Hammer drills are used for drilling holes in masonry, concrete and other tough materials. Hammer drills have a ‘hammer action’ setting which gives you short, rapid hammer-like forward movements. Hammer drills will fracture the chosen area and then the drill motion will help remove the debris which will be blocking your hole. This makes it easier to drill into harder materials with less effort on your part. You can realistically use a regular drill on concrete, but it will take a lot longer and be a lot harder.
You can use your hammer drill for wood and other, softer materials if you turn off the hammer action setting, but they are not the best choice for every day DIY jobs because hammer drills are bigger and heavier than regular power drills and many people may find them annoying or uncomfortable to use for everyday jobs. Hammer drills are also not suitable for driving in screws.
Before you buy a hammer drill, you should consider how often you’re likely to actually use it. Hammer drills are essential for tough materials like concrete, but they are also heavy, they tend to be more expensive and they are not that suitable for regular every-day tasks. If you just need to use the hammer drill once in a blue moon you may want to think about renting a hammer drill or borrowing it rather than buying one outright.
When you use the hammer action setting on your drill, you must use a masonry drill bit and not a bit which is made out of wood or any other material.
Masonry bits which are designed for hammer drills are able to cope with the force of the hammering action and they can also be used for materials such as concrete, whereas other bits are likely to break pretty quickly as they are not designed for this type of drilling. Make sure your masonry bit is suitable for a hammer drill. The bit will probably be the SDS-PLUS or SDS-MAX variety.
How To Use A Hammer Drill
Before you start drilling through concrete, you may want to take some precautions such as wearing safety goggles, using heavy gloves and buying hearing protection ear muffs.
It’s always a good idea to mark the area that you want to drill through to ensure you get the results you want. You can do this with a pencil.
Hammer drills will normally have a depth gauge which will stop your drill when you have reached the correct depth. If your hammer drill does not have this features, consider wrapping some tape around the area of the bit where you want the drilling to stop.
In order to get great results from your hammer drill, you will need to hold it correctly. Make sure you are standing with a straight back, you are well balanced, and you are holding the drill like a gun.
When you begin drilling, start on a slower speed and speed up once you have created the initial layer of your hole.
Remember not to press too hard on the drill to avoid breaking the bit. It’s also important that you stop drilling every so often and pull the drill out to let it cool down. This will also remove more dust from the hole.
Bits can get quite hot when drilling, and if the bit overheats it can cause lots of problems such as burn marks. It’s a good idea to splash a bit of water on the area that you are drilling to keep things cool.
Drilling can be a messy process, and it can be an idea to have someone else to help clean up as the debris fall to the floor rather than waiting to clean it all up afterwards. When you have finished drilling, you may want to use a can of ‘compressed air’ to blow the concrete dust out of the hole, or you could alternatively use a vacuum.