Author Topic: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills  (Read 14781 times)

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Offline Dan Clark

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Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« on: January 23, 2007, 11:43 PM »
I've seen several posts asking how to use square drive bits with Festool drills.  Here's the how to:

1) Buy Festool drill with Centrotec chuck (492135) and Centrotec bit holder/adapter (BH 60 CE).   

2) Buy standard 1" square drive bit without ball detent (e.g. Bosch #3 Square Recess 1" Bit Tips (2-Pack) at Lowes or IRWIN Square Recess Insert Bits)

3) Insert bit into Centrotec bit holder/adapter (BH 60 CE) - see pic below.

4) And you uhh... Screw!

Dan.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2007, 12:07 AM by Dan Clark »

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Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1833
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2007, 08:15 AM »
Dan,

This works but the bit often gets stuck in the screw as the magnet is not strong enough to retain the bit. This seldom happens with a phillips (because they tend to slip anyway). I sometimes think that Festool is confused by our desire for a true centroted square drive because the setup you illustrated looks so easy to accomplish. If you are not leaving the bit in the screw as you pull away you are luckier than I am. I use the bit holder with a locking detent to avoid the pullout issue but the extra diameter sometimes gets in the way. Michael suggested the ball detent hex drive, also known as an Apex, in that holder. I will try that.

Greg
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2007, 09:05 AM »
Another way to cope with frequently stuck (bit stuck in screw) situations is to try to remember to rotate the screwgun counterclockwise a few degrees before pulling it away from the screw.

The Festool bit holder illustrated above that was included with Centrotec starter kits is one of the best (very strong magnet) I've used but the non-Apex design just isn't suitable for square drive screws. which can really lock onto the bit in high torque driving. Phillips screws where designed to cam out because slotted screws driven by power tools were stripping out the sheet metal at Ford's assembly plant. The power tools didn't have clutches.

Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2007, 09:50 AM »
PICS PLEASE!

Hi.  I posted above for the obvious reasons and because I wanted to demonstrate using pics in posts.   We spent so much time in a forum that discouraged posting pics to discuss a point, that most of us tend to do that now.  Now we don't have have that limitation.  Post pics please!

Regarding square drive...

I don't use square drive much because Torx drive worked better for me.   When I researched screws to sister the joists in my garage, first I tried Phillips head.  They cammed out badly.  Then Square drive, which were better, but still cammed out about 50% of the time.   Finally I tried Torx drive, which rarely cammed out.   

Regards,

Dan.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2007, 10:01 AM by Dan Clark »

Offline Dave Rudy

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2007, 09:56 AM »
Dan,

What's your source for torx screws?

Dave

Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2007, 10:39 AM »
Hi.  I got mine from Screw Products: http://www.screw-products.com/ (Note the "-").   Here's their new catalog: http://www.screw-products.com/spi-retail-pricelist-121306.pdf (743 kb).  My primary screw for my joist-sistering project was their 3" X 5/16" lag screw - about 1/3 of the way down here: http://www.screw-products.com/green.htm.

At first, I tried Phillips head screws, but the cammed out badly.  Then I tried square drive screws.  Better, but still cammed out.   Then Torx; they worked well.   

In my sistering project, I had to sister joists in a confined space, make sure that the sistered joist was clamped tightly to the old joist, counteract the cupped and twisted joists, and make darn sure that they held while the glue dried.   I tried Phillips head and square drive screws, but they cammed out.  Torx screws worked well will little camming.  If you think that camming out isn't a problem, try screwing a 5/16" X 3" lag screw into three inches of wood two feet over your head.   Now make sure that you do 60-70 of them in 10 minutes (before glue started drying).   

Below are two pics: The lag screw compared to a standard deck screw and the screws in place in the joist.

Regards,

Dan.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2007, 10:49 AM by Dan Clark »

Offline Jim Dailey

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2007, 12:54 PM »
Hi!!!

