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We’ve seen self-centering bits around for awhile, but we wonder if it’s worth buying yet another set of drill bits.  Manufacturers and retailers claim the bits ensure accurate hinge and hardware installation.

Made by Insty-Bit for Rockler to fit the hex-drive Insty-Drive system, this particular three-piece set allows you to drill holes for #4, #6, and #8 screws.  The drill guide sits in the hardware’s screw-hole countersinks and aligns the bit for perfectly centered holes.

Insty-Bit makes these bits in the USA using precision-ground, high-speed steel.  Rockler and Amazon are currently discounting this three-piece to $13.  A heavy-duty nylon pouch to store the bits is included.

So, is it really that hard to drill a centered hole, or are self-centering bits the difference between fine furniture and something that looks like it was built in your garage?  Let us know in the comments.

Self-Centering Bits [Insty-Bit]
Self-Centering Bits [Rockler]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


15 Responses to Hot or Not? Self-Centering Drill Bits

  1. BC says:

    HOT HOT HOT, especially for installing hinges on furniture and hanging doors.

  2. David P. says:

    Bingo. Say you’re setting a small leaf hinge in a mortise on a piece of furniture you’ve been working on for three weeks. With these, you press the hinge in, then drill a perfectly centered hole. Being off even 1/32″ will screw you on a lot of projects.

    HOT even if they only get used twice a month.

  3. David P. says:

    but I’ll add–it’s probably cheaper and just as effective to get a self-centering centerpunch.

  4. fred says:

    Great tools – used to be called Vix Bits

  5. Kris says:

    Got a self-centering punch, and I use it – but the value of these is your time. If you are installing a piano hinge, or lots of hinges, these save you time and futzing.

    They really aren’t that expensive and worth it when you need them.

    FYI – you can find sets of five that cover more screw sizes for those (admittedly few) times you are using #10, #12, or even #14 screws.

  6. Michael W. says:

    Hot. Speaking as a furniture maker I use mine all the time. They’re even useful when installing a $1000 door.

  7. Michael Pendleton says:

    Love my set! Granted, I’m a furniture maker, but these are just one of those great simple things that works. No muss, no fuss, just a dead-center pilot hole. I only wish I could figure out how to mount one on the back side of my dewalt quick change driver tip. I worked with a guy who had managed it (never did show me *how*!), and he was the champion door hanger, just that much faster than anyone else.

    Also, “Vix bits” is a reference to the Vix brand name. If you are partial, you can still find this brand, but I’m not so picky and have the Rockler set pictured.

  8. dobson says:

    The case or pouch is the deal maker for me. Yes these are very usefull, but having a case to keep them organized and compartmentalized while tossed into my larger tool bag is a big plus.

    I always go out of my way to look for a version of a drill/driver accessory that comes with a case or sleeve, or pouch, whatever. And I will always buy that product that includes one rather than the item that dosen’t, even if the case version may be slightly lesser quality. I hate having all my bits clanking around inside a pourly designed dewalt bit box.

    Other sets that should come with pouches/cases are 3 pc. step drill set, magnetic nut driver bits!, lots more.

    I like the ones that lay/fold flat too, like the Bosch spade drill set.

  9. LoneRider says:

    I have yet to use my centre punch since I got a set of these bits.

    I have a Snappy self centring bit, but their takes a proprietary length drill bit, the Rockler set takes standard bits, so with that in mind the Rockler set gets a 10. Best of all, about twice a year they put the set on sale!

  10. fred says:

    I believe that the name Vix Bit came from the S E Vick Tool Company of Minnesota who had the original patent. Once the patent ran out, others followed with a number of copies. We have several sets of the originals which had round shanks and replaceable (set screw held) drill bits. I think we like some of the newer varieties that sport hex shanks. In any event – the tool is big help with productivity

  11. John says:

    The #12 w/ 11/64″ pilot bit is an essential for anyone prepping
    or hanging commercial doors. Vix bit still makes the best one.
    To convert to hex shank, install a hex shank bit holder.
    I have a vague idea where my Starrett center punch is…
    If you install hardware “vix” bits are part of your tool kit.

  12. Eli says:

    There’s no way I’d work without these. I have five, small to large. You can’t even come close to lining up a hole as quickly by freehand.

  13. Jim Crockett says:

    Hot! The only problem being that they don’t make one small enough for #2 screws used in the small hinges I use when building boxes. The closest is the 5/64″ size which is just too big for a #2 screw.

  14. Dean says:

    My father got a set of this drill bits and it is totally HOT HOT HOT for him… actually my sister misplaced it before and he got scolded super. That is how important those drill bits to my father. I think he can not work with out those.

  15. JoLynn says:

    After researching self-centering drill bits on different websites it appears that the Vix bits use a special “longer” bit than is normally sold. Given that, the Rockler Insty-drive would seem to be a more sensible purchase. Regardless of the brand, drill breakage, spring breakage, stripped set screws, seem to be issues with all brands at one time or another. As for whether replacement bits are standard or an unusual length…you don’t always get that info from the product description.

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