Drilling hard and tough materials such as porcelain, ceramic, stone, glass, and marble needs some extra cutting power. Twist diamond tip drill bits have little pieces of diamonds embedded in the metal base. Diamond drill bit is particularly useful in bathroom and kitchen applications to make holes in tiles for vanities and mount towel racks. Read our article to find out what tool you should purchase and, most importantly, how to use it correctly.
Diamond Drill Bit: what are they and why do you need them
Typical diamond drill bit comes in a range of diameters up to 2″. Larger holes are made with core bits (read our best diamond hole saws review).
Into the metal structure of the drill bit tip are embedded industrial grade diamonds. Drill bits that cut faster has a shorter lifetime, at a slower rate and proper cooling the life of the tool can be extremely long. The more the number of diamonds, the higher durability is. Light-set bits with less crystals drill more aggressively and wears out faster.
Electroplated, or coated diamonds are bonded to the drill bit using nickel in a single layer, and although they won’t last as long as sintered, they are a cheaper alternative.
Sintered diamond drill bits – the diamond grit has been bonded to the matrix at very high temperatures and therefore has several layers of diamonds which by dressing or cleaning with an aluminium oxide stone will help maintain the life of your drill bit or burr revealing a new layer of diamonds each time.
Electroplated diamonds are coated onto the drill bit tip in a single layer, these are the cheapest and popular tools for DIY and home use. “Sintered” bits have several diamond layers of diamonds and they are expensive professional tools with a long lifespan. Sintered diamond drill bits are popular among stone carvers, sculptors and glass engravers.
Using diamond drill bits on soft plastic and soft wood will clog up the diamonds. Do not use these bits to drill steel and iron, it can chemically react with a carbon in diamonds. Drilling in these materials can be done efficiently with HSS, cobalt and carbide bits (read our cobalt vs carbide drill bits).
Diamond Drill Bits for Stone
Drilling the stone is a hard task, and I prefer to use Bosch type diamond tip drill bits. I have drilled a lot of stone tile and they work better than twist bits. With Bosch bits you can even put the bit on the stone and hit back of it with a hand to make a start.
Some handymen use SDS bits without hammering mode, but in my experience they are more prone to cracking and chipping of stone.
When drilling holes in stone, always cool the drill bit with water and do not overheat it to avoid damaging. It isn’t difficult, just try holding a wet sponge near the bit whilst drilling and moisten the tool with water.
Using centering aid for diamond tip drill bits helps a lot. It saves working time and increases the quality, preciseness and quality of the holes. The tool has a suction cup to place it tightly on the surface provides reliable adhesion. Bosch aid is mostly made of plastic (?3.52 ounces) and comes with the cooling system that works very well with hard stone tiles.
Dewalt Diamond Drill Bit
Dewalt Diamond Drill Bit – 5/16″, 5/8″, 3/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 1/2″, 1″ or 1 1/3″
Good idea here is to work with the bit submerged in water pool made of a clay ring around the working area.
Diamond tip dremel bits are is designed for durability and efficient cooling with reverse spiral thread to deliver continuous water feed for increased speed and dust removal. The tool is great for drilling in granite and quartz.
Be patient, don’t hurry and keep firm pressure, the bit will do the work under the weight of the drill. You can also use an aid or template to make a start. With a diamond tool you are able to achieve perfect results!
Drilling holes in glass
Before drilling a glass you should check if it is tempered. If it is tempered, do not try to drill it. If you even will edge sand it, the entire pane will shatter into small pieces about 1/4″. Sometimes toughened (not tempered) glass can be successfully drilled, but the balance of the tensile stresses will be interrupted. It may shatter into a pieces at any time.
Nevertheless, you can drill a hole in the glass with diamond bit. Put the glass on straight surface and secure it, make a pool of water or WD40 around the hole. With a lubricated bit, all you need is to take your time and drill with light, constant pressure at a slow speed. Overheating and high force increase the likelihood of cracking or fracturing the glass.
Using proper diamond drill bit in drill press and with soft even pressure will definitely give you successful result.
Diamond tools are not that expensive nowadays and they are very effective. In my experience, problems are more often associated with misuse of bits than with bad quality. Try and you will succeed!