Power Drills: How to Easily Measure Drill Bit Sizes

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Written By John Gibbs

 

 

 

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Are you looking for an easy guide to help you figure out how to measure drill bit size? If so, you’ve come to the right place! This guide will provide you with the information you need to accurately measure the size of your drill bit and determine the right size for your project. We’ll explain the different methods of measurement, what tools you’ll need, and the most accurate measurements for different types of drill bits. By the end of this guide, you’ll be an expert on how to measure drill bit size.

What is a Drill Bit?

What Is A Drill Bit?

A drill bit is a cutting tool used to create cylindrical holes in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and stone. The most common drill bit sizes are fractional inch (1/16″, 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 5/8″, 11/16″, 3/4″, 13/16″, 7/8″, 15/16″) and metric (2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm).

Drill bits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the most common drill bit types are: twist drill bits, spade bits, forstner bits, masonry bits, auger bits, and step drill bits. Each type of drill bit is designed for a specific purpose and is best suited for certain materials.

The most common drill bit size is determined by the material and the job. For instance, a 1/16″ drill bit is suitable for drilling through thin sheet metal, while a 1/2″ bit would be needed to drill through a thick piece of wood. When selecting a drill bit size, it is important to consider the material being drilled, the type of hole being drilled, and the size of the hole needed.

Drill bit type Common drill bit sizes
Twist drill bit 1/16″ – 1/2″
Spade bit 3/8″ – 3″
Forstner bit 1/4″ – 2″
Masonry bit 1/4″ – 1″
Auger bit 1/2″ – 1 1/2″
Step drill bit 1/8″ – 1/2″

Common Drill Bit Sizes

Common Drill Bit Sizes

Drill bits come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and knowing the correct size for the job is essential for successful drilling. The most commonly used drill bits are numbered from 1/64 of an inch to 1/2 of an inch.

The most common drill bit sizes are:

  • 1/64 inch
  • 1/32 inch
  • 3/64 inch
  • 1/16 inch
  • 5/64 inch
  • 3/32 inch
  • 7/64 inch
  • 1/8 inch
  • 9/64 inch
  • 5/32 inch
  • 11/64 inch
  • 3/16 inch
  • 13/64 inch
  • 7/32 inch
  • 15/64 inch
  • 1/4 inch
  • 17/64 inch
  • 9/32 inch
  • 19/64 inch
  • 5/16 inch
  • 21/64 inch
  • 11/32 inch
  • 23/64 inch
  • 3/8 inch
  • 25/64 inch
  • 13/32 inch
  • 27/64 inch
  • 7/16 inch
  • 29/64 inch
  • 15/32 inch
  • 31/64 inch
  • 1/2 inch

If you’re unsure of what size drill bit you need for a project, you can use a drill bit gauge to measure the bit you already have and determine its size. Alternatively, you can search the web for ‘what size is my drill bit’ to get the answer.

How to Measure Drill Bit Size

How To Measure Drill Bit Size

Lay Drill Bit Flush on a Flat Surface

To accurately measure a drill bit, it must be laid flush on a flat surface. This will ensure that the measurement is taken correctly and that the drill bit is not skewed or off-center.

Estimate the Size of the Drill Bit by Eye

Before measuring a drill bit, it is important to make an initial estimation of its size by eye. This will help to narrow down the possible sizes that the drill bit could be.

Measure the Diameter of the Drill Bit

The diameter of the drill bit can be accurately measured with a caliper. Place the caliper on the drill bit and adjust the caliper until it fits snugly. Read the measurement on the caliper and this will give you the diameter of the drill bit.

Measure the Length of the Drill Bit

The length of the drill bit can be measured using a ruler. Place the drill bit lengthwise along the ruler and measure from the tip of the drill bit to the end of the shank.

Measure the Shank Diameter of the Drill Bit

The shank diameter of the drill bit is the diameter of the shank at its widest point. This can be measured using the same caliper used to measure the diameter of the drill bit. Place the caliper on the shank of the drill bit and adjust until it fits snugly. Read the measurement on the caliper and this will give you the shank diameter of the drill bit.
Once all these measurements have been taken, you will be able to accurately determine the size of the drill bit.

