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Drill bits and eyesight

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  • Drill bits and eyesight

    At my age, Iím starting to lose near vision. One of the biggest issues i have these days s reading drill bits.

    i have 3 sets:

    kobalt set
    Dewalt set
    harbor freight set
    Guess which one is easiest to read?

    Surprise...... harbor freight!

    dewalt bits are second.

    Kobalt is downright awful.

    anyone have recommendations?

    Clarification..... I read the index that holds the bits. My Kobalt set does not have a printed index. Additionally, the bits have sizes stamped into soft metal collets. They are very hard to read.
    Last edited by durango dude; 06-10-2018, 12:28 AM.

  • #2
    Getting the right light, best angle to the light takes a minute or two to distinguish the markings, even then my bits may have scratches from the chuck. Since I turn pens, I use calipers incessantly. I also added a set of calipers about a year ago that had a fractions reading. But some are inch, some are metric. Using the calipers with mm, inch, fractions help determine which is which.

    Until I started pen turning, obsession with sizes and in order was not a part of me; but about a year after getting started it making pens, I suddenly got obsessed. I made my own drill bit holder based on sizes need and there are many. I have two HF large sets, one TiN and one cobalt? (hardened) plus a number of metric ones.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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    • #3
      Even with my glasses on, I find it difficult to read the stampings on bits. Even if I try to put them back in the correctly sized holder, I mess up sometimes. Hence I have several clearly marked hole size gauge plates hanging around the shop (one on the drill press) to make sure I use the proper bit. One of the drill bit caddies even has the hole size gauge right in the base of the caddy. Some of these gauges were freebies from that place that used to send me membership cards (Handyman Club, I think).
      Jim Frye
      The Nut in the Cellar.

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      • #4
        At my age, and in consideration that I've spent my life on either the drawing board or computer, I'm lucky that I can see much of anything close-up or otherwise. While I've worn glasses since I was about twelve, I was sort of weird in that I my right eye is near sighted, while my left is far sighted. Used to be I could get along pretty well without glasses on many occasions, if need be. But my eyes have gotten worse in the last ten or so years and neither eye is enough for close-up and tiny type, like tool markings, the phone book, and trying to read almost any product label these days.

        I can't stand bi-focals as they give me a headache. So, I have three pair of glasses that I use; reading, driving/walking, and a pair just set at arms-length for working in the shop or on the computer. PIA, as I'm always reaching for either a different pair of glasses or else a magnifying glass, of which I have several. I even have a couple of 10X printer's magnifiers I used to use for gauging type sizes.

        Still, there's nothing like having a good drill gauge handy, and back when I used to be on the "Handyman of America" mailing list, it seemed like they'd send me those little plastic gauges every few months; I must have a half dozen of so of those around. But even those are hard to read if the light isn't good.

        Glasses are the best bet and we have a place here in our area called "America's Best" (I think they are a national chain) where for about $70 you can get two pair of glasses.

        Last year I bought a new digital camera and guess what? Between the LCD and viewing panel on the camera and needing to see through the view finder, I need to see both very close as well as far at almost the same time. Back to bi-focals!!!

        CWS
        Last edited by cwsmith; 06-10-2018, 07:40 PM. Reason: type correction
        Think it Through Before You Do!

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        • #5
          I can't read any of my bits except the Festool Centrotec ones which only get used outside the shop. When the exact bit size is essential, I use a bit sizer in the shop that has clear labels but more often than not, I just grab a bit that's "about the right size"
          Chr's
          __________
          An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
          A moral man does it.

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          • #6
            I can't believe you fellows don't use caliper to determine or check the sizes. To me it is faster than trying to find and read the numbers.

            I have used trifocals since 1991 (was in Hong Kong and a close friend got tired of me backing up and moving forward in isles in stores trying to read and then see the items. We passed a glasses store, he said follow me, then told the lady ' This fellow needs some Tri-focals, do you have them and how quick can you make them? Got them in a day and until last week used only tri-focals.

