Tool Talk: Milwaukee Tool’s expanded M18 system, Bosch’s new rebar cutter

M18 Cordless 3/8-inch Right Angle Drill/Driver

Milwaukee Tool M18 Cordless 3/8-inch Right Angle Drill/Driver. (Milwaukee Tool photo)

By Don Geary

The Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation recently expanded its M18 Lithium-Ion system with the new M18 Cordless 3/8-inch Right Angle Drill/Driver. This right angle drill/driver is the only 18-volt cordless unit on the market with an adjustable clutch. It has eleven torque settings and one drill mode for complete control in close quarter fastening applications. Torque settings are adjusted by a dial located on the rear of the handle, just above the battery pack. A red light will flash when the desired torque setting is achieved.

As with other cordless tools in the Milwaukee M18 line, this drill/driver is powered by RedLithium batteries. RedLithium batteries are only available from Milwaukee and offer 40 percent more run time, 20 percent more power and 50 percent more recharges than other brands of lithium powered tools. RedLithium batteries will also operate in extreme temperatures as low as 0 degrees fahrenheit/18 degrees celsius and will run 20 percent cooler with fade-free power and no memory effect. One last feature of the M18 RedLithium batteries is the handy ‘fuel gauge’ which indicates the state of charge of the battery. Simply press the battery icon on the battery and up to four red lights will glow, indicating a full charge.

To protect itself from damage and extend its useful life, the battery pack’s intelligent circuit monitors current draw and temperature. In extremely high torque, binding, stalling, and short circuit situations, the battery pack will turn OFF the tool if the current draw becomes too high. In addition, all fuel gauge lights will flash. Release the trigger and restart.

Under extreme circumstances, the internal temperature of the battery could become too high. If this happens, the fuel gauge lights will flash in an alternating pattern and the tool will not run. Allow the battery to cool down and the tool should work normally.

The new Milwaukee M18 Cordless 3/8 inch Right Angle Drill/Driver has a number of unique features that will make this tool popular with anyone needing to work in tight quarters such as electricians and cabinet installers. To begin with, it has a total head length of 3.75 inches. This drill/driver has a 3/8-inch, one-handed, keyless ratcheting chuck, which allows tool-less changing of bits. It has a bright LED light (located just below the chuck) to illuminate the work surface. This unit delivers up to 125 inch pounds of torque with a no load speed of 0-1,500 RPM.

Bosch SpeedX

Bosch SpeedX (Bosch photo)

A 4-1/2-inch paddle switch can activate this drill/driver anywhere along its length, a handy feature when used with one hand. The forward, reverse switch is located behind the

bottom of the paddle switch – right for forward, left for reverse and center for lock off. It also has an electronic brake, which stops the drill/driver as soon as the paddle switch is released.

All grip surfaces are coated with insulating rubber, which dampens vibrations and helps to provide a no slip grip. When the tool is off, the screwdriver bit automatically locks in place allowing you to use the screwdriver manually. Do this to tighten screws that require more torque than the driver is capable of delivering, when confirming the tightness of a screw or when loosening an extremely tight screw.

The Milwaukee M18 Cordless 3/8 inch Right Angle Drill/Driver sells for around $250 and comes with one RedLithium battery, one-hour charger and carrying case. It has a five-year warranty.

Bosch Power Tools has introduced a number of drilling accessories that are worth mentioning. The first is the Nailkiller auger bit. Auger bits are expensive and can easily be damaged when trying to drill through material that may have hidden embedded nails.

Bosch Nailkiller

The Bosch Nailkiller in use. (Bosch photo)

Unlike traditional auger bits, Bosch’s Nailkiller employs an innovative reinforced tip that effectively pushes hidden nails to the side when the bit makes contact and allows a more aggressive part of the bit to cut through the fasteners. The end result is an auger bit that lasts, on average, nine times longer than the market-leading auger bit. Independent testing of the Nailkiller bits revealed that a one-inch Nailkiller bit was capable of driving through up to 301 hidden nails, versus only 33 for the current market leader, when used with a right angle drill – according to the folks at Bosch Power Tools.

Most of Bosch’s Nailkiller Auger Bits utilize a 7/16 inch shank with power groove, which will fit any 1/2 inch corded drill, as well as impact drills equipped with quick connect chucks. Other shank sizes are available for specialty applications. Bits are available in lengths ranging from 7-1/2 inch to 24 inch, and diameters from ¼ inch to 1-1/2 inch. Retail prices range from about $9 to $34.

Several months ago, Bosch Power Tools introduced the SpeedX Carbide drill bits for drilling in concrete. Bosch claims these bits are the fastest, most durable and most innovative carbide, drilling bit ever produced.

Compared with the leading competitor, SpeedX drills up to 20 percent faster in concrete. A centric carbide tip helps to easily start holes and the innovative inclined side cutters help to quickly drill into concrete. A shortened head design and enlarged dust-clearing channels perform very well as the hole gets deeper. These same features also enhance durability by providing fast dust removal and reduced friction.

The Bosch Speed-X is available in both SDS-Max and splined versions and in a variety of popular sizes through authorized dealers nationwide. Retail prices range from around $120 to $180.

When drilling in concrete there is one thing you can be fairly certain of – you will probably hit a piece of rebar and this will slow down or stop the drilling. The Bosch Power Tool Company has solved this problem with their new Rebar Cutter drill bits.

Rebar cutter (Bosch photo)

Designed to work with rotary hammers in rotation mode, Bosch’s Rebar Cutter has a unique flute geometry that employs a steep spiral design that quickly removes concrete debris. A relief hole is incorporated into the cutting surface to dissipate heat and facilitate slug removal. Additionally, the body design and shank are tapered to reduce weight for smother drilling and to reduce vibration.

Bosch Rebar Cutter bits are 12 inches long and range in diameter from 3/8 inch to 1-1/2 inch. Both straight and SDS-Plus shanks are available with prices ranging from $26 to $65. RB

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