Unlock the Secrets: How to Drill Out a Bolt Like a Pro

To drill out a bolt, use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the bolt and drill through the center of the bolt until it breaks loose. The process may require gradual increasing of the drill bit size and caution not to damage the threads.

Drilling out a bolt is a common method used to remove a stripped or rusted bolt. It is a simple yet time-consuming process that requires some level of expertise. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step approach on how to drill out a bolt correctly and safely.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about the tools needed, the safety equipment required, and the techniques to use for a successful outcome. So, whether you’re a professional mechanic or DIY enthusiast, this guide will help you drill out bolts with ease.

Introduction: Unlock The Secrets To Drilling Out A Bolt Like A Pro

The Importance Of Being Able To Drill Out A Bolt

Drilling out a bolt is a technique that every mechanic must master. Sooner or later, you will encounter a bolt that refuses to budge, and you must remove it. This is when you must be able to drill it out like a pro.

It is worth mastering this skill because it can save you time, money, and headaches. Here are some benefits of being able to drill out a bolt:

  • Saves time: Drilling out a bolt is much faster than trying to remove it using other methods.
  • Provides access: Once the bolt is removed, you may have access to the component and make the necessary repairs.
  • Prevents damage: Other methods of removing a stubborn bolt may damage the surrounding components, while drilling the bolt out minimizes the risk of damage.

Common Reasons For Needing To Remove A Bolt

There are numerous reasons why you may need to remove a bolt. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Rust or corrosion: Bolts that are exposed to water, salt or moisture can rust and become difficult to remove.
  • Stripped threads: Over-tightening a bolt can strip its threads, making it difficult or impossible to remove with a wrench or socket.
  • Broken bolt: Sometimes a bolt may break off flush with the surface, making it impossible to grip with pliers.

The Consequences Of Not Being Able To Remove A Bolt

If you cannot remove a bolt, it can cause major issues. Here are some of the consequences of not being able to remove a bolt:

  • Delays repairs: If you cannot remove the bolt, you will not be able to make the necessary repairs, which will cause delays.
  • Damages components: Attempting to remove the bolt using other methods can damage the surrounding components.
  • Increases costs: If the bolt cannot be removed, a replacement component may be required, which will increase costs.

Overview Of What Needs To Be Done To Remove A Bolt

Here’s an overview of what you should do to remove a bolt:

  • Gather the right tools: To drill out a bolt, you will need a power drill, a drill bit, and a bolt extractor.
  • Mark the center: Use a center punch to mark the center of the bolt.
  • Drill a hole: Use the power drill to create a pilot hole in the center of the bolt.
  • Use the bolt extractor: Attach the bolt extractor to the power drill and remove the bolt.
  • Clean the area: Once the bolt is removed, clean the area of any debris or metal shavings.

By following these steps, you can easily remove a stubborn bolt using a drill and bolt extractor.

What Tools You Will Need

Drilling out a bolt that has become seized or rusted can be a challenging task. You’ll require focused attention and specialized tools suited for the job. In this blog post, we’ll break down the necessary tools and accessories required to drill out a bolt effectively.

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Let’s get started.

Essential Tools For Drilling Out A Bolt:

  • A drill: A reliable and high-powered drill is the most important tool needed for this task. We suggest using a corded, rather than a cordless one as it provides consistent power and will not run out of charge mid-task.
  • Safety glasses: Safety glasses are essential as drilling metal involves the possibility of metal shards flying off at high speeds, which can harm your eyes.
  • Gloves: Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and to provide a comfortable grip on the tools.
  • Vice grips: A pair of vice grips to hold the bolt in place is essential as it provides stability while drilling.
  • Center punch: A center punch helps make a small indentation in the center of the bolt, creating a starting point for the drill bit.

