Difference Between Drilling, Boring, and Reaming – Complete Guide

Most of the kinds of woodworking and wall decoration and metal constructions require drilling. However, drilling isn't the only thing that is expected from an expert, further boring and reaming also require to provide a top-notch finish.

It seems that these works are pretty similar to each other. But, do you know each one of them differs from one another in many ways?

If you are interested in learning the difference between drilling, boring and reaming, this guide will surely help you.

What is Drilling?

Before jumping into the differences, it would be beneficial to know about drilling first. Drilling is how a hole is made in solid materials like wood, metal, brick, concrete.

In order to create a hole, a drilling machine is required. A drill bit is an object that cuts through solid materials with the help of its rotary mechanism.  

There are also manual ways to drill. Using a hand powered a manual bit, you can cut through the materials as well. So, you can drill mainly in two ways; electrically and manually.

Electric bits are primarily used for making holes on the stronger object. It is used in the wooden object as well.

Drilling mainly is of several types; spot drilling, deep hole drilling, and center drilling are the most common ones. Spot drilling helps to make a spot to drill the final hole.

If you want more deep hole than usual, then you will need deep drilling. The depth is ten times larger than the size of the diameter of the hole. Special equipment is required to drill such deeper hole.

The center drilling is when you need to countersink center holes. It mounts the workpiece in between its center for turning or grinding.

Tips for Drilling

  • Before start drilling, make sure there are no pipes or cables on the surface that you are about to drill.
  • Depending on your job, choose drill bit wisely between metal, masonry, and wood.
    If the bit is rotary, do not attempt to hammer.
  • The drill bit overheats while drilling tough materials like concrete and metal. Therefore, withdraw the bit periodically from the hole.
  • When you drill downwards, make sure you periodically pull out the drill to prevent dust jamming the bit.
  • Do not drop carbide drill bits in cold water for any circumstance. Otherwise, the weld will be cracked.
  • Go low speed when it is about drilling on bricks, and speed up when it is metal and wood. Drilling on bricks with rotary bits does not require hammering.
  • Do not buy cheap drill bit sets that come with hundred pieces for the unbelievable cheap price. Cheap drill bits will make your job hard.
  • If you feel or smell the drill machine’s motor is warming up too much, immediately remove the bit from the hole and run it without load at full speed. It will draw enough air to the windings and cool down the motor.
    You should always drill straight.
  • Pick the appropriate chuck size for the drill-work and keep the chuck properly tightened.
  • Pick drill bit of proper size.

Some Added Safety Tips

  • At first sum-up the steps you are going to perform through your drilling tool or machine in the project.
  • Wisely select drilling bit, chuck, chuck key for your machine that you will need.
  • The working area should be free of clutter and well organized.
  • Always wear protective goggles and shoes, and wear a snugly fitting outfit so that your clothes do not get caught up while working.
  • Place all the necessary equipment in a tool tray nearby you.
  • If you feel frustrated, tired, then you should not start the project.

What is Boring?

Boring is to extend the hole even further. Let me explain it. If you already have a hole in your wall and you want this hole to make even larger, that is where you need boring.

Sometimes, the size of the hole is not what you expected or does not fit for the purpose it was made. In this condition, you do not need to drill another hole. To ensure the better accuracy of the hole, boring would be more than enough. In addition, boring can also be done to cut a tapered.

During the boring, you might come across in a situation where two ends of the hole support the boring bar. It indicates the boring as Lineboring.

Furthermore, if only one end of the hole supports the boring bar, then it is Backboring. Backboring works on both blind holes and through holes.

For boring, lathes and jig borers machines are used. For general and simple work, a lathes machine will do the trick. But for more specialized work, you need to use big borers.

Tips for Boring

  • In blind holes, make sure the chip breaking and evacuation is satisfactory.
  • Be careful if you use long chips as it accumulates the hole and surface deterioration and jams the chip resulting insert breakdown.
  • Choose the coupling size the largest one and overhang the shortest one.
  • Add dampening mechanism for dynamic stiffness.
  • Use dedicated tools if overhangs is long.
  • For coolant and cutting fluid, prepare a mixture of about 7% soluble oil.
  • Go for high pressure and high volume for chip evacuation.
  • You can operate dry boring in small chipping objects.
  • Reduce the cutting speed if the overhangs are longer.
  • Select the largest point angle for better strength and economy.
  • For insert strength, go for the biggest nose radius.
  • Go for relatively smaller nose radius in case of vibration.
  • For a rough boring job, ensure three cutting edges, the large diameter of the cutter.

