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The Only Guide To A Drill Rod You’ll Ever Need
The Only Guide To A Drill Rod You’ll Ever Need
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The Only Guide To A Drill Rod You’ll Ever Need

    The Only Guide To A Drill Rod You’ll Ever Need

    A drill rod is a common term in the machinery and

manufacturing industries. You can use drill rods to manufacture various tools such as cutters, hot-work tools, machine parts,

punches, files, and more. But, do we know how to choose the right drill rod for our needs?

    Drill rods differentiate in regards to toughness, durability, temperature resistance, and applications. With so many

different material grades and types to choose from, how do we ensure we choose the correct drill rod?

    That’s where we come in – this is the only guide you’ll ever need to drill rods, their uses, and applications. This

guide is suitable for complete beginners as well as professionals in the industry.

    Let’s see some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject of drill rods!

    What Is a Drill Rod?

    Simply put, a drill rod is a lengthier steel piece of easy-to-mold tool steel that you can use for machining to produce

different tools and parts.

    Typically, drill rods are round. However, there are some square ones, such as the square kellys you’ll see below. Drill

rods are generally soft enough to be machined into their final form.

    Drill rods need to have a clean and smooth surface. To manufacture them in this way, we usually use precision grinding.

    What Is a Drill Rod Used For?

    Drill rods have many different applications. Producers usually use drill rods for

manufacturing drilling bits, shafts, dowel pins, reamers, punches, taps, hammers, files, cutting tools, hot-work tools, etc.

    Different grades of drill rods are best suited for specific uses. For example:

    W1 is suitable for cold-work tools, hand-held tools, cutting tools, punches, dies, etc.;

    O1 grade is best for punches, dies, and gages;

    A2 and D2 can be suitable for hobs, rolls, knurls, coining dies, punches, dies, etc.;

    S7 gade is perfect for knock-out pins, drift pins, stamps, grippers, track tools, river sets, mandrels, circular pipe

cutters, and more;

    H13 (or V44) is suitable for hot-work tools, plastic molds, die-casting tools, core pins, ejector pins, and more;

    Types of Drill Rods According to the Manufacturing Process

    According to the manufacturing process they go through, there are three different types of drill rods: air-hardening,

water-hardening, and oil-hardening. Each of these drill rods has various uses and applications. Let’s explain something

about each of these different types of manufacturing processes and drill rods

& casing


    We’re starting from the toughest category of tool steel – the air-hardened drill rod. Air-hardened steel has more

alloy, and this is what makes it so hard and resistant. After heat treatment, you can leave air-hardening types of drill rods

to harden in still air.

    Air-hardening drill rods have superior machinability and wear resistance when compared to oil or water-hardening rods.

Furthermore, air-hardening is safer than water or oil-hardening in regards to distortion and dimensional stability.


    Oil-hardening drill rods are second in line when it comes to their hardness and durability. Although oil-hardening rods

have less alloy than air-hardening rods, they’re still rich enough to withstand welding. On top of that, oil-hardening steel

is suitable for machining.

    If you’re not sure what the term “oil-hardening” means, it implies heating the rod until it’s glowing red and then

dipping it into a pool of warm oil. With this, the steel becomes hard and ready for machining or welding.


    And finally, we have the water-hardening drill rods, which portray the lowest alloy content but are excellent for

machining. However, they’re deficient in alloy content, which signifies that they’re not structurally suitable for welding


    To harden a drill rod with water, we first heat the steel until it becomes glowing red, and then we plunge it into a pool

of water to cool off. Once the metal is hard, it can be easily machined but not welded. You can usually use water-hardening

drill rods for the manufacturing of files or hammers.

    Types of Drill Rods According to Different Threads

    We can classify drill rods into three different types according to different threads: ordinary

drilling rigs, square kelly rods, and heavy-weight drill pipes.

    The Ordinary Drill Rod

    We can easily recognize the ordinary drill rod since it’s the central or basic part of the drill stem. At the top, the

ordinary drill rod connects to the square kelly (explained below), and at the bottom, it’s attached to the drill collar.

    In borehole digging, the function of the ordinary drill rod is to deepen the hole, transmit torque, and move the drill up

and down.

