Asking for “How to Use a Cordless Drill as a Screwdriver?” – Apart from technicalities, using cordless drills correctly keeps you safe, and the people around you. Also, using the cordless drill correctly saves money that could be used for parts’ replacements.
Here is a guide for effectively using a cordless drill, regardless of the unit’s brand.
Preparations to Use a Cordless Drill as a Screwdriver
Before using a cordless drill as a screwdriver, you should make sure that some factors are right. Some of the preparations include:
1. Have the right gear
Your safety is essential when using a cordless drill. Regardless of your experience, wearing protective clothing shields you from any accidents.
While protecting every part of your body is the most recommendable thing, your hands and eyes come first. Wear the right gloves and professional eye protectors.
2. Read the manual (if it is your first time using a cordless drill)
Unlike screwdrivers, cordless drills have different makes. The differences in design may pose a challenge for new users. For example, it may be a challenge locating the buttons. When reading the manual, you should check two things.
First, you should try relocating the battery pack and how to check the battery percentage. This knowledge is critical when charging or changing the battery.
Second, you should understand the general drill operations. For example, the gear selector, switching (on and off), and taking care of the drill.
3. Ensure that the drill has enough battery power
Since the cordless drill is wireless, the primary source of power is the lithium battery. While lithium batteries give your long working hours, they drain. Therefore checking whether the battery is full is an essential step in the preparation stage.
If the battery is full, the drill will show a red light. However, if you see a green light, it is an indication that you should first charge the battery. However, if you do not have much work, any charge will work.
4. Select the best bit for your work
The interaction between you and the screws is the head bit. In this case, you must use the right bit for screws. There are many screw bits, and the choice depends on your work.
If you are working with head batten screws, ensure that the bit compliments that. The same case applies to other screw types. Alternatively, you can use a universal bit to avoid inconveniences and damaging your cordless drill.
How to use a cordless drill as a Screwdriver — step by step guide
Apart from preparations, you are ready to use the cordless drill. Some of the key highlights regarding usage include:
STEP 1: Selecting the right speed and torque value
Torque and speed are often used as synonyms. While the two terms have many similarities, they mean different concepts.
Torque is the measurement of the force used to drive screws when using a cordless drill. Therefore, the higher the power, the harder a screw goes through a surface. When using a manual screwdriver, torque value depends on your strength.
On the other hand, the speed is the frequency of rotations a cordless drill makes to drive a screw through a surface. Unlike using a screwdriver, the speed is dependent on the settings and not your strength.
Ideal torque setting
What is the right torque setting? The perfect torque setting depends on your working surface. If you are working on a hard surface, a higher force on the screw will give you a better result. On the other hand, a softer surface will not require more energy to drive the screw through a smooth surface.
Like a cordless drill user, understanding torque settings is one of the best things. However, working on a low torque power keeps you safe and prevents your bits from damages. Also, working with low settings helps you avoid breaking the screw shaft and therefore cutting costs.
Best cordless drill speed
One of the most asked questions is — the best speed to work with on a cordless drill. First, it is essential to understand the essence of the speed setting. The main goal of this setting is to give you customized working experience.
When defining the best speeds for a cordless drill, you must consider some things. For example, you must consider the nature of your working surface. If the surface is hard, you need to drive the screw faster.
However, a speed of 170-180 RPM works perfectly on all surfaces. This speed range also saves time, especially if you want to work faster and effectively. Therefore, you should always consider a cordless drill with more settings on speed than a constant RPM value. You can check also Impact Driver vs Drill.
STEP 2: Use the torque collar well
Apart from gear controls, you should master the torque collar. Most cordless drills come with this collar, and you should utilize it for better working experience. Here are some of the key torque collar settings that will make your work easier.
When do you use the hammer sign? One of the key torque collar signs is the hammer symbol. The setting is ideal when working on sandstone or similar surfaces. Choosing this setting enables you to have a balanced pressure without damaging your working space.
If you are working on metal surfaces, you will need a different torque setting. The main reason for selecting a different setting is to avoid overheating and damaging the head bit. However, if you want to drive thin screws on metal surfaces, you can choose the best setting.
The first and the most critical step of using the drill as a screwdriver is turning it on correctly. While this explanation may sound straightforward, it is the critical determiner of the process, especially regarding working faster and effectively.
How do you turn a cordless drill? First, you should always set the cordless drill facing the right direction. In this case, the right direction is away from you. Apart from being a safety measure, this process helps you navigate the settings and find the “sweet spot” for your work.
Using the selector button with your forefingers, navigate the drill setting. The trigger should help you invigorate the system and therefore give you the best settings for your work.
If you want to drill screws on a surface, you should select a clockwise movement with moderate speed. However, if you’re going to remove screws from a working surface, turn the driver bit in the anticlockwise direction.
STEP 4: Gear selection
Unlike using a screwdriver, cordless drills have gear selection. This functionality aims to give you a chance to determine your working speed and, more importantly, how to drive the screws in and out of your working space.
