hand-held electric drill for bigger drills in steel

Hi everyone
I searched and found these electric drills... Metabo BDE 1100 Milwaukee HDE 13 RQD Milwaukee B2E 16 RLD
These all have stirrup-like handles in line with the drill-bit and specialise in power and control at lower drill revs (and no hammer action - they are for metalworking only).
Reason for asking - my situation
I've now drilled hundreds of holes 11mm [7/16th-inch) holes in 8mm [5/16th-inch] thick angle-iron. With many more to go...
And now painfully (literally!) aware - classic "electric drill" with pistol-shape is good for carpenters - where need a light touch. But not for metalworking! Need to easily be able to apply the large force needed to get spiral swarf formation with a twist-drill.
So - question - What is the best drill for heavy-duty metal-drilling?
Experience tells me: * The handle must be in line with the drill-bit, so the applied force goes straight down the bit * A good strong depth-stop close to the drill would make life much easier so don't have to worry about the break-through moment
The Milwaukee HDE 13 RQD looks specifically designed for this exactly this job in commercial work - where can guarantee there is another higher-revving electric drill on the job for piloting. Is lighter than the 16RLD and shorter - shows higher torque and is presumably more robust, with no gear-change. Have I got this right?
Presumably also - as it has few other uses, with slow revs and no hammer action, it isn't "desirable" outside the workplace...!
By the way - working in a team of two, one piloting at 5.5mm [7/32nd-inch], the other following at tapping size at 11mm [7/16th-inch] then the one on piloting threading with the tap-running tool. Always up on a scaffolding.
What is the advice from all you folk out there?
Richard Smith
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Richard Smith wrote:

You want this one: <http://www.fein.de/corp/de/en/catalogue/index.php?ID_O_TREE_GROUPe3&chaptere3&xtree=1&begin=1&sLanguage=English
Too small? :-)) <http://www.fein.de/corp/de/en/catalogue/index.php?chaptere9&xtree=1&begin=1&ID_O_TREE_GROUPe9&sLanguage=English&head=more%20than%2026%20mm%20single-speed
Nick
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The milwaukee will do you good service, but I strongly suggest that you use the T handle along with the D. Only holding on to the D when a drill with that much torque hangs is going to get you to surgery to repair your wrist. I've an old IIRC Craftsman (may be BD...can't remember but it's ancient, circa early 1950's or so) all metal 950 rpm 1/2 HP drill with the D handle. I don't use this drill without a pipe. It will literally spin you if it hangs! (It has a place on top to screw in a standard piece of 3/4" black iron pipe for a T handle..why can't you find that feature today?)
--
Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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As I wrote above the real answer is a mag based drill, but for restricted access or poor base mount location, I agree that the second best is a side handle drill with a place opposite to mount a LONG piece of 3/4" pipe and two operators. My D handle is removable and I seldom ever mount it.
Good luck,
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snip

