How many times have you wondered. Does Hive13 have any metric drills? Why Not?

Looking for your input on buying a new drill set for Hive13.

I grew up with US letter, Number and fractional drills. Hundreds of little drills and the smallest get broken fast. Hive13 has several partial letter/number sets like that.

Now, I’m usually looking for a METRIC size drill going through the US sixes and using the calipers to find something that will work.

SO I’m thinking. Let’s buy METRIC. 0.5 mm to 6.5 is one common set range. 1mm to 13mm is another. The cheap sets are in 0.5mm steps. The ‘engineering’ sets are in 0.1 mm steps.

We can get multiple sets in metric for the price of one 115 pc US number and letter set. (aliexpress) That way if you break the 1mm drill you get another out of the cabinet.

And we still have a lot of letter and number drills for those that flunked metric.

Just get both a quality metric and English drill index... They aren't that expensive... And Chinese crap drills are not worth fucking with... The drills are softer than the coin you could get from your bank account instead.

We could also get one of those home gamer bulk sets from HD or HF that has like 20 of each size in 1/32 increments for people to grab and abuse in wood and drywall.

Pick out decent sets and just put it up for vote, they are more than makes sense to put on Warden budget, but not enough to worry about spending the money.

I'm going to say that using the closest metric size to English when you are planning to do anything involving tapping, doweling, or bolting is also no good. You need the right size, not something sorta close. Metric for metric taps and English for English taps.

How about a demonstration of “here is a drill bit, here’s how to select the right one, here’s how to use it properly, here’s what to do if you break one, here’s what happens to your kneecaps if you don’t put it away” for those of us that flunked shop class. Not an epic hour long explanation, just a fundamentals. May seem super intuitive but I am definitely a grabber of the one that looks close enough.

I have been a metric drill advocate for a long time. They can be had in sets with 0.05 increments. 0.05 mm is less than 0.002 inches. That is more than sufficient for any need I’ve had, both professionally and hobby-wise. It’s also a closer size step than 1/32 inches and all but the smallest number drills, which aren’t uniform in their size increments anyway. Small metric drills can be had with smaller size steps, too!

Being able to ditch letter, number, wire, fractional, decimal, and cubit drills in exchange for a single drill cabinet is liberating.

If it would please the hive, however, we can set up a drawer set with standard metric sizes and “metrify” the non-metric drills in metric size order.

We could either include the non-metric drills in the same order as the metric sizes or have a separate “non-uniform” order. Either way, the labeling for the non-metric drills could include whatever garbage it came from. Such as “6.35 1/4 E” (because 0.25 inches is in both fractional and letter sets) or “4.915 #10”.

@dave Schwinn - I’d be happy to go over drill types with you, but it’s honestly pretty simple. For the most part, typical High Speed Steel (HSS) or Cobalt Steel drills are good for most general use cases (we have mainly HSS drills, of various quality, but we also have a set of cobalt drills that is kept under the small mill). Both can be used for wood, aluminum, or steel, but the cobalt drills are harder, and can run at higher speed so they are easier to use and last longer. The HSS drills are easy to overheat and destroy their hardness, which is why we have so many drills that don’t drill in the black cabinet, but they are much cheaper, and perfectly suitable for wood and aluminum.

The big 115 pc sets (we have a near complete cobalt one, the HHS one is a disaster) include a full size set of english drill sizes including Wire guage sized drills, letter sized drills (yes, “T” is a legitimate drill size), and fractional inch sized drills. Those sets should really be reserved for situations where you need precision, like drilling for a tapped hole, or other alignment critical or fit critical applications. Metric equivalents of those sets exist, typically in 0.1 increments and are essential to have around if you do a lot of metric work. Again, these sets should only be used when truly needed, and handled with care. Any drills in the sets that break should be replaced individually to keep the sets whole. Its worth spending more on these to get something that isn’t garbage.

for general “I need a hole in my thing about this big” and rough construction situations, smaller selection sets exist, typically with only the fractional inch sizes or 0.5mm increments. They are also available as consumable sets, where you have a large number of each size so that when one breaks you don’t have to start cussing. Same with metric options. these sets are typically softer cheaper steel that wears out quicker, but you don’t care because cheap and it comes with many. It’s still worth spending a little to avoid the worst Chinese crap though, because ultra-cheap drills are legitimately a waste of money, they just don’t function due to being too soft and not properly formed/sharpened. They are worth less than the money you spend on them, even though it seems like a deal.

There are a million specialty drill types, like brad points, chisel/hammer drills, Forstner bits, spade bits, etc. but in general, they are corner case usage that if you need them you will find out then.

It would be nice to have a metric index at the have. I have aquired certain sizes for gun smithing over the years and have to admit for way to many years prior I always tried to get by with the wrong reamers and drill bits. Given they won’t be used a ton… however when used have to be quality, getting a good set is well worth it.

I had been debating putting up a vote for large drills for a while since we currently don't have any method for making large holes. If I were to put up a vote for improvement of Hive13's drill selection, this is what I'd propose:

Given that most of the holes drilled in HIve13 are clearance holes and not intended to be precision, a set of ‘disposable’ fractionals and metric for general use seems to be top priority.

A set of precision metrics and filling in the missing drills in our current ‘good’ letter numbers set seems prudent for precision use. The cost benefit trade-off between one source and another needs evaluation. I’d need to know the provenance and full specifications of a set bought through a US side source before saying a domestic supplier is better than a Chinese supplier. I’d bet that many US suppliers drills are actually made in China.

Given that there are a lot of pre-owned taper shank drills on the market through eBay, craigslist and auctions that seems to be a good path for acquiring larger bits. Buying adapters so these fit all the machines is good too. To be discussed is the priority and budget for this buy.


Are drill sharpeners any good for non-broken but much used bits? Or is is better to just replace them?

I have had bad luck with drill sharpeners, but sharpening by hand with a bench grinder is not hard to do for anything over 1/4". There are many good you tube videos for teaching it.