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Instructions on How to Use Diamond Drill Bits – Keeping Cool and On Target

Drilax Diamond Hole Saw Diamond Drill Bit

How to Use Diamond Drill Bits

Keeping Diamond Hole Saws Cool and On Target

How to Use Diamond Hole Saw

How to Use Diamond Drill Bits

In this post, we will try to give you some basic DIY information on how to use diamond drill bits and How to Use Diamond Hole Saws. Generally speaking, diamond drill bits – diamond hole saws are used on brittle materials such as ceramics, porcelain, glass, granite, marble, quartz, tiles, etc. To see our selection of diamond drill bits please visit our store. You can also visit our Amazon Store

What is a diamond drill bit?

We usually start giving instructions and tips about tools before we address a simple question: What is a diamond drill bit? A diamond drill bit is nickel coated metal circular piece (a tube) with a shank for the drill. The rim of the circular tube is coated with artificial diamond abrasive particles. And these diamond abrasive particles do all the work. Although these tools are called drill bits, the main working principle is the grinding action. Diamond abrasive particles adhered to the rim of the diamond hole saw grinds away the material in a circle and a hole is formed by removing a core plug. The first image below shows how the grinding away starts.

5/16 inch Diamond Drill Bit
What is a diamond drill bit
Grinding Action After 30 Seconds

 

Removal of a core plug of quartz
Completed Hole in Quartz

 

How long does a diamond drill bit last?

One of the main differences between a regular drill bit and diamond drill bits: you can not sharpen diamond drill bits. Diamond drill bits will last as long as you keep the diamond abrasive particles on the rim of the bit. There are two kinds of diamond drill bits:

1- Electroplated Diamond Drill Bits

These type of diamond drill bits are often considered as light to medium duty tools. The diamond abrasive particles adhere to the rim with a metallic bond. If the tools are overused or abused, the increased temperature will cause the bond to break. The diamond abrasives will be gone and the diamond hole saw rim will have no grinding action left. You can not sharpen or reattach the diamond particles. If the diamond drill bit is used properly, it will last a long time and will serve very well. Please see our posts on how to use diamond drill bits keeping them cool and on target. One of our previous customers posted a comparison of two Drilax diamond drill bits, one of the unused and the other used 4 times.

While using our standard diamond drill bits, it’s important to recognize these basic principles. In a product review, one of our customers says:

“Great product, excellent value!
Purchased this for a couple of holes for installing floor tile… nothing fancy, just your typical ceramic tile. Use it wet and dry with my 18volt drill… did the trick with ease. Trade advice, let the tool and bit do the work, no need to put that extra muscle on it.”
Here the product in question is our 1-1/4 inch Diamond Drill Bit.

 

2- Heavy Duty Sintered Diamond Drill Bits

The heavy-duty type diamond drill bits, diamond hole saws have the diamond abrasives embedded in the metal itself. There are no visible diamond particles on the rim. These types of tools will last hundreds of times and they could be used dry. However, we always suggest using water for better performance. In this picture below, you can see one of our heavy-duty diamond hole saw for concrete or masonry drilling.

4 inch Diameter Heavy Duty Diamond Hole Saw
4-inch Diameter Heavy Duty Diamond Hole Saw for Concrete, Bricks, Cinder Blocks

 

These Drilax Heavy Duty Concrete Hole Saws can be used with regular drills because they have standard 3/8 shanks for standard chucks. One of our customers has posted a few pictures of the 4-inch holes they drilled with Drilax Heavy Duty 4 inch Diamond Hole Saw.  He was very happy with the results.

4 inch Diamond Hole Saw

2 inch Diamond Hole Saw for Concrete

 

In addition to these models, we also have Professional Series Heavy – Duty Diamond Hole Saws for very deep drilling.

Drilax Concrete Diamond Hole saw

Using water for cooling the tool is important. Here are ways to keep the tool to prevent overheating:

Build a Small Water Dam

Plumbers putty is great for building a mini water dam around the hole area.

Water Dam Putty

Positioning the diamond drill bit can be a challenge and it is an important part of how to use diamond drill bits. Here are some of the ways you can start drilling the hole:

Start the Hole At an Angle

Pilots drill bits are not useful when it comes to drilling brittle materials. To drill holes in porcelain or ceramic tile, glass or granite,  start the hole at an angle and slowly work it straight.

Starting Diamond Hole Saw Drilling

Drilling Porcelain Tiles

Here is a close up for “starting the diamond hole saw at an angle”

How to use diamond drill bits

You can go up straight, once you for a C Slot cut in the material:

As an alternative, you can use one of our sets that come with a foam insert guide.

