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What Is a Step Drill Bit?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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A step drill bit is a type of specialty drill bit or cutting tool used to create holes in wood or metal. It differs from standard drill bits in that it has a conical or triangular shape. The bit features a sharp, pointed tip, which grows wider as one moves up along the length of the bit. These tools can be used in many different types of cutting tools and equipment, including hand tools. Though they are primarily designed for cutting metal, step drill bits can also be used for many woodworking applications.

The purpose of a step drill bit is to shorten the time it takes to create the desired openings in a wood or metal object. For example, to create a hole that can be used to countersink a screw in a piece of metal, one would have to use drill bits in a wide variety of sizes one at a time. This would require starting with a small diameter bit, cutting a hole, then switching to a slightly wider bit and repeating the process until the hole had the desired shape and size. A step drill bit allows users to create this type of hole in a single step, with no need to change bits or cut multiple times. This makes these bits a useful tool for commercial, industrial and even household uses.

A step drill bit transitions from very narrow at the tip to a much wider along the upper portion of the shank. The cutting tip features a conical shape, with a stair-step like appearance. As one bores deeper into an object with these bits, the hole grows wider towards the surface of the object. The sharp tip on a step drill bit means that it is often possible to use these bits without first drilling a pilot hole to serve as a guide.

Step drill bits are available for use in standard hand tools, including power drills. They are also found on wood turning lathes as well as metal cutting, or milling machines. Many other kinds of specialty tools and equipment found in workshops and manufacturing facilities also rely on step drill bits to create specialized holes.

Users can choose from many different types of step drill bits to meet the needs of different applications. When choosing a drill bit, one of the most important things to consider is what type of material the bit will be used to cut. Other considerations include the size of the hole, its depth, and the type of tool or machine that the bit will be used with.

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