• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

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Comparing the Different Types of Masonry Drill Bits

masonry bitssource: tools-zone.com

It takes a robust drill bit to bore through tough, hard-setting aggregates like cement, concrete, and mortar. Even the strongest hardened steel-point bits can’t just muscle their way through brick or reinforced masonry, nor are they able to effectively evacuate the debris that needs to be removed from the hole in order to continue drilling.

The fact is, the bits that are used to bore through aggregate-based substrates have less to do with ultra-hardened steel than they do with innovative engineering. These uniquely specialized bits are designed specifically to tear through bonded aggregates, and to evacuate the residual drilling debris that could bind an ordinary bit just as firmly as if cement had been poured around it. Let’s take a look at what makes these bits so special, and how they compare to their traditional counterparts.

Concrete and Masonry Bits are the Smart Substrate Drilling Investment

masonry bits
source: bobvila.com

Regardless of whether you’re a tradie, a general contractor, or someone who happens to enjoy home improvements, at some point you’ll have to drill through masonry. Instead of ruining an entire box of ordinary bits in the process though, it makes sense to invest in a proper selection of superior-quality concrete and masonry bits that are purposely made for drilling through bonded substrates.

From their distinctive carbide tips to their special locking shanks, concrete and masonry drill bits are engineered exclusively for boring into dense aggregates and reinforced building materials, such as:

  • Brick, cinder block, and cement fiberboard walls;
  • Aggregate-based foundations and concrete slabs; and,
  • Prestressed, or pre-tensioned substrates.

The fact that these bits may also need to penetrate steel, or carbon fiber linings is a testimony to both their strength and effectiveness. Only masonry drill tips boast this level of versatility; and although they cost most more than traditional bits, what they can save in time, as well as consumable and maintenance costs on a jobsite makes them an investment that’s well worth making.

Spade-Shaped Tips Prevent Bits From Jamming or Snapping

When comparing concrete and masonry bits to ordinary wood, metal, or other multi-purpose drill bits, it’s important to remember that they aren’t engineered to cut, or even drill through base substrates. With their spade-shaped tips, HSS (high speed steel) multi-cutter masonry bits are designed strictly for grinding away aggregate.

It’s when they’re used with hammer-type rotary drills, however, that tungsten carbide tipped concrete and masonry drill bits are really able to demonstrate their capabilities. Fusion-bonded tungsten carbide is the perfect material for the combined grinding and pounding action that occurs when a masonry bit is at work, giving drill operators the ability to:

  • Carve through dense aggregates without breaking bits, or shortening their lifespan;
  • Operate at higher temperatures for longer durations without experiencing bit degradation; and,
  • Work at higher speeds without subjecting the drill to destructive stresses or vibration.

The flutes (the spiral grooves around the bit) and the lands (the raised edges along the flute) of masonry drill tip heads are also shaped and raked at angles that improve the evacuation of aggregate dust and debris. Quicker, more efficient dust removal speeds up the boring process, while also decreasing the likelihood of bits jamming or snapping while they’re in the hole.

Staying Within Your Drilling Depth with Collared Bits

Another distinction that you’ll instantly notice when you buy masonry drill bits is their body length. This is distance measured from the start of the bit’s flute to the end of its tip. With concrete and masonry bit body lengths easily capable of reaching up to 570mm though, you’re not likely to confuse one with any other bit that’s on the shelf.

And although it’s perfectly understandable why masonry drill bit lengths are so long, they don’t offer a huge margin of error for overzealous drill operators. With a powerful enough drill behind it, a masonry drill bit can easily punch through to a depth that can bring an entire project to a complete stop. That’s why masonry bits are one of the few bits available that are available in fixed-depth variations.

Collared masonry bits only allow drilling to a specific depth, offering drill operators a host of benefits that include:

  • Eliminating the hazard of drilling too deeply;
  • Knowing precisely when they reached a prescribed anchor depth; and,
  • No need to lug around depth stops or other drill depth gauging equipment.

In short, buying collared masonry drills for sale can save you from a host of unwanted costs and liabilities that can potentially arise when drilling through masonry or concrete.

SDS Drives Let You Put the Full Power of Masonry Bits to Work

masonry bits
source: thecleverhomeowner.com

Possibly the most pronounced difference between modern masonry drill bits for sale and traditional drill bits is the use of SDS, or Slotted Drive Shafts, on their shanks. SDS drives were designed exclusively for use in concrete and masonry drilling, making it possible for these tougher-than-ever bits to be used with today’s torquiest, hammer-type rotary drills.

Unlike chuck-styled drives, there’s no need to manually tighten SDS drill drive collets. They’re designed to lock onto any diameter of masonry drill bit with an SDS shank, and the slide-proof connection they form puts the full benefit of a rotary hammer to use.

Excluding classic hexagonally shaped SDS drives, you can buy masonry drill bit shanks with 3 main types of SDS drive systems:

  • SDS Plus (TE-C). Designed for use with bits with a 10mm shank, SDS is the most commonly used SDS-style drive. It’s the optimal size for 4mm – 30mm diameter bits; and with an adaptor, can also work with other hex-style drive bits.
  • SDS Max (TE-Y). SDS Max is intended for use with bits with an 18mm shank, and are the heaviest duty SDS drives. They’re built for 13mm – 44mm diameter bits, and with extended hexagonal collets can also accept SDS Plus bits.
  • SDS Top (TE-T). These bit drives are designed for 14mm shank diameters. They’re used more for chiseling than for boring though, and aren’t employed as widely as SDS Plus or Max.

Needless to say, the advantages afforded by SDS drives have effectively reshaped with way masonry drills are used, allowing them to put more of their muscle to work in a shorter period, and over a longer duration.

The Final Word

At the end of the day, if you need to drill through an aggregate-based substrate, it won’t take long to realize that you can’t do it with an ordinary multi-purpose bit. It takes a bit that’s designed specifically for boring into dense, hard-setting surfaces; and fortunately, the bits that are made for that type of work just keep getting better.

Whether it’s at home or work, superior quality concrete and masonry bits are what you need to get the job done; and you’re going to be surprised by what they’re going to save you in both time and material.

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.