Diamond hole saw set with foam insert guide

You can also use our adjustable guide for positioning the diamond hole saw. You can see our instructions on how to use diamond drill bits with guides here. One of the helpful tips about using our guide is this: run your drill in the reverse direction. Diamond hole saws will work in either direction, by running the drill in reverse you will make sure thumb screws never get lose.

Drilax Diamond Hole Saw Guide

DIY TIPS 

1- This is a guide for diamond hole saws and its main function is to get the hole started on the right spot. Once the hole has started, the diamond hole saw will continue drilling. You will not have to use the guide all the way through the hole. After 1 minute of drilling, you can remove the guide. Guide and the ball bearings do not have to there for the whole duration of the process.

2- Diamond hole saw applications require water for cooling. Thanks to this water, the dust turns into mud. If water is used, there should not be any dust to contaminate the work area.

3- Diamond hole saws will cut in either direction. You can run your drill counterclockwise. If you use the drill counterclockwise, it will tighten all the nuts as you go. You won’t need to worry about loose nuts and bolts.

4- This is a very versatile product and you can use it with or without the second plate. If you remove the plate, the V shape notch will be enough to start the hole. Once again, you do not need the guide for the whole duration of the drilling.

Drilax Diamond Hole Saw Guide Kitchen

Perfect Hole in Tile

This is how you can achieve results with Drilax Diamond Drill Bits.

Drilax Diamond Hole Saw Set Guide

 

Using Diamond Drill Bits for Jewelry Making

Diamond Drill Bits for Stone Jewelry:

We also carry very small diamond drill bits with diameters of 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 2,5mm, and 3mm. These are mostly used by artists for drilling holes in precious stones, seashells, sea glass, rocks, beads, etc.

Twist Diamond Drill Bit Set
Twist Diamond Drill Bit Set for Jewelry Making

Sea Glass Drilling
Drilling Holes in Sea Glass

 

Over the years, we have gathered these suggestions on how to drill sea glass to make jewelry:

DIY TIP 1: A high-speed tool works best, speed is important, not pressure.

DIY TIP 2: Cooling is important. Keep the hole you’re cutting constantly bathed in water. You can feed water to the drilling spot, always keeping it wet. Or you can submerge the whole piece in water in a plastic container. DO NOT SUBMERGE any electric tools. 

DIY TIP 3: Start at an angle, use MINIMAL pressure on the drill, just enough to let the diamond abrasive grind away the material. Once you make the initial mark, go upright vertical. Using pressure will just damage the drill bit and not get you there any sooner.

DIY TIP 4: You should clean the tip of the bit with water every 10-15 seconds.

Along with these tips, practice is required. There are many bits in the case, a few of them may be imperfect. Just try a different one. If you received too many imperfect bits, just let us know and we will replace them for you.

One of our recent clients has posted this picture and wrote about her experience with Drilax diamond drills bit for jewelry:

“I needed bits that could drill through porcelain and these are PERFECT!
I place the porcelain on a wet sponge in a small Tupperware container to make sure the bit is always wet and it takes about a minute to drill completely through. I’M SO HAPPY”

diamond drill bit for jewelry

Tub Drain Project

Using one of the larger Drilax Diamond Holes, this project for tub drain is completed. The small hole is for water pipes.

Tub Drain Hole Tiles

How much are diamond drill bits?

We have a very wide range of sizes, depth of cut, and types of tools. The average price of a diamond drill bit if purchases in a set could be as low as 2 dollars. We also have monster size diamond drill bit holes saws with 6, 7, 7-1/2, 8 inches diameter, their prices can be over 100 dollars.

How to make lamps out of wine bottles?

This is one of the questions we receive frequently especially during the holiday seasons. The question is concerned with “drilling holes in glass bottles” for different decorating ideas.

The recommended tool for this task is a diamond drill bit.  Most people find it hard to believe but you can actually drill very clean holes in glass bottles or blocks to make lamps or other decorations. The holes are mostly needed to run the electric cables or bulbs.

There have been some out of date discussions on the internet that will recommend regular drill bits or types of carbide drill bits for glass.  Diamond drill bits will produce the best results. Some people do not know about the new technology diamond drill bits. For more information and instructions on how to use diamond drill bits, please visit our instructions page.

We always urge you to practice safety and patience. You can be successful if you follow the basic tips.

Pay attention to these when drilling holes in glass bottles:

  • It is a good idea to practice on some junk bottles before doing the actual projects.
  • AT ALL TIMES wear safety goggles and protective thick gloves.
  • Please do NOT push the drill bit hard, it’s the grinding action that will do the work.
  • Be patient and go slow.
  • Keep the tools cool with water – do NOT submerge any electric tools in water.

