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Step bits can be handy for cutting sheet metal and plastic, but what if you don’t need a standard size hole? These conical “stepless” bits can create holes of any size from 1/8″ to 3/4″. The obvious limitation is if the material is thicker the hole will be tapered, but then again in some situations that might be desirable.

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The pictured bits use a two flute design which supposedly cuts faster and smoother.  The 1/4″ hex shanked high-speed steel bits are coated with titanium-nitride to keep them cool.

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The only place stateside we could find carrying these bits was Harbor Freight, where a set of three bits sized 3/16″ to 1/2″, 1/4″ to 3/4″, and 1/8″ to 1/2″ sells for $8. Several places in the UK carry similar bits sets including Axminster Tool Centre, which sells a set for £25 or about $40.

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Stepless Drill Bits [Harbor Freight]
Conical Bit Set [Axminster Tool Centre]

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15 Responses to Stepless Step Drill Bits

  1. Joe Sainz says:

    How great is the demand for these anyway? Seems like a very niche application for it, and I wouldn’t expect there to be many of these out there.

  2. Robert says:

    Oops, the CNC lathe had a programming error!

    But wait, like mystery flavor lollipops made when changing flavors and colors we ca still sell these!

    Brilliant.

  3. Blind says:

    Dunno, I could see it being useful. I mean, a stepper bit for a 1/2 hole doesn’t drill the right size hole for 1/2 PVC if you aren’t using an elbow does it?

  4. fred says:

    @Blind

    1/2 PVC pipe has an OD of 0.84 inches – but typically we drill a 7/8 inch (not 27/32 = 0.84375) clearance hole.

  5. mlocer says:

    These are great tools and i have a stepped and stepless set, ideally for thin sheet as stated in the review, I have completed several wiring projects with them enlarging holes in car and trailer chassis when i have an oddball grommet to protect the cables for towing hitches and ICE setups.
    I have even used them to fit corby bolts on a full tang knife project

  6. george says:

    i’m getting a set. at times i’m not happy with the stepdown set. then i use a manual reamer so this is happy news to me.

  7. Tetsubo says:

    I can see a use for these. But not what you would call a daily need. There have been rare times when I’ve needed a hole that fell between the drill bit sizes in my collection. But I could could those times on one hand and I wouldn’t need all of my fingers…

  8. Jim says:

    I like these because they have a 1/4″ hex shank. For speed and convenience, I have migrated towards all hex shanks in my power drivers and, as a result, do not have all sized 32nd and 64th fractional drills chucked into hex shanks collets. This would make it easy to quickly enlarge a hole.

  9. browndog77 says:

    I can see the usefulness in these bits. With the onslaught of foreign made products, working on them often requires the adjustment of an existing hole. Starting a stepper in a slightly undersized hole can be an unpleasant experience. More control w/ these, I would think.

  10. Chris W says:

    I like these (and step drills) because you can drill a large hole in sheet metal without having to use a knockout punch. Or for really big holes, they make a hole for the mandrel of my BIG punches.

  11. Phil says:

    I have a variation of these, can’t recall the manufacturer. I have two, one has a range of about 3/32 to 1/2″, the other about 1/4 to 1″. Both are single fluted. They do a great job of drilling holes in this sheet metal. No distortion, and very clean holes that look like they were punched instead of drilled. You can drill into thicker material, but you will end up with a tapered hole. You can drill from both sides to minimize the taper, or use the taper to your advantage. They are also great for deburring holes and pipe/tubing.

  12. DRT says:

    These stepless bits are great for opening up the exhaust on duck calls!

  13. Dean says:

    I think this is another product that most dad wish to have for their tools. This is another product that every household or constructor must have. I wonder how much it cost. I will show this to my father. I am sure he is dying to replace his old tools if he sees this. Thank you for posting it.

  14. Tom says:

    I found that the stepless drill bits burn up faster and don’t drill as quick as the step bits. They are decent for counter sinking in metal plate.

  15. nlrwilson says:

    Just a comment about what a step and stepless bit are good for. That is if you are a duck call craftsman like me you go with the stepless bit about 1″. Bores a perfect and smooth mouth piece approach to the guts of a duck call.

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