Author Topic: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).  (Read 28764 times)

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Offline Brice Burrell

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A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« on: June 01, 2011, 02:23 PM »
In the interest of full disclosure Festool provided this tool for review purposes.

Well the day has arrived, the new CXS drill is on the shelves of your favorite Festool dealer.  In honor of the big day I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the CXS.  I know this drill has been the center of a lot of talk recently so I’ll try to focus on the stuff not covered or skimmed over


When news about the Festool CXS cordless drill being released here in the US I wasn’t very excited.  If fact I questioned its value compared to other Festool drills.  Well, it’s time for me to eat some crow. [crying]  What can I say, I was dead wrong and now the CSX is the drill I reach for first.  Why is that you may ask??  First, we’ve got the obvious stuff, interchangeable chucks, three year warranty, built-in protection for the drill and the batteries, Systainer storage and so on.  That stuff has been talked about plenty already so I’ll move on.  Next, this drill is smaller than you’d think it’s going to be when you see it person.  Also, this puppy has got more muscle than I thought it would.  It hasn’t had much trouble driving almost and screw I’ve tried including a couple 6” Spax screw.  On a small framing I drove one pound box of 3” Spax screws (that was 70 screws) without predrilling, and that was on a partially charged battery. [thumbs up]  For lighter duty tasks like driving pocket screws, attaching cabinet hardware and other lighter duty jobs a battery can last for days.


This brings us to drilling.  If I had to pick something, I’d say this is the CXS’ weakest link.  Small holes aren’t a problem at all.  I have the imperial Centrotec drill bit set and I have no problem drilling with the largest bit (1/2").  Medium and large holes are more of a challenge for the CXS.  I was only able to get a dozen holes in framing lumber with a used 1” spade bit on a fully charged battery.  I’m sure you’d get a little better performance out of a sharper spade bit or a bit with a better cutting action like the “Speedbor” and “Speed Feed” bits.    In fairness to the CXS it’s not really meant to drill big holes so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you’re thinking about getting this drill.  Another thing to be mindful of is the 5/16” Jacobs chuck so you’re limited to what you can put in the chuck.  A set of 1/4" hex shank drill bits will take care of that problem.

As you would expect from a 10.8V, 1.3ah battery, the CXS is geared a little slower than the larger Festool drills.  I don’t see this as a problem at all.  The RPM in second gear is perfect for driving screws quickly.  A couple of other things to mention, this is a brushed or DC motor. You might say this is a step back for Festool.  Well, maybe, but I can’t see a brushless motor in this thing without a big price increase.  One other small thing Festool did was put a magnet to hold bits in the driveshaft of the drill and right angle chuck.  And let’s not forget the T-Loc Systainer and bit storage built into the plastic insert.
38747-0

Now let me talk about the two things that made the biggest impression on me, the belt clip and the ergonomics of the drill.  CXS belt clip, oh how I love thee. :-*  In the past I would have to be careful managing my other drills when working on a ladder.  The CXS’ clip is long and it really holds on like a champ.  I jumped around like a madman trying to shake the CXS free from my belt with no luck dislodging it.  I have faith that I’m not going to lose the CXS when I’m working at the top of 40 foot extension ladder.  Even when I’m not on a ladder the clip keeps the drill right at hand on my belt instead of my having to constantly set the drill down and bending over to pick it up.  Also, the CXS is small and light enough not to be an inconvenience carrying on my hip (and it won’t cause any embarrassment by pulling your pants down on the job [embarassed]).

Now for the most important thing to me, the ergonomics of the drill.  Really, this shouldn’t be underestimated.  The drill just feels good in the hand but there’s more to it than that.  I’ve seen numerous videos of guys holding the CXS incorrectly (including a promotional video from Festool).  I should rephrase that since whatever feels right to the user is what’s correct for them.  The CXS is intended to held differently than most other cordless drills.  The hand should grab the drill high on the drill body with the index finger on the side of the drill and the middle finger on the trigger, this puts your hand directly in line with the driveshaft.  Some people describe this design as allowing you to put more force behind the drill.  That’s not exactly how I describe it.  I say it lets get the force you need to drill or drive with less effort needed on your part. And the body of the CXS is narrow and that makes feel a lot better on my hand than the C12.  When you these things with its light weight you can feel a difference.  For guys with a bad elbow or shoulder that can make a big difference, I know my elbow feels better at the end of the day.
38749-1
  

