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  • Masonry Drill Bits

    What should I be looking for in a masonry drill bit kit? I have bought the cheap kits and their bits struggle to go thru concrete. I have an 18V Ridgid cordless hammer drill.

  • #2
    Re: Masonry Drill Bits

    How big a hole do you need to drill? Are you drilling in re-inforced concrete, masonry, concrete block (don't you be drilling in any post-tensioned concrete). Are you drilling one hole, a few, a whole bunch? Personally, I've found that with carbide tipped drills you really do get what you pay for. Therefore, I tend to buy expensive bits like Bosch for my concrete drilling. I can get them at Home Despot at a pretty decent price and they last a long time. Stay away from cheap stuff that you might find at Harbor Freight. I tried one once for the fun of it and my hammer drill literally straightened the flutes. A good industrial supply house will have a good selection if you don't have a Depot nearby though. If you are using a hammer drill make sure that you get a drill bit that is speced for hammer drill. They'll list on the package if they are for rotation only or hammer drill use. If you are drilling a lot of holes or very large holes (let us know please) you might be better off renting a rotary hammer. If you have never ever used one, you are in for a real treat. Those bad boys will power through concrete like it's butter. The rpms are slower than on a regular hammer drill, but the impact is MUCH greater. Cheers,
    Jim Don

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    • #3
      Re: Masonry Drill Bits

      Get good brand name bits. I like the Dewalt and Bosch ones. They are usually not sold in kits so just pick whatever sizes you'll need. No sense in paying for sizes you don't need any way. Make sure the drill is set to hammer mode, otherwise it won't do much good.

      Drilling in concrete can vary quite significantly. Block will be much softer than poured concrete and the age of the concrete also maters. It keeps curing for decades so old concrete can be insanely hard to drill in to with a hammerdrill. The bigger the hole you are trying to drill the harder it gets. If you need to make lots of holes and it's really becomming too dificult you might be better off renting a rotary hammer. That will punch through with minimal effort.

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      • #4
        Re: Masonry Drill Bits

        Thanks for the tips. It sounds like Bosch is a good brand to start with.

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        • #5
          Re: Masonry Drill Bits

          Originally posted by RoseRx View Post
          Thanks for the tips. It sounds like Bosch is a good brand to start with.
          Not so fast! Here's another couple of suggestions.......
          We don't drill in concrete alot so I am certainly not an expert. Here are a couple of suggestions based upon my limited experiance.
          1-We had some Milwaukee and Bosche bits which seemed ok for concrete. Seemed to be getting through it for the most part without any trouble. While doing a floor tiling job it was necessary to drill the tile as a pattern for cut outs. The tile ate up the Milwaukee and Bosche bits like a pit bull lose on neighborhood puppies. Went down to the local general tool and materials retailer and they had some Makita concrete ands tile bits that had a slightly different look to them. Bought some and the increase in performance was astounding. Used the same bits a little later for drilling granite and had the same result. The Makita bits were the star performer.
          I don't know why the Makita's were so much better. I seem to remember that the packaging indicated these bits were for drilling in "harder" concrete, et all. Maybe not all concrete bits are the same!

          2-If you are drilling in hard stuff pour water into the hole to keep the bit cool and help flush the debris out.

          3-Use full throttle. Some time back I worked with someone who was using the trigger to drill slow while hammer drilling some hard stuff. When I asked what he was doing he stated he was going slow to keep the heat down on the bits and save them from burning up. This guy was puhing with the drill with all the force he could muster putting huge current loads on motor and trigger. I suggested he switch to low gear if he wanted to drill slower. He tried it, declared it to slow and went back to partial trigger drilling in second gear. Since it was my 24V hammer drill he was trying to burn up I told him to use full trigger or go spend a few hundred dollars and buy his own drill as mine was starting to overheat to the point of kicking the battery out.
          That long story was an example to support the fact that drilling in hard aggregate is hard on a drill and should be done at full trigger to reduce excessive current draw to the motor.

