How to Safely Use a Power Drill: A Beginner’s Guide
A power drill is one of those vital hand tools you need to have in your home. It’s essential for many tasks, including hanging art portraits, pictures, wall fixtures, designing cabinets, and other commercial-based projects. This tool can save you time, effort, and money as well. Using different drill bits, you can use it to make holes in concrete, plastic, metal as well as wooden blocks. However, you must observe the highest safety standards while using a power drill to avoid possible injures. It can take a fraction of a second to get distracted and end up making a critical mistake that can cost your budget or health. According to OSHA Regulations, power tools can present many hazards when used wrongly. Therefore, ensure that you are observing the following safety tips when handling your power drill. The following are 8 essential tips on how to safely use a power drill.
1. Put on the Right Gear
When handling a power drill, ensure you wear the right gear. The perfect work attire is your first line of defense against potential hazards posed by this tool. Therefore, ensure you have the following things at hand:
- Safety Goggles – while drilling, dust and other tiny particles fly around. Unfortunately, they may hit your face or eyes, causing injuries and pain. Hence, safety goggles help prevent these mishaps.
- Protective Clothes – consider wearing a thick jacket or apron before drilling. Avoid wearing hanging clothing or jewelry that may get tangled with the movable parts of your drill.
- Dust Masks – you’ll also need to acquire proper dust masks to prevent dust and debris from affecting your lungs.
- Safety Gloves – consider purchasing high-density safety gloves that can help prevent injury to your hands as well as minimize power drill vibrations under high torque.
2. Prep Your Workspace
Apart from wearing the right clothing, it’s crucial to put your workplace in order. If you have any kids or pets around, keep them far away from the working area to prevent any injury. By doing this, you’ll also ensure you minimize the chances of getting distracted while working. Also, remove all the trash and ensure the area is dry to avoid any electrical shocks in case the power drill comes in contact with water.
3. Ensure the Power Drill is Fully Charged
If you are working with a cordless power drill, ensure that it’s fully charged before using. Checking the temperature of the batteries is equally crucial. Those that are excessively hot or cold are usually faulty and must be immediately replaced. Additionally, you must always store your power drill in a dry place with the right temperature to prevent a malfunction.
4. Handle Your Power Drill with Extreme Care
Proper handling of your power drill is also crucial in alleviating critical accidents. It’s essential that you carry your power drill by its base and not by its tip. Additionally, avoid holding it by its trigger since you might end up accidentally causing harm to people or property. When using batteries, always make sure you remove them from the power drill unit after completing your work. Likewise, you must disconnect the tool from the socket if you are using a corded power drill.
5. Inspect Your Power Drill and Work Piece
It is always a good safety practice to check your power drill before using it. Ensure that every part of the tool is working and functioning as required. When you purchase a newer power drill, ensure your manufacturer or supplier provides the right warranty to have it repaired or replaced if needed. According to Lowe’s, after inspecting your power drill, ensure the object or fixture you are drilling is steady and secured firmly with a clamp. This way, you can drill the holes without any difficulties.
6. Drill a Pilot Hole
It is advisable to make a pilot hole first to ensure accuracy while doing the drilling. Pilot holes are effective in offering guidance while conducting your drilling project. Additionally, they assist you to drill in the right locations and avoid costly mistakes.
7. Indicate the Depths of the Drill Holes
You may be forced to drill holes at specific depth as per the type of object or surface you are handling. Hence, to achieve this, consider wrapping a small electrical strap around the drill bit. Consequently, this strap can signal you when it’s time to cease drilling after the bit reaches the desired depth. According to Tool Cobber, drill bits are essential accessories for power drills, and they main ones include:
- Twist Bits – useful when drilling through plastic, timber or metal. They are helpful when drilling holes with a diameter of between 0.8mm to 12mm.
- Masonry Bits – are useful when drilling through brick, concrete, or stone and are designed from tungsten carbine. They drill 4mm-16mm diameter holes.
- Flat Wood Bits – useful when working on massive timber projects involving bolting.
- Hole Saw – essential for cutting larger and fixed diameter holes of up to 18mm deep in plastic or timber.
8. Work with Your Power Tool Safely
Whether you’re using a corded or cordless power drill, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with various parts of the tool. For instance, the speed settings switch allows you to set a low-speed mode for driving and high-speed mode for drilling. To start using the power tool, locate the chuck key and after inserting it in the hole on the side of the chuck, turn it clockwise and insert the required bit. Then turn the key anticlockwise to tighten the chuck. For cordless power drills, insert your batteries, while for corded ones, plug them in the power source. Hold the drill’s barrel with one hand while the other one on the handle. To be safer, keep your power tool held perpendicularly to the piece you’re working on and apply firm pressure to guide the bit into the material.