I fully understand the Centrotec accessories available including as Greg wrote

"the bit holder with a locking detent to avoid the pullout issue but the extra diameter sometimes gets in the way. Michael suggested the ball detent hex drive, also known as an Apex, in that holder."

Yes I want a sq. drive or Robertson bits for my Centrotec chuck, but what I really want is SAE bits to fit the Centrotec chuck.  The ball detent hex drive or APex, or Bit holder BH 60 does not hold a hex shaft drill bit securely enough.  When you use this approach, when you pull the bit out of the work most of the time the bit is "stuck" in the work.   

I am also aware of after-market work arounds & techniques.  For example, I can use a non Fes"kewl" holder designed for the after-market hex SAE bit drill in the Fes"kewl" keyless chuck or just the SAE bit in the keyless chuck, but the whole idea is to be able to use these drills in tight places with quick changes between bits. What I end up doing is swapping the entire keyless chuck holding a drill bit with the Centrotec chuck holding the drive bit.   Granted to those who have never seen a Fes"kewl" drill this maneuver has a "wow" factor, however I know in-spite of the fact I have about $700 invested in my Fes"kewl" drill "system"....  It's not complete!!!   I can't get SAE bits to fit the Centrotec system......  That SUCKS!!! :'(

jim
Life is just a series of projects...

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2007, 01:29 PM »
Jim Said;

"What I end up doing is swapping the entire keyless chuck holding a drill bit with the Centrotec chuck holding the drive bit."

I guess most of us in NA have to do the same thing to use fractional drill bits. Most of the time I use another drill/driver entirely for pilot holes, sometimes two when working with (very) hardwoods as long a space allows the ordinary drills fit into the work area.

The Centrotec drill bits are very nice with very little runout but only a couple of them are close enough to the fractional sizes we need to be of use. I hope we get more choice soon too.


Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2007, 01:42 PM »
Jim Said;

"What I end up doing is swapping the entire keyless chuck holding a drill bit with the Centrotec chuck holding the drive bit."

I guess most of us in NA have to do the same thing to use fractional drill bits. Most of the time I use another drill/driver entirely for pilot holes, sometimes two when working with (very) hardwoods as long a space allows the ordinary drills fit into the work area.

The Centrotec drill bits are very nice with very little runout but only a couple of them are close enough to the fractional sizes we need to be of use. I hope we get more choice soon too.

I agree about drill bits, but I use the chuck-swapping trick.  On my joist sistering project, I had to create a bunch of support brackets (about 30 I believe).  It required clamping three pieces of 2X4 in place, pre-drilling four holes, screwing in 4 screws and then unclamping.   

I put a drill bit in the standard FastFix chuck and a Torx head screw bit into CentroTec chuck.  Then I just swapped chucks.  After the fourth or fifth bracket, I was able swap chucks in about four seconds.   Frankly, I think that's much easier and faster than swapping bits.

Dan.

Offline JayStPeter

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2007, 02:02 PM »
Your post illustrates the exact way I dislike using square drive.  Other posts have mentioned the reasons.  90% of the time I still use my old methods from my pre-festool drills.  I have a cheap stanley/hitachi "flip bit" holder that allows me to alternate between a drill bit with countersink and whatever drive bit I decide to install.  It's a pretty flimsy device, but works.  When space is tight, I've got to suffer with bits popping off with half the screws driven.
Jay St. Peter

Offline Scott Herzinger

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2007, 03:53 PM »
I would like to add to the acclaim for square-drive bits and echo the earlier comments on how adding a 1/4-hex bit holder to the centrotec chuck is only a partial solution. Whether it's the combined length or bit slippage, it's been frustrating to me at times.

I currently manage by using the DD-ES eccentric chuck. It grips 1/4-hex bits just fine and doesn't let go when you're done with the screwing or drilling operation. It doesn't have the low-runout advantage of the centrotec, but otherwise it does just fine and does get into those tight corners.

