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Old 01-02-2012, 08:53 PM   #1
BigV
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DIY Tool Questions

Heya. I've resisted buying a cordless drill* for a long time. Santa let me down, so I'm gonna give one to myself. During that long time, no drill, things have changed a bit (rimshot). There are different tools out there now, different features, and I have done a LOT of reading, but, they're all shills. Now youse guys, you're shills too, but you're *my* shills. I kid, I kid. Seriously. I'd like some advice, the firster handed the betterer.

Here are some of the things I've noticed. Please comment.

Brand?

Lithium-ion batteries versus Nickel-cadmium.

LED lights for illuminating the work area.

18volt vs 12volt vs 9.8 volt vs 28 volt (I kid you not).

Variable speed versus single or multiple fixed speeds

Different chuck designs, one handed, keyless, etc.

variable clutch, including drill setting.

* Here's another area of ignorance -- what kind of tool at all?

Drill

Driver/drill

Impact driver (these look very cool)

Screwdriver (powered, cordless)

Combo Kit

******

Ok, that's a good start. We'll worry about price later, I can justify buying quality.... once.... or at least infrequently. I will shop local so, that's a constraint on price for me. I look forward to your input!
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:12 PM   #2
classicman
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Cordless drills ROCK!
Higher voltage means more torque-spinning strength to overcome resistance. 18V or nothing.
Variable speed a must.
Keyless chuck
Forget cordless screwdrivers - I've owned a couple and they were all worthless.
Dewalt or Makita would be my brand of choice.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:32 PM   #3
jimhelm
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i just got a DeWalt lithium, lighted, hammer awesome fuckign hand drill that i love.

only thing is that you have to buy special drill bits to fit the chuck.



it's small, powerful, and has a belt hanger thingy.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:35 PM   #4
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spencer likes it too
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:37 PM   #5
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The most important thing IMHO is the shelf life of the batteries. If they sit on the shelf for a month and a half before you need them, you want them to still have a full charge. Nothing worse than having it die. After ten seconds of use.

I wish I could tell you what batteries you need.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post

Brand? --Whatever feels comfortable in your hand. Oddly, the Black and Decker 18v has an insane amount of torque. I used one of my co-worker's on a job once and it nearly broke my arm. I was impressed. It also held up very well over the years.

Lithium-ion batteries versus Nickel-cadmium. I don't think anyone does NiCad any more. It's either NiMh or Li-ion. Of those two, NiMh are all that I have experience with. They are much better than NiCad

LED lights for illuminating the work area. Fuck yeah. What kind of stupid question is that? Especially if your eyes are not 16 years old.

18volt vs 12volt vs 9.8 volt vs 28 volt (I kid you not). -- I use a 12 volt Panasonic almost all the time. It's about 20 years old and is great, I also have a 14 V Rigid that is alright, but not great. IF I need more firepower I go for corded tools like a Milwaukee Hole Shooter or Right Angle drill. I don't really see the need to have a ball busting cordless drill. 90% of the holes I drill are less than an inch in diameter and into wood. Even If I am using 4" hole saw the 14 volt is ok though it uses up most of the battery's charge. IF I'm doing a lot of that kind of shit I use the Milwaukee. If I were crawiling around in crawl spaces or on roofs all day drilling enormous holes then I've think about a bigger battery.

Variable speed versus single or multiple fixed speeds --again, I don't think they've made a single speed drill in about 30 or 40 years. Most are Variable and have a hi-lo range and most have torque/clutch settings.

Different chuck designs, one handed, keyless, etc. For cordless drills a good keyless chuck is awesome. Most of them are keyless. You don't really need a chuck key for most drilling operations. For the big guns, chuck keys are needed

variable clutch, including drill setting. Yes. Not sure what drill setting is

* Here's another area of ignorance -- what kind of tool at all?

Drill These are great if you have a ton of drill bits already. Otherwise get new bits that fit into an impact driver and buy one of those.

Driver/drill Not really different from a drill

Impact driver (these look very cool) --These are the hands down shit. I love my Panasonic.

