Impact drivers, in many ways, appear to be similar to the standard drills on their surfaces. Nevertheless, the functions of an impact driver are quite different from that of a standard cordless drill. Most importantly, impact drivers have higher rotational torque than a standard cordless drill, enabling it to penetrate easily through rigid materials.
Out rightly, this high rotational torque makes an impact driver the best tool for drilling hard materials such as pressure-treated lumber, hardwood, or heavy steel. The impact driver is also kick-back free, helping the driver bits to remain in their slots during the drilling process. When you need something hardy and compact with the ability to get in tight spaces when repairing or building something at home, an impact driver is the best option.
In most cases, a standard drill is the first choice, but an impact driver is an excellent substitute for getting the work done correctly. However, using an impact driver as a drill is confusing, and there are some things you need to know before pulling out the impact driver to drill. The below the steps on how to use an impact driver as a drill.
Check the drill bit shank
You need to check the drill bit first to see whether the shank is hexagonal-shaped or not. This kind of drill bit is essential when you want to drill holes using an impact driver. In most cases, the impact drivers come with hexagonal-shaped sockets, meaning they can only use hexagonal shank bits.
The hexagonal shaft bit has the advantage of not slipping during the operation, leading to damage. It is possible to use the impact driver for wood or plastic drilling and drilling materials like steel, which are harder. However, there is a limited choice of drill bits that are hexagonal shaped, making it a challenge for most people.
With a hexagonal shank drill bit of the standard size is possible to use an impact driver to make small holes in softwood or light-gauge steel. In case you want to drill larger holes, which are a ¼ inch and above, an impact specifically rated bit is required. This is usually important when drilling holes that are large on tough and hard materials such as hardwood, pressure-treated lumber, and heavy steel.
Otherwise, if you do not use impact specifically rated bit, the drill bit will detach from the hexagonal shank or snap, which is dangerous and can lead to damage or injury. Therefore, it is essential to know the size of the hole you want to drill and how tough the material is and then choose the bit to use accordingly.
Choose the drill bit
It would be best to use impact bits specifically designed to work with the impact driver when using the impact driver for drilling. Typically, it would be best to have the full range of drill bits to accomplish all drilling types. Due to the high torque that the impact driver produces when operating, the chances of the standard drill bit bending while drilling is very high.
In the worst-case scenario, the standard drill bit may break and burst during operation due to increased impact. In a nutshell, always use drill bits that are impact-rated when using impact drivers for drilling.
Set speed and torque
Unlike most standard drills, impact drivers do not feature a clutch option making them noticeably shorter. The main challenge of this shortness is the tendency to get you into tight places much quickly. For one thing, only a few options can hamper the impact driver use.
Notably, some of the impact drivers do feature a clutch option, but the downside is that they lack the benefit of size like that of a standard impact driver. Besides, the impact drivers that feature a clutch option tend to be more expensive than those without. When compared to standard drills, impact drivers have higher torque and speed.
This means that it takes a shorter time to have the work done when using an impact driver to drill compared to the standard drill. Regarding this, a great deal of care needs to be applied when using an impact driver for drilling. To appreciate the results of using an impact driver to drill, you have to keep in mind the higher torque and speed can easily make you shoot past the needed hole depth, and this is one thing you need to avoid.
The biggest advantage of the increased torque is that it prevents sprained wrists, and this explains why many electricians and plumbers prefer using an impact driver as a drill. For one thing, when using impact drivers for drilling, you need to know whether it has a clutch or not and its overall size that you do not get into tight places.
Insert the drill bit into the chuck
Standard drills come with the traditional keyless and keyed chuck, but in most cases, impact drivers do not come with these chucks. In its place, a ¼ inch chuck is utilized instead of a three-jaw slip chuck. This chuck makes the overall length of the impact driver body short, enabling it to fit into small areas where traditional drills cannot work.
Also, it enables you to accomplish the bit swapping way faster than the traditional chuck, where you only have to slide out the bit after pushing the outer ring. Once you remove the existing bit, insert the bit you want into the chuck, and it will click into place. The downside is that you can only utilize ¼ inch hexagonal shank bit in a slip-style chuck.
Luckily, most impact driver bits use ¼ inch standard hexagonal size. To insert the drill bit, make sure that the battery is disconnected or the power knob is in the off position to prevent unintentional starting. Then, insert the drill bit fully into the chuck and securely until it clicks and locks into place. Equally important, never try to insert the drill bit while holding the front portion and then turn the impact driver.
Adjust the angle
Impact drivers come with a changeable grip style, straight grip, and a pistol grip. You need to depress the lock switch and then rotate the handle clockwise until it is engaging and locks in the straight position. Ensure that you hold the drill bit straight when drilling and well-aligned with the hole when inserting it into an existing hole.
In conclusion, impact drivers have turned out to be the tools of choice for electricians and plumbers, especially when they want to drill large wiring holes. More critical, impact drivers save them from wrist pains and make their work easy. In all honesty, an impact driver with its proficient mechanism offers a quick turnaround.
Traditional standard drills are not that fast in their operation, especially when drilling stiff and rigid materials like drywall and hardwood. In such cases, the impact driver automatically turns to be the smart choice. Although using an impact driver as a drill is not a straightforward task, we hope that the above guide provides you with detailed information on how to do it. To emphasize, do not ignore the manufacturer’s instructional procedure using an impact driver as a drill.