The numbered spindle on your drill may make a nice clicking noise.
…And I totally know that you’ve used your drill to imitate a machine gun.
Grabbing and holding the chuck on a low number and pressing the trigger.
…But, What do the numbers on a drill mean?
They are known as a ‘torque setting’ and can take your drilling work from shabby to professional.
Adjust Drill Torque Settings Explained
Grasping your drill in your hands, adjust the spindle to torque setting 1.
Then grasp the chuck (the end piece of the drill) and hold tight.
Gently pull the trigger and you will notice immediately the drill makes a slipping, clicking noise, and the chuck stops spinning
This noise is the torque setting doing its job.
Each torque setting acts like a guard to stop screw heads or materials your driving into becoming damaged.
The higher the torque setting number the more drive the drill has, until the required torque for this number has been reached.
The torque spindle will cause the drills chuck to slip, and again make the clicking noise until you release the trigger.
Again this has protected the screw and the material your driving into.
You don’t need to know the actual torque figures for each number.
All you need to know is that the higher the number on the spindle, the more driving force the drill has.
How To Use The Torque Settings On a Drill
I use torque settings when I’m building furniture, erecting a fence, fixing drywall/plasterboard, hanging doors and whenever I’m fixing anything to a soft material (chipboard, MDF, ply).
Nobody is a torque setting physic! and we don’t immediately know which number torque setting we need just by looking at a piece of wood.
It all comes down to prepping your tool.
How I do this, is whatever I’m driving a screw into, the first screw will determine the setting I need.
I will set the drill to torque setