A step drill bit is a cone-shaped drill bit that lets you drill different-sized holes with one bit, and as you drill further in, the hole gradually increases in size.
We’ve found that step drill bits are easier when we don’t want to change bits over and instead focus on enlarging the hole.
However, you may wonder when we would use a step drill bit and what they’re used for. While they are primarily used by electricians, metal workers, and engineers, these tools are essential for anyone who may need them.
Why electricians use them
Many electricians use step drill bits as one of their essential tools, as it allows them to adjust the hole sizes for any wire panels.
It’s easier to use them as they don’t need to be changed, and we can simply drill further down to ensure that the holes are the correct size for any wires.
Due to the way the holes are drilled, they’re free from burrs, and so you don’t need to worry too much about the finishing touches, ensuring the holes don’t have any sharp edges.
Why you should use a drill bit for HVAC
We’ve found that step drill bits are a popular tool for those who work with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Much like how electricians can use them to adjust the size of holes for wires, they can also be used to resize any holes needed to adjust their diameter without having to change the drill bits.
How are step bits used in the automotive industry?
Step drill bits are commonly used by mechanics when they’re carrying out installations and repairs on the bodywork or the car’s radio system.
They may need to drill holes, and instead of replacing each bit separately, they can adjust the various sizes with a step drill bit without any hassle.
How can you use a drill bit for general construction?
When you need to finish off your work using step drill bits is a great option for the finishing steps.
If you’re installing anything for electrics, cabinets, underfloor heating, plumbing, or any other feature that requires a neat clean hole, then they are the perfect tool.
The step drill bit won’t work for everything, but they’re essential for when you can drill holes into thin sheets. As an overall construction tool, they can only work on thin sheets, so they aren’t perfect for every need.
Making holes larger
If there are any holes in your house that need to be enlarged, then you can use a drill bit to do that.
With a step drill bit, you only need to drill down to your desired measurement, and it will deburr the hole as you go, so you won’t need to sand it down either.
Drilling holes through plastics
There are certain plastics that you can drill holes into using your step drill bits. You can drill through the likes of acrylic, plexiglass, and any other thin plastics.
Using a step drill bit ensures that you won’t crack the material when you puncture it, and so they produce a neat and clean hole.
The best way to ensure that it’s neat is by keeping the protective film on your plastic sheet to prevent it from getting scratched, nicked, or any other damage.
Drilling holes through metal sheets
We’ve noticed that using step drill bits has made it easier than ever to drill holes into sheet metal, and it doesn’t twist or warp the material.
Using a normal twist bit on sheet metals will often pull at the sheet, and instead form a triangular-shaped hole instead of the clean and neat hole we would prefer.
All we need to do is cut the sheet metal until you’ve reached the size that you want, and you can deburr it by lightly touching the beveled edge of the next step around the metal.
You don’t need to add any extra steps, and it promises a clean hole that doesn’t require any issues.
Best of all, it doesn’t only work on metal sheets, and you can use step drill bits on steel pipes, metal doors, angle irons, or any other metal so long as it’s thin.
Of course, we recommend getting a step drill bit made of titanium or cobalt to ensure a long-life quality for your tool.
Drilling through carbon fiber
We’ve found that we can use step drill bits with carbide tips to drill through carbon fiber materials. Using this type of step drill bit will ensure that we can create a neat and clean holes of various sizes.
We don’t have to change them over, and the only risk here is that they can wear down our step drill bit and dull them, so we recommend keeping a backup drill bit for larger projects.
Drilling through thin wooden sheets
Now, we’ve told you how drill bits can be used for other materials, and you may wonder if they can be used to drill holes through wood.
Of course, they’re better used for thin materials, but if you have a thin sheet of wood that’s roughly 4mm thick maximum, then it would be compatible. However, for thick pieces of wood, we recommend you use a brad point bit to drill your holes.
As you can see, step drill bits have a wide variety of uses. Each step can be used to make a hole larger, so it saves you time when drilling through thin materials.
While they’re better suited for thin materials, they can be a great tool for any professionals who work with cars, HVAC, electrics, or even as a final touch in general construction.
They can be used for any thin wooden material, so long as you replace your tools when they get too dull. So, if you do need a tool to drill through acrylic, carbon fiber, or metal sheets, then this is the best tool that you can have at your disposal.
Jake is a tool guy – think Tim Allen from Home Improvement but with a much drier sense of humor. He lives in the great state of Ohio and plays the guitar on his downtime. He also spends his time writing on all things tools and DIY-related as this is his passion.