You can prefer the side of the bottle and not the bottom. Bottoms are extra thick for drilling.

Tools and Materials

  • You can use a hand drill (electric or cordless) or you can use a drill press.
  • You need some kind of a cushion-like a thick table cloth or folded towel between the bottle and work surface.
  • Some types of protective gloves, like leather or such.
  • Water for cooling.
  • Drilax diamond drill bits

There are two areas of focus here:

  1. Keeping the diamond drill bit cool: Electroplated diamond coating will wear off if the tool gets too hot.  Never let your drill bit run dry.  Here is how you could use water to keep the tool cool:
    a- You can build a mini water dam around the hole with plumbers putty.
    b- You can choose to spray water on the drill bit.
    c- Or you can use running water to cool the drill bit.
  2. Keeping the drill bit in position

If you are using a drill press positioning is not much of a challenge. But if you are using a hand drill, it could be more difficult.

With hand drills, we recommend using a piece of thick cardboard or plastic with a hole as your guide.

Please refer to our post about this topic.

Why Not Any Pilot Drill Bits?

Based on our experience, most of the diamond-coated drill bits – hole saws are manufactured without a pilot drill bit. People expect pilot drill bits based on their experience with soft materials such as wood, plastic, metal.
Pilot drill bits are not good for brittle materials. They will crack glass – tile – granite, etc. We specifically do not have the pilots because
a) pilots get dull before the hole saw b) pilots have a tendency to crack brittle materials like glass.

Instead of a pilot drill bit, we recommend guiding the hole saw with a piece of scrap wood guide. Please check our instructions on drilax page.
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How to drill bottom of flower pots?

Most of the decorative flower pots do not have the bottom drainage holes. They look nice but you do need the bottom hole.

For drilling the bottom drainage holes, you will need diamond coated hole saws.

Drilling Bottom of Flower Pots – Making Initial Mark

Drilling Bottom of Flower Pots – Making Initial Mark (images provided by a Drilax Customer on Amazon.com platform in the form of a review)

Best diamond coated hole saw drill bits come with no center pilot drills. Pilot drill bits are for softer materials such as wood or plastic.

To make your initial mark, you can either start at an angle or you can make your own guide with a piece of scrap wood.

After you make your initial mark, you can even out the drill bit and go full vertical.

Cooling the drill bit is very important. How diamond hole saws will lose the diamond particule. You can use water or ice.

Cooling Diamond Hole Saws with Ice

Here is what the finished hole at the bottom of a flower pot looks like:

With effective cooling, we are very proud to tell you that Drilax diamond coated hole saws will serve you many many times with great performance. Here is a picture from a previous shopper:

We thank T. Robertson and AnneisAwesome for their great images. These images were posted publicly on Amazon.com

All these beautiful flower pots have been drilled with Drilax tools.

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Jewelry Making

Drilling Sea Shells – Sea Glass – Rocks – for Jewelry Making

There are great sets for jewelry making. Click here for reviews and prices.

sea_glass

Please a take look at this great blog for DIY information and discussions.

How To Drill Sea Glass

What You Will Need:

Initial Set Up

  • Mark your piece when you want to drill
  • Fill up your plastic shallow dish with water (about 1 inches deep)
  • Select your drill bit, attach it with your chuck or collet, get ready to drill

Warning:

Always be extra careful water near an electric drill. Make sure your drill and working area and of course hands stays dry. Do NOT touch electrical appliances with wet hands.

How to Drill Sea Glass

1- Keep the sea glass in the water with your fingers or a type of wise / clamp.

2- Angle the diamond drill bit at about 45 degrees (90 degrees is perpendicular, so half way in the middle).

3- Start your drill at your slowest speed, do not apply too much pressure.

Please be patient.

Do not speed up your drill or apply extra pressure.

You will eventually make a hole, 1 minute sooner or later. Do not lose your patience. You may end up breaking the piece, your drill bit or ruin the tip of the bit.

4- As soon as you make your initial mark, slowly move the drill to perpendicular (vertical) position.

5- Keep it slow and with light pressure.

6- Every 10-15 seconds, move the drill bit up and let water in the hole you make.

7- To give you an idea, you can drill a regular sea glass within 60 seconds.

 

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Drilling Fish Tanks – Aquariums

Drilling in aquariums is not difficult – it is basically the same as drilling normal glass.  However, additional precaution should be taken when drilling aquariums compared to normal glass.

As they always say, measure twice and drill once.

