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  • Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

    After bouncing all over the map on drill/driver/impactor/recip saw/jig saw decisions, I was relieved and pleased to start using the new 18v L-I Ridgid Drill/Driver in earnest. I also looked forward to receiving the bonus 14.4v Impact Driver when it finally arrived. Well .... it did arrive and initial reaction is so-so. I use the 18v Drill/Driver to run 2" , 2 1/2" , and 3" grabbers or composite deck screws through deck or trim boards (5/8" or 1 1/4" thick) and into various backing boards, mostly 2"x 8" fir but some older 4"x12" beams. I can notice a clear difference from many uses of the 24v L-I Hammer Drill to the 18v L-I Drill ... but ... the 18v still seems adequate. I've tried several different bits (all Phillips head), but they often start stripping out the screw head, at some point, in ~20% of the attempts. I prefer to countersink the screwheads in the composite material ~1/8" and sometimes never get there.
    Most of the time the attempt is successful and I can hammer over the opening and end up with a decent looking result. I went back to several attempts which fell short (screwhead barely to the surface of the workpiece) and expected to see the Impact Driver 'finish the job'. No such luck. In every case I backed out the screw, drilled in a pilot hole, and then the Impact Driver was able to countersink the head as required. Otherwise, it just pounds away but no rotation/progress.
    Geez .... I saw a Makita Impact driver run a bolt against a steel support until it bent!! Several posts here indicated that even a 14.4v Impact'r is way more powerful than normally needed. Tonight, in several cases, I started the grabber with the drill/driver, stopped when it started 'stripping', and then tried to finish with the Impact'r. Not much more gain! I then tried doing the entire job with the Impact'r and in some cases it stopped rotating when the screw was 1/4" out and never proceeded further. I backed the scew out, ran the pilot drill in and then ran the screw in as required. This is a far cry from what I expected and I can't say I'm any better off than I was using the drill/driver.
    There's so much hype out there about the Impact'rs .... I'm baffled. Sure glad I did not step up and pay full tab for mine.

    Tom B

  • #2
    Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

    I think either there is something wrong with that impact driver or it's just a seriously wimpy model.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

      I'm not real familiar with this composite material but I'd say if the head is not burying itself...but spinning instead, it isn't the fault of the driver but the screw. Real wood will part for a head but that isn't true with composite material. With composite you are trying to compress the material and the screws you are using are stripping before that happens. Sounds like you need a screw with deeper threads. Also sounds like you are lucky you didn't start popping heads off.

      P.S. That impact has about TWICE the torque as your drill.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

        Originally posted by Velosapien View Post
        I think either there is something wrong with that impact driver or it's just a seriously wimpy model.
        Wimpy is sure the right description .... it seems to be operating as I would expect, just doesn't generate the 'hitting' power when the going gets tough. I don't know a way to sort it out other than to buy a MaxSelect 18v version and do a direct comparison. If it does far better, then I still won't know if my 14.4v version is according to spec or faulty. I really expected the opposite and was being careful not to drive the screws clear through the composite trim.
        Oh well .............

        Tom B

        P.S. You made me think about trying something .... the current batt is a new ~1.5 AHr N-Cad but I also have a new MAX 2.5 AHr ready. I will try it tomorrow to see if there is any difference.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

          P.S. They make special square socket and star socket deck screws specifically for impact drivers and composite materials.

          http://www.splitstop.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

            i have 2 of the 14.4 impact drivers and really regret not having had them when i mounted some plywood shelves in the studs of my 85 year old home. the craftsman 19.2 v drill driver couldn't sink the screws. needed lots of pilot holes. those 14.4 impacters have never failed to bury any srews. sometimes, its necessary to back the screw out a bit and then drive it home. they have 1400 inch lbs of torque, only 90 inch lbs less than the comparable max select impact driver.
            there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

              Originally posted by Disaster View Post
              I'm not real familiar with this composite material but I'd say if the head is not burying itself...but spinning instead, it isn't the fault of the driver but the screw. Real wood will part for a head but that isn't true with composite material. With composite you are trying to compress the material and the screws you are using are stripping before that happens. Sounds like you need a screw with deeper threads. Also sounds like you are lucky you didn't start popping heads off.

              P.S. That impact has about TWICE the torque as your drill.
              I understand the actual spec (torque) numbers and this should not be happening (unless this particular Impact'r is not up to snuff). I put down large numbers of these 1 1/4" deck boards with a DeWalt 3/8" corded drill and similar screws. They are #8 or #9 and over 2,000 of them went in just fine. It's a darn shame that I did not get these new tools at the start of the project! Anyway, I will make a fresh start in the morning and try to sort out this 'inconsistent' Impact'r performance.

