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For anything to be fixed, be it a shelf, cupboard, or a window frame, in most cases, a masonry drill, plugs and screws are needed. Sounds simple enough?

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Masonry Drill

For anything that is to be fixed, be it a shelf, cupboard, or a window frame, in most cases, a masonry drill, masonry bit, plugs and screws are needed. Sounds simple enough? Fact of the matter is that shelves and cupboards have been known to fall down, and it’s not because the load imposed upon them is too great, it’s more than likely to do with the actual fixing that is at fault.
Electric Drill Given that fixing into masonry is such an everyday occurrence in the DIY world, I thought it a good idea to go through the subject of screws, plugs and drilling, with this first page dealing will the drilling machine. The drill itself now comes in four basic forms; electric powered (corded) battery power (cordless), hammer action and SDS, with many other variations on this theme, from different drill sizes and types, to small and monster battery powered units.

The secret of drilling a hole into masonry is that it should be as efficient as possible, which can only be achieved by using the correct equipment. A blunt drill bit will invariably wander from the point where you need the hole to be, or bounce about so much in the process that a larger hole than required will result.
The starting point on the road to efficient masonry drilling starts with the machine itself, as this produces the mechanical power to the drill bit. As a minimum, the requirement of the drill should have what is known as ‘hammer action’, which means that the cutting bit bounces as it rotates when pressure is applied. This action is produced within the drive assembly of the drill by means of two cogged components, (or stepped washers), that rotate against each other causing a bumpy ride, which causes multiple impacts to occur between the two surfaces. This impact is transmitted along to the drilling bit for the required dual hammer and cutting process. Without this action, the high speed rotation alone would produce so much friction that the drill tip would heat up to such an extent that it would be destroyed.
keyless chuck
With this type of drill, there is the conventional chuck that uses a 'chuck key' to tighten the jaws of the chuck around the drilling bit. There is also the 'key-less' chuck, which as the name suggests; has no key, and can be tightened up by hand. This is made possible because the bottom section of the chucks can be held in one position while the top section is turned. The two photos on the right shows the different types of chuck.
sds chuck Following on from this, the next step up in efficient masonry drilling would be a more advanced hammer action drilling machine; the SDS. Different to the ordinary hammer action drills, the SDS produces more of a pump hammer action than just hammer, which means that the whole chuck assembly moves backwards and forward as it rotates, requiring little or no pressure compared to the ordinary hammer action drill. The SDS will sail through masonry that the hammer drill would struggle to cope with. The picture on the left shows the unique chuck used of the SDS machine, it too is key-less, but works in a completely different way.
This is because of the design of the SDS bit, it is shaped in such a way that when the bottom section of the chuck is pushed down, the bit is locked in position, when released.
As mentioned earlier, both types of machine are produced for use with mains power, either 230v or 110v, or battery power. The higher voltage battery powered machines are very efficient, and ideal for situations where AC power is not available, especially the SDS versions, but as expected have a heavy price tag to match. Despite this, market leaders cordless machines are very popular and very much sought after accessory by trades person, as the convenience and effectives of these tools offsets the expense.
In the home though, it could be a different story. The choice of machine should be made in relation to the demands made upon it, and can be an individual choice depending in the type of house that you are working on. In my personal case, I find that all my internal fixings can be made using a standard hammer drill, corded and cordless. However, the external brickwork demands the the more effective power of the SDS.

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