This drill could be ideal for cabinet makers and guys that do other assembly.  It would also work well for a hobbyist that doesn’t need or want a larger drill.  For a general contractor like me the CXS wouldn’t work out as my only drill.  It does make a great second drill.  The pricepoint on this drill might make it attractive as a second drill or anyone wanting to get in on the versatility of a Festool drill at a reduced cost.  So if you’re thinking about a small cordless drill take a look at the CXS, see how it feels in your hand.  Remember, you’ve got 30 days to try it out before you’re committed.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 08:08 PM by Brice Burrell »
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Offline PaulMarcel

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 02:42 PM »
I jumped around like a madman trying to shake the CXS free from my belt with no luck dislodging it.

It didn't happen... without a video  ;D
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Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 02:46 PM »
+1 Brice.  I was a skeptic, too.  But when I was building my latest sysport <yeah, stealth gloat>, I was trying to use a POS Skil small drill that wouldn't hold a charge for more than a couple of drawer slides.  Your video and Paul Marcel's tipped me over the edge and I pre-ordered.  Hopefully Uncle Bob has mine in the UPS truck by now...

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 02:48 PM »
I jumped around like a madman trying to shake the CXS free from my belt with no luck dislodging it.

It didn't happen... without a video  ;D

Paul, I did shoot some video on the first try but I forgot my belt.  Trust me, you don't want to see it. [tongue]
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Offline Greg Powers

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 02:49 PM »
We has a chance to use the CXS at the Festool Door and Draws class. It is an impressive small drill. I was surprised at how small and powerful it was.

Can not wait to get mine this week.




« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 02:53 PM by GPowers »
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Offline PaulMarcel

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 02:53 PM »
I jumped around like a madman trying to shake the CXS free from my belt with no luck dislodging it.

It didn't happen... without a video  ;D

Paul, I did shoot some video on the first try but I forgot my belt.  Trust me, you don't want to see it. [tongue]

Just say 'no' to crack.  Thanks, Brice!


Joking aside, I like the review.  Me in a shop is way different from you in the field.  I'm glad it's not just me, too, who found it to be my go-to driver.  I've used it to death the past 3 weeks and it feels perfect.  Also good you ran larger bits.  Largest I had that would fit the chuck was a 3/8" and it did it handedly in 6/4 Maple (slower than the C12 though).  Next size up was a 35mm Forstner that I believe someone forgot to sharpen before selling it to me... it would have been a very bad demo.
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Offline builderbob

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 02:56 PM »
I can't wait...I'll be picking mine up this afternoon!!!

Bob
Kapex, TS55, CMS GE, Carvex 420, Domino DF500, MFK 700, OF 2200, OF 1400, OF 1010, EHL65, RAS 115, RTS 400, RO150, ETS 150/3, ETS 125, CT 22 (2), CXS (2), C-15+3, T-12+3, PSB 300 & more MFT's than i can count!

Offline Sal LiVecchi

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 03:07 PM »
Well should have mine tommorrow and looking forward to using it for a 10' set of china cabinets I am going to start this month....I will advise as I go along as to how I like the CXS and it value for me on this project


Sal
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Offline woodguy7

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2011, 04:02 PM »
Brice, you are spot on about the belt clip.  A note for the future for you guys, the C15 belt clip is not as good as the CXS.
If its made of wood, i can make it smaller.
Shirt size medium
p.s- ive started reading these too

Offline Greg Powers

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2011, 05:13 PM »
Brice, you are spot on about the belt clip.  A note for the future for you guys, the C15 belt clip is not as good as the CXS.

Can they be interchanged?
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Offline woodguy7

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 05:40 PM »
No, i don't think so.  I will check tomorrow.
If its made of wood, i can make it smaller.
Shirt size medium
p.s- ive started reading these too

Offline Jack Parks

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2011, 10:28 PM »
Brice, you bring to light some great observations of the benefits of the CXS.  I truly believe this drill is an installer's dream.  I have had access to the product for a few weeks and I find the ability to quickly change chucks a real asset.  I have used the Jacobs chuck with a drill bit installed to drill pilot holes and then quickly remove the whole chuck and install a driver bit to install the screw.  I would have had to use two drill/drivers to do this in the past.  I know you can do this with all of the Festool drills, but as you mentioned the ergonomics of the CXS and it's small size make it the drill you reach for first.

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2011, 10:51 PM »
Brice, you are spot on about the belt clip.  A note for the future for you guys, the C15 belt clip is not as good as the CXS.


