Using a Step Drill Bit to Drill Different Size Holes

A step drill bit can be used to drill a range of different sized holes with a single bit. Since each bit size drill holes less than 1/4″ deep, a step bit is mainly used for drilling thin material such as sheet metal.

To make it easy know how deep to plunge the bit for the right sized hole, wrap a piece of masking tape around the bit at correct hole size. Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: I just drilled these 13 different size holes using a single drill bit. That’s possible because I used a step drill bit. This single bit, will drill 13 different holes, ranging in diameter from about eighth-inch to half inch. And here is how it works.

Start drilling, and with each step of the drill, you’re getting a larger and larger hole. So we get started right here. There you go, that’s an eighth-inch. Now it’ll start cutting pretty quickly, and again, each step the hole gets larger and larger. There you go.

Now, the trick to using a step drill is, when do you stop at exact right size hole, because you don’t want to stop and keep measuring. So here’s an additional tip. Take a piece of tape and wrap it around the bit exactly where you want to stop drilling. In this case, about a quarter inch. Then you just keep drilling until you hit the tape. And then stop, and you get the exact size hole.


  1. I have a dill bit that the first 1/2″ is regular flute and then it has nubs on it the rest of the length about 3″. Was wondering what type of bit it is and what it would be used for? Never seen one like this.

  2. Rick, that drill bit is so you can drill a hole, then use the drill with the bit as a saw. The idea is you keep the drill running on low and move it sideways to cut the hole.

    I have a set of those. They work very nicely on cardboard but on nothing else. They are essentially junk. (Sorry. I hope your wife or kids did not give them to you as a gift.)


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