How to Drill into the Rock – 2021 Guide

You don't need to be a professional to drill the hardest rock.

Generally, rock is one of the most difficult materials to drill through. Additionally, it is also a material that can be used for a variety of purposes.

You do not need a professional mason for your rock or something made of rock that needs holes drilled into it. The work can be done yourself for far less if you have the right tools

Table of Content

Drilling into Rock – What’s the Issue?

A concrete wall drill that goes smoothly could pose a major problem, due to the fact that you would have to work with hard pebbles and rocks while drilling.

Not knowing how to handle them could result in an end to your drill bit. In the construction process, one essential thing to know about is that it could be one of the hardest materials to drill through.

Hard to Drill - River Rocks

Due to the time spent heading downstream from the mountains, rocks usually have a smooth surface and are tumbled. Rocks of different types can result in different textures, some harder than others.

It is difficult to drill river stones due to the brittleness of their shell. On the other hand, other rocks possess a softer shell, so they can be drilled with the right drill bits.

Drill Bit Selection

Drill bits are used to drill holes into rock depending on rock type and the depth and diameter of the hole. When you’re talking about small holes, it’s best to use a tungsten carbide masonry bit.

In order to drill larger holes, you can use diamond core bits, but they are for much larger diameters; if you didn’t drill completely through there will be a core left behind, which will need to be removed.

Masonry Drill Bits

Masonry Drill bits are most commonly used with a hammer drill that operates by hammering the bit into the rock while rotating. Rock is fractured by hammering at the bit tip, which then is also dusted off by rotating flutes.

The rotation of the drill bit moves the cutting edges towards a new part of the bottom of the hole, with each hammering action.

The Special Hammer Shape

Most drill bits for hammers have special shank shapes, which help the bit move freely within the chuck while it hammers. Also known as rock drill bits, core bits can be used to drill wide holes in rocks.

With hand-portable power equipment and masonry bits of up to 39 inches long, powerful rock drilling is possible.

Star Drill Bits

Hand-powered drills are used with hammers to produce holes in stone using Star Drill bits that look like chisels or punches. The cutting edge of a star drill bit is actually a combination of multiple blades stuck together in the middle to form a star shape.

Diamond Drill Bits

The diamond drill bits are commonly used to drill into granite, limestone, marble, and other hard rocks. Diamond drill bits are the best since they are crafted from diamonds with sharp tips that cut into extremely hard rock very well.

When drilling with diamond drill bits, the key is to drill at slower speeds and lubricate the drill bit with lots of water.

Diamond Drill bits types

Diamond drill bits can be classified into two categories based on their application.

  1. Bonded drill bits 
  2. Sintered drill bits

Diamond drill bits are available in various shapes and sizes but come primarily in two main types such as solid and hollow tips.

Drilling Rock Equipment

If you have simple equipment, you, too, can make your way into the rock and begin drilling holes. Below are some useful tools. 

  • For drilling, you need a stone
  • Pen, pencil, or marker
  • An Electrical Drill
  • A dish that holds shallow water such as a rectangular plastic tub or food container
  • Use a block of wood or rubber for resting your material while drilling
  • A safety mask and goggles
  • You can use an old cloth or towel to wipe away dirt or dust
  • Patience is the last thing you need 

A Few Steps to Drill into the Rock

In order to drill into the rock, there are several ways to do so. Here are a few steps you might find helpful.

1. Mark with Pencil

Decide where the hole or holes should be in the rock. Put a marking pencil on the areas that need to be drilled. Drill into the rock until the mark is darker so you know which hole to drill.

2. Prepare your Drill

The size of the rock you are drilling is one of several factors you would need to consider before you proceed to the main drilling process.

▶ Selecting a Drill

If you are working with large rocks where you need to be very versatile in order to work around the rock, a cordless hammer drill would be recommended. Even though a corded hammer drill can also be used, a cordless drill allows you to position yourself in a way that is more convenient for you.

▶ Pick an area of Rock

The size and number of holes you plan to drill, as well as the portion of rock on which they will be drilled, is another important aspect to take into account.

The size of the bit you use determines the width of the hole you drill. And since accuracy is important during drilling, you can also mark in pencil where you plan to drill as you go before using the tool.

▶ Size of the Rock

You’ll need to decide what method to use based on the rock’s size, however you can put some modeling clay under the stone while you drill so that it stays still while you drill, and to stop the drill from damaging your work table.

3. Prepare your tool

It is advised that you do not use a power tool for rock unless it is fully charged, as the rock is a hard substance, so if your tool is not sufficiently powered, you should replace it with one. An extension cord can be used to move a large rock if it cannot be easily moved by a hammer drill.

4. Preparing your bit

The next step would be to determine the diameter of the hole and determine the size of a drill bit that would be suitable for the purpose. The carbide or diamond tip of a masonry drill bit would be necessary to drill through rock.

In order to install your bit, you first need to loosen the chuck, then insert the bit, and then tighten the chuck. The bit must be perfectly inserted in the chuck to avoid accidents during the work process. You could get serious injuries if you use a wood bit to drill into a rock.

5. Setting the bit position

In addition to obtaining the right bit, it is essential to understand how to drill a perfect hole in your rock. Use a pencil or a stick to plot your drill and you will have no problem drilling a perfect hole in your rock.

One thing is to know how to use the right bit and the other is to have the correct bit. Using a pencil or a marker to mark your drill path is the best way to drill a perfect hole in your rock.

6. Start Drilling

After positioning your bit, the last step is to commence drilling. Get your dust mask and safety glasses on and squeeze the trigger as you exert pressure on the drill. Apply a gentle up-and-down motion at first, then continue at a faster pace as you increase the speed.

▶ Bits should be aligned straight

To achieve a nice result, you should ensure that the bit is straight into the rock, keep doing this until you reach your desired depth then withdraw the bit from the stone. You can repeat the same drilling technique at other marked locations by positioning your drill bit and drilling.

▶ Drill for smaller rocks

If you are working with small rocks, you are best off placing them in a plastic container with clay on the bottom and then adding some water until your rocks are submerged. By applying water, the rock will be free of debris, and the bit will remain cool as it rubs against the stone. After drilling is complete, you can clean, dry, and store the rock.

Safety Must be Ensured

Prior to getting started, let’s make sure our work area is clear and uncluttered to avoid possible tripping hazards. Whenever you are using a drill, be sure to step away from anything that will catch in your lead, or that you could knock with your elbow, and please be sure to wear anything that will not float.

It is often advantageous to use a stand with a flexible shaft that keeps things tidier and out of the way of your working area.

Eye Protection is Important

You must wear safety goggles whenever you are drilling for the protection of your eyes. If you wear the safety goggles and full face protection, you may save your eyes from further damage.

People Might Ask

DW5470 DeWalt 5 Piece Rock Carbide SDS Plus Hammer Bit Set is suitable for drilling in concrete, artificial stones, and rocks. This drill bit is made up of a carbide tip for longer life and a four-flute design that cleans debris out for efficient drilling.

Start by steadily squeezing the trigger of the drill slowly. Increase speed by applying more downward pressure. Drill deeply enough so that the drill bit penetrates the rock’s surface. Drill into the rock until the desired depth is reached with increased pressure, speed, and perfect straightness of the bit.

Being the hardest mineral, diamond always stands at the head of the scale.

Conclusion

If you are drilling into a stone these steps may help to drill easily but still there is no guarantee that a stone won’t break even at this pressure if it is drill-driven. Moreover, if you are drilling into brick then we have a separate guide for that.

Some stones may contain internal fracture lines that will break the stone apart with excessive pressure. Thus, you should decide at the beginning whether to risk the stone or not.

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