Why?

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 11:03 PM »
Brice, you bring to light some great observations of the benefits of the CXS.  I truly believe this drill is an installer's dream.  I have had access to the product for a few weeks and I find the ability to quickly change chucks a real asset.  I have used the Jacobs chuck with a drill bit installed to drill pilot holes and then quickly remove the whole chuck and install a driver bit to install the screw.  I would have had to use two drill/drivers to do this in the past.  I know you can do this with all of the Festool drills, but as you mentioned the ergonomics of the CXS and it's small size make it the drill you reach for first.

Jack, I've done that too and since I've got a few Festool keyless chucks I've had different sized bits in two chucks so I can switch super fast.

Brice, you are spot on about the belt clip.  A note for the future for you guys, the C15 belt clip is not as good as the CXS.


Why?

Ken, I think it's because the clip on the new C drills is half the size of the of the one on the CXS.

One other thing I forgot to mention.  Take a look at the picture of my hand on the CXS and that should give you a better idea of the size of this drill.  Sure, I've got some fairly big paws but I still thing this gives you a better sense of the size than just seeing the alone.
 
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Offline Steve R

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2011, 11:20 PM »
My local WoodCraft dealer had a great Memorial Day sale and they had a CXS out with a 8x8  on a MFT and had  12 lag screws ti drive in to the end and 7 inch to drive in to the sides.

Dang it Flat out Rocks.

Waiting for my Milwaukee to die, for a Milwaukee M12 Red Lithium 1/4 in. 12 Volt Cordless Screwdriver 2401-22  it can also drill and it's small size it's power output is amazing.

I will move to the CXS when it fails.

One question I have for you reviewers. Do the short drill bits actually stay in place, that you can put into the CXS without the chucks.  Other drills/driver can't hold the short bits in as they don't lock in.  With the  Milwaukee M12 Red Lithium 1/4 in. 12 Volt Cordless Screwdriver quick bit-loading that locks the bit/drill in place and it won't fall out. I have too many time been in a situation above something and the darn short bits fall out.

What is the reality with the CXS, do the short bits say in place when you are working above, on a ladder and only have one hand to use the tool in tight situation where the chuck makes it too long? Can I use a combo of the 90 degree and another chuck.....???
Cheers,
Steve
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Offline WarnerConstCo.

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2011, 11:38 PM »
you cant use the 90 degree with the keyless chuck.

The CXS is just as deep as my C-12, maybe a litter bit deeper.  Screw tip to back of drill facing you.

The driver tip will fit right into the motor shaft on the CXS, just like the other drills.

Offline Steve R

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2011, 12:17 AM »
The driver tip will fit right into the motor shaft on the CXS, just like the other drills.

Okay maybe like other Festool drills. But will it fall out if you point the bit down? What holds it? magnetism?

Cheers,
Steve
"A Festool is a tool, Marian; much better than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A Festool is still only as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.” ~ Ode to Shane (the movie)

Offline woodguy7

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2011, 02:43 AM »
Ken, i think it is a combination of things that makes the belt clip better on the CXS than the C15.  As Brice said the CXS clip is bigger & has a nice kink in the end of it to easy hooking it onto your belt.  Also the light weight probably helps this.  The C15 is obviously heavier but you can slide the clip to one side or the other for righties or lefties.  A few times it has been in the middle position & you find yourself swiping away at your belt to try to get it to catch !!

Still good but the CXS is better.  Would pictures help ?
If its made of wood, i can make it smaller.
Shirt size medium
p.s- ive started reading these too

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2011, 02:48 AM »
I played with the C12 and C15 last September and showed you guys pictures of them.  Maybe the belt hooks were stiffer on the models they brought to the show.  I didn't seem to have any issue with them.  I'm used to the short clips like those on the Makitas, so the Festool ones didn't phase me.  Good point though on the sliding of the clip and having an issue hooking it to yourself.  I guess you could silicone it in position since you'll probably just want to keep it on one side and the silicone is always removable.

Offline Frank-Jan

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2011, 08:09 AM »
you cant use the 90 degree with the keyless chuck.


