Drilling tools

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If you want to hang something up or fix things together, you’ll often need to drill holes. Then it’s important to choose the right way to do it and the kind of drilling tools to use. In this article we’ll take a look at the different kinds of drills.

Before you start…
Use good-quality tools, a sturdy step ladder or step stool and the right safety equipment such as sturdy shoes, safety glasses, working gloves and a dust mask. Replace worn tools in good time and use new plugs, screws, blades, drills and saws.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of material am I working with? This leads to some further questions:
  • Do I need to drill, or is it better to use nails or adhesive?
  • What kind of drill do I need to use?
  • Which drill bit do I need?
  • Do I need to use wall plugs, if so what kind?
  • What kind of screws or bolts do I need?  
  1. The right drill for the right job

    Thanks to their smart design and variable speed, modern drills are suitable for a wide range of jobs. You can handle just about every drilling job with special drill bits and accessories. Choose a drill that’s right for the job: light or heavy drilling, in metal, wood or masonry.

  2. Hand drill

    The simplest kind of drill is a standard hand drill or gimlet: this is handy for predrilling holes for screws. First turn the drill to the left and right until the tip engages in the wood. Then turn the drill to the right (clockwise) until you reach the required depth.

  3. Hand drill and brace

    These drills aren’t as fast as electric drills, but they’re a lot lighter and quieter. You can use a hand drill or brace to make holes that aren’t too deep in wood and other soft materials. The advantage of these drills is that you can work very precisely, using drill bits that are made specially for these tools.

  4. Standard electric drill

    Hammering a nail into the wall is good enough for a lot of fixing jobs. But if you want to fix heavier objects, you’ll need to use screws and a drill. Standard electric drills are available in battery-powered or mains-powered versions. The advantage of a battery powered or cordless drill is that you don’t need to be near a mains socket or use an extension lead. While mains-powered drills with a cord don’t need to be recharged, and are often more powerful.

  5. Hammer drills

    For general use in and around the home, an hammer drill is the best choice. These drills have an impact mechanism that makes drilling in masonry a lot easier. They often also have a switch to turn the impact mechanism off. But this kind of drill isn’t so well suited for drilling in concrete – then you’ll need a hammer.

  6. Multi-purpose drill

    As well as a normal drilling setting, a multipurpose drill also has an extra hammer setting for drilling in concrete (for holes up to 10 mm). This makes it a real multipurpose tool.

  7. Hammer

    A hammer is intended for heavy drilling in concrete. This kind of drill is a bit heavier than a standard drill or hammer drill, so it’s not so handy to use. Another advantage of a hammer is the ability to use a stone chisel, which allows you to chisel away cement, stone or tiles.

  8. Bench drill

    This free-standing vertical drill is mounted on a column or stand that guides the drill head. The column itself is mounted on a base which is fixed to the workbench or floor. This drill is ideal for drilling perfectly straight holes in loose workpieces. The speed of a bench drill can usually be adjusted by means of a V-belt, which can be placed on pulleys of different diameters.

  9. Large or small

    The power of a drill depends on the rating of the motor. The higher the rating, the bigger the drill diameter and the harder the material that can be drilled. The motor power can also be used to drive a mixer attachment for stirring paint, adhesives, plaster mixes etc.

  10. Center punch or awl

    When you’re going to drill a hole it’s important that the drill stays in place when you start drilling. The drill may tend to slide away when you’re trying to drill into a smooth surface like ceramics or tiles. The solution is to punch a small pit in the tile or other surface so the drill stays in place. For wood and other soft materials it’s easy to do that with an awl. For masonry or metal it’s best to use a center punch.

  11. Drilling depth and speed

    You can set the drilling depth in advance using a depth gauge, which is often fitted to drills as standard. That will avoid accidentally drilling right through a wall or workpiece. You can also slide a spacer ring onto the drill and fix it at the desired depth. A piece of colored tape on the drill also works well.
    You should adjust the speed (r.p.m.) of the drill to match the hardness of the material. Choose a high speed for drilling in soft materials such as wood, plastic and aluminium. Or choose a low speed for drilling in hard materials such as steel, masonry or concrete. The thinner the drill, the higher the speed you can use. If you’re using a hammer in masonry or concrete the speed isn’t so important, because what you’re really doing is chiseling. N.B.: if the drilling speed in wood is too high, there’s a risk of burning the wood.

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