise the total amount of material that needs to be removed on the Tormek.

Jig set to grind the primary bevel

There is a little setting up involved, but after doing the first time following the instructions, it will soon become intuitive, and quick. Typical of Tormek, all the variables are controlled – there is nothing left to chance, or eyechrometer. Other than one – setting the drill bit at the right degree of rotation in the holder, but a magnifying glass with a reference post ensures even that is as close as is needed for the operation. (Given the bit is round, being slightly out isn’t critical – it affects the look, rather than the function of the bevel).

Controlled Variables

Next step will be to actually do the grind, but that will be the subject of another article :)

8 Responses

  1. looks like it will be the jig to buy next not the drill doctor.

  2. Im in the market for a sharpener, im wondering if its worth the extra money to get a Tormek over a Scheppach.

    • It is a big call – the price difference is an obvious factor to consider.

      Having had a Triton (equivalent to the Scheppach TiGer 2000), and a Tormek T7, they are just chalk and cheese. The T7 completely blows the Triton/Scheppach out of the water.

      The Tormek doesn’t stall – I’ve tried. I might be able to do it, but I put some stupid amounts of pressure in and it kept grinding. The Triton stalls pretty easily.

      The quality of the wheel – one is a $200 grinder, the other has a wheel worth $300, and you can tell where the quality difference is. Wide, large, smooth, and smooth cutting. Not to mention the Japanese Waterwheel or the Blackstone Silicon wheels.

      It is also not comparing apples with apples with the price. The TiGer doesn’t comes with anything but a very basic chisel mount, whereas the T7 comes with an excellent chisel mount, a stone grader, and a stone dresser (that alone is worth around $100, and really works) on top of the extra design features built into the T7.

      Do you need a sharpening system worth a little under $1k? Can’t answer that, but what I can say is the difference is price between the Scheppach/Triton and the Tormek is justified.

      • Thanks Stu, guess it all comes down to you get what you pay for, i looked at the Jet too, but i think if im going to pay that much for the jet ill save the couple hundred more and get a tormek.
        Cheers

  3. I love my Tormek and am glad to finally see some good photo’s of this jig in (almost) action.
    However nothing I can see justifies the $395 price tag for this sharpener – and this is coming from someone that has the full set of Tormek’s jigs. Under $300 perhaps, under $250 definitely, but $395, definitely not!
    Regardless, I look forward to some shots of the end result.

  4. It’s an expensive piece of kit. I use viper drill bits primarily. Cost me around $70 for the 21 piece set. Will I use 5 sets in my woodworking life? and still be less then the tormek?
    That being said. I give credit to the engineering of the piece. Lovely piece of gear.

  5. I think mt drill DR looks a little easier to use than this one

  6. [...] it was alos reviewed on Stu's Shed. http://stusshed.wordpress.com/2010/0…it-sharpening/ __________________ Cheers Fred Rifle Cartridge Pen Kits Closed End Pen Mandrel Sander Mill Router [...]

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