          4-Use commmon sense when trying to hammer drill in hard stuff with a "kit" hammer drill. The hammer drills included in a multiple tool cordless kit are compromise performers at best. Yes, that even includes those big macho 36V beasts. It's important to remember that this tool is intended to drill in wood and steel, drive screws with a controlable chuck clutch and hammmer drill in concrete. Like many tools that are asked to provide a wide variety of services, some tradeoffs in performance in each catagory are necessary. There have been many posts on this forum about members "burning up" cordless hammer drills while using them as professionals on the job.
          In my opinion they are asking to much of a compromise tool. We only use the cordless hammer drills for light jobs when we are trying to avoid running cords. If the job is to tough for the cordless we use one of the corded hammer drills or rotary hammers. It's easy to tell when the job is to much for a cordless as the tool will sit there rattling away not making any progress. Then it's time to do what previous members have suggested and borrow, rent or buy a real hammer drill or rotary hammer.
          Hope this has been of use..........Ray

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          • #6
            Re: Masonry Drill Bits

            Sorry Ray,
            But your No. 2 recommendation on drilling with water is not a good idea.
            Here's a list of how-tos from Milwaukee Electric Tool Co. Since Ridgid and Milwaukee are under the same parentage, I hope Ridgid does not mind this post, taken from a newsletter Milwaukee puts out for members:

            "Always drill dry.
            Never add water to the hole. The mud it makes will minimize the
            hammer blow and can even cause the bit to bind in the hole.
            Clean the flutes of the bit if they become
            clogged.
            Make sure they can evacuate dust from the hole.
            Keep the shank end of the bit free of dust or
            debris.
            Lubricate the bit shank and the bit holder to get the longest life from
            the tool.
            Use the shortest bit possible for the hole being
            drilled.
            It helps maximize the amount of force transmitted from the hammer
            to the tip. Because the bit’s tip and flutes wear with each hole drilled,
            using a longer bit for shorter holes could cause the flutes farther up
            the shank to bind inside the hole when it is used to drill deeper holes.
            Drill deep holes in stages.
            Use a shorter bit to drill the first part of the hole, then finish up with a
            longer bit. This can help you drill a hole faster and the hole will be
            straighter and more accurate. Also, it helps long, more expensive bits last
            longer, saving you money.
            When drilling deep holes, back the bit out
            periodically to help clean dust out of the hole.
            Do not apply excessive force while drilling.
            Constant, moderate pressure helps you keep the bit going straight and
            true.
            If you hit rebar, STOP drilling and move the location
            of the hole.
            Or… verify with the building inspector or engineer that the rebar may be
            cut, or that it is okay if the rebar gets loosened from the hammering
            process. Smaller rebar and mesh can be drilled through with a four-cutter
            head or a specially designed bit."

            Cheers,
            Jim Don

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Masonry Drill Bits

              now I can not speak for the RIdgid brand battery drill with "hammer drill".

              but I have had a few "hammer drills" and starting out, I had a few of the "cheap" hammer drills with a basic I will call it a vibration disk for simplicity" which appears to be in most low cost, hammer drills, now do not get me wrong they help over no vibration at all.

              but later I bought a true hammer drill, one that is dedicated and took the sds type bits, it was not a big expensive one but a true hammer drill, and the difference is like day and night, when drilling holes in concrete.

              but true the low cost import bits are not that quality, get a good brand name bit. the source is not as important as the company making it, because if harbor freight has the brand name bit, and the price is acceptable buy it, but to buy there brand, I can a test I have straightened a flute out on some of there bits, (wanted to try a left hand bit one time and they had a set for a few bucks and bought it, it worked to remove the bolt but it also straighten out the flute of the bit).

              so depending on the type of drilling the size and the quantity of holes your drilling may be you need a better hammer drill.

              I bought a dewalt 18 volt with hammer drill option, I have used it very little on hammer (but will say this it is a joke when compared to my old Dewalt 18 volt drill), but what little I have played with it, it appears to be the type of hammer drill that I would say is suitable for setting tapcons and some small anchors, really not much more than a 1/4" 3/8" hole. I did use it to set/drill for some tapcons. at least what I have I would not really call it a "hammer drill" it is a vibration drill.
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              • #8
                Re: Masonry Drill Bits

                Personally I prefer the dewalt bits more. I don't know if they have someone else make them for them but they are made in germany. They are more agressive than the Bosch and cost about half. The good thing about bosch is they have unusual sizes easily available.

                Originally posted by roadrashray View Post
                The tile ate up the Milwaukee and Bosche bits like a pit bull lose on neighborhood puppies.
                Unless it's soft tile like ceramic, they will usually eat through concrete bits in a snap. Hard materials like porcelain will smoke them. Remember good concrete bits are usually rated for impact drilling, not rotation only which will overheat and damage the carbide. Since tile should be drilled with no impact so it doesn't shatter it damages the bits.


