New Products - September 2022

A new product has just been added to the VEX Website, introducing the Step Drill Bit.

A Step Drill Bit has “stairs” that allow the user to drill a wide range of hole sizes. The further you drill, the large the hole. Great for drilling VEX metal to be compatible with High Strength shafts, hardware, and bearings!

Available now on the US store, with international availability coming in the next few weeks as our other warehouses receive stock.


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This seems quite helpful. The 3/8" step is about the right size for HS shaft holes, and I believe the 7/8" one is pretty close to what is needed for press-fitting bearings.

Actually wait what it’s $30??? Literally why.


Buy from here


Apologies. I was intending /s to mean end sarcasm. I personally don’t find this step drill useful.

even if it isn’t personally useful to you, you shouldn’t put down the people who worked hard on the product or spread negativity in our community, please keep it to yourself


To pay for all the lawsuits when students put this drill bit which is, for some inexplicable reason, VRC legal on their robots.


Not to be that guy, but I think the red box rains on that particular parade:

Additionally, products meant for use on finished robots contain an additional “VRC Legal” tag which is missing from your screenshot above, for example:

Although I notice that the V5 logo is now missing from the step drill bit product page, for me at least.

I’ve bought some pretty good stuff from Harbor Freight (trailer hitch ball, tire pressure gauge, screwdriver bits) and also some pretty terrible stuff (masking tape, bicycle pump). I don’t have any experience with that particular HF drill bit, bit I can be reasonably confident that whatever bit VEX has sourced won’t be terrible. 12 extra dollars for that peace of mind, plus the convenience of tacking it on to the next order I’m making anyway, plus my (hypothetical) school is already set up to pay them via PO, doesn’t seem totally exorbitant to me.


LOL being from vex makes me even less likely to trust it, harbor freight has been much more reliable to me than products from vex.


$30 for a $9 stepper bit?


While I have seen a lot of comments on how much more expensive this is than HF step drills, the listed price is actually not out of line with many retailers. If you look at your typical home improvement type store, you will probably pay a bit more than $30 for a similar bit…

For a school that already has VEX as an approved vendor, this is actually a decent deal.


Its a good thing vex isn’t your typical home improvement store. If i wanted one now, i would pay the 30 at home depot. If i didnt want it, and i was willing to wait, pay for shipping, and then finally be able to use the tool, i would order off amazon for 30% the price and much cheaper shipping.

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It’s $53.25 for us non-Texans (tax + FedEx) now that VEX resellers were declared competition illegal. For one singular bit. They better be made out of anti-static vibranium with built-in velocity PIDs.

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Third party sellers were not made illegal, just that vex no longer supports or supplies official resellers.

And especially with something like a tool, you can buy from wherever you want, whether it be 4$ from robosource or 30$ from vex.


This is a key point. You are allowed to use basically any tool from any supplier. The restrictions are on the parts, not the tools.

If you want to buy from HF or Amazon, then do so. This is a win even if it only introduces teams to the CONCEPT of a step drill.


What I meant by that was buying from a local reseller saved on big Fedex charges. For schools/clubs with tiny budgets (we are privately funded aka parents/volunteers pay) it really ads up. Yes I know I can go to HomeDepot and buy my own shiny step bit but for essential stuff like c-channels and brains and omniwheels etc, it helped. Sorry, sarcasm taken too far. No disrespect.

fair point, the shipping prices on resellers are certainly missed. Though with something like a tool there is always a cheaper third party supplier. You’d need a pretty good reason (school only approves vex as a vendor) to buy your tools from vex anyways.

On the subject of drills, I’ll add two points:
(1): These multi-diameter step drills are excellent choices for drilling thin metals, and provide a level of safety because they don’t “grab” the material like a standard twist drill, especially if drilling out a square vex-metal hole. Specifically, step drills are designed for sheet metal work and for drilling existing holes to larger sizes. They also work well for plastics.
(2): regarding price, as always “you get what you pay for”. HF tools are generally adequate for occasional use. Industrial suppliers are a better choice, but cost more. Not taking away the convenience of ordering from VEX (when a school requires “approved suppliers” to be set up for POs), but an excellent supplier of cutting tools is Automation Direct, a supplier of PLCs, sensors, and control panel stuff. Their RUKO brand is made in Germany, and they can supply both step drills and regular twist drills. The 5% Cobalt “golden brown” twist drills are exceptionally good. Free shipping over $49 too.


There is another feature that is less obvious until you actually use it: the first step is sized to pilot on the square hole found in every piece of VEX metal.

This may seem trivial at first glance, but that diameter is not a standard size. By piloting to the square hole, you can better locate holes you’re drilling out, and ensure the holes are straight (albeit this is less of a concern with sheet metal).