Scott

Offline Barry

  • Posts: 55
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 07:55 AM »
For what it is worth I will NEVER buy a Festool drill until they will take a standard 1/4" hex bit.  Festool can afford to modify some drills for NA.
Central NJ

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2007, 09:17 AM »
For what it is worth I will NEVER buy a Festool drill until they will take a standard 1/4" hex bit.  Festool can afford to modify some drills for NA.

This reminds me of a question that arose when I recently saw the new chuck available for Festools drills, the "FastFix Depth Stop Chuck DD-DC".

Does anyone plan to buy this thing?
At $88 you can buy a complete good quality drywall gun for the same or less cost. Why does such a small amount of plastic and aluminum cost so much?

If Festool can afford to devote their resources to producing this chuck that so few people in NA would be interested in buying, they should been able to produce improved 1/4 hex bit holders and square drive bits by now. Rant over. However, if the price of this chuck was around $35 I'd simply buy it with no complaint.



Offline Barry

  • Posts: 55
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2007, 11:23 AM »
What I don't get is that if they can justify different motors for all their power tools (220 vs 110) why couldn't they swap the parts on the drill too.  Seems simple enough to me....
Central NJ

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1833
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2007, 01:53 PM »
What I don't get is that if they can justify different motors for all their power tools (220 vs 110) why couldn't they swap the parts on the drill too.  Seems simple enough to me....

It is simple, but what isn't is the fact that the Centrotec is clearly superior in every way other than its lack of square drive bits. The Centrotec system drives the proprietary drills, bits, and bit holders very nicely. That is simply not possible with the hex drive system we are so familiar with here, the one originally known as Apex drive. It is not made to the same quality standards and it is made by everybody and their brothers as well, with various levels of quality to boot. At the heart of this issue is the fact that for us in NA the square drive is considered state of the art while in Europe it is the star drive, or Torx system. I can tell you that in the metal machining industry Torx is the virtual standard for tough applications that would make pocket screw applications look like child's play. In fact, even Torx is undergoing a modification to Torx Plus, sometimes referred to as Torx 2, which is even better. Any of these systems have certain metallurgical demands that may not directly translate one to the other. What this may mean is that an expert in making bits for square drive, a McFeely supplier for example, may not be able to make optimum Torx drivers and visa/versa. Festool can go to their driver sources (Wiha?) and ask for square drive but they just aren't geared up for or possibly are having trouble meeting the performance standards that Festool (and you and I) feel we need, even if they make the best Torx drivers in the world. Lastly, these companies make drivers in extraordinary numbers. Festool's market for square drive Centrotecs would be minuscule.

It is a bit ironic that Barry and I see this exactly 180 degrees from each other. I feel Festool has solved the inherent weaknesses of the hex drive/Apex system and am willing to accept that is somewhat proprietary and he is frustrated because it doesn't interface smoothly with the hex system. His feelings make sense to him and my feelings make sense to me.

Greg
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Ned

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2007, 02:05 PM »
I like square drive because it's the best fastener system available to me without extraordinary effort (or 10,000 unit purchases).  It's not because of the shape.

If we in North America had a source for a broad range of Torx fasteners, the Festol/square drive problem would be solved, IMO.

How about McFeely Reloaded, the Torx Edition?

Ned

Offline Barry

  • Posts: 55
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2007, 02:16 PM »
I'm not bashing their system, I'm sure it works quite well.  But the fact remains that in NA the 1/4 hex bits are kinda standard.  I have a drawer full of them, lots of accesories also.  I have all the bits I need, I have no need to buy another set that will only work with one of my cordless drills, besides the other 4 might get jealous.  :)

Don't they also include the 1/2" and 1/4" collets for the routers??  Kinda the same thing isn't it?? 

So APEX is the ball detent style or wire detent style??  Just trying to get on the same page....

