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Cheap drill bit sets

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Robin09/03/2020 12:18:53
539 forum posts

I got cheap drill bit sets, 1-6mm and 6-10mm in 0.1mm steps, good price.

I hate busted sets and religiously return drill bits to the case, usually the moment they come out of the chuck. Sadly other people are not so caring, the abhorent empty slots appear and I buy another two sets, they don't cost a lot.

But yesterday I was using my 0.1 step set as shim and started measuring them. In the 6.0 to 10.0 set I found 10 repeats. Most odd, surely the measured diameter needs to be within 0.1mm of the stamped on diameter for this 0.1mm set idea to work? You would think?

I have also been caught out in the past by sets having strange helix angles and dubious HSS chemistry. Caveat emptor indeed.

Whatever, I just bit the bullet and bought 2 plastic cases of 118 degree Dormer Jobber bits from Amazon for £194, but will they be up to expectation or am I in for another disappointment? I am still buying on price and hoping the Dormer brand will protect me from my own foolishness.

Am I right?

Edited By Robin on 09/03/2020 12:22:45

Steviegtr09/03/2020 12:28:56
2422 forum posts
336 photos

I would certainly think Dormer or Presto bits will be perfect. Never had a bad one.


Andrew Johnston09/03/2020 12:43:31
6575 forum posts
701 photos

It's not easy to measure the working end of a drill bit, but it should be better than 0.01mm. On my Dormer drill sets the shanks (easier to measure) are 0.01/0.03mm smaller than nominal size as the drill bits are ground on a slight taper. There are two rules for buying cutting tools:

Rule 1: Don't buy cheap cutting tools

Rule 2: See rule 1

The cheap sets at a 'good' price are nothing of the sort. If they're poor quality then any price is too expensive.

I stock up on my drills once or twice a year. All cutting tools wear and need replacing, although I drive my tooling fairly hard. In the smaller sizes the Dormer A002 drills are fairly cheap so although I have the wherewithal to sharpen them, it's simply not worthwhile. I'd rather spend the time making parts.


JasonB09/03/2020 13:00:40
22582 forum posts
2637 photos
1 articles

Even Dormer make different qualities so without knowing what you bought hard to say but should be better than real cheapies. Like Andrew I use their A002 Jobbers and also their A022 Stub length bits at least for 10mm and below above that I may go for something a bit less expensive such as Hertel or Guhring. Slowly filling my sets with these as and when they need replacing.

SillyOldDuffer09/03/2020 14:49:53
8492 forum posts
1896 photos

Posted by Robin on 09/03/2020 12:18:53:...

I am still buying on price and hoping the Dormer brand will protect me from my own foolishness.

Am I right?

Fraid not - nothing on God's Earth can possibly save us from our own foolishness!

As far as I know the Dormer brand is still solid even though they're not been made in England for many years. Not true of others - quite often when companies shut down their brands are sold to the highest bidder. What happens to the product is down to the new owner, good or bad. Sometimes very bad! Always check Brand names are still trustworthy before buying, and watch out for counterfeits.

I prefer to buy mid-range rather than cheap drill sets and them replace individual drills as they wear out. I use certain sizes much more than others, and buy them in bulk. Tracy Tools and ArcEuro drills have been OK for me.

DIY store sets are - I think - aimed at woodworkers and quick, dirty DIY jobs. The cheapest sets are disappointing rather than outright rubbish. Worst drills I ever bought came from a local market stall - nice box, impressive name, bargain price, but turned out to be carbon steel, with only the very tip hardened. Serves me right!


Dave Wootton09/03/2020 15:39:55
290 forum posts
65 photos

I recently bought a set of ARC Euro split point TIN coated drills 1-6mm , so pleased with them I bought a set of the 6-10mm equally happy with them. Not the cheapest but accurate and seem to be lasting well.

Also found the ground finish drill sets from Chronos are very good value, accurate and last well.

I ordered some Presto branded drill sets( in blue plastic boxes) for work and was very dissapointed , don't know where they were made, but I bet it wasn't Sheffield , some had to be sharpened before they would cut to size, and a few so brittle they broke, didn't go down well at all!



Edited By Dave Wootton on 09/03/2020 15:40:50

Baz09/03/2020 15:58:19
713 forum posts
2 photos

Despite not being UK made Dormer drills are still excellent quality, I believe Dormer is now part of the Sandvik empire, well known in industry for their tungsten carbide tips and tooling.

John Hinkley09/03/2020 17:01:04
1306 forum posts
424 photos

For what it's worth, John Mills, aka Doubleboost on youTube, has bought a cople of sets of Cleveland drill bits which he reckons are the dogs danglies (he calls them something different). I see Cromwell are selling them at £5.99 a pop for 19 drills from 1 to 10mm in 0.5mm increments. A bit cheaper than the Dormer offerings! Might be worth a punt?

Link to Cromwells



Edited By John Hinkley on 09/03/2020 17:01:38

Oven Man09/03/2020 17:02:33
179 forum posts
31 photos

The larger sizes of Dormer drills are/were made in Brazil. We built a quite sophisticated heat treatment furnace for Dormer when they were manufacturing in the UK. When they shut the UK plant and shifted everything to Brazil one of my colleagues went out there to recomission it.

old mart09/03/2020 17:21:26
3721 forum posts
233 photos

It would also be worth buying some of the most used sizes and keep the set for best. I buy drills in lots from ebay suppliers, such as "cnc poor boy" who sell top brand names. Your investment also makes having a decent drill sharpener worth while. I'm sure there will be some recommendations based on actual experience for a sharpener. I use a Proxxon one at the museum, it can manage drills from 3/16" to about 9/16". The smaller drills are too short to fit in the machine without putting them in an er8 straight shanked collet of similar. It can give good results with practice.