How to Determine What Size Drill Bit You Need

How To Determine What Size Drill Bit You Need

To determine the size of drill bit you need, you must measure the diameter of the hole you wish to create. To measure the diameter of the hole accurately, use either a vernier caliper or a ruler.

If you’re using a vernier caliper, open the jaws of the caliper and slide the tool around the hole until the jaws fit snugly. Then, read the measurement on the side of the caliper, and use that measurement to determine the size of drill bit you need.

If you’re using a ruler, measure the inside diameter of the hole and use that measurement to determine the size of drill bit you need.

Once you know the required drill bit size, you’ll need to select a drill bit of the correct size and shape. For most projects, a standard twist drill bit is the best option. If you need to create a hole with a specific shape, such as a hexagon or a star, you’ll need to purchase a drill bit that is designed specifically for that shape.

When purchasing drill bits, always make sure to buy bits that are designed for the material you’re drilling. Choosing the wrong drill bit for the material can result in damage to the material or even injury.

Once you’ve selected the correct drill bit, you’re ready to start drilling. With the right drill bit size, you can create holes of any size and shape with ease.

How to Find the Right Drill Bit for Your Project

How To Find The Right Drill Bit For Your Project

Finding the right drill bit size for your project is essential to ensure accuracy and precision. It is important to measure the drill bit size correctly, as it can affect the overall quality of your work. Here are some tips to help you find the right drill bit size for your project.

Check the Drill Bit Size Chart

To find the right drill bit size, you will need to refer to a drill bit size chart. You can find these charts online, or in most hardware stores. These charts typically list the drill bit size in standard, metric, and fractional measurements.

Consider the Diameter of Your Drill Bit

The diameter of the drill bit is the most important factor when choosing the right size for your project. The diameter of the drill bit is measured in millimeters or fractions of an inch. To determine the correct drill bit size, you need to measure the diameter of the hole you are drilling.

Measure the Drill Bit Shank

The drill bit shank is the part of the drill bit that fits into the drill chuck. The shank is typically measured in millimeters or fractions of an inch. To determine the right size drill bit for your project, measure the diameter of the shank and compare it to the drill bit size chart.

Check the Flute Length

The flute length is the length of the cutting edge of the drill bit. The flute length is measured in millimeters or fractions of an inch. To determine the correct drill bit size for your project, measure the flute length and compare it to the drill bit size chart.

Compare the Measurements

Once you have taken all the measurements, compare them to the drill bit size chart. This will help you find the right drill bit size for your project.

Table: Drill Bit Size Chart

Size Standard Metric Fractional
#1 1/16″ 1.5mm 1/16″
#2 3/32″ 2.5mm 3/32″
#3 7/64″ 3.2mm 7/64″
#4 1/8″ 4.0mm 1/8″
#5 9/64″ 4.8mm 9/64″
#6 5/32″ 6.0mm 5/32″
#7 11/64″ 6.5mm 11/64″
#8 3/16″ 7.0mm 3/16″
#9 13/64″ 7.5mm 13/64″
#10 7/32″ 8.0mm 7/32″
#11 15/64″ 8.5mm 15/64″
#12 1/4″ 9.0mm 1/4″

Using these tips, you can easily find the right drill bit size for your project. Remember to measure the drill bit size carefully and compare it to the drill bit size chart to ensure accuracy and precision.

Marking on Drill Bits

Marking On Drill Bits

  • Wire Gauge: This is the most common marking system and is primarily used for smaller drill bits. It is marked with a number that denotes its size. The higher the number, the smaller the bit.
  • Letter Gauge: This system is used for larger drill bits and starts with the letter A and then letter B, C, and so on up to Z. The larger the letter, the larger the drill bit size.
  • Fractional Inch: This is the most popular system among professionals and is marked with fractions e.g. ¼”, ⅜”, etc. The higher the fraction, the larger the drill bit size.
  • Metric: This system is used mainly in Europe and is marked with millimeters. The higher the mm size, the larger the drill bit size.

Drill Bit Care and Maintenance

It is important to take proper care of your drill bit to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. A few simple steps can help extend the life of your drill bit and minimize wear and tear.

Cleaning: After each use, it is important to clean your drill bit. Wipe away any debris or residue from the bit with a clean cloth. Also make sure to remove any excess oil or lubricant from the bit.