                2-If you are drilling in hard stuff pour water into the hole to keep the bit cool and help flush the debris out.

                3-Use full throttle. Some time back I worked with someone who was using the trigger to drill slow while hammer drilling some hard stuff. When I asked what he was doing he stated he was going slow to keep the heat down on the bits and save them from burning up.
                Not necessary really. Hammer drilling actually doesn't overheat the bits much and actually puts very little stress on the drill and motor. The impact force is what actually makes the hole. The rotation is primarily to extract the dust through the flutes. The tip spends little time grinding against the surface. The speed of the hammer drill directly translates to the amount of impacts per second they make. That's why dedicated hammerdrills spin at extremely high speeds with very little torque. Going with slower speeds actually accomplishes nothing other than taking longer unless its very delicate material. You also really need to lean into the tool on very hard stuff. The let the tool do the work philosophy doesn't apply here.

                4-Use commmon sense when trying to hammer drill in hard stuff with a "kit" hammer drill. The hammer drills included in a multiple tool cordless kit are compromise performers at best.
                Absolutely true. Cordless drills are basically jacks of all trades. Most of the high end ones do a reasonably good job at concrete drilling but they fall short compared to dedicated corded hammer drills. The biggest drawback is the gearbox speeds on cordless drills usually are not fast enough to give an adequate blow per minute rate in hammer mode. Dewalt usually does very good here because most of their drills have a 3rd higher gear for hammer drilling which is usually a good 400+rpm faster than others. The problem for cordless drills is that manufacturers probably have to consider that many people don't know how to select gears. Cordless models are designed to range from extremely low speed high torque to high speed low torque. I suppose there's really nothing hoilding them back from making a model with a high gear than can turn at 2500+ rpm like a dedicated hammerdrill. The problem is you risk end up having drills burned up because someone tried to drill a holesaw into a solid door with the drill in full high gear normally used for hammer mode.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Masonry Drill Bits

                  Originally posted by BHD View Post
                  but I have had a few "hammer drills" and starting out, I had a few of the "cheap" hammer drills with a basic I will call it a vibration disk for simplicity" which appears to be in most low cost, hammer drills, now do not get me wrong they help over no vibration at all.
                  Just wanted to point out to avoid confusion that what is typically marketed and refered to as a hammerdrill is the "vibration disk" type of tool. It's sort of two counter rotating ratcheted disks that make the chuck pulse back and forth very slightly. The faster it spins the more it pulses or "blows" per second and more effective it is.

                  The other tool is a rotary hammer. Same basic purpose but a heck of a lot more effective using a pneumatic piston to deliver a heck of a bigger blast. Also more expensive and complicated but mostly unsuitable for non-concrete work.
                  Last edited by Velosapien; 10-18-2008, 11:46 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Masonry Drill Bits

                    I second (or third, or whatever the case may be) the call for Bosch hammer drill bits. And contrary to what Velosapien said (sorry bud), you can get Bosch hammerdrill bits in small little kits (it may be different in Velo's neck-of-the-woods). I believe there is only one version available at HD - it's usually not found with the other drill bits though, but sometimes over in the lumber/contractor's area, on a Bosch display rack with recip blades and screw bits. Also, at Lowe's, I've seen 3 different Bosch hammerdrill bit kits. They all basically are the same, all mostly with the smaller, more common bit sizes up to 1/2" or so. Each version have their own benefits (one has 2 of each type, another is in a hard plastic carrying case, etc.), but they are a great starter. But then you can build on them as you need with the individual Bosch bits. IMHO, I think Bosch screw bits, drill bits, and saw blades are the best value for the money. Yes, there is better for certain applications, but they cost more, and may not work well for other certain applications. Bosch is the best all around.

                    And cordless hammerdrills are nice, but others have already explained the pros and cons of those. Just watch how big of a bit you're using with a cordless hammerdrill, and don't use water - it adds hydraulic build-up, and can damage both the bit/drill or the surface being drilled (temperature build up is not much of an issue, as a higher temperature drill bit can't marr your cement/block surface as compared to a hot bit damaging a nice wood surface, etc.).

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                    • #11
                      Re: Masonry Drill Bits

                      I have just started using a set of five Makita bits that came with a rotary hammer. The two I've used work very well. I only drill into cured, poured concrete. So, you might look into what sets Makita has to offer - since you're after sets.
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