When you are looking for a drill bit that will be able to cut through metal, cobalt drill bits are the usual preferred choice. However, often recommended as an alternative are titanium drill bits. Thus, we frequently get people asking about cobalt drill bits vs titanium drill bits, for instance what the difference between the two types are, and if one is better than the other. They are both good options for high abrasive drilling but there are some key differences between the two that you should take note of in order to make an informed decision on which one to buy.
While they can both be used to drill through metal and other hard materials, they have slightly different usage recommendations. That is, cobalt drill bits are generally reserved for high speed low pressure drilling, such as when drilling through thick slabs of hard metal such as steel, cast iron, and tungsten, as well as other high abrasive materials like rock, during which high levels of heat occur as a byproduct.
These bits are able to remain intact in temperatures as high as 1100 degrees Fahrenheit on average. However, they are not recommended for daily heavy use because cobalt is a brittle metal that can break under high levels of pressure or tensile stress. It is also sensitive to rusting and corrosion so it is recommended that you keep them in safe storage and only bring then out for these specialty jobs.
Titanium drill bits can cut through some metals, but because they do not have as high of a heat resistance (threshold is around 600 degrees Fahrenheit) as cobalt drill bits, they are better suited for general purpose applications such as drilling through wood, plastics, and soft metals like brass, aluminum, gold, and copper.
Harder and more malleable than cobalt, they are able to take on more pressure, tensile stress, and dings. They are also very resistant to rust and corrosion. So in contrast, they are best utilized by applying more thrust but less speed to the drill. They are the perfect solution if you need bits that can deliver more cutting power and take on more abuse than standard high speed steel drill bits.
Cobalt and titanium drill bits are constructed rather differently. Most cobalt drill bits are pure. That is, their entire construction, inside and out, is composed of an alloy of steel, mixed with 5% – 8% cobalt. Titanium drill bits are not pure, and are merely high carbon steel with a titanium nitride coating. This difference in construction ultimately will affect the bits’ durability and long term performance. Because it is pure, the cobalt drill bit, if used and maintained properly, will last much longer. When it becomes dull it can be resharpened and deliver undiminished performance. A titanium bit, with a significantly harder surface, will stay sharp for a very long time before it needs to be resharpened. In fact, compared to a standard drill bit, it will last around six times longer. Eventually, however, it will become dull and eventually need resharpening, which unfortunately removes the titanium nitride coating at the tip, after which you must resharpen it frequently in order for it to maintain its cutting power. It will, however, still outperform a standard drill bit because it will still have its coating along the side and in the flute.
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