Storage: Store your drill bits in a dry and well-ventilated area. Avoid storing drill bits in places where they may be exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures.

Sharpening: If your drill bit is beginning to show signs of wear, it may be time to sharpen it. A sharpening stone or hand file can be used to sharpen the bit. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the proper sharpening technique is used.

Replacement: If your drill bit is severely worn or damaged, it may be time to replace it. Make sure to choose the right size drill bit for the job and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and maintenance.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure your drill bit will last longer and perform optimally.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of drill bit should I use for different applications?

  • Wood: For drilling into wood, a twist drill bit is the most common type. It has a point at the tip that helps to guide the bit into the material. For larger holes, a Spade bit or Forstner bit can be used. Both of these types have flat cutting edges that can create a clean, flat-bottomed hole.
  • Metal: For drilling into metal, a cobalt or titanium drill bit is recommended. These bits are designed to stay sharp and resist wear when drilling through hard materials. They also can handle higher temperatures created by the friction of drilling.
  • Masonry: For drilling into masonry, a masonry drill bit is needed. These bits are made of hardened steel and have a tip that is designed to break through the material. They also have flutes along the length of the bit that help to remove debris.
  • Plastic: For drilling into plastic, a brad-point bit is recommended. These bits have a sharp point that helps to guide the bit into the material and a cutting edge that helps to cut through the material. When drilling into plastic, it is important to go slow and use lubricating oil to reduce friction.

What is the Difference Between Measuring a Drill Bit in Fractions and in Metric Sizes?

Fractions:

  • Fractional sizing is based on the imperial system.
  • The size is indicated in fractions of an inch.
  • The size of a drill bit is determined by the drill bit’s diameter.
  • The most common fractional drill bit sizes range from 1/64 to 1/2 inch.

Metric:

  • Metric sizing is based on the metric system.
  • The size is indicated in millimeters (mm).
  • The size of a drill bit is determined by the drill bit’s diameter.
  • The most common metric drill bit sizes range from 0.5 mm to 10 mm.

How do I measure a drill bit accurately?

  • Check the SAE drill bit size: Use a ruler to measure the length of the drill bit from the tip to the start of the flutes. The measurement should be in inches and will correspond to the SAE drill bit size.
  • Check the metric drill bit size: Measure the diameter of the drill bit with a metric ruler. This will correspond to the metric drill bit size.
  • Check the twist drill size: Measure the diameter of the drill bit with a vernier caliper. This will correspond to the twist drill size.
  • Check the fractional drill bit size: Measure the diameter of the drill bit with a vernier caliper. This will correspond to the fractional drill bit size.

How do I determine the right size drill bit for a particular application?

When selecting a drill bit size, the primary considerations are the size of the material being drilled and the desired depth of the hole. The drill bit should be chosen to match both the size and depth of the hole. To determine the right size drill bit, use a drill bit size chart to match the material’s thickness to the correct diameter. The chart indicates the correct size drill bit for a given material, ranging from very thin sheet metal to thick steel plate. Additionally, the chart provides an indication of the maximum hole depth for each size. To ensure accuracy, use a drill bit size calculator to calculate the exact drill bit size for the desired hole depth.

Are there any special considerations to take into account when measuring a drill bit?

When measuring a drill bit, there are certain considerations to keep in mind:

  • Size of the drill bit: Different sizes of the drill bit require different measurements. For example, a 1/16-inch drill bit requires a different measurement than a 1/4-inch drill bit.
  • Type of drill bit: There are different types of drill bits designed for different tasks, such as spade bits, twist bits, step drill bits, and more. Each type of drill bit requires different measurements.
  • Material of the drill bit: The material of the drill bit also needs to be taken into consideration when measuring. For example, a steel drill bit is typically measured differently than a carbide drill bit.
  • Length of the drill bit: The length of the drill bit must also be taken into account when measuring. Longer drill bits require different measurements than shorter drill bits.

By taking these considerations into account, you can be sure to get the right measurement for your drill bit.

Conclusion

Measuring drill bit size can be a difficult task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be a relatively simple process. Using a drill bit size chart or a caliper can provide you with an accurate measurement. Additionally, you can measure drill bit size by comparing it to a ruler or measuring tape. With these guidelines, you can accurately measure drill bit size and find the right measurement for your project.

References

 

About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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