Apparantly you can, like shown in this video for example at 3 minutes 30 seconds: link

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2011, 09:26 AM »
.....What is the reality with the CXS, do the short bits say in place when you are working above, on a ladder and only have one hand to use the tool in tight situation where the chuck makes it too long? Can I use a combo of the 90 degree and another chuck.....???
Cheers,
Steve


Steve, there is a magnet (no locking device) in the driveshaft, it holds driver bits fine but it won't hold a drill bit in as you pull it out of the material.  As for the chucks, the video Frank posted shows you can put the Centrotec or the Jacobs chuck on the right angle chuck.   
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Offline William Herrold

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2011, 10:45 AM »
Either that's a mini-size drill or you've got hands like Andre The Giant!
- A CXS is on my short list, thanks for the confirmation, Brice.
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Offline LostInTheWood

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2011, 12:34 PM »

 The hand should grab the drill high on the drill body with the index finger on the side of the drill and the middle finger on the trigger, this puts your hand directly in line with the driveshaft.  Some people describe this design as allowing you to put more force behind the drill.  That’s not exactly how I describe it.  I say it lets get the force you need to drill or drive with less effort needed on your part. And the body of the CXS is narrow and that makes feel a lot better on my hand than the C12.  
(Attachment Link)
  

I know what you are trying to say.  I call it screwgun grip.   It's not so much that you use less force, but rather the force exerted is in line with the bit (as you mentioned) which is more efficient and comfortable.    What is   missing is the force that you would need to use to resist the moment action on your wrist as push the bit into the screw to keep it from camming out ( T-handle drill ).    Again, more comfortable.   

Nice review BTW, Paul's too.   Thanks guys....that's another $275 not in my pocket.... ;)

Offline fritter63

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2011, 02:22 PM »
 I was only able to get a dozen holes in framing lumber with a used 1” spade bit on a fully charged battery.


Just a small nit on you Brice. Spade bits are made for drill presses, not handheld drills! Unless you're using the name for a spiral bit rather than
a flat "spade" bit.....

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2011, 02:48 PM »
I was only able to get a dozen holes in framing lumber with a used 1” spade bit on a fully charged battery.


Just a small nit on you Brice. Spade bits are made for drill presses, not handheld drills! Unless you're using the name for a spiral bit rather than
a flat "spade" bit.....

 [huh]  What you talkin' about Willis?

Of course they're made for a handheld drill.  What would make you think they're only for a drill press?

Spade Bits


« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 02:50 PM by Ken Nagrod »

Offline pugilato

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2011, 03:00 PM »
I am pretty sure that I would like to own a CXS, but cannot justify the purchase in my mind... I have a Ryobi drill/hammer drill and an impact driver.  I have had these pieces for years with very good service.  However, the batteries are something else.  I generally buy a new set each year, and they last two years before they dont take a charge at all.  But the last set I bought (six months ago) are not holding much of a charge.  Still at $50-60 for two batteries every year to keep the Ryobi's operational, can I justify $300 for the coolest drill ever?

Also, the Ryobi's seem to get heavier every time I use them (is that a weak justification?). I also want a Macbook Pro.

Offline fritter63

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2011, 03:09 PM »
I was only able to get a dozen holes in framing lumber with a used 1” spade bit on a fully charged battery.


Just a small nit on you Brice. Spade bits are made for drill presses, not handheld drills! Unless you're using the name for a spiral bit rather than
a flat "spade" bit.....

 [huh]  What you talkin' about Willis?

Of course they're made for a handheld drill.  What would make you think they're only for a drill press?

Spade Bits




Norm Abrams and my high school shop teacher! (covered under the "shop safety" section!)  [cool]

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2011, 03:16 PM »
Ok.  Still, don't understand what wouldn't be safe about using them in a handheld drill?  At least one that has a side handle to brace for torque reaction.

BTW, I know it's being picky, but Norm would probably appreciate me pointing out (since a lot of people misspell his name), it's Norm Abram.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 03:26 PM by Ken Nagrod »

Offline fritter63

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2011, 03:34 PM »
Ok.  Still, don't understand what wouldn't be safe about using them in a handheld drill?  At least one that has a side handle to brace for torque reaction.

BTW, I know it's being picky, but Norm would probably appreciate me pointing out (since a lot of people misspell his name), it's Norm Abram.

It had to do with the inability to keep the bit perfect straight and not have it bind.

Offline alanz

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Re: A few thoughts on the CXS (time for me to eat crow).
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2011, 04:11 PM »
you cant use the 90 degree with the keyless chuck.


I got my CXS today and the keyless (Jacobs style) chuck seems to work just fine on the 90 degree adapter.

Also, I was informed today by the dealer that a 1/2" keyless chuck will fit the CSX.
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