Screwdriver (powered, cordless) --Don't bother. Get an impact driver.

Combo Kit --?they tend to be over priced and include shit you don't really need and will never use.

******

Ok, that's a good start. We'll worry about price later, I can justify buying quality.... once.... or at least infrequently. I will shop local so, that's a constraint on price for me. I look forward to your input!
Yeah, quality is deceptive. Every brand has certain trade offs and you decide what matters more to you. Dewalt are very reasonably priced for the features and work OK but the batteries DIe quickly and they fall apart rather quickly. The finish isn't all that great.

Makita tend to be a little more money, fewer bells and whistles and lighter weight/duty but last forever. I still have a makita drill from 1979. It's perfectly fine. I just killed the bearings on a Makita router from 1974.

Milwaukee is the industry standard for tradesmen and take an enormous amount of abuse and they tend to be a little pricier. Also Lowes and Home depot carry lighter duty versions of popular tools so be sure you are comparing apples to apples. (Note the amps on the motors)

Hitachi have some good stuff especially if you are into Transformers and Japanese cartoons. There stuff looks like it was designed for 8 year old boys. Some of their stuff is really crap. I tend to avoid Hitachi, myself.

Porter Cable makes some very good tools, I love my Panasonic stuff, Rigid also has some good tools.

You can really tell a lot by the feel of the tools and go into a tool repair shop and find out what they service the most frequently and don't buy that brand. joking, it may be that there are more of that brand in use but you can always ask them what think is well made. Finally, consider how much you are going to use it and for what.

But seriously, no cordless drill at all? WTF? The good news is you can get an impact driver!
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
The most important thing IMHO is the shelf life of the batteries. If they sit on the shelf for a month and a half before you need them, you want them to still have a full charge. Nothing worse than having it die. After ten seconds of use.

I wish I could tell you what batteries you need.

yeah, ambient drain is a feature of NiMh, it seems to be a trade off for the memory problems that plagued NiCads. A NiCad didn't lose its charge on the shelf but would "remember" that it got recharged after only using 30% of its life and so would shorten its useful life to match.

NiMh will keep its full life regardless of the charging program.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:43 PM   #8
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I have two batteries and a quick charger. That seems to solve most issues. Used it building the deck a few years ago and the spare battery came in real handy.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:59 PM   #9
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Oh Yeah! I forgot about that 2nd battery and quick charger are essential.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:10 PM   #10
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My experience is that I use mine for about 20 or 30 seconds, and the battery is dead, so I throw it in the charger and grab the extra battery pack and use that for about 20 or 30 seconds until it dies. Then I get my corded drill and extension cord and do the entire job. I finish charging both battery packs before I put them away, and then two months later I repeat on the next project.

If I'm planning ahead, I charge both packs the night before. But that rarely happens.

I like the idea of cordless drills, but they haven't always worked out in practice for me.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:16 PM   #11
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What brand? How old are the batteries? They get like that when they've reached the end of their life.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:19 AM   #12
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well, you've got me there. The brand is Sears Craftsman. But the batteries are only around 3-4 years old.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:53 AM   #13
footfootfoot
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Welllllll. If it's a Craftsman do they still have that awesome lifetime guarantee? Then bring them back. 3-4 years is not that old but it depends on the number of charging cycles they've had and if they are NiCads it could be a memory issue.

If you otherwise like the drill go to www.BatteryBarn.com and look up replacement batts. I've been very happy with the after market panasonic replacements. The only thing is you need to be sure that you order the correct kind of batts for your charger. You can't charge NIMh in a NiCad charger and vice versa. But your drill won't care. Get the greatest Milliamp hour rating they have.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footfootfoot View Post
If it's a Craftsman do they still have that awesome lifetime guarantee?
Last I knew, that awesome guarantee only applied to hand tools like wrenches and such. And they do make good hand tools.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:31 AM   #15
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glatt is correct - the warranty is on hand tools ONLY. Nothing electrical or ???
You see all their tools are now made in China ... mumble grumble mumble
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