What Are Hex Shank Drill Bits Used For?

Hex shank drill bit is a cutting device for use by drill or drill press. It’s among the types of drill bits that work well with other rotating instruments. They have a hexagonal-shaped hole on the top to fit a hex key, also known as a hex wrench.

hex shank drill bits

Hex shank drill bits are used to drill into the metal or other materials that require higher torque and power than regular drill bits provide. They provide an easy way to hold and turn these large pieces of equipment without risking slippage due to their gripping ability.

The Difference Between Hex Shank and Straight Shank

Hex Shank vs Straight Shank

Hex shank drill bits have a hexagonal-shaped hole on the top to fit a hex key, also known as a hex wrench.  Straight shank drill bits, on the other hand, do not require any special tool.

They handheld drills, or use pliers for turning. For seamless operations, the hex head drills bit requires an Allen Key Wrench or hex key to secure and rotate hex shank bits on the end of a drill as the high-speed steel drill bits work.

Most homeowners and drill bit users prefer a hex shank bit due to the high torque application. The device can handle more torque compared to a round shank. The bit can be used on a drill press more effectively with less risk of slippage.

A hex shank has a unique and universal design to blend with drill bit, thus needing less machining unlike high-speed steel drill bits which require different machines.

The device is economical in that you may cut the cost of the drill bit. You can use it with certain screwdrivers since the hexagonal head shape fits into the driver snugly, allowing by-hand usage. You might want to read our latest article: top impact driver bits review.

Can I Use Hex Shank Drill Bits in a Regular Drill?

Yes, hex shank drill bits blend with both cordless and pneumatic drills. It is the best option for drilling through materials with high-level torque requirements or softer materials where a larger hex key would not fit, such as tight corners. A hex head bench drill unlike other types of drill bits,  can work without an Allen wrench by holding it with pliers to make a drill hole.

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Hex Shank Adapter and Hex Shank Sizes

A hex shank adapter is a hexagonal-shaped device that goes over the hex key or wrench, thus providing an extended handle to allow for greater torque. Hex shank adapters are most commonly used for hex head drill bits. They are suitable when working with hex key wrenches or hex keys.

Typically, hex shank drill bits are made of titanium bits and are available in 1/16″, 5/64″, 3/32″, 7/64″, 1/8″, and 3/16″. You can also get an assorted 1-inch or 2-inch hex bits. The nut setters available in the market are 1/4″, 5/16″, and 3/8″. Professionals recommend wearing safety glasses while working with hex shank bits for your eye protection.

Hex shank also can be as big as 18-inch, mainly used in construction to offer wobble-free and smooth boring of drill chucks. The 18-inch type fits to handle effective clip clearance for deep and long holes through the large and wide throat. The cutting-edges are hardened; thus, less re-sharpening is required.

Measuring Hex Shanks

A hex shank is measured by the maximum diameter of the hexagonal shape on top. The common type of hex shanks is larger than most drill bits as they require more torque to turn due to their size and weight. A large hex wrench is essential when drilling through high-strength materials such as metal.

Final Thoughts

Hex drill bits work in cordless and pneumatic drills and hex-shank adapters that go over the hex key make work easier. The adapter provides an extended handle for greater torque application when in use.

Many shops prefer selling a shank drill bit as a set with several sizes included though a single piece is still available in the market. A drill bit set is commonly used which is available either in metric or standard measurements.

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