The sizing for pipes – bulk heads and the diamond coated drill bits are different.  Be sure you have the right sized drill bit.

For example, if you are drilling for a 3/4″ bulk head, you need to be using a 1 1/2″ diamond drill bit. You can always choose to buy a set, and save.

Pipe is measured as an inside diameter.  So 1-1/2″ pipe or a 1-1/2″ fitting will have an ‘inside diameter’ of 1-1/2″.  However, the outside diameter can vary depending upon the type of pipe or fitting used and depending upon the specific manufacturer.  Be sure to measure the outside diameter properly so that you drill the correct size hole.  This may sound rather basic, but we assure you that it is a common mistake.


fish_tank_connection

There is always a small risk of causing a break when drilling any glass.  While the risk is extremely small if proper drilling techniques are used, this small risk is always there.  If a break would occur when drilling in regular glass, it is frustrating, but not a major loss.  However, the loss of an aquarium is much more significant, so reasonable care should be taken.

Avoid drilling in the bottom of the tank:  The bottom of a tank is often tempered glass, but it is extremely rare for the sides to be tempered.  Additionally, the water weight on the bottom is significantly higher than on the sides of a tank.  Anytime glass is cut or drilled, micro fractures always occur along the cut, and the hole reduces the structural strength of the glass.  While tanks are generally “over engineered” to be much stronger than actually needed for their capacity, the bottom is the “weakest link” and should generally be avoided.

Drill at least 1″ from the sides of the glass:  All glass contains minor imperfections and flaws.  Micro fractures also occur along the edge of glass when it is cut.  To avoid placing any additional stress on those weak spots, we recommend staying at least 1″ away from any glass edge.

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Drilling Glass Blocks

Drilling in glass block or bottles is not different than drilling in traditional glass.  If you employ the acceptable speed, use low drill pressure and lots of water for lubrication, you will not have any issues.  Glass breakage with inorganic compound bits is fairly common, however with the right diamond drill bit, it’s very rare.  There are a couple of vital facts and tips which are useful for drilling glass blocks.

light_bottle

There are various differing types and designs of glass block created by many alternative makers.  Most have some style of style or pattern, however, for drilling functions, there are 2 main characteristics.  Glass blocks will vary considerably on the thickness of the glass wall and a few glass block is tempered.  This info is never disclosed on the block itself, however ought to be thought-about once shopping for glass block for crafting functions.

If the glass block is 3/8″ thick, it’ll take thrice as long to drill compared to a 1/8″ thick block.

Tempered glass ought to be avoided.


Making a mini dam around the hole is the most effective cooling method for drilling in glass blocks.

Glass block contains a vacuum within. a number of the water and glass dirt can forever be sucked within once the opening breaks through.  However, it’s simple to rinse out {the within|the within} of the block with water as long because the dirty water inside isn’t allowed to dry out.  The plug from the opening can generally be force into the block – it’ll typically drop out simply once the within is rinsed.  However, if an excessive amount of pressure was placed on the drill because the hole breaks through, it will cause the plug to possess a aptitude from the break on the rear of the opening.  Normally, you’ll be able to take away the plug with a combine of needle nose pliers, however the simplest answer is to scale back the drill pressure once nearing the rear of the glass to avoid break because the drill breaks through.

light_glass_block

There is a great set of 5 diamond drill bits with the best selection of sizes on Amazon.  Previous customers were able to 10 to 30 holes in glass with 1 single bit.

DRILAX050513

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Ceramic – Porcelain Tile Installation

This is probably one of the most popular use of diamond hole saws.  If you have ever been involved in any kind of bathroom – kitchen renovation, this will sound very familiar.  Regular drill bits do not work on tiles. So, you need diamond coated bits. The smaller sizes such as 1/4″ are used for screw holes. The holes that you use for installing grab bars, towel holders, soap dispensers, etc.  The mid sized hole saws such as 1 3/8″ are used for pipe holes or faucet outlets. 

Without these diamond hole saws, contractors used to break tiles and try to make grooves for pipes and faucets.
You can achieve very handsomely clean holes without the mess and hassle of wasted tiles.

What is the Recommended Drilling Speed?

Please see our post on this topic.

This is an example of a small water pool around the hole. You can use play dough or plumber’s putty  to keep water around the diamond hole saw.

The picture above was posted by one of our customers, and this was his first time ever drilling tiles.


There are also some shower heads that need much larger diamond hole saws.  There is a great 5 star review on Amazon. He purchased this large size 4 1/2″ hole saw for rain shower installation.

Large_Diamond_Hole_Saw_Review_1