How to Guide – Drilling Basics

How to Guide – Drilling Basics - Parts of the Drill

Safety First

Although each project is different, it’s always wise to realize these things are called power tools for a reason. Although we don’t necessary want to provide you with a list of warnings and disclaimers as long as your instruction manual (the one that makes your eyes glaze over), here are just a couple of considerations to help keep your extremities in check while using these machines of power. Ultimately if you just use your noggin and think , “what could happen if…” you’ll likely have your basis covered!

  • Eye Protection
  • Ear Protection
  • Mask (everyone has one of these now)…
  • Make sure your hair is out of the way
  • No loose Jewelry or clothing
  • Long Pants help
  • Closed toe shoes

Common Injury

  • Flying Debris – With your that drill bit spinning over 1000 RPM, material could go a flying. No one wants an eye full of it.
  • Drill stalls – if your not gripping the drill firmly it could twist hard, which could feel like its about to twist your arm off.

Drill Types

Power drills have changed the landscape of how we work today. The power and versatility of these tools continues to expand and bring greater efficiency to our projects. There are several types of drills to consider:

Electric (corded)

Electric (cordless)

Compressed air (Pneumatic)

Or go old school with the manual powered variety

Parts of the Drill

Below are general guidelines for Drill use but we (and ‘they’) will always recommend referring to your instruction manual for the specifics for your exact tool. Remember to treat your tool with respect and realize these Tools are chalked full of power.

Most Drills are turned ON and OFF by pulling and releasing the trigger.

Typically, drills have what is called a variable speed trigger where the farther you pull on the trigger the faster the speed of the drill.

Above the Trigger is typically the Forward/Reverse switch, which will determine the rotational direction of the Drill and also serves to lock the tool from use.

  • Depressed right trigger – rotates drill to the right (tightening)
  • Depressed left trigger – rotates drill to the left (loosening)
  • Trigger in the center will lock the tool, acting like a safety of sorts.

There are three types of Chucks

  1. Keyed Chuck – which requires a key to loosen and tighten the chuck around your chosen bit.
  2. Keyless Chuck – These allows you to hand tighten the chuck by twisting it, all without a key, thus the name. To do this turn the chuck counterclockwise (if looking at the chuck), this will open the jaws. Then insert the accessory or drill bit fully into the center of the Jaws of the chuck and tighten by rotating the chuck in a clockwise direction, make sure to tighten securely. As you get comfortable you can speed up the process by holding your chuck and lightly pressing down on the trigger to slowly spin Jaws open or closed.
  3. Quick Release Chuck (common on Impact Drills) – These require a specific bit, which will limit your ability to use larger diameter bits.
  1. Low Speed – Provides greater the user with greater control when drilling or driving a screw. That control is important when it comes to keeping the drill hole or screw straight and for not driving to hard or past the surface.
  2. High Speed – Great for drilling through wood

Torque is the twisting force of the drill. For Drilling into wood, metal and/or plastics set the collar to the drill icon. For screwdriving, set the collar to the desired setting.

If you don’t know which setting is best trying the following:

  • Set the collar to the lowest torque setting.
  • Tighten the first screw.
  • If the clutch ratchets before the desires result is achieved, increase the collar setting and continue tightening the screw. Repeat until you reach the correct setting. Use this setting for the remaining screws.
  • Do not force the drill – let the drill do the work.


There is beauty in simplicity, but it’s sure nice to have the power a hand held drill delivers in the palm of your hand. As these machines evolve they seem to cannibalize tools we thought critical to the workshop. Next lets take a look at drill bits and accessories that create more versatility from your drill.


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Posted in Drills