What cordless drills do you use?
I have a curiosity to inquire about.
Cordless drills are about a very standard tool used in building scenery now. There are lots of different models on the market too. Unlike in past years when they were called Makitaís because that was the only cordless drill worth using. (The mid 1980s)
What do you use at home and what does your school use? What do you think of the cordless drills/screw guns you have available or have tried and what do you think of them?
Since at one point most of you will be looking to buy your own cordless drill, having a data base of comments on them might be very useful in figuring out what you want to buy. You want the best screw gun for your money, but also the one that will live up to your expectations for itís use. People feel strongly about the drills they own and get to use. It getís political fast, (people feel strongly about their tools) but all the politics on cordless drills usually doesnít give reasons for buying one over another or help people in choosing one over another. Magazines like Wood, Consumer Reports and American Woodworker have a home owner base of readers and as such what they recommend isnít always the best tool to be recommended to someone that makes their living using their drill. What your school has might be a compromise in cost and brands they are authorized to be buying. While that might have a large impact on what you buy, itís not always the best tool. By the way, saying this drill suckes, without saying why doesnít help anyone.
If possible in a reply note the brand, style, voltage and model number of the drills you have and have used and comment about them good and bad. Such things might help and guide other towards buying the best drill they can.
(You will note, prices change every year and the more you shop around especially for sales, the better your prices are. So mentioning a specific place to buy them and a price like Amazon/Tool Crib of the North $99.00 isnít really much help beyond giving a general idea of what it might cost. I bought my favorite drill for $245.00 back about 8 years ago from Home Depot. Not much help now - they donít even offer it. Citing specific places that carry such tools is only good if you live locally to the person writing citing mail order sources, many times is frequently cheaper but what you save in cost in buying by mail you will loose in shipping charges. Buying used tools is often an option. Donít buy E-Bay type tools, you donít know who abused them before you, but many times the tool brandís authorized service centers will have re-furbished tools that are sold at a discount and still carry the full warranty. Also look into what is being discontinued. Look at if the manufacturer is offering an improved battery for the drill, this would be a good indication of if when itís time to replace batteries you will be able to get one in the future. Also if your drill has been replaced with a new line such as I cite below with the DW991K line verses the DW983K-2 line, it might become harder to get parts for it. The Skil Top Gun for instance is discontinued and for the most part, you cannot get parts for it anymore so the tool once broken is not fixable.
In getting parts for example 15 years ago, before Makita had a good foothold in the US, you had to wait weeks for parts. This might be and is a problem with tools such as Royobi/Tim Allen/Craftsman - usually all made by Royobi where they donít have the parts in this country although they might have more parts now. Hitachi, Metibo, Freud and Fein would definitely have this problem. In some cases such as a 3x21" belt sander, there is no huge difference in design between the Bosch, Skil and Royobi sanders other than specific parts inside them. You can send your Royobi sander to a Skill/Bosch service center and they might even be able to install the higher quality parts in the tool for a price. Just be careful, often service centers in general will swap out what ever part they feel they want to and charge you for it. Send it in for a cleaning and chuck change and they might change out and charge you for a new plastic casing for it. Make them call you to get permission before they do any major replacements and if they should change out the housing, make sure all tags are still on the tool including itís serial number or if itís lost you will not have that anymore. Donít be afraid to take your tools back and send it elsewhere.)
Here are some brands for example: DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, Porter Cable, Metibo, Panasonic, Hitachi, Skil, Black & Decker, Milwaukee, Royobi, Tim Allen, Craftsman, Master Mechanic, Chicago, Wagner, Freud, Fein (did I miss any?)
Voltages are less than 7.2v, 7.2v, 9.6v, 12v, 14.4v, 18v, 24v and other voltages.
Style of guns can vary in ways like: Grips can be of the T-Handle style or Pistol Grip style and with cushion grip or plastic grip, batteries can be of the magazine or mushroom style.
Than if possible mention your drillís model number so we all can know specifically what it is you comment about. Perhaps one of us can compile a list of links to the companies above mentioned.
In making such a data base so everyone can read about drills, we might see if there is a standard drill used in woodshops in the industry that you can use in helping your school choose itís next line of drill and also you will be able to see what the best drills are to buy for your own personal use when you are ready to buy one.
(Also by looking into this, and especially if your theater is slow and your are looking for something to do, you might go around the shop and copy down the brand, model number and serial number of all the tools in the shop or your personal tools. Keep the info in two very secure locations and separate from each other. Might also take photos of them. This way if anything is stolen or lost, you can use the info for the police report and for insurance purposes. Who knows with a serial number, you might even get your tools back one day. Also use an engraving tool to scribe your theater name and phone number on the tool. This will make it even easier to get back if lost and prevent many people from taking them and making it harder for you to do your job. A final thought is in security. Watch who is in your shop and where they go. I used to work in a shop that was near a gathering place for bums. Actually a few shops in those areas. Occasionally they would wander in off the street and even help people carry stuff around the shop. Who would suspect the new employee thatís obviously helping carry stuff around would be a thief? They would help a while, than wander into the tool room and help themselves to some tools, than walk right out the door. Once the tools are gone, it makes it harder for you to get your job done and itís all the less cash you theater will have to buy more toys with. Every night after you are done in the shop, one person should be assigned to the tool room and they should inventory the tools and ensure everything is returned. If not, nobody goes home until the missing stuff is found. Who knows who will be in the shop when you are not around with sticky fingers or who might cut their hand off when playing with something they are not trained with. Than that tool is both gone and if someone hurt themself with them, you wonít be able to use it either. I have heard of many high schools that donít allow students to used cutting tools much less climb ladders. The students cannot even possess a utility knife. You might also get the school to budget in getting the tools in for cleaning and a service call once a year or at least every other year. Otherwise, your warrantees will be void and any dirt and grit in them will tear up the drill from the inside out. The more you use a tool, the more it needs to see service and professional service at that.)