So, you need to insert screws or bolts, you need to create a large hole to fit a piece of wood into, or you might need to run cables through a wall. Whatever your main purpose might be, sometimes your existing drill bit just is not big enough to create the size of hole that you need.
What we are here to do today is to figure out exactly how to drill a hole that is larger than your drill bit. It might sound like a difficult task, but it’s actually quite easy, mainly because there are several ways of doing so. Let’s get right to it.
Can You Drill a Hole Bigger Than Your Largest Drill Bit?
The simple fact here is that yes, absolutely can you drill a hole that is bigger than your largest drill bit. There are various methods for making that hole larger right from the get go, as well as some good ways to enlarge an existing hole too.
Now, in all fairness, although all of the below methods of drilling a hole larger than your drill bit do work just fine, they do take time and effort. When it comes down to it, you are probably best off just buying a new drill bit, one that is large enough to create the size of the hole that you need.
On an important side note, a hole saw is a special type of bit that you can fit into a drill, one that comes in all sorts of diameters. As you can probably tell, the whole point of a hole saw is drill holes, and yes, they are much larger than simple drill bit holes. Holes created by hole saws are ideal to create fittings for wooden slots, for drilling holes to pull cables through walls, and even for removing material in a circular shape for decorative purposes.
So, if you need to drill fairly large holes, anything larger than one inch in diameter, then it is a hole saw bit that you should look into buying.
7 Best Ways to Drill a Hole Bigger Than Your Drill Bit
Now that we know that it is indeed possible to drill a hole larger than your biggest drill bit, let’s figure out how to actually get this done, and yes, there are several good ways of doing so.
1. Wiggle the Drill
If you need the hole to be just slightly larger than your existing drill bit, then all you really need to do is to drill a hole using the existing drill bit, and then slowly move the drill bit from side to side or swirl it in a circular motion in order to enlarge the hole.
In other words, apply some horizontal pressure to the drill bit once it has made its way through the material and move it in a circular motion until the hole has been enlarged enough to suit your needs. If you need your hole to just be slightly larger than your drill bit and you are working with fairly soft material, then this is an ideal method to use.
This will work with most types of drill bits.
2. Drilling Multiple Holes and Filing
If the hole that you are looking to drill needs to be much larger than your largest drill bit, then something that you can try doing is to use a thin drill bit to actually drill out the circumference of the whole. In other words, what you want to do here is to draw a circle on the surface where the hole is to be.
Take a small drill bit and drill holes along the outer edge of that circle. Once you have drilled enough holes along the circumference, the inner material should just fall out, thus leaving a large hole. Of course this is not going to be very smooth or all that even, so you will need either a file or some sandpaper to even it out and to create a perfect circle.
3. Use a Drill Guide or Hole Saw
A drill guide is a special accessory that you can attach to the front of a drill and drill bit, which allows you to drill holes larger than the bit itself. Realistically speaking, for the purposes of this article, a drill guide is more or less the same thing as a hole saw (there are differences, but for the purpose of drilling a large hole, both will do just fine).
All you need is the appropriately sized drill guide or hole saw. Mark the center point of the circle and then place the center of the drill guide or the pilot bit of the hole saw onto that center mark, so that the circumference of the guide or hole saw matches the circumference of the hole you intend to drill. Once everything matches up, you can then simply drill the hole.
4. Use a Wooden Dowel and Sandpaper
OK, so technically speaking this method does not allow you to drill a hole bigger than your largest drill bit, but it does allow you to enlarge an existing hole very easily. All you need to do here is to get a dowel that is just slightly smaller than the existing hole and then wrap it in some sandpaper.
Make sure that you use just enough sandpaper so that the sandpaper covered dowel can still fit in the hole. If you want to, you can do this manually, but the easier way is to actually fit the dowel into your drill and then use it just like you would a rotary tool or sander. In other words, all you are really doing here is sanding away the interior of the hole until it is large enough to suit your needs.
5. Use a Rotary Tool
If you happen to have a rotary tool on hand, you can always outfit it with a sanding head, and then simply sand away the interior of the hole until it is big enough for whatever purpose you need. Although it doesn’t exactly qualify as drilling a hole larger than your largest drill bit, it is a very easy and fast way to enlarge an existing hole.
6. Use a Rounded Hand File
If you happen to have a rod file or rounded hand file on hand, then all you have to do is to insert the file into the existing hole and then file away enough material until the hole is large enough to suit your needs. When it comes down to it, this might actually be one of the fastest, cheapest, and easiest ways to make a hole larger than your largest drill bit.
7. Use a Tapered Reamer
If you happen to have a tapered reamer on hand, this is another great tool that you can use to enlarge an existing hole. All you have to do is to choose the appropriate size of reamer that will fit into the hole and then also be able to make it large enough to suit your needs (you may need several reamers to achieve the proper size). Just place the reamer in the hole and then apply some pressure from the top down while twisting from side to side until the hole is large enough.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Before we let you go, here are some last tips:
- If you need to drill lots of big holes on a consistent basis then you are better off just buying a larger drill bit.
- If you need to drill very large holes on a consistent basis, then your best bet is to get a hole saw.
- Of course, whenever you are working with wooden power tools, it’s essential that you wear the proper eye protection to keep sawdust and bits of wood from flying into your eyes.
The bottom line here is that even if your existing drill bit is not large enough to create a hole that is big enough to suit your purposes, there are many ways to drill a hole larger than your existing drill bit, as well as to enlarge an existing hole in wood or metal.