Most cordless drills have three gear options. Here are their meanings.
a. Gear one
Gear one is the slowest selection on a cordless drill. However, the gear option is also one of the most important selections when working on metal surfaces and oversized screws. Unlike other gears, it has the highest torque value and, therefore, more pressure.
b. Gear two
Gear two has moderate speed, and the torque value is relatively modest. If you are working on softer surfaces and your screws are relatively big, this gear is ideal for you. However, working on this gear needs a lot of experience, especially when holding the drill. Use your dominant hand on the handle and the other on the drill’s base.
c. Gear three
Gear three drills screw faster hut with less force. Therefore, this gear option is ideal for drilling smaller screws on metal surfaces. Also, the drill’s head rotates faster than the other two options. As a user, you should take caution by wearing protective gear.
Cordless drills are heavier than the normal screwdrivers. Therefore, holding a drill is an art, especially if it is your first time to work with one. Both of your hands must work together in this process.
Your dominant hand should hold the key areas. For example, if your dominant hand is right, place it on the drill’s handle. This placement enables you to have control over settings and, more importantly, the drilling process.
The second hand should give you a balance. In this case, you can place it around the drill’s body. Alternately, you can put your hand around the base of the drill. This positioning enables you to have control of the drilling process.
Apart from the hands’ placement, you should pay attention to other key factors. For example, you should know when to increase the drilling speed and when to slow it down. Also, you should explore the best settings and maintain them for your safety.
When using a cordless drill as a screwdriver, the driver bit must lock with the screw head. If the two do not align, you are more likely to damage the bit or damage the screw. In order to ensure that the drive bit and the screw headlock, follow these steps.
a. Reduce the drill speed
Ensure that the bit is in good condition. If the driver bit is not in good condition, change it before continuing.
b. If the drive bit is in good condition, do not take it off the screw head.
The above three steps require a lot of keenness. When working, you should be keen on details. Lack of keenness may result in injuries or damages of both the screws and drive bit.
If it is your first time to work with a cordless drill as a screwdriver, read the manuals keenly. Also, work with slow settings such as speed.
The ability to work with a cordless drill is one of the best developments in the world of DIY. However, lithium batteries may drain before finishing your task. Fortunately, there are ways to maximize your battery life.
To maximize battery life, follow these steps:
1. Always charge your cordless drill before work
Ensuring that the drill’s lithium battery is charged before work is the best way to maximize the drill power and therefore have a more extended working period with your unit. However, if you want to use it for a short-term project, it is not a must to fully charge your lithium battery.
2. Carry extra battery if your drill has a removable battery
If you drill has a removable battery, you should invest in an extra battery. While you may never fully exhaust all your cells, having a backup power source saves you in some instances. Also, you should learn how to exchange batteries from the drill’s manual.
3. Work with battery-friendly settings.
The final (and the most important) way to maximize your battery’s life is by working with battery-friendly settings. For example, working with slower drill speed will give you more working hours.
If the battery is not giving you the same working time as before, it is an indication that you may need to change the lithium battery. Contact a professional near you for better assessment and recommendation.
Head bits — which are the best head bit for your work?
Bits are critical in your drilling process. Unfortunately, most people do not pay attention to when buying a bit. Also, most people damage screw heads by using the wrong head bit. Selecting the beat bit protects you and your screws.
The definition of the right head bit depends on what you are working on and, more importantly, the nature of your screws. Any mismatch will give you a hard time driving the screws on your working surface.
The golden tip is to have head bits of different sizes. Alternating head bits makes your work easier and safer — compared to using one bit for all your work. Also, using various bits for different tasks makes the drilling process fun and engaging.
Go to your local store and look for different bits. If you are uncertain about which bits to buy, consult the store representative. Buying the right set of head bits is a valuable investment.
Alternatively, you can buy universal head bits. The universal bits save you money and time. However, they require more knowledge, especially when using drills. Unlike other head bits, the universal units expect you to navigate different settings for maximum efficiency.
Safety measures when using a cordless drill as a screwdriver
If misused, the cordless drill may be dangerous. Here are some of the key safety measures to note when using drills.
1. Never use the drill without protective gear
Your safety is vital, and wearing protective clothing is recommended. The hands must be safe from any unseen incident. Also, the eyes must be safe from small particles that may come from the screw head.
2. Never use the cordless drill near water
While you do not need direct electricity to run a drill, working away from water is a necessary safety precaution. The drill may heat up and therefore expose you to more harm.
3. Always use a cordless drill when sober
You should only use a cordless drill when sober. If you are on medication or drinking, you should not touch the drill. A small mistake may pose a danger to you and the people around your working space. Also, a mismatch of the settings may damage your drill.
Cordless drills are a perfect replacement for screwdrivers. However, unlike screwdrivers, lithium-powered drills are technical, and one must be keen when using them. Details such as the torque value and the head bit speed determine your working experience and, more importantly, the safety of people around. Therefore, being keen to details, working on dry spaces, and wearing protective gear are critical factors to prioritize when working with cordless drills.