            Two weeks ago I went in for a check up and asked my optometrist if I could go back to Bifocals, but I wanted the distance for the reading to focus in at about 20 to 24 inches instead of the normal 12 - 15 inches. He said sure. There is a bit of overlap that is hard to read at about 24 - 36 inches, but I can get over that. I wanted glasses for reading at hands length instead of in my face. He did great with the lens. The doctor said: For 71 years of age you can see 20-10 with glasses, unusual. Enjoying while I can.
            Last edited by leehljp; 06-10-2018, 04:07 PM.
            Hank Lee

            Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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            • #7
              I have several drill gauges that I use, along with the calipers. If a bit slips in the drill chuck and the size numbers are illegible I usually put it in a separate box, these are my go to bits to use up first, just for drilling a random size hole. No since messing up more bits than I have to. I religiously put drill bits back where they belong in the drill index to prevent confusion.
              Drill bit sizes are a real confusion if you have various sets of bits. Over the years I have collected quite a few drill indexes and bits. This includes number and letter bits as well a fraction and metric bits. The car shows I go to are a great place to buy tools and hardware. Some of the vendors sell machinist tools they purchased from auctions selling machine shop tool room stock. At one show I purchased a 30 caliber ammo can full of new, mixed sizes drill bits from needle size to 3/8Ē for $50. Most were number and letter size bits. I shouldnít ever have to buy any more bits.

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              • #8
                Hank,

                Good recommendation of the calipers, but I can't read those all that easily and still have to swap to my reading glasses. I do have a very nice vernier which I bought back in the mid-sixties when I was a mechnical inspector and more recently have a digital caliper as well as a micrometer... all require my reading glasses though

                Best thing for me is to keep my drill bits stored in their "indexed" boxes, but with most indexes, the markings are just 'raised' or 'embossed' into to container and I still need to swap to my reading glasses or pick up a magnifying glass.

                Problem with me and bi-focal (or I imagine tri-focals) is that I'm used to pointing my nose at what I'm looking at, and that going back and forth looking near or far gives me a headache. I use bi-focals now when using the camera, but find it annoying... I've just gotta recognize that things are what they are and get used to it.

                Let's just face it, I'm happy that I can still see

                CWS
                Last edited by cwsmith; 06-10-2018, 07:56 PM.
                Think it Through Before You Do!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by capncarl View Post
                  I religiously put drill bits back where they belong in the drill index to prevent confusion.
                  I need to develop that level of discipline.

                  Chr's
                  __________
                  An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
                  A moral man does it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My good fractional twist drills are fairly easy to read and most are in the index. My cheaper VA and other twist drill bits are mostly a pita to read, use a Handyman free drill gauge to size those. My number and letter drills on the other hand I have to use calipers to size.

                    I'm due for a visit to the eye Dr. and likely will need new lenses this time.
                    just another brick in the wall...

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                    • #11
                      I have two drill indexes at the drill press, and a graduated DeWalt bit case in in my portable kit. They are easy to use and easy to read.

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                      • #12
                        A drill bit gauge is good, and can be filled in with something like a lumber crayon to make it easier to read. That said, your most commonly used sizes, there are some other options, such as putting a bit of paint on a certain size bit (bottom of it), for quick reference, then for used, but lesser used, do something similar to resisters. (stripes of colors in a certain order to indicate size, can be tape/paint, etc)
                        She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.

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                        • #13
                          This comes with painted markings that are pretty easy to read:

                          https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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                          • #14
                            I keep mine in indexes and try to return them as soon as removed from the drill press chuck. I have those 29- piece (fractional inch sizes) indexed drill boxes in my drilling tools chest for 118 degree twist drills, 135 degree twist drills, two sets of brad point twist drills. A complete 115 (118?) piece twist drill set.lettered and numbered is in my other cabinet but I rarely need to use them for woodworking unless I need some really precise holes. (like the time I made a number of those golf-tee in a triangle puzzles you find at Cracker Barrel. I bought a big bag of golf tees and sorted them into groups with identical precise diameter shanks and drilled each board for the group of Tees, just a couple of thou oversized - they fit real slick, not sloppy like the ones at cracker barrel.)

                            Drives me nuts if the drills are missing. And I frequently check the diameter in decimal with everpresent calipers on my drill press table before using for confirmation. Eye's aren't what they used to be, the etching on the shanks gets bunged by the chuck, and I've made a couple of mistakes.

                            Hint: Keep a set of wood dowels on hand in standard fractional sizes, if you accidentally drill an oversized hole and its critical, drill to the next dowel size, plug and redrill.
                            Last edited by LCHIEN; 06-20-2018, 11:04 AM.
                            Loring in Katy, TX USA
                            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                            BT3 FAQ - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

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                            • #15
                              Looks like woodpeckers eavesdrops here.......large print gauge set just showed up in their one time tool offer.

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