Difference Between Drilling, Boring & Reaming

Drilling a hole in a metal or a wood piece is not something that you do every day. But you need to do it often. For example, if you want to hang pictures on the wall you have to drill the wall to make a hole on it. Or you make holes in a wood piece to make something out of wood. So drilling is necessary for you sometimes.

If you know the difference between drilling, boring and reaming then making these holes will be easier for you. Also, the holes you make will be more perfect.

So I am here to help you learn about the difference between drilling, boring & reaming. This guide will help you to know all the things about these three process. So let’s get started.

What Is Drilling?

Drilling is the process of cutting a hole in a solid material. Usually, a drill bit is used to make the hole in the solid material. A drill bit is a cutting tool. It has a rotary mechanism that helps you to cut the hole.

You have to press the bit against the workpiece you want to drill. Then you have to rotate the bit. It can be done manually or you can use a bit that is run by electricity.

Usually, electrical bits are used to make holes on a metal object. But you can manually rotate the bit to make a hole in a wooden object.

There are different types of drilling. For example, Spot Drilling, Center Drilling, and Deep Hole Drilling etc. Spot drilling is to help you make a spot for drilling the final hole.

Center drilling will help you to countersink center holes. This will mount the work piece between center for gridding or turning.

Deep hole drilling is when you drill a deep hole in your workpiece. Usually, the depth is ten times the size of the diameter of the hole. You will be needing special equipment to drill such hole. There are other types of drilling as well. Such as Micro drilling, Vibration drilling etc.

Also Recommended: What Drill Bit to Use? – How to Drill Steel, Wood and Concrete

What Is Boring?

Boring is when you make a hole in your work piece larger. That means if your work piece already has a hole in it then you can make it larger by boring that hole. Usually boring is done after drilling.

To have greater accuracy in a hole you can do boring after drilling. To cut a tapered hole you can do boring as well. There are different types of boring such as Line boring, Back boring etc.

If the boring bar is supported on the both ends of the hole then the boring is Lineboring. Of course, for this, you have to have a hole that is through the workpiece.

And if the boring bar is supported on only one end of the hole then that is Backboring. The good thing about Backboring is that it works on both through holes and blind holes.

The machines used for boring are usually lathes or jig borers. For general purposes, you can use the lathes. But for a specially designed machine, you have to use the jig borers.

What Is Reaming?

To make a hole smooth you have to follow a process. This process is known as reaming. Reamers are generally used for reaming a hole. Reamers are edge cutting tools. They will help you to cut and smoothen the edge of a hole you drilled in your work piece.

Generally, you have to do reaming after you drill a hole in your work piece. You have to make the diameter of the hole a little less than the target diameter when you drill. So that you can have the target diameter when you are reaming.

There is a difference between the drill's diameter and the reamer's diameter. This is known as allowance. There are many types of reamers such as the straight reamer, rose reamer, shell reamer etc.

For a minor enlargement, you can use the straight reamer. You can use the rose reamer for rough edges. For bearing you can use the shell reamers. There are some other reamers as well.

For example tapered reamers. Precision tapered reamers are used to receive a taper pin. But non-precision tapered reamers are for cleaning burrs from a hole.

By drilling, you can get a hole that may not be as perfect as you expect. But after boring the hole and then when you ream the hole you can get the perfect shape.

The Differences

  • The main difference between drilling, boring and reaming is that drilling is when you make a brand new hole in your work piece. But boring is when you enlarge the hole. When you give a finishing touch to your hole that means you are reaming. Giving a finishing touch to the hole means making the hole smoother.
  • Next thing about the three processes is that they have individual tools for them. The process of drilling uses a drill bit. But the boring process uses a lathe and reaming uses reamers. So there is also a difference in terms of tools.
  • The process of boring always comes after the drilling. And reaming comes at last. The sequence is always the same. You cannot bore until you drill. And you cannot ream until you bore. So by drilling, you can directly have a hole you want. But boring and reaming are the helping processes. Or they are the processes that will make a better hole.


Now that you know about drilling, boring and reaming individually, it will be a lot easier for you to make holes on a work piece. Also, you have learned the difference between drilling, boring and reaming.

So this will help you to make more perfect holes. You can see that the main difference is basically on how you make the holes.

So, when you make the holes first you it needs drilling, then you do boring. Finally reaming makes the hole perfect. There are also some differences on the machines that you use for the three processes.

So following these steps gives you the perfect hole. Thank you for reading with patience. I hope that this guide was helpful for you.

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