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18V impact power, breaking bits & screws.

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  • 18V impact power, breaking bits & screws.

    This weekend I used the Ridgid 18V Impact Driver with mixed success.
    It does a great job, but it breaks screws & drive attachments.
    I was driving 3 1/2" Phillips head screws into PT, and broke some heads & bits.
    I also drove a 1/4" x 4" lag screw in with a 1/4" drive adapter, and adapter twisted & snapped, even with a lubricated screw. From then on in I pre-drilled, but still snapped a couple of screw heads & bits. No problem driving in appx. 300 2 1/2" square drive deckscrews into Trex & PT, no pre-drilling there either.
    No screw breaking using the Ridgid drill, but the drill easily spun the bits out of the screws.
    BTW - The Ridgid 90* impact driver was great at driving in square-head screws in tight places (I installed synthetic railing, accessing the brackets was easy with the 90*), too bad that the battery doesn't last too long.

    Any thoughts on the bit & screw breaking?
    Are there heavy-duty bits available?


  • #2
    Re: 18V impact power, breaking bits & screws.

    This subject was discussed here a week or so ago. You might find some of the responses helpful. Impact Driver Thread
    I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


    • #3
      Re: 18V impact power, breaking bits & screws.

      Lots of variables in your post!

      First you need to purchase special driver bits for any impact tool. The typical driver bits we see at home Depot etc. are designed for drill/drivers not impact drivers. They will spin/strip/break under the tremendous torque the impact driver provides.

      go to www.mcfeely'

      look at their line of APEX impact driver bits. They carry Phillips, robertson, pozidrive, torx, etc.

      These bits are stronger than the off the shelf ones we are all familiar with.
      Now, be aware these too can strip out and break if abused.

      I have found when using the 18v impact driver that you do not squeeze the trigger like a drill/driver. speed here is not your friend. I use the trigger/speed control to control the driving of the screw or lag bolt.

      Nice and slow, you'll notice how quickly the screw begins to go in. You can speed it up slightly and then when the screw is just touching the material and is showing resistance the impact hammer kicks in. this happens even with slow speed.

      If you run the impact driver at high speed you will more times than not chew up the screw head and bung up the driver bit. This happens because the impact driver at high speed has the hammer action going and is actually bouncing in and out of the screw head. You really can't feel that or see it. This would feel similar to using a drill at high speed and the bit is not seated into the head of the screw. It will just spin away the screw head.

      You actually can't see or feel this action. I am telling you this from experience. I noted when running the impact driver slowly I get the best results. When I run the driver faster than 2/3 speed I tear up bits and bung up screws. I suspect the impact driver at full speed is for really big and tough tasks ...not #12 and smaller hardware. for 1/4-20 or larger I do find it fine it ok to run the impact driver fast. Be aware though if you use a cheap socket the same problem can occur.

      Finally, Use good quality screws. I wrote about stainless screws snapping. This is because stainless screws are soft and do not handle too much torque.
      If you find that you're breaking or stripping screws, immediately replace the bit and slow the driver down. I slowed down and now I'm doing the stainless with 90% success.

      Cactus Man