How to Use a Drill
While choosing a drill can be a time-consuming process, using one doesn’t have to be. Even beginners have to start somewhere, which is why we’ve put together a quick guide to show you the ropes.
Regardless of the style, we’re going to teach you how to use a drill even if you have never picked one up before.
What can you use a drill for?
If you’re reading this, you are either looking to purchase a drill or just picked one up and are unsure of how to use it properly. Once you do master the basics, you’ll find your new tool is far handier than you may have imagined.
Drills are designed to drill a hole through practically anything provided you have the right bit and enough power. That includes your hand if you’re not cautious, but wood, brick, steel, concrete and other materials are fair game.
Need to mix up a batch of cement or a 5-gallon bucket of paint?
A drill with a paddle bit can do that in a matter of minutes, and they can also cut holes in metal or wood with a hole saw attached.
Putting screws into walls and decks are another popular choice, and you don’t want to dry to hand drywall without a cordless drill.
Even if you never intend to drill a hole, a drill will quickly replace your screwdriver. That means you can assemble desks in a matter of minutes and make quick work of toys and bicycles at Christmas time. What took hours before, may only take minutes with an amazing drill.
Steps: How to use a drill
Whether you want to put a hole into a thick block of oak or screw together a table from IKEA, the basics of using your new tool as a drill or a big screwdriver stay the same.
Inserting the bit
What do you plan to drill?
Wood and metal require different types of bits, so that’s the first step before inserting the bit. We cover all the bits in our best drill bit guide if you’re unsure of what you need. Once you settle on a bit, you simply slide it into the chuck on the end of the drill.
The chuck is what holds the bit in place, and there are two types with keyed or keyless chucks. You can adjust keyless chucks by hand, and they are preferred by most users for ease of use.
Keyed chucks require a small tool that’s used to loosen or tighten the chuck – and can be easily lost. No matter the style of the chuck, you simply need to put the bit in place and snug things down.
Adjusting the drill
Once your bit is in place and secured, you can check the torque. Simply put, a lower number means less torque, so set the number higher for tougher tasks.
New drill bits should be true out of the pack, but that is not always the case with used bits. Most of the time, bits will last for years and can be sharpened to extend their lifespan. Well, that’s all for naught if your bits aren’t straight.
Figuring out if a bit is straight can be more difficult than it sounds, but you can check for wobble.
Slowly run the drill while keeping an eye on the bit. If you notice any wobble or something looks out of whack, it’s loose in the chuck, bent or damaged in some way. Throw those bits away.
Using the drill
When it’s time to put the bit to wood or metal, you have one of two options. You can go straight at it or drill a pilot hole.
If working with softer materials, there’s usually no need for a pilot hole. You can line up the bit on your mark, and start at a slow, steady speed. You can increase the speed, but always stay vertical and keep things stable.
For tougher materials, we highly recommend a pilot hole. To do this, you simply use a smaller bit to drill or start a hole, then drill through it again with your larger bit.
Don’t overdo it…
A sharp bit will cut normal wood with easy, so you don’t need to apply an excessive amount of pressure to make a hole. If working with tougher materials, you still need to take it easy.
Like all electric tools, drills can get hot and do tend to overheat if you aren’t careful.
That means you should stay at a steady speed and pause to take a break if working with large bits or long holes. This will give your drill (and bit) time to cool down and prevent any potential damage.
Tips to use the drill safely
Don’t get in a hurry.
While you may be excited to start your project, you need to keep an even amount of pressure on the drill at all times and keep your free hand away from the bit – they can slip.
You will also want to keep any loose or baggy clothing away from the bit so tuck in your shirt and roll up your sleeves if necessary. Clothing can snag in seconds, which could quickly lead to an accident.
Gloves are an option along with a dust mask or ear protection with impact or industrial-sized models. On the other hand, eye protection is something you should have on at all times when working with a drill or any power tool.
Now that you know the basics on how to use a drill, you can spend more time focusing on your project. You can also start narrowing down your choices if you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a new drill, but weren’t sure if it was simple enough to use.
As you can see, drill are an easy tool to master and can save you a considerable amount of time. There is a price point for everyone, and it’s a tool we highly recommend for anyone’s household or shop.