Drill Doctor Review
Note: For all you guys out there who can sharpen drill bits with a grinder, don't bother telling me. I know it can be done much cheaper. A #7 is much cheaper than my 8" jointer, but don't bother trying to talk me out of the jointer.
I've heard about the Drill Doctor a few years ago and have seen them at the local Wood Workers Warehouse. Every now and then someone on rec.woodworking will ask about them, but that's as much as I knew of them.
A couple of years ago, SHMBO and I bought a new house and then ripped the top off and replaced it. We are just now getting out of living in refuge mode and I'm getting the shop out of construction mode and into project building mode. The previous owner of the house left a basic workbench and some "tools", thinking I could use them. Most of it was junk and went into the trash. I did save what has to be near 50 drill bits. All sizes and conditions. These when into a dark corner of my toolbox for some future use.
Along the way in my life I have collected a number of drill bits of my own. Early on I learned a appreciation for drill bits that were sharp, so I learned how to sharpen them: Go to the store and buy a new one! The old dull ones where left in other dark corners of my tool box.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at Woodworker's Warehouse and they had the Drill Doctor 750 on sale. I had some extra lunch money burning a hole in my pocket and a justifiable need. (Remember all those drill bits in the back corner's of the tool box?) So now I'm the proud new owner of a Drill Doctor 750SP. They had both the 500SP and the 750SP. The difference being that the 705 also includes a larger chuck for sharpening 1/2" to 3/4" bits. For someone like me who's never sharpened a drill bit before in his life, it was clear that I could not live another day without the extra chuck. Hence my choice of the 750.
When I got home, I unpacked my new toy. It included a 10 page instruction book and a video. I don't have a VCR in my shop, so I put aside the video and read the instruction book. In those 10 short pages I learned most everything I know about drill bits.
The drill doctor handles standard 118°, high-performance split point 135° and carbide 135° masonry bits. The book says it handles HHS, cobalt, parabolic, TiN coated and solid carbide bits. I think all mine are just plain HHS, but it ate them up with no problem at all.
Five minutes after the box is open, I have drill bit in hand and am starting to sharpen. The system is build around mounting your drill bit in an six jaw chuck. There is an alignment jig in the front of the unit to make sure the bit is properly aligned. The only two settings on the sharpening unit are for angle of grind, 118° or 135° and for type of bit, masonry, split point or standard.
First step is to select the correct grind angle and bit type. There are angle jigs built into the housing of the unit to determine your grind angle. Once selected, you mount your bit into the chuck.
The next step is to actually grind the bit. On the right side of the unit is a hole where the chuck and drill is placed. There is a cammed surface around the hole that controls how deep the chuck can go. This coordinates with the position of the bit in the chuck to make sure that the lands on the bit line up at the proper angle with the grinding wheel. You rotate the chuck in half turn increments to grind both lands on the bit evenly.
After grinding, the Drill Doctor will let you split the point of both 118° and 135° bits. This is done with another hole on the left side of the unit that is also keyed to match the chuck. This controls the split angle.
The first bit I sharpened came out sharper than any bit I remember ever using! After that I got rolling and soon had sharpened about 50 bits from the back of the tool box. Many of these were basically trashed after hitting concrete during construction projects. About 3 minutes each and they are good as new!
On a complexity level, I'd give this a 2 out of 5. If you can sharpen a plane iron, you can easily do this. For price value, you can buy a lot of drill bits for the $140, but it's way cool to be able to re-sharpen your own. I'll leave the cost justification up to you.
In my mind I love it!
If you want to see some really cool sharpeners check out www.darex.com. They make some really cool drill sharpeners, but are way out of my budget.
I hope you find this article to be of some use to you, even it's just to put you to sleep. If I can help with any questions, just let me know.
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