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Where can you get a REAL M42 cobalt drill?

Kaimana

Plastic
Joined
May 20, 2022
I'm a boatbuilder who does all his own stainless steel fabrication. I TIG weld parts, drill them, occasionally put something on a lathe or milling machine. I just ran into an exceptionally hard batch of 316L that burned my big HSS bits: 5/8", 3/4" and 1". So I bought M42 bits from Drill Hog on eBay, and they worked GREAT! Several holes through 1/4" to 3/8" plate and the bits still sharp enough to shave with when done. Well, almost.

Got a little money in, and decided to buy an index full of M42 bits, just to have in the shop. Then I started reading the Amazon and eBay reviews and was surprised to find that every single ONE of the manufacturers: Irwin, Milwaukee, Bosch, Drill Hog, the Chinese seller BeHappy drills, DeWalt, Viking, Norseman, Drill America, Chicago Latrobe, had numerous "one-star" reviews from several users each who said the drills were crap.

I discounted the one-star reviews who said they broke drills, because they were using them in a battery-powered drill motor and those are unstable; easy for an amateur to snap a hard and brittle drill like an M42 cobalt bit. But many of the users were experienced professional machinists who were using the bits in drill presses with vises or work tables so the work was held down solidly. They complained of burning bits up. What the heck??

These guys know to use lubricant/coolant and how to run the equipment. I couldn't understand it, and I got frustrated because I couldn't find a single manufacturer that had NONE of these ratings. As best as I can tell, everything is made in China now; with more or less oversight and quality control from the American companies who are "making it in America". My guess is that some batches come out fine, and some just pour from the wrong pot of steel back at the smelting works.

Does anyone have anything definitive about this to say? How do you GUARANTEED get real M42 HSS bits? I broke down and bought a set of Irwin M42 bits on eBay, because they had a 30-day return, and the guy's reputation is on the line from the feedback. If I get drills that burn up, I'll write him a real nice email and send the stuff back. But that doesn't get me any REAL M42 bits. Anyone?

With Warm Aloha, A Boatbuilder in Hawaii
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
If you found your sweet spot drill bit in drill hog why not stay with them? If you can order straight from them to eliminate counterfeit product.

If you are still brand shopping then you can get a few from different brands with msc, travers, or any tool supplier which pushes their brand.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
I got a full index of cobalt drills from Northern Tool, and they work great. I've even drilled 17-4 H900 and Ti6Al4V-ELI with them on occasion. When I need to replace them I get Redline drills from Productivity.
 

Kaimana

Plastic
Joined
May 20, 2022
Thanks everyone for the feedback! Let me restate the trouble I'm having, and maybe someone can make a suggestion that bypasses these problems:

1. Can't sharpen carbide on my equipment, so can't use it.

2. I DID get a couple of great bits from Drill Hog directly on Amazon. However, when I looked at the Drill Hog reviews for their M42 drill index on Amazon (all DIRECTLY from Drill Hog so no possibility of counterfeit drills), they were all over the place, with a LOT of 1-star and 2-star reviews.

It's a crap shoot: 67% and 76% 5-star reviews for 2 different 29-drill indexes they sell; and 7% and 11% 1-star reviews "don't buy this junk" respectively. So when I buy from Drill Hog, do I get the 5-star bits or the 1-star bits?

As I mentioned in the original post; I spent nearly 3-1/2 hours finding and reading drill index reviews: Irwin, Milwaukee, Bosch, Drill Hog, the Chinese seller BeHappy drills, DeWalt, Viking, Norseman, Drill America, Chicago Latrobe, ALL had numerous "one-star" reviews from several users each who said the drills were crap, and these were experienced users, not home-shop bashers.

Our boatshop sources a LOT of stuff from Amazon and eBay, and until the reviews get up into the 90% range, we don't buy because we've found we'll have trouble with quality. I didn't find a single drill manufacturer who had more than 76% 5-star reviews.

Now if I could just buy those drills the 5-star review customers got, I'd be happy. See the problem? It's like the Chinese nails about 19 years ago.


Thanks!
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Thanks everyone for the feedback! Let me restate the trouble I'm having, and maybe someone can make a suggestion that bypasses these problems:

1. Can't sharpen carbide on my equipment, so can't use it.

I can't sharpen carbide either. I use it as much as possible. In most applications, a $20 carbide drill that never gets resharpened will in the course of its lifetime do the work of $20 in cobalt drills that get resharpened several times, in much less time, and without all the wasted time of pulling it out, sharpening it, and putting it back.
 

Kaimana

Plastic
Joined
May 20, 2022
I can't sharpen carbide either. I use it as much as possible. In most applications, a $20 carbide drill that never gets resharpened will in the course of its lifetime do the work of $20 in cobalt drills that get resharpened several times, in much less time, and without all the wasted time of pulling it out, sharpening it, and putting it back.
Wow! I never thought about carbide that way; thanks! Where do you get your drills and what brand?
 

dian

Titanium
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Location
ch
i would suggest you reconsider buying drills on the basis of "reviews". i have not ever looked at any "review" anywhere nor written one. imo they are made by people who have nothing else to do.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Wow! I never thought about carbide that way; thanks! Where do you get your drills and what brand?
I've used a lot of Harvey and some OSG, Guhring, and others in the past, but more recently I go with Redline when possible. Same performance, better price. I get them through Productivity.
 

mnl

Cast Iron
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Location
Maryland near DC
Some places, like Travers, specifically call out the type of cobalt, M35 or M42. The annoying thing is McMaster doesn’t. I’m sure they will be happy to tell you, but it will require the extra step of a call or email.
 

MrWhoopee

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 8, 2017
I'd not be surprised to find those 1 star reviews are from retards trying to push a 3/4" drill through steel at 1200rpm with a dewalt cordless.
^^^^^THIS^^^^^

There are plenty of people who think that "high-speed steel" means you can run it as fast as your drill will go.

I generally figure if the number of 5 star reviews exceeds the total of all the others combined the product is a good bet.
 








 
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