Are Black Oxide Drill Bits Good for Metal?

As a beginner DIYer, you might be wondering if black oxide drill bits are good for drilling metal or not?

Well, the answer to this question is yes black oxide drill bits are good for metal. 

Black oxide drill bits are made from a harder and more durable steel material. It’s then coated with a black oxide which makes them a better option than standard drill bits. They’re also less likely to clog and are more efficient when it comes to drilling holes in tough materials. So, if you’re looking for a drill bit to drill tough materials like metal, or handle more than just basic drilling tasks, these drill bits are the perfect option for you. How?

Be with me till the end to know that. In this blog, I will go over what black oxide drill bits are, their properties, and which materials they’re best suited for drilling. I will also share the process to sharpen the drill bits and explain which drill bits are most suitable for drilling metal.

So whether you’re a master of metalsmithing or just starting out, read on to learn all you need to know about black oxide drill bits!

Why Black Oxide Drill Bits Are Good for Metal?

Yes, black oxide drill bits are good for metal. They have a high cutting speed and wear-resistant properties, making them great for drilling hard materials like metal.   Black oxide drill bits are originally HSS coated with a triple tempered black oxide that gives a rich black finish.

Additionally, these drill bits are known for their brightness and corrosion resistance. This makes them an ideal choice for drilling in difficult-to-reach places. Usually, their bit size is 1/8″ with a 118-degree standard point and a 135-degree split point. They can drill metal 3x faster than regular high-speed steel drill bits and have a 2x longer lifespan.

What are the black oxide drill bits?

According to our research, there are three types of black oxide and these are classified based on their temperature. The first one is called hot black oxides. It operates at the highest temperatures (285 – 290 degrees) than all black oxides.  The coating is created by a chemical reaction between the alkaline salt solution and the metal parts.

Another one is Mid black oxide. It uses less temperature (200 – 210 degrees) than hot black oxide.  Compared to hot oxide, it is safer and costs less to operate. The black magnetite (Fe3O4) is formed on all iron and steel parts, except stainless steel.

Finally the last one, cold black oxide. It’s also called room temperature black oxide. This low-cost blackening process is popular because of its safety. The corrosion protection is excellent and it increases the appeal to buyers. The black finish is made of a porous crystalline structure with a uniform thickness of 0.000030 inches (1 micron).

Properties of black oxide drill bits

Black oxide drill bits are HSS (high-speed steel). Then it’s coated with black colored and dipped in a chemical solution (sodium hydroxide, nitrates, nitrites) at 285 degrees F. After this process, black oxide drill bits get it rich black finishing coating that makes them highly corrosion resistant, heat, and wear resistant, and also rust resistant.

Which are the materials you can drill with black oxide drill bits

A black oxide drill bit is designed specifically to drill through a wide range of materials, including soft and hard materials. You can drill steel, aluminum, copper, brass, nylon, pine, oak, maple, acrylic, PVC, ABS, polycarbonate, MDF, etc. with it.

 Advantages of using black oxide drill bits

  • First and foremost, black oxide drill bits are known for their high bit speed. They can drill three times faster than regular drill bits.
  • Drilling is more accurate and consistent with a black oxide drill bit. Because their split point is 135 degrees that keeps the bits centered without skating.
  • Their black oxide coating will ensure minimal friction while drilling even on the toughest materials.
  • Black oxide drill bits are versatile. Whether it’s wood, plastic, or metal, it can drill thoroughly maintaining high speed.
  • You don’t need to be a skilled driller to handle black oxide drill bits. They are easy to work with.
  • Coated with anti-corrosive properties make these drill bits resistant to wear and tear and increase their lifespan upto 50% more than standard HSS bits. You can also resharpen them to extend their life.

Caring for Black-Oxide Drill Bits

  • Immediately clean the debris from the drill holes before inserting the drill bits.
  • When drilling is done, wipe down the black oxide drill bits with a dry towel to eliminate drilling dust and debris.
  • If the drill bits become hot, dip them in water and let them chill for a minute, then use them again.
  • Don’t use the wet drill bits anytime; pat dry with a towel and then use.
  • Always drill at low speed with black oxide drill bits for better results.

Sharpening Black-Oxide Drill Bits

Every drill bit loses its sharpness with time, and it is totally normal. But with the black oxide drill bits, you have the option to resharp it to get back its efficiency. How to sharpen black oxide drill bits? You can use e a grinding wheel made with Fiberglass layers and abrasive grains bonding to sharpen it. Let’s know how to use it.

  • To sharpen the drill bits, you have to clean up the cutting edge. Set the grinder on medium speed, hold the drill bits straight, and slowly contact its surface with the grinding wheel.
  • Grind the drill bits cutting edge for five revolutions. Then change the direction and again grind for five revolutions.
  • Repeat this process in each direction until the whole drill bit is sharped.
  • If it seems to need to be more sharped, repeat two revolutions more in each direction.
  • As the drill bits are made of steel, so continuous grinding can make them hot. In that case, dip it in water and grind again.  

Which Drill Bits are Good for Metal?

When drilling metal, many drill bits are there with good performance. But which one is good depends on the type of metal you will be drilling. If it’s a hard metal, cobalt or carbide drill bits will be the best fit. Carbide is best for professional use; you must be skilled enough to handle such drill bits. So if you are not a professional, go with the cobalt drill bits.  Its abrasive, heat resistant, and 5 to 8% cobalt in the base make these bits strong enough to drill through any hard materials, including aluminum, steel, titanium, and metals.

In addition, if it’s a soft metal, you don’t need such high powerful cobalt drill bits. Titanium drill bits are good enough. And when it’s a light metal, black oxide will do the job successfully.

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