To be as useful as possible, most drills come with a range of drill bit sizes. This lets you switch between bits to take on multiple jobs. But what happens when the bit gets stuck inside the drill?
When a drill bit gets stuck there is a range of measures that you can try. In general, though, you’ll need to loosen the chuck. In some cases, you might need to use a wrench or a screwdriver to try and loosen it. Once the chuck is loose, you should be able to remove the drill bit.
The best way to loosen the drill chuck will depend on the type of drill that you are using. Let’s take a closer look at some of these techniques.
READ: Do You Need A Special Bit To Drill Through Stainless Steel?
Loosening The Chuck Using A Wrench Or Vice
Often, the most efficient way to remove a chuck is by using a wrench or vice to loosen it.
The chuck is the part of the drill that is designed to hold the bit in place. In most drills, it will be made of plastic. However, some might have it made from metal.
In most cases, you will be able to screw the chuck open to remove the bit. But, when it gets jammed, you’ll need to take other measures to open the chuck.
To get a little extra leverage, you might want to try attaching a wrench to the chuck. This will make it easier for you to grip. If you don’t have a wrench available, or it can’t grip the plastic properly, you might want to use a vice grip.
IRWIN Vice Grip
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Once you’ve got a steady grip on the chuck, you can try twisting it. This should open it and release the bit.
These days, most drills will be able to run in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. This will allow you to use the power of the drill to loosen the chuck. In most models, you’ll be able to find a slide that will control the direction in which the drill operates. You’ll need to slide this to the left, to run the drill counterclockwise.
In most cases, this will be enough to get the bit out of the drill.
However, in other circumstances, it can still be wedged in the chuck.
In this case, you might want to try applying a little lubricant along the bit. This can be all that’s needed to loosen it up and allow you to remove it safely.
Though this method will often be effective in releasing the bit, you should be careful. Applying excess pressure to the chuck might damage the drill.
To prevent this, you should wrap the wrench or vice in a piece of cloth. This will also let you get more grip on the chuck.
Releasing The Chuck On Older Drills
In some cases, you might be using an older drill. These can have a specific procedure for removing the bit.
Unlike more modern drills, they will need a key to remove the bit. If this is the case, you should see holes in the chuck. To release the bit, you’ll need to put the key into the hole and turn it clockwise. Once one had been loosened, move on to the next hole. It will often take a few turns before it will be loose enough to remove the bit.
By the time this has been done, you should be able to remove the bit from the drill safely.
If you have misplaced the key, you should be able to find a replacement online. When looking, remember that there will be several different sizes. So, you need to find one that is compatible with your drill.
Drill Bit Stuck In Material
In some cases, you might be drilling into the material, and the bit becomes jammed. There are a few methods you can try to get the bit out.
First, you might want to try using a pair of pliers to grip the bit, turning it anticlockwise. This will free it from the drill, and allow you to work on removing the bit from the wood.
In other cases, it might be too embedded in the material for this approach to work. In this case, you might want to try drilling out the bit. To do this, free the bit from the drill, using the method described earlier.
Then, choose a bit that has a larger diameter than the one that is jammed. By taking accurate measurements, drill on the other side of the material. As you do this, you will be able to drill out the bit. The downside to this approach is that the two bits will need to grind against each other. This can dull them, and they might need to be replaced.
Removing A Broken Drill Bit
In some cases, the drill bit might have sheared off inside the drill. If that’s the case, it can make it harder to use one of the above methods.
In this case, you will need to use pliers to get a grip on the broken bit. Then, slowly start to turn the chuck counterclockwise. This should release the pressure on the bit, and allow you to remove it safely from the drill.
As a quick safety tip, you should remember that the drill bits will have very sharp edges, especially if they shear off. So, you should make sure that you are careful when handling the bit so that you don’t accidentally hurt yourself.
Why Do Drill Bits Get Stuck?
Hopefully, you now know how to get a stuck drill bit out. But why did it get stuck in the first place? There are a few reasons why this might be occurring.
First, the chuck might not have been oiled properly. Oiling is an essential part of the drill maintenance process. This will make it easier to slide in and slide out the drill bit.
In other cases, the chuck might have been overtightened. As you used the drill, the vibrations might have pulled the chuck even tighter on the drill bit. By the time you want to remove the bit, it could be very tight.
You should also make sure that you are using the right drill bit for the job. For example, some bits will be designed for drilling metal while others will work best when they are used for wood. By doing this, you’ll be able to reduce the chances that the drill bit will shear off or getting stuck while you are trying to drill into the material.
Freeing Your Drill Bit
When a drill bit gets jammed, it can present a big problem. To help you free the bits, we looked at some tips that you can use.
To recap, these tips were:
- Using a grip or vice to hold the chuck while you run the drill in a counterclockwise direction.
- Using a key to remove the bit from an older drill
- Using pliers to free a bit that’s trapped in the wood. You can also try to drill the bit out.
- Using pliers to remove a sheared drill bit.
- Making sure that the chuck has been oiled properly, to prevent bits from getting stuck.