Types Of Drill Bits Necessary For The Job:

  • Cobalt drill bits: Cobalt bits are strong and can withstand high temperatures without breaking. These bits are ideal for drilling through bolts made of hard materials, such as stainless steel or titanium.
  • Titanium-coated drill bits: These drill bits are well suited for drilling through softer materials, such as aluminum or brass bolts. They have a coating of titanium, which makes them durable and less likely to overheat.
  • Diamond core bits: Diamond core bits are specialized drill bits for drilling through masonry bolts. These bits are coated in diamond to give them superior strength when drilling into concrete or brick.

Accessories And Aids To Make The Task More Manageable:

  • Cutting lubricating oil: Using a lubricating oil reduces friction, prevents the drill bit from overheating and enables you to work more smoothly.
  • Drill bit guide: A drill bit guide ensures that the drill bit is perpendicular to the bolt. This ensures that the hole is straight and makes the job easier and more efficient.
  • Drill bit sharpeners: Dull drill bits can cause unsightly holes and make the job harder. Having a drill bit sharpener will ensure that your bits remain sharp and will save you money in the long run.

Drilling out a bolt can be a challenging task, but having the right tools and accessories can make all the difference. With the tools outlined in this post, you can confidently drill out bolts without damaging your equipment.

Assessing The Situation

Identifying The Type Of Bolt And Material It’s Attached To

Before drilling out a bolt, you must identify the type of bolt you’re working with and the material it’s attached to. This will help you determine what type of drill bit you’ll need and the level of force you can use.

Follow these steps:

  • Look for markings or labels on the bolt to determine its type. Common types include hex bolts, carriage bolts, and lag bolts.
  • Use a magnet to determine if the bolt is made of ferrous or non-ferrous material. Ferrous materials contain iron, and a magnet will attract to them. Non-ferrous materials do not contain iron and will not attract the magnet.

Steps To Take Before Drilling, Including Lubrication And Disassembly

Before drilling out a bolt, there are certain steps you should take to make the process easier and more effective. These steps include:

  • Lubricating the bolt with a penetrating oil. This will help loosen the bolt and reduce the amount of force required to remove it.
  • Disassembling any parts that may be obstructing the bolt. This will give you greater access to the bolt and make it easier to drill out.
  • Marking the center of the bolt with a punch. This will help guide the drill bit and prevent it from wandering.
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When you’re ready to begin drilling, make sure the drill bit is properly aligned with the center of the bolt to prevent damaging the surrounding material.

When To Know That The Bolt Is Unable To Be Drilled Out

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, a bolt just won’t budge. In these cases, it’s important to recognize when a bolt is unable to be drilled out and take appropriate action to avoid damaging the surrounding material. Here are a few signs that a bolt is unable to be drilled out:

  • The drill bit isn’t making progress and is just spinning in place.
  • The bolt starts to deform or bend under the pressure of the drill.
  • You notice smoke or a burning smell coming from the bolt or surrounding material.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s time to stop drilling and consider other options, such as heating the bolt or using a bolt extractor tool.

Drilling Process

Drilling out a bolt can be a challenge, especially when it’s corroded or broken in place. In this blog post, we will cover the drilling process involved in removing bolts. We’ll discuss drill bit positioning and alignment, the best techniques for drilling through different bolt materials, the importance of speed and pressure control, and how to remove broken drill bits from the material.

Drill Bit Positioning And Alignment

Drill bit positioning and alignment is critical when drilling out a bolt. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Place the drill bit at the center of the bolt.
  • Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller in diameter than the bolt size.
  • Center punch the bolt before drilling to ensure accurate alignment.
  • Use a drill press or center punch the bolt to avoid a wandering bit.

Best Techniques For Drilling Through Different Bolt Materials

Different bolt materials respond differently to drilling. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Lubricate the bit when drilling through hard metals like stainless steel or titanium.
  • Use a cobalt or titanium-coated drill bit to drill through hardened bolts or metal.
  • Use a diamond bit to drill through ceramic, concrete, or glazed tile bolts.
  • Use a left-hand drill bit when drilling out a broken bolt – the counterclockwise rotation may remove the bolt without having to drill it out entirely.

