When you’re a professional driller or a regular DIYer who loves drilling things often, you’re left with many used and broken drill bits after some time. Breaking drill bits is a very common phenomenon and most of the time it requires that one buys a new one.
If you’re not one of those who likes to throw away stuff as soon as they’re broken, you might end up with several dull and broken drill bits by the end of a year or so.
Now that you’ve got many broken drill bits gathered, you’re wondering what to do with them. Will you just throw them all away at once or have some better use of them? You’re thinking to yourself, what are used drill bits worth?
Well, you’ve come to the right place to get the answer. In this article, we’ll discuss what interesting and productive things you can do with your used and broken drill bits.
Can scrap metals be recycled?
Most of us know that in order to penetrate the hard surfaces, the drill bit also needs to be a lot harder. And all of the drill bits found on the market are made of strong metal like iron, high-speed steel, cobalt, carbide, etc. And one thing about metal is that almost all metal types are completely recyclable. So, the next time you find any scrap hard metal object, just put it into your blue bin.
Metals can be recycled by both internal and external methods including remelting, recasting, redrawing, etc. Drill bits made of metal can also be recycled if you want.
Who buys used drill bits?
There is great value in old drill bits. If you search the internet, you might find eBay and other websites selling antique and old used drill bits at a high cost. However, if the drill bits are simply your old used ones, they might offer your some meager value for the metal but that’s no fortune.
Usually, old bits might cost $1 per bit if they’re under 3/8″, $2/bit over 3/8″. It all depends on the size and quality of the bits. You might try searching for people who buy used drill bits near you.
Some companies offer to buy old drill bits from people. You can search the internet for that as well, providing the location you’re in.
What To Do With Old Drill Bits?
Apart from resharpening drill bit to use it again, you can also be creative and use them for many other interesting and unique things. We’ll only mention some of them, however, if you can do enough brainstorming you might come up with many other fun uses as well.
Usage #1 – Tool Storage
Your old drill bits might not be able to make new holes, but they can fill them alright. Why not stick them on tool boards to hang other tools? If you have half a dozen of old drill bits, just hammer them on the tool board, and voila! They can now hold your tools like wrench, screwdriver, etc.
Usage #2 – Carving Tool
Since the drill bit is already old and you don’t care about it anymore, it could technically work as a substitute carving tool should you need it to be. If sometimes you need to carve up some softwood or plastic, sticking the drill bit into a drill and using it as a carving tool could do wonders.
Usage #3 – Check the Steel Hardness
You can also use your old drill bits to check if a specific metal has been artificially hardened or not. You just need to take the pointy end of the drill bit and try to scratch the metal surface with it. If you notice the bit creates a scratch then that means it wasn’t hardened. On the other hand, if the bit slides, then the steel has been hardened.
Usage #4 – Cut Glass
Since drill bits are made of tough materials which are harder than glass, you can use them to cut or break glass in case of any emergency.
Usage #5 – Turn it into an Ice Pick
If your drill bit is small and sharp, you can easily turn it into an ice pick just by clamping the bit into a wooden handle. But you need to turn the drill tip into a conical shape with the help of a bench grinder.
Usage #6 – Make Small Chisel
A chisel is similar to an ice pick previously mentioned. But unlike that, you’ll need a bigger drill bit. When you have a bigger drill bit at hand, make its tip sharp enough with your bench grinder and drill the other end into a handle. You could use it for woodturning.
Usage #7 – Practice Sharpening
Another great use of your old drill bits is to practice resharpening them. If you have a bench grinder at home, you might need to sharpen your new bits when they get a bit dull.
And as we explained earlier in our sharpening section, it requires holding the bit at a precise angle and keeping both sides of the tip symmetrical. You could use the old drill bits to practice sharpening them first so that you don’t ruin your new bit.
Usage #8 – Turn it into a Knife
You can also forge a knife from a drill bit. This project will involve a 10mm drill bit that you can transform into a carving knife. If you like working with wood, it is handy to keep a knife around. You can create more accurate guidelines than with a pencil or pen. Since quality knives aren’t that cheap, you can make your DIY knives.
Taking a bunch of old drill bits, you can meet them in a forge. After that, shaping them into functional knives is the way to go. Contrary to readymade knives at the shops, this handmade knife will cost so much less.
How To Resharpening Old Drill Bits
A drill bit will only work properly if it is sharp and maintaining tools is the motto of DIYers so that they can do their work without hindrance. When drill bits get dull, you don’t want to push it harder which will heat up the bit and the surface. And eventually, the drill bit may even break, not to mention the risk of personal injury.
If you want to reuse your old drill bits again, you could resharpen them. Make sure they’re only dull at the tip and not broken beyond repair or sharpening. You’ll need a bench grinder in the workroom to create the precision point on the drill bit.
Below we’ll discuss the process of resharpening old drill bits so that they can continue creating value to your works:
Step 1 – Examine the bit
This is actually a step we’ve already discussed when we mentioned making sure they’re only dull at the top. If the bit is truly ravaged at the top, you should start sharpening with the coarse wheel of the bench grinder. Otherwise, the finer wheel works fine.
Step 2 – Safety gear
You need to think about your safety by donning the goggles first. although some suggest wearing work gloves, in reality, it impairs your ability to have a safe grip on the drill bit, since it is too small. But safety goggles are a must.
Step 3 – Get the Angle Right
Now firmly grip the drill bit and hold the cutting edge parallel to the grinding wheel front. Slowly move it closer to the wheel until they contact. You don’t need to turn or rotate the bit but keep it straight.
However, you want to get the angle right at 60 degrees. If you don’t have a very good idea about the angle then you could draw several lines at 60 degrees on the auxiliary area of the grinding machine. These lines will help keep the bit at the correct angle during resharpening.
Step 4 – Focus
Hold the bit at this angle for not more than five seconds. You need to grind the surface only and not wear it down. Just focus on grinding the heel where the tip meets the twisted shaft and not the edge
Step 5 – Keep it Cool
You also need to cool the metal after every five seconds in water. Otherwise, the drill bit will become too hot and can even wart down fast.
Step 6 – Turn to the Other Side
When one side is finished, turn 180 degrees and use the same process for the opposite side. To make sure you’re sharpening both sides equally, sharpen a little each side and turn to the other side every few seconds.
Step 7 – Some tips
It is important that the angle at the top is 120 degrees. But the angle isn’t as important as the symmetry at the top. And the cutting edges should also have to be identical. Moreover, the sharpening should be at a slight angle. Otherwise, the drill bit will not cut the material.
By following this process, you can reuse your old drill bits or even resell them if you want.
If you value your old drill bits, you wouldn’t throw them away without trying to get some value out of them. We’ve mentioned several methods you can use to reuse those bits. If you think hard, you can do many other things with them.