One of the best inventions to the Mechanic since the invention of the drill is the invention is the cordless drill. These bad boys allow you to work anywhere you need to without an electrical cord tying you down. When we work on our beloved Chevy’s, these tools are priceless.
Drills have lots of different uses depending on which bit you put into them. You can put a regular drill bit and use it for making holes in sheet metal for welding or drilling out rivets. I have even take a wire cup brush and put it in the drill to use it for cleaning up sheet metal to weld or paint. You can also put in sanding attachments and use it as sort of an over-sized Dremel when prepping the car for paint. Lastly, they are great for speeding up installation of screws.
What to look for when purchasing a drill?
There is lots of different options when it comes to choosing the right cordless drill for you. Here’s a quick breakdown of some things to consider when purchasing a cordless drill from This Old House:
- Voltage: This is by far the most important thing to look for. The higher the voltage the more power the drill has. This can mean the difference from a casual user hanging picture frames or having enough power to drill through the frame on your car to install a bolt. I would suggest at least an 18v system as this will give you enough power to get through most materials.
- Clutch: The clutch on the drill works just like the clutch in your car. The RPM of the motor and RPM of the bit can differ. You would want to engage the clutch mechanism and slow it down a bit if you’re using the drill to install screws so you don’t over tighten them and risk twisting up a chrome piece.
- Keyless Chuck: Make sure your cordless drill has a keyless chuck. This allows you to change the bits in the drill without having to grab a chuck key. When you’re pre-drilling a hole with a bit and then installing a screw, this will save you lots of time and headaches. The other useful way is when you’re drilling a pilot hole, then swapping up to a larger bit. Sometimes that requires 3-4 bits, and the keyless chuck allows you to swap bits in seconds.
- Speed: Most drills will have minimum a low and high speed settings. High speed would be for drilling, slow would be for driving. This is different than the clutch though. A good example would be using the high speed setting to drill through the bulk of the material, then slow speed setting to get through the final part to not damage the piece or bit.
The always important safety!
Now don’t skip over this part because you already know better. I’ll keep it short and sweet.
- Wear safety glasses: Something you should always wear with power tools, and drills are no exception. They can fling debris into your eye, especially if you’re laying under the drill.
- Unplug Everything: This includes all chargers after finishing charging the battery. Its a good practice to unplug everything from the outlets when you are done.
Want proof that you should unplug everything? Check out this beautiful ’66 Chevelle:
This gentleman over on Team Chevelle had a cordless drill battery setting in the charger. He came back 45 minutes later to his entire garage engulfed in flames, with his pride and joy inside. Authorities found out that a battery for his cordless drill that was sitting in the charger exploded, catching the entire garage on fire.
Now go out in the garage and make sure your cordless tool chargers are all unplugged and stored safely. Don’t let this happen to your ride!