3D Drill Bit – drilling 90 degree holes

A technique straight from the oil fields, there are ways of drilling around a corner when it is needed.  It requires a unique drill bit to achieve it, with cutting surfaces on the face, side and even the back of this drill bit, which could be described as a specialised forsner bit.

3D Drill Bit

3D Drill Bit

In this test, I started from the top surface, drilling vertically, then once I had a clean entry (and the head of the bit was fully below the surface), I then started drilling around the corner, popping out the end as you can see here, the upper of the two end-grain holes.  Next, I started the second, lower hole and angled up during the drilling process, breaking into the original curved hole.

It was quite interesting trying the technique out, and this is promoted by the Swedish inventors as the only bit in the world that has this design. Catalogue here.

Perhaps not a tool for fine woodworking, but certainly for plumbers and electricians it would be handy indeed.

I found the bit could get away from you when starting – having cutting ability on all surfaces means if you don’t control it properly, it can start cutting sideways.  The entire unit is high speed steel, so is able to be sharpened easily, and it can take some abuse.  Drilling around a corner with a solid carbide bit would result in lots of shrapnel.  TCT would be quite interesting.  The bits could be finished better- some final dressing with a fine-grade diamond file wouldn’t go astray.

While in the hole, the bit doesn’t suffer the same as some other bits where trapped chips cause the bit to quickly overheat.  Because it has cutting surfaces all around, a chip that would otherwise cause a heating problem just gets turned to dust by the other surfaces.  I was pleasantly surprised how cool these bits operated.

Cutting all round

Cutting all round

I tried the “surface groove” technique (using the bit like a surrogate router bit to cut a trench), but it is a technique that needs a skilled hand – I just kept having the bit jump out of the trench and run over the surface.

Drilling around a corner

Drilling around a corner

The first couple of inches of the shaft has three faces on it which is a good design – gives the 3 jaw chuck of your drill a very good surface to fully engage with – I’d be surprised if bit slippage is ever an issue because of it!

The Octuplets

The Octuplets

This is the set that Professional Woodworkers Supplies is evaluating, and should be able to be seen at the Alternate Wood Show next weekend.

3 Responses

  1. Very interesting. I might get some for the blokes in Malawi!!

  2. Very nice..Where can I get a set?

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