What is Reaming?

After drilling and boring, you will need to smooth a hole through the reaming process using an edge cutting tool known as the reamer. When you do not get a hole as perfect as you wanted, then a reamer can make the hole smooth and provide you with a great finish as you expected.

Sometimes when you do not need boring a hole, you can start reaming the hole straight after drilling. All you need to do is to measure the diameter of a hole ensuring the size is less than the targeted diameter during drilling. It will make easy for you to work on targeted diameter.

Keep in mind that the diameter of the drill and reamer are not the same. Therefore, you need to set smaller diameter for reaming than drilling. Most commonly used reamers are straight reamer, shell reamer and rose reamer.

Straight reamers are for minor broadening. If the edges are rough, then you will need rose reamers. For bearing purpose, go with shell reamers.

There are other reamers like tapered reamer that is used for receiving a taper pin. On the other hand, there are non-precision tapered reamers as well that cleans burrs from a cut hole.

Tips for Reaming

  • The finest type of reamer should march along with accurate speed that suits the application.
  • Use good quality chuck to avoid slipping of the reamer.
  • The tool should overhang from the spindle to a minimum.
  • Ensure the lubricant reaches the edges of the cutters.
  • Dilute soluble oil with 40:1.
  • Leave no room for the flutes that might cause a blockage.
  • There will be a lot of dust, so make sure you take precautions and free the area from objects being affected by dust.
  • Keep your reamers sharp to maintain finishing quality and tool’s life.

The Differences Explained

Despite having some similarities, three of them have numbers of differences among them. Let's have a look at their differences.

1. Way of Work

Drilling refers to cut a hole on solid materials such as metals, bricks, concretes, woods, etc. And this process is done through a drilling machine or manual drilling bit.

Boring is done for the enlargement of a hole. If there is any need for increasing the size of a hole or drilling bit cannot drill a hole of the expected size, then boring is performed. 

After drilling, most of the time it is necessary for making the hole smooth for many reasons. Reamers are used to finish rough hole surfaces.

2. Cutting Tool Type

As far as it refers to drilling machine or manual bits, they are double point cutting tool.

While on the other hand, a borer refers to a single point cutting tool.

And the reamers are known as multi-point cutting tool.

3. Stage of Working

Drilling is the first stage of hole construction which is done on solid materials.

A pre-drilled hole is required for performing boring. If there is no hole, what on earth someone would need boring?

As same as boring, reaming also requires a pre-existing hole for making it further smooth.

4. Increasing the Size of a Hole

You can increase the length of a hole through drilling, but you cannot increase the diameter of it. It is limited to the diameter of the drilling bit.

Boring is performed for making a hole even bigger. With borer, you can increase the diameter of the hole, but you cannot do anything to its length.

You have no room for increasing neither the diameter nor the length of a hole when it comes to reaming.

5. The Quality of Work

The finishing of drilling is not that good. Drilling makes the surface rough.

The quality overall quality of the hole after boring slightly improves. But that is not the purpose of boring.

Reaming is performed to make the surface smooth. Therefore, if the smoothness of a hole is your concern, you must perform reaming after finishing the drilling process.

6. MRR – Material Removal Rate

Drilling is a process of cutting through a solid surface which makes drilling higher in MRR.

However, MRR is not that higher like drilling when it comes to boring. But MRR is quite higher compared to the reaming process.

When reaming, MRR is very poor because there is nothing that involves MRR in reaming. It is all about finishing a rough surface.

Similarities Between Drilling, Boring, and Reaming

Now let's see what the similarities between these three processes are –

  • All three engage in metal cutting operations. They gradually remove excess metal from the workpiece.
  • They follow the philosophy of subtractive manufacturing.
  • Drilling, boring and reaming are performed for hole fabrication.
  • All the processes produce chips.
  • Cutter tool is a must having concern for all of them.

Final Words

After knowing about drilling, boring and reaming, you will be able to make perfect holes on a material. Learning about their differences will make you understand when you need to focus on what during a hole fabrication.

You can skip boring if you are okay with the size of a hole. But for perfection, make sure you ream the hole properly after drilling.

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