              Tom B

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                Tom, I have the Ridgid 12 volt right angle impact and the 18 volt nicad impact, both are strong enough to shatter a phillips head insert or snap the head right off a screw if the resistance was too great. I'm pretty sure the inch pounds of torque on the 14.4 volt is very close to that of the 18 volt, which makes me think there is something very wrong with your results. If it was a matter of stripping the screw heads then Disaster gave you a good alternative. I know the guys will laugh at me but have once you resolve this impact problem, have you ever tried running the screw across a bar of soap to act as a lubricant? This might reduce resistance and friction enough to allow the use of phillps heads?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                  Originally posted by Disaster View Post
                  P.S. They make special square socket and star socket deck screws specifically for impact drivers and composite materials.

                  http://www.splitstop.com/

                  I looked those over very carefully and had several lengthy discussions with my contractor ... who insists on standard 'gold' 3" #9 deck screws. I applied the 'golden rule' and we used the tan-coated versions of the pictured screws but with larger, ACR Phillips II heads. I also used the ACR II bits and had good results. I like the resulting 'look' of the smaller heads, like you show, (they do not create such a large impression in the composite) but my contractor is not yet convinced that they will hold as well in the longer haul. In retrospect, I think they would be OK. The two different threads definitely do not pull up as much composite material as his normal 3" grabbers. With this Impact'r learning experience, I will be using several different screw lengths and both standard threads and these composite (dual) threads.

                  Tom B

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                    Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
                    Tom, I have the Ridgid 12 volt right angle impact and the 18 volt nicad impact, both are strong enough to shatter a phillips head insert or snap the head right off a screw if the resistance was too great. I'm pretty sure the inch pounds of torque on the 14.4 volt is very close to that of the 18 volt, which makes me think there is something very wrong with your results. If it was a matter of stripping the screw heads then Disaster gave you a good alternative. I know the guys will laugh at me but have once you resolve this impact problem, have you ever tried running the screw across a bar of soap to act as a lubricant? This might reduce resistance and friction enough to allow the use of phillps heads?
                    You are right on the 14.4v and 18v torque numbers so this experience makes no sense. If the screw was turning, but no more penetration, then I would not have posted. My several tries tonight were just watching the screw stationary and the Impact'r hammering away with no visible result (rotation or depth).

                    It must be a lack of torque, since everytime I back the screw out, do a pilot hole, and use the Impact'r on a retry, the screw goes straight in and buries properly. That just seems to indicate a lack of normal spec torque.

                    Tom B

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                      If you can find it try some stick grease like used on metal zippers. It is a good ideal to get in the habbit of drilling pilot holes. It may seem like a PITA but in the end it pays off.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                        I am not familiar with the Ridgid version of the impact driver, but I have the dewalt 14.4 and have never once had it act as you describe. The screw gets driven, the head shears off, the bit will break or on rare occasion the screw head strips. I think there is something wrong with your driver. I do not think that the dewalt version 14.4 is the difference. Or the voltage or battery. I think you have a lemon.

                        The bad news is you have a bad impacter, the good news is you should expect more from it and I seriously doubt you will be disappointed when you get a working one.
                        A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                          Originally posted by woodenstickers View Post
                          I am not familiar with the Ridgid version of the impact driver, but I have the dewalt 14.4 and have never once had it act as you describe. The screw gets driven, the head shears off, the bit will break or on rare occasion the screw head strips. ...............
                          The bad news is you have a bad impacter, the good news is you should expect more from it and I seriously doubt you will be disappointed when you get a working one.
                          Yep! ... my inexperience is showing. Clearly, there is way more than enough torque to twist the head off if the screw was binding. I'm hopeful the other batt may produce the result I expected.
                          Thanks,
                          Tom B

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                            Originally posted by doubtingtom View Post
                            You are right on the 14.4v and 18v torque numbers so this experience makes no sense. If the screw was turning, but no more penetration, then I would not have posted. My several tries tonight were just watching the screw stationary and the Impact'r hammering away with no visible result (rotation or depth).

                            It must be a lack of torque, since everytime I back the screw out, do a pilot hole, and use the Impact'r on a retry, the screw goes straight in and buries properly. That just seems to indicate a lack of normal spec torque.

                            Tom B
                            This indicates the screw is binding deeper down. The impact only applies a very short "impact" of high torque...with very little rotation. Long screws can flex and bounce like a spring....never delivering the torque down deep where it is required. I agree with the recommendation that you should lube the screws or drill a slightly larger hole.

                            I have seen this very effect with similar conditions and impact drivers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Not so impressed with the new Impact Driver

                              Tom

                              Are you using hex shank power bits or are you using a magnetic bit holder and short insert bits in it? If you can, try using a hex shank power bit by itself for a little test. You'll get full output from your impact driver this way. Please see pictures below. The one on the left is the type you want to try using. The 1" hex insert bit (middle picture) and magnetic bit holder (right) are not what you want to use with an impact driver tool. The bit holder and insert bits are OK for just rotation but don't work well for impacting.
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by Woussko; 11-01-2007, 11:20 PM.

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