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Navy

Masonry and metal drill bit

One tool to address multiple drilling tasks

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When boring into concrete, rock, and masonry, workers often encounter metal such structural rebar or metal plates. Typical hammer drills used for boring the above materials employ a low RPM and a repetitive impacting force. Masonry bits for such applications are relatively soft steel with a hardened chisel point and remove crumbled material as they spin. Metal cutting drill bits utilize a high RPM, very hard steel, and perform best when kept in constant contact with the metal to be cut. They dull quickly when encountering rock, are not designed to incorporate a hammer force, and are limited in their usefulness beyond a certain diameter. Due to these incompatibilities current concrete drilling tools and processes have drawbacks, not the least of which is a need to stop drilling when metal is encountered, as well as the time and logistics associated with exchanging or substituting equipment.

To address the above, Navy researchers have adapted hammer-drilling equipment for industrial use with a specialized bit for penetrating a metal obstacle while allowing for the continued use of the equipment. Improved drilling bits permit the drilling of holes in metal with hammer-drilling equipment even if the hammer function is not disabled. The novel bits are designed to cut steel and other metal at low RPM while providing some contact with the rock surface behind the steel without rapidly destroying the tool or negatively affecting the drill’s hammer function.

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