How To Remove A Broken Drill Bit From Metal

DIY continues to become increasingly popular and more cost-effective, but sometimes we can run into snags. If you’ve been using a drill bit and it has snapped off and gotten stuck in some metal, you’ll know the pain. Worry not, though — I have two ways to remove the drill bit from metal.

There are two ways to remove a drill bit from metal. You can use alum solution and heat to dissolve a steel drill bit, which takes a few days. If any part of the drill bit protrudes from the metal, you can extract the broken piece with pliers.

How To Remove A Broken Drill Bit From Metal

I’ll teach you how you can use alum or pliers to remove a broken drill bit from metal in this article. So, let’s get into it and recover that lost drill bit piece!

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1. Remove a Broken Drill Bit With Locking Pliers

Sometimes drill bits break off in larger areas or have enough of the drill bit poking out of the metal to grip.

In these cases, a pair of locking pliers or pliers with a serrated edge for a good grip will do the trick.

  1. Prep the area. Keeping your work tidy is essential at any time, and arguably even more so when you are about to carry out a potentially stressful and annoying task like removing a broken drill bit from metal. Tidy anything that may get in your way before you attempt the remove the drill bit
  2. Protect yourself. Never attempt work without protecting yourself, especially your eyes, where broken metal pieces are involved. I recommend the NoCry Safety Glasses (available on, which are great for all sorts of projects.
  3. Get your pliers. Locking pliers are the best at removing broken drill bits from metal because it prevents the hands from slipping. These Workpro 3-PC Pliers (available on are my favorite choice because they have comfortable handles and are adjustable.
  4. Lock and twist. Ensure your pliers are secure and try to twist the drill bit in the opposite direction of how it went in. It may take some force, so be patient with it.
  5. Clean up and prevent future breakage. Once your drill bit is out, clean up any mess to keep your workspace tidy. It’s then essential to think about why your drill bit broke and how to prevent drill bit breakages in the future. Of course, sometimes your drill bit will fail no matter what you do, and that’s fine because now you know how to get the broken piece out!

2. Use Alum To Remove a Broken Drill Bit

This method is like doing a science experiment at home.

While it seems fun, patience is vital. It could take days but is often a simple and easy solution to removing the drill bit.

Since the metal is submerged in a solution to dissolve the drill bit, this removal method is perfect for when the remaining piece of the drill bit is too small to grip.

It is a common way of removal for jewelers who have been working on an intricate piece of jewelry and have got their drill bit stuck in the metalwork.

So, here’s how to do it:

  1. Check the metal you’re working with. The alum solution will break down steel, so you must check the metal you’ve been drilling into isn’t steel. If you are working with steel, this method is unsuitable.
  2. Gather your tools. The tools needed are simple enough to purchase if you don’t have them. You’ll need water, alum, a non-steel pot, and a stove.
  3. Fill your pot with water. Since the alum attacks steel, it’s best to use a glass pot. I recommend one like this durable, shatter-resistant Visions Saucepan (available on Be careful not to overfill your pot.
  4. Add your alum. Drop the alum into the water. The McCormick Alum (available on works well for this. You should use four tablespoons (31 g) of alum to one cup (237 ml) of water.
  5. Submerge your metal piece with the stuck drill bit. Slowly submerge the metal, ensuring the drill bit is fully covered so it can be thoroughly dissolved in the solution.
  6. Place the pot on the stove and heat. Place the pot on the stove and heat the solution gently. If you do not have a stove or don’t feel comfortable leaving the pot on the stove, you can leave the metal soaking in the solution overnight or for a few days. Heating speeds up the process, but it is possible to dissolve the drill bit without heat.
  7. Wait. Depending on the size of the drill bit, the depth, and the solution concentration, it could take up to a few days for the drill bit to disintegrate. What’s left to do is wait until the alum does its work. Keep your eye on any boiling solution and turn off the heat if left unattended.

This method is fantastic for small pieces of stuck metal.

You just need to wait a while for it to work.

Key Points

If your drill bit breaks during your project, don’t worry.

There are two simple ways to remove your drill bit using easy-to-buy products. All you need is a few tools and some time, and you’ll be on your way to finishing your DIY project.

You can soak your metal piece in an alum solution or use locking pliers for manual removal.

You can also use preventative measures to ensure you don’t have to extract a broken drill bit again!

Cheers, tools owners!

Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.