    Drill Bit Material Types & Coating - Types of Drill Bits

                                            1. Carbon Steel Drill Bit
                                            – Low carbon steel: this is the cheapest option for making a drill bit, due to

their poor tempers, low carbon steel drill bits are

usually used for drilling softwood and some plastics, and require to be sharpened often to extend the lifespan.
                                            – High carbon steel: a better material than low carbon steel, high carbon steel

drill bit can keep their shape and effectiveness longer, so it can be used to cut stronger materials, like hardwood and soft

                                            2. High Speed Steel Drill Bit
                                            Compared with carbon steel bits, high-speed steel drill bit is a more popular

choice on the market now. HSS is a special type of carbon steel, maintaining structural integrity while bearing high

temperature is a marking advantage of the HSS drill bit, what’s more, high speed steel bit has higher wear resistance and

hardness, it can also work well at a normal temperature. HSS drill bits are suitable for most of the wood and metal drilling

process, including CNC drilling. Titanium nitride and other types of coatings can be applied on the HSS tool to increase

lubricity and reduce friction.
                                            3. Titanium Coated Drill Bit
                                            Titanium is not only a popular aerospace and medical material, but also a

versatile drill bit coating material, which can make the drill bit last longer. Due to its high corrosion resistance, good

fatigue limit, heat limit, relatively light weight, and longer service life, titanium coated drill bit is perfect for

repetitive mass production of drilling into steel, iron, wood, plastic and various surfaces, it allows a faster RPM and

shorter cycle time. The most common types of titanium coatings are Titanium Nitride (TiN), Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiAN)

and Titanium Carbon Nitride (TiCN). TiAN and TiCN are considered superior to TiN as they can increase the lifespan to a

considerable degree. The drawback of drill bit coating is that once the tooling becomes blunt, it can’t be sharpened to

avoid the coating material being worn away.
                                            4. Cobalt Drill Bit
                                            Cobalt is another type of coating for the drill, cobalt drill bit is used for

cutting materials that HSS bit can’t, such as stainless steel and other difficult materials, it can retain hardness at much

higher temperatures than HSS and not affected by extremely high heat. But cobalt is a too brittle coating.
                                            5. Carbide-Tipped Drill Bit
                                            Carbide-Tipped drill bit is very hard, easy to dissipate heat and can hold an

edge longer than other type bits. Similar to the cobalt drill bit, it’s very brittle as well and maybe broken up in improper

use. Carbide bits are applicable for drilling fiberglass reinforced plastic and nonferrous heavy metals.


    Reaming shells are used to maintain the

diameter of the bore hole and to make sure other drilling equipment does not get stuck down the hole. The outside surface of

the reaming shell has natural and synthetic diamonds embedded in a resistant matrix.

    Reaming shells come in 6, 10 and 18 inches. How do you know when do you use each size?

    6 inch reaming shells

    The 6 inch reaming shell is the standard that is used for every kind of rock hardness or ground condition and is the

minimum reamer requirement to provide minimum stabilization. Since the 6’’ has only one diamond pad, the vibrations from

the rods and outer tube can be conducted easily and make deviation more likely.

    When drilling is done in difficult ground conditions, such as swelling clay, a shorter reamer is a good choice as it can

get through the ground without catching.


    10 inch reaming shells

    You need to consider a longer reaming shell once deviation becomes an issue. A 10’ inch reamer is a good compromise

between the 6 inch and the 18 inch. The 10 inch has two diamond pads so it will provide better stabilization. A 10 inch

reamer is a good choice for underground drilling where adequate space can be a challenge. It will do the job in shallower

holes requiring stabilization and where an 18 inch reamer may be just a bit too much.

    10’’ is also mainly used with 3m core barrels, so you can still pull your 3m inner tube + extension in one shot.


    18 inch reaming shells

    You should switch to an extended reaming shell when you have to keep your hole on direction and avoid deviation. The more

diamond pads that you have on the reaming shell, the more control you will have on deviation and on hole diameter. The 18

inch gives you 4 pads. The front diamond pads will help you stabilize the core barrel and control the direction while the

pads in the back will help maintain the diameter of the hole.

    You can use an 18 inch reaming shell on the front end and a diamond type locking coupling  on the back to make sure you

have good stabilization of the core barrel. You can also use two 18 inch reamers when you have a longer core barrel (6 meters

or more). It can act as a core barrel extension allowing you to get more core in the tube at one time.

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