Not trying to start a flame war, just saying that I use speed chucks in all my cordless tools, love the fact that impact driver already came with one, keeps it shorter.  Barry don't want more bits.....
Central NJ

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1833
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2007, 02:18 PM »
I like square drive because it's the best fastener system available to me without extraordinary effort (or 10,000 unit purchases).  It's not because of the shape.

If we in North America had a source for a broad range of Torx fasteners, the Festol/square drive problem would be solved, IMO.

How about McFeely Reloaded, the Torx Edition?

Ned


At the risk of speaking for someone else I bet McFeelys would provide everything they do now in square drive in Torx as well, IF it were in their business interest to do so. They might increase their market but they would also cannibalize their own square drive market. If they have thought about offerring Torx drives, and I'll bet they have at least thought about it, and have decided it is not in their best interest to do so then I can understand that. Maybe someone from McFeelys would like to comment on their perception of the market?

Greg

Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1833
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2007, 02:33 PM »
I'm not bashing their system, I'm sure it works quite well.  But the fact remains that in NA the 1/4 hex bits are kinda standard.  I have a drawer full of them, lots of accesories also.  I have all the bits I need, I have no need to buy another set that will only work with one of my cordless drills, besides the other 4 might get jealous.  :)

Don't they also include the 1/2" and 1/4" collets for the routers??  Kinda the same thing isn't it?? 

So APEX is the ball detent style or wire detent style??  Just trying to get on the same page....

Not trying to start a flame war, just saying that I use speed chucks in all my cordless tools, love the fact that impact driver already came with one, keeps it shorter.  Barry don't want more bits.....

Barry,

I understand your feelings very well. I don't think you are trying to start a flame war at all. I also understand why you want to use what you already have. It makes perfect sense. I am just pointing out that Festool has improved on that system, but they could not improve on it and be fully interchangeable with it at the same time because that original system has some inherent quality issues that would be coming along for the ride. If they are not issues to you, as they apparently are not issues to many others, then the Centrotec has less to offer you than it may to someone else. A case in point: Others have bemoaned the fact that inch spec drills are not available in Centrotec. For me, so far, this has not been a problem as the available metrics are close enough to what I have needed. The time will probably come that a specific inch size will be necessary. Should I bemoan the fact that I don't have that very drill to fit the Centrotec or should I just get out the keyless chuck and use a normal inch drill from my regular index. Even if I needed that in the Centrotec system because of some Festool specific application, such as an offset location, I would be no worse off than if Festool had never existed. But fortunately they do and I have already benefitted countless times from using what they do provide.

Greg
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline greg mann

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Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2007, 03:10 PM »
So APEX is the ball detent style or wire detent style??  Just trying to get on the same page....


Apex is the longer shank 'ball retained in a round groove' system. Wire detent is just a shorter hex drive with miniscule notches on the intersctions of the flats, sometimes held in by wedged balls and sometimes by magnet, but not specifically considered Apex. Apex is or was the dominant maker, like Kleenex and tissues.

Greg
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Dave Ronyak

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  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Using Square Drive Bits with Festool Drills
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2007, 06:53 PM »
Let me begin by stating that I am not trying to start a flame war.  But I had need to set about 2000 screws when repairing/replacing portions of a outdoor deck of SYP, reusing most of the structural members and adding new fasteners to the existing ones that were 20+ years old and showing some rust.  I purchased several boxes of square drive decking screws from McFeeley's and their specially sized square driver for these screws, and when these ran low, purchased several boxes of genuine Phillips brand screws also rated for ACQ wood.  With the correct Phillips brand bit, I found the Phillips screws were held perfectly on the bit every time and rarely cammed out.  Not much functional difference regarding camming out relative to Mc Feeley's square drive screws and bits, except that the corrosion inhibitor coating on the Phillips brand screws was much more uniform in thickness which meant they easily and consistently mated with their bit unlike many of the McFeeley's screws that have too much coating (blobs) on them which interferes with insertion of the square bit driver. 
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.