Lathejack09/03/2020 18:38:13
311 forum posts
329 photos

We buy new Dormer drill bits at work, from 1/16 up to 1/2 inch, these are mostly made in Brazil and are always excellent, but they sometimes turn up made in the UK and also Spain.

At home I also have sets of the low cost drill bits that I bought several years ago, 1-6 & 6-10mm in 0.1 steps, which both come in a nice fold up steel box and cost around £18 per set.

These are still quite good drill bits having a bright ground finish shank and ground flutes, but the cutting face on the end has clearly been ground by hand held methods. They all cut but the point is not always central due to uneven grinding of the cutting edges, which results in an oversize hole if drilled without a pilot hole, one of the 6mm drills produced a perfect 1/4 inch hole.

Robin09/03/2020 19:48:11
539 forum posts

I am still hopeful. Not quite as confident as I was but hopeful. The bits may have rather wishy washy Brazilian plastic cases but that I can live with... wink

Back in the day Picador made lovely, snug fitting cast alloy drill stands, but I suppose they all predated the 0.1mm sets.

Alistair Robertson 109/03/2020 20:37:08
144 forum posts
6 photos

I see John has bought a couple of sets of Cleveland drills, probably made in Brazil and for the money perfectly adequate but Cleveland Drills etc, used to be made in Peterhead, Scotland, 15 miles from me. I still have some smaller sized drills but the biggest I now have is 1 1/32".

I had some up to 2" although hardly ever used and about 10 years ago I put out the word that I was clearing my stores. Well within the week I had four engineers from the oil industry looking over my stock and every drill (about 125) I was selling was gone and at about 6 to 10 times the price I had bought them for! I bought a new car and took the good lady on a holiday to Jersey on the proceeds! One drill went for more than £500 and the guy said that they were the only drills that would work on some of the exotics the were using for their products.

Sadly production ceased in the late 1980's. A lot of financial shenanigans that went on was the principal cause.

Harry Wilkes09/03/2020 22:40:22
1325 forum posts
65 photos

They might be the 'dogs danglies' but at £4.99 P&P that's taking the pee


Lathejack09/03/2020 22:49:37
311 forum posts
329 photos

Dormer Drills used to have a factory here in Worksop, just a couple of miles down the road from me. It closed down some years ago and I think the buildings were demolished.

 I can remember using some Nachi drill bits at work about 25 years ago, which I think we're made in Japan, a couple of the larger one broke near the 3 morse taper revealing a very course grain structure.

Edited By Lathejack on 09/03/2020 22:57:01

John Hinkley09/03/2020 22:52:18
1306 forum posts
424 photos

Can I just reiterate that it wasn't me that bought the Cleveland drills - it was the youTuber, Doubleboost. I just did a search and Cromwell's offering was one of the first to come up. Although I have personally never used this firm, I am lead to believe from various posts on this and other sites that they have a reputation for supplying quality goods. I have to say I was amazed at the price quoted for the drills. If I was in the market for drills I would be inclined to buy some just to try them out.


Hollowpoint10/03/2020 09:30:23
465 forum posts
56 photos

You won't go too far wrong with Dormer, like others have said they seem to be made predominantly in Brazil now but Ive had also seen them stamped France, Sweden etc. Luckily they have kept quality high. I use them regularly.


Presto are also good but recently I've noticed a lot cropping up cheap. I have a feeling some of these are fake! If the bits aren't stamped or etched with presto on the side I would be very wary. Think about it, how hard would it be to fill a presto box with chinese bits?


Cleveland bits are also excellent, though ive only ever tested old UK made ones.


Finally some other brands Ive found to be good are. Guhring, SKF, Clarkson, Hall, Osborne and Sherwood.

Edited By Hollowpoint on 10/03/2020 09:34:05

Chris Evans 610/03/2020 09:52:25
2050 forum posts

Get your self signed up to receive the monthly offer sheet from MSC I have two of their sets by 0.10 1 to 5.9 and 6 to 10 very good prices and up to the job. I only use these "Posh" sets for accurate work, for general day to day stuff I just rummage through my boxes of used stuff.

I did buy a Guhring set once but had to grind nearly every drill to make them cut.

Robin10/03/2020 11:00:26
539 forum posts

I think I will be hiding the Dormer bits in my car boot for Sunday best, the hoi poloy can make do with the cheaper sets smiley

I just got a message from Amazon to say they are out for delivery today which certainly warrants a plug... (touch wood).

ega10/03/2020 11:15:34
2499 forum posts
200 photos
Posted by Hollowpoint on 10/03/2020 09:30:23:

You won't go too far wrong with Dormer, like others have said they seem to be made predominantly in Brazil now but Ive had also seen them stamped France, Sweden etc. Luckily they have kept quality high. I use them regularly.


I have numerous Dormer drills (= English Steel Co?), mostly marked "DORMER ENGLAND"; presumably they were made in England?

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