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Shop Spade & Indexable Drills
Basics of... Spade Drills and Indexable Drilling
Spade Drill Indexable Drill Modular Insert


Spade Drills

  • A drill bit, which contains a replaceable flat-end cutting blade with two cutting lips, used for deep hole drilling or larger holes ranging from 1�? to 6�? diameter
  • Has special shanks called Holders and Blades (Inserts) may be quickly replaced which saves time during set-up
  • Allows the user to drill many different diameter holes simply by changing the blade
  • Types: Universal and High Performance

Straight Flute

  • Recommended for horizontal machining center applications to maximize chip evacuation

Helical Flute

  • Recommended for horizontal machining center applications to maximize chip evacuation

Modular Drills

  • Offers performance levels commonly achieved with solid carbide drills
  • Unique locking system requires no screws or clamps
  • Insert blades can be changed using a simple provided tool
  • Drill body does not require removal from the machine or holder to change the insert blade
  • Insert blades may be used on different drill bodies but must be of the same seat size

Indexable Drills

  • More complex in design vs. spade drills and modular drills
  • Uses two inserts: the inner insert cuts the inner portion of the hole while the outer insert responsible for the final hole diameter cuts the outer portion
  • Reduces machine cycle time by producing higher penetration rates, lowering chip friction and allowing for chip control
  • In addition to drilling applications, they can perform boring, facing and turning operations

Types of Inserts for Indexable Drilling

Straight Flute

  • Inside insert leads the cutting edge of the outside to cut a clearance path for the lead corner of the outside insert


  • Outside insert leads the cutting edge of the inside

Tool Material

High Speed Steel (HSS: M1, M2, M7, M50)

  • Combines good tool life and productivity with minimal cost
  • Works well in free cutting and carbon steels, as well as soft non-ferrous materials like aluminum, brass, bronze and copper
  • Able to handle less than ideal set-ups

Cobalt (M35, M-42, T-15)

  • Provides better wear resistance, higher hardness and toughness than HSS
  • Very little chipping or microchipping under severe cutting conditions, allowing the tool to run 10% faster than HSS
  • With the right point angle and helix, cobalt is the most cost effective for machining cast iron, heat-treatable steels and titanium alloys
  • Able to handle less than ideal set-ups

Solid Carbide

  • For high-performance applications: carbide can run faster and withstand higher temperatures, while providing good wear resistance
  • Provides better rigidity than HSS, yielding a higher degree of dimensional accuracy, often eliminating the need to ream
  • Carbide is brittle, and tends to chip when conditions are not ideal; heavy feed rates are more suitable for HSS and Cobalt tools
  • Carbide is used in abrasives and tough-to-machine materials: cast iron, non-ferrous alloys, glass, plastics and composites


TiN (Titanium Nitride - Gold Color)

  • Multi-purpose coating which increases tool life and performance
  • Hardness and heat resistance allows tools to run at higher speeds and feeds (approx. 25% to 30% higher than uncoated tools)

TiCN (Titanium Carbonitride - Violet Gray Color)

  • Harder and more wear resistant in moderate temperatures
  • TiCN can provide the user the ability to run the job at higher spindle speeds, especially in stainless steels, cast iron and aluminum
  • Requires an increase of 35% to 50% in machining speeds

TiAlN (Titanium Aluminum Nitride - Violet Black Color)

  • For high temperature and/or abrasive conditions
  • Use in stainless steel, high alloy carbon steels, nickel-based high-temp alloys and titanium alloys. Not to be used in aluminum
  • Requires an increase of 75% to 100% in machining speeds


  • Exclusive by Guhring, alternating ultra-thin coating layers combines the performance benefits of single layer coatings: universal applicability of TiN,hardness and heat resistance of TiAlN and shock resistance of TiCN