A Foolproof Guide to Spot Drill Vs Center Drills

Choosing the best drill for your job can be difficult, but we’ve made it easy for you by outlining the differences between spot and center drills. We then give you a summary of each drill’s advantages and disadvantages so that you can make an informed decision. Finally, we provide tips and techniques on how to use each drill to get the best results for your projects.

What is a spot drill?

A Spot drill is not any kind of power tool or drilling machine. It’s a specific drill bit to create a proper small shallow hole or divot to locate the drilling spot. Usually, a spot hole is created on a workpiece for a twist drill for further drilling. Their goal is to create a spot hole or dimple that is precisely accurate. This hole will prevent the twist drill from walking on and ends up in the right place.

Spot drill large angle ensures the twist drill tip does not touch the tip until it reaches the bottom of the spotted hole.  As a result, you get an accurate hole.

What is a center drill?

A center drill is another type of a specific drill bit but to drill a hole at the end of the workpiece so that you can mount it on the tailstock of a lathe or mount it between the centers of a grinding machine.

It has a very conical end that ensures faster drilling while minimizing the amount of dust and dirt that is produced while drilling.

In a center drill, a pilot bit and countersink are combined.  The pilot drill bit drills great 60-degree holes, while countersinks widen the hole at 90 degrees, leaving a small gap at the bottom of the hole to protect the lathe’s centers when turned.

When should you use a spot drill?

You should use a spot drill when you want to drill a spot hole for further drilling.  They’re also great for chamfer drilling if you want the hole to be round.

Unlike other types of drills, spot drills are thinner,  free of conical ends, and compact, so they can be transported easily from site to site and are ideal for tight spaces where larger machines would not fit. 

You can use a spot drill bit to create spot holes in softer metals, plastic, wood, etc. Plus, you can also use it for drilling tough materials as it has a sharp cute tip. You just need to put in some hard effort. And you don’t need any special drilling machine to use a spot drill. It perfectly fits in a regular drill machine, including a hammer drill.

When should you use a center drill?

You should use a center drill when you want to create long depth, larger diameter holes in dense and hard materials, including metal, copper, steel, alloys, aluminum, and cast iron as well. This short and sturdy center drill bit features a conical end to prevent walking away from the workpiece between bites. You can also use it to make a small starting mark on a Lathe to aid further drilling.

Advantages Of Spot Drill

  • Spot drill can accurately drill a center hole.
  • It is lightweight and compact; you can use it in tight spaces with ease.
  • It comes with a 90° hole angle larger than the twist drill angle
  • It ensures the twist drill stays in place and drills correctly at the intended location.
  • Spot drill has a sharp acute tip that ensures easy drilling on soft metal.
  • It can perfectly fit on regular drill drives and some more types of drills.

Disadvantages Of Spot Drill

  • Spot drills aren’t designed to drill extremely hard or dense material
  • It’s a little high priced than other drills.
  • It doesn’t come with a sharp conical end
  • It can’t drill large diameter hole

Advantages Of Center Drill

  • Center drill bit is short and sturdy
  • It is less likely to bend or slide away while drilling under pressure.
  • It’s budget-friendly and cheaper than other regular drills, including spot drills.
  • The Center drill comes with a conical end and is best for creating large diameter holes.
  • Center drill can easily create a depth hole in dense and hard materials.

Disadvantages Of Center Drill

  • Center drill has a delicate small pilot tip that tends to break faster
  • It is not a good option to create machining spot holes and create lots of holes at a time,
  • Its hole angle is 60 degrees which is less than the twist drill angles
  • You can’t drill an accurate hole with a center drill

Spot Drill Tips and Techniques

  • Always choose a spot drill with larger angle point.
  • If you want to create the best and most accurate spot drill, always use the collect chuck.
  • Avoid using traditional drill chucks, and set screw endmill, both the holders are less accurate and worse to drill.
  • To ensure that the twist drill will go through the hole smoothly, let the spot drill dwell briefly at the bottom of the hole.

Center Drill Tips and Techniques

  • Avoid using a center drill for spot drilling.
  • Don’t use a center drill for drilling too many holes.
  • Don’t try to use a pilot bit further drilling on a spot hole, it’s very delicate and can crack in the middle of drilling.

Spot drills have the advantage over center drills

  • Spot drills come with a thinner shank and acutely angled end that is precise to create an accurate starting point hole.
  • Spot drill is short, thick, and strong enough, won’t crack so quickly as a center drill,
  • Spot drill can create narrow diameter spot holes even in tight spaces.
  • Spot drill has a larger angle than a twist drill which ensures the twist drill won’t touch the tip until it reaches the spot hole bottom area.It also ensures the twist drill tip does not touch the tip until it reaches the bottom of the spotted hole. 
  • Spot drills come with 90 to 120-degree angles for various uses.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spot Drill Vs Center Drill

Can I Use a Center Drill Instead of a Spot Drill?

No, you can’t use a center drill instead of a spot drill. A spot drill has a narrower diameter that can easily create small and shallow holes for a twist drill. While center drill can also create a hole but that will be larger, and won’t be accurate. Plus you can’t insert a twist drill on that holes for further drilling, because the center drill has a smaller angle than a twist drill.

Can I use a spotting drill bit in a handheld drill?

Yes, you can use a spotting drill in a handheld drill. Spot drill is a kind of drill bit that can perfectly fit on most regular drills including hammer drills and handheld drills.

Is there any similarity in between a chamfer tool and a spot drill?

Yes, there are lots of similarities between a chamfer tool and a spot drill.

  • Chamfer tool and a spot drill both are drill bit
  • Both the drill bit can fit into various types of regular drill.
  • You can use them to create starter or center holes.

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