I have an SDS drill, with the bit broken off inside the barrel. Stripped a lot down, and can move the offending remains about an inch, using a magnet. Then it gets stuck. Tried oxy-acetylene to heat up the barrel, thus making the hole inside slightly larger. Didn't work.

Any other ideas on how to remove the broken bit from an otherwise usable tool?

  • 5
    Some pics would really help...
    – Huesmann
    Oct 30, 2023 at 12:48

4 Answers 4


Since you heated the chuck with an oxy flame, chances are that you already ruined the tool.

Normally the chuck has a catch in form of two hardened steel balls, that get held in place by the release mechanism. Should you have already removed the two balls, then the drill bit is deformed at the base, and the tool isn't usable anymore.

  • Why would heating ruin the tool? It wasn't even cherry red, and if the case hardening has gone, it's still usable, just won't last as long.
    – Tim
    Oct 30, 2023 at 13:56
  • @Martin By "Tool" do you mean the machine or the bit? The latter is already broken, so no more damage matters to that.
    – MikeB
    Oct 31, 2023 at 7:39
  • @MikeB By "Tool" I intended the chuck. In case of an non-replacable chuck then the entire machine.
    – Martin
    Oct 31, 2023 at 9:07
  • @Tim Glad you got it out. Normally when people use an oxy-flame on something they heat it to kingdom come. Therefor I assumed you did the same
    – Martin
    Oct 31, 2023 at 9:12
  • @Martin - nooo! Oxy-acetylene is scary stuff when alight. I treat it, and whatever it gets aimed at with utmost respect. Hardly ever use it for actual welding these days, far more for freeing stuff. Which didn't work. It was just the barrel, all steel - couldn't/wouldn't heat the whole tool! The two balls came out, giving me room for manoeuvre, and space for that centre punch to persuade the bit out. Re-assembling, grease held the balls in place.
    – Tim
    Oct 31, 2023 at 9:55

When the bit broke off, it must have left a burr inside the tube, along with a slightly misshapen bit end. By careful filing inside the tube, and gentle persuasion with a centre punch, it eventually took flight - I've yet to find it in the workshop!

Considered superglue, but there was a lot of oil/grease around that couldn't be dispersed. Also considered welding a welding rod to it, to pull it through. That worked a long time ago on a broken half-shaft stuck in its housing. Trouble with that is it's a one shot only. Touch the side of the tube instead of the offending bit, and it's all scrap.

Thank you for the answers, cost me three hours trying, but it's pride that counts! Besides, drills don't do much for landfill...

  • 1
    hmmm… I would have expected it to come out fairly easily once you'd taken the chuck apart. I have one bit that always jams, but I just pop the top off the chuck [it's kind of in a sturdy rubber 'box'] the ball bearings come free & the bit comes out. Glad you got it anyway - pride sustained;)
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 30, 2023 at 17:53
  • @Tetsujin - were that my bit ,I'd be linishing it on the grinding wheel. There's a high spot somewhere. Or sling it, and get a better one!
    – Tim
    Oct 30, 2023 at 17:58
  • Yeah, tbh it doesn't get enough use these days to be worth it. It was a stuuupid-priced major purchase… that the job disappeared from under, so I'm left with a very high value drill that gets used once a year, maybe. [I don't have a decent grinder either] I can get the bit out in 15 seconds, as opposed to 2… I have the patience;)
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 30, 2023 at 18:04

Try reattaching the broken bit with super glue or epoxy (judiciously applied so as to not lock it in place permanently!).


Just to check: You do remember to push down on the chuck release, yes? SDS drills feature manual release that you have to press to get the bit out. Otherwise it will only go up and down about half centimeter, because it is locked.

With release depressed, try following:

  • turning tool with broken bit facing down and shaking
  • hitting it on something hard to make the bit fall out by impact
  • use strong magnet (I am not sure if drills are magnetic - check on the leftover piece)
  • try to superglue it then pull out once it binds.
  • Possibly (UNSAFE): switch the drill to hammer with no rotation, hold the release and hope a lucky impact shoots the leftover bit out.

Remember to hold the drill release at all times.

  • Thanks for all the ideas - all tried previously! None worked due to a burr inside the barrel. The chuck release? Stripped off the drill - couldn't get anywhere near the broken stub without doing that.
    – Tim
    Oct 31, 2023 at 10:18

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