How To Use A Hole Saw Without Pilot Bit

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Hole saw as the name suggests, is very useful in making round holes in diverse materials. These saws are suitable for drilling thick pieces. It is because the pilot bit within the hole saw tends to break or split them.

But, it is eventually possible to use a hole saw for thin materials when you eliminate the pilot bit from its system. If you intend to drill a hole over thin material or make a large diameter hole, then using a pilot bit is not appropriate to carry out the task seamlessly. 

How To Use A Hole Saw Without Pilot Bit

If your primary purpose is to enlarge any of the existing holes in metal, wood, or other surfaces, then it is evident for you to take away the pilot bit from the machine. In addition to that, it also demands the use of an extra guidance tool for execution. It means that the pilot bit was the guiding part for a hole saw, without which you will need a guiding plate to perform the task.

If you are unaware of the skills to use this saw for cutting through thin materials or enlargement of the holes, learn how to use a hole saw without a pilot bit. In this guide, you will come across the necessary steps for the same. 

Hole saw resting on a half finished cajon flamenco percussion instrument

Step 1: Unscrewing The Collet From The Hole Saw

  1. Firstly, you need to unscrew the collet to take out the pilot bit off the hole saw. 
  2. Take off the drill bit from the saw, with the use of a hex wrench of 1/16 inch. 
  3. Now, you can fix back the collet to the hole saw. 
  4. The pilot bit is now detached from the hole saw and is ready for the next step. 

Step 2: Clamping Of The Guide Plate

Get a guiding plate, and clamp it onto the surface of that material, which you wish to drill. The plate holds a hole saw firmly. In addition to that, it will prevent the saw from moving or drifting over the surface or workpiece. Also, it is quite difficult for you to obtain a perfect circle drill without a guiding plate. 

If there is no possibility of carrying out the clamping on the surface or workpiece you are using, then you will have to hold it securely with your bare hands. Also, ensure that you take all the safety measures to prevent accidents in such scenarios. 

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Step 3: Inserting The Hole Saw Into Guide Jig

  1. You need to place the hole saw into that guide jig.
  2. It needs to be placed between the rollers, and then you need to make adjustments as per the diameter of that saw. 
  3. Now, remove the hole cutter, and place the jig up on the position you intend to drill
  4. Then you need to lock the jig in that place by pressing the suction cup. 
  5. You can now go ahead and cut an accurate circular hole over the surface. 

Step 4: Start Drilling Your Work Piece

  1. Turn the drill on, and ensure to start slowly. 
  2. Let the teeth of the saw form a perimeter of the hole. 
  3. Now, you can lean onto the drill using your shoulders until you have achieved a drill depth of 1/2 inch. 
  4. Now, stop drilling!
  5. Hold the drill saw at your arm’s length, but do not take it out of the hole. 
  6. Keep a check on your vertical alignment while you step back.
  7. Make all the necessary adjustments, and then you can continue the drilling process. 
  8. Pause for a moment in case the hold starts to burn or bind. 
  9. Remove the dust or debris from the hole, and then continue with the drill to obtain your result. 

If you intend to drill completely through the material, you must hold a scrap at the opposite end of the material, right beneath the drill point. Also, you need to hold it firmly upon the lower-end of the drilling material to let the hole saw stop when it reaches that scrap piece. By doing so, you will obtain your desired drilling output. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Keep In Mind While Using A Hole Saw?

A hole saw is an ideal solution for you to go ahead and cleanly drill the larger holes. Without the pilot bit, you get the freedom to use it over almost all materials, irrespective of their thickness. If you want to know what to keep in mind while using a hole saw, you must follow this link that describes six tips for the said purpose! 

Are There Any Safety Considerations While Using A Hole Saw?

While using a hole saw, you should keep in mind all the safety guidelines. It doesn’t matter whether you are proficient with the skills or are using the saw for gentle applications; safety is a must. Therefore, use gloves for protecting your hands and goggles for safeguarding your eyes from the sawdust. 


Using a hole saw is very easy and convenient. In fact, with a pilot bit, the functionality limits itself to only thick materials. But you can use hole saws in two ways and for more applications.

Also, you do not have to buy any specific product for enlarging holes or drilling through thin materials anymore. Instead, go through the steps mentioned above. And, if you have understood the technique of utilizing a hole saw without a pilot bit, you can proceed with its implementation.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.