Importance Of Speed And Pressure Control

Speed and pressure control play crucial roles in the drilling process. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Start drilling at a slow speed and gradually increase it to drill out the bolt.
  • Increase the pressure progressively but do not press down too hard, as it can result in breaking the drill bit or damaging the material.
  • Apply constant pressure to drill out the bolt without stopping and starting.

How To Remove Broken Drill Bits From The Material

Removing broken drill bits is crucial to avoid further complications when drilling out a bolt. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Gently unscrew the drill bit using a reverse drill bit, if available.
  • Use a broken screw extractor to remove the drill bit if a reverse drill bit is not available.
  • If the drill bit cannot be removed, carefully remove the surrounding material until the drill bit is exposed or can be accessed better for removal.

By following the above tips, you can easily drill out a bolt without damaging the material or the drill bit. Keep in mind that drilling out a bolt requires patience, precision, and control over the drilling process. Practice these techniques and choose the right tools to make the job less daunting.

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What To Do After Drilling

Drilling out a bolt can be a challenging task, but with the right techniques and tools, it is possible to handle effectively. However, once the bolt has been drilled out, it’s important to follow certain guidelines to ensure you don’t encounter similar issues in the future.

In this post, we explain the techniques for removing the drilled bolt, prevention measures for future bolt removal needs, and how to clean up the area after drilling.

Techniques For Removing The Drilled Bolt

After successfully drilling out the bolt, the removal of the remaining piece is crucial. Some techniques for removing the drilled bolt include:

  • Using a screw extractor: This tool is designed to grip onto the remaining section of the bolt and twist it out.
  • Welding a nut: Welding a nut onto the remaining bolt piece and using a wrench to slowly twist it out can be an effective technique, but requires some welding skills.
  • Tapping: With a high-quality tap and die set, you can create new threads to replace the damaged threads on the bolt.

Prevention Measures For Future Bolt Removal Needs

Although drilling out a bolt is sometimes necessary, it’s better to avoid it altogether. Here are some prevention measures to avoid future bolt removal needs:

  • Use the right tools: Always use the right sized wrench or socket wrench to avoid damaging the bolt.
  • Use anti-seize compounds: Prevent corrosion, rust, or seizing by applying an anti-seize compound to the bolt threads before installing it.
  • Opt for grade 8 bolts: These are stronger and more durable than standard grade 5 bolts, and are less likely to snap or break.
  • Apply a locking compound: If the bolt location experiences high vibration or shock loads, use a locking compound, such as loctite, to prevent the bolt from coming loose.

Cleaning Up The Area After Drilling

After successfully drilling out the bolt, it’s necessary to clean up the area before calling it a day. Here’s how:

  • Use a magnet or vacuum cleaner: To avoid leaving debris behind, use a magnet or vacuum cleaner to pick up any metal shavings or debris.
  • Wipe clean: Finally, wipe down the surrounding area and the bolt location with a clean cloth or rag to ensure that no debris or metal shavings remain.

Drilling out a bolt can be a daunting task, but with the right techniques and tools, it is possible. After the removal of the drilled bolt, it’s essential to take the right prevention measures for future bolt removal and clean the area thoroughly.

Following these guidelines can avoid any potential issues in the future and ensure that the bolt removal process is done effectively and efficiently.


Now that you have learned how to drill out a bolt using different techniques, take caution to prevent any accidents from occurring. Remember to wear safety gear like gloves and goggles. Be patient and take your time while drilling because rushing can cause damage to your tools or even yourself.

Always ensure that you use the right type of drill bit and size to avoid unnecessary stress on the bolt. If the bolt is seized, applying heat or penetrating oil may help loosen it. Finally, take note of the lessons learned and put them into practice next time you encounter a stuck or broken bolt.

By following these steps, you can safely remove bolts without damaging the item you are working on. Happy drilling!

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