I agree.
The safety concerns alone justify the use of a mag based drill whenever possible. They are expensive but tend to be commercial quality and usually are a lifetime purchase. I suspect that a tool retailer will be willing to rent you one with the option to buy, and once you have used (a correctly sized) one you will understand. The time savings alone of not needing a pilot hole could justify it alone, but the real issue is safety.
Good luck,
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As Wayne Cook later comments - there isn't really enough metal for a magnetic base drill.
However - not put it to the test. See later - no twist-drill bits.
There are mag.base drills on site and I use them. They only mount shell-cutters, but if they were the answer I'd blag use of a lathe and make some mild-steel mountings and braze twist-drills into them
Yes I'd love to be just turning the feed with one hand and spraying on lube with the other.
Rich S.
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I bet that the 'shell cutter' (rotabroach) holder fits using a Morse Taper - look at the shaft - is there a cross hole that is oval or rectangular for the ejector drift - I bet that there is !
AWEM
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snip
This is a job that is difficult to properly and cost effectively tool for. The 7/16" thickness and 7/16" hole is just barely enough to require a heavy drill and it is the high number that (as you have found) is the real issue. Set up time is a big part of the cost. You have not said whether you must drill from the inside or the outside of the angle.
Any thickness problem mounting mag drills can usually be solved by clamping a thick piece of steel under the mag bearing surface.Mounting the mag to drill from the inside of the angle can create more difficult problems depending on the angle leg length and this may require fabing an adapter. The weight of a mag drill is usually considerable and in any event a safety chain must always be used.
I have no experience with portable punches but would definitely suggest you research availability and cost, they will be fast and you say you have a lot to do. I do not know if they will give you a hole that is correct or constant size for proper tapping.
For an expensive tool to be cost effective it must be versatile and able to be used on future jobs, if not then you should be able to write it off as an expense of the job you have. Renting may be a good alternative, especially if 'rent with option to buy'.
Good luck, please give us a report.
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"Private"
Your questions hit a number of issues.
The angle - we face it with the "on the flat" bit coming out towards us. So half the holes are quite near to the corner (the holes are alternately staggered to prevent rocking (?). So problem getting a mag.base drill to line up.
The access is "single-sided" in most places, as breeze-block has already been put up and in some places the waterproof roof is already in place, so we absolutely cannot disturb that. If we had access to both sides, I could improvise a clamp or something.
I think this is simply a "pessimum" situation - single-sided access limits options, not big enough to get a big drill in, too big to be comfortable with a hand-held drill.
I've looked at this job and I see no easy way to make some sort of clamp and drilling assembly. The only one I can see is use a hand-held drill on the first hole, then bolt on a rig, going along the job one-by-one, using each drilled and tapped hole to reach the next position.
Drilling was much easier with a "pistol-grip" electric drill when had a handle set "sticking out of the top" and the drill used "on its side". However, provided polymer handle with steel band fixing was not rigid enough to take the force needed happily and I think making a big handle which clamps onto the front parallel section of the drill would help a lot.
Thanks for trying to help me out here.
Rich Smith
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Since you have considered all the other options, here is another way that may work for you with some thought.... if you are on good concrete and with good std construction scaffold and good rollers and with an extra level mounted above the work floor, you may be able to solidly mount a heavy drill to a frame which can then be secured to the upper scaffold frame with nylon ratchet straps or clamps and adjusted for height. Then just use a couple more ratchet straps to go around the angle (I assume there is 1/4" min clear) and just pull the scaffold forward. I suggest you sweep the roller track on the floor first.
alternatively if the rolling surface is poor... Fab the frame so it is vertically adjustable and allow it to slide on the leveled scaffold floor.
Do what it takes to complete the job safely. Good luck.
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Richard,
I've not followed all the posts in this thread so maybe your application will preclude my suggestion, but have you considered using a Spit powder charge nail gun to pin the elements together:
http://www.itwramset.co.uk/tpl/main.php?p=tempProd&entry_id=1&subentry_id=1&prod 2
I was skeptical, but having one of these beasts am amazed how they fire fixings through quite thick steel. No drilling or tapping at all! The hire places such as HSS have them.
AWEM
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http://www.itwramset.co.uk/tpl/main.php?p=tempProd&entry_id=1&subentry_id=1&prod 2
Hi Andrew
No I hadn't considered one of these! It looks fearsome. One that shoots nails into wood is bad enough! I fear to think of one which would shoot through 8mm of steel!
Might be difficult to apply as two ~8mm thick plates standing about 40mm apart with a pre-drilled hole passing through both, designed to take a bolt - which is fastenered to the angle. The one you point to - it's more like nailing but for steel, isn't it?
I'll ask about one of these and look out for instances of its use.
Richard Smith
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One of the 'nails' that they can fire is actually a stud - as you say awesome. I got mine to fix cladding to the rsj uprights of a steel barn I'm buying. First saw the on 'Grand Designs' where a chap was pinning steel plates to structural steel in a new roof construction in Edinburgh.
AWEM
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http://www.itwramset.co.uk/tpl/main.php?p=tempProd&entry_id=1&subentry_id=1&prod 2
&*^%! Wild but it makes sense. The metal flow over the "nail" would grip it, giving a very secure fastening. And with the metal cladding being thin, with flexure it can't magnify forces with leverage and would tear with a lowish force, absolving the mount of need to take huge forces anyway. I'll definitely look out for examples of this being used. Thanks Rich Smith
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Richard Smith wrote:

Richard, did you see my post about a pushbar? It's really the approach to this job, it'll work better than anything else I've see suggested.
John
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John - yes, I did see this.
You suggested to me
"Whatever drill you use, use a pushbar with it. A leaf from a spring works very well- cut a notch in one end and stick the leaf through the drill handle, catch the notch in a chain that's hooked to the work and bear down on the free end of the leaf. No pilot hole required, save heaps of time and effort."
Come to think of it - would work perfectly. Carefully drill and tap the first hole then screw in a bolt with a loop, attach your lever and the rest would go well.
And works for this case of single-sided access (masonry behind angle-iron).
Must try this if on similar job. There is a D-handle (spade-handle) drill at the yard - found one.
Thanks again - best wishes -- Rich Smith
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Richard Smith wrote:

I generally use a piece of light chain with a hook on one end. If you can hook the hook someplace it's easy, otherwise you can tack the other end of the chain to the work. The leaf-spring suggestion was for something big, a piece of 1" square tube would likely serve for what you're doing.
A prybar with a fixed fulcrum and a hook on the end of it to catch a chain can really be the shit too. Works like a half-clamp but is more versatile, and it's easy to put a couple thousand lbs. of pressure on a spot. Affix the chain to the work with a single tack- rock the link you're tacking slightly toward the side you're hitting with the welder, then when you put tension on it you're giving a little tack the greatest advantage. Slap the chain toward the tack when you're done and it'll pop right off.
John
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I'm picking up your wavelength here - must start to think like this. Mild steel is totally forgiving stuff - for sure can temporarily tack bits on and so on without a concern in the world. Thanks again - really appreciate your input. Rich
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This all brings back memories (bad) long ago of drilling with a low speed, high torque hand-held drill in limited space. The bit caught, the drill twisted and jammed my hand in the limited space so I couldn't let go of the trigger. Yikes. Had to reach in with the other hand and pull my finger off the trigger. Lucky I didn't get badly hurt.
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Roger has it right...these drills can injure if not shown the proper respect.
I have been an unwilling witness to several people having teeth knocked out, hands broken and an arm broken when Drills Gone Wrong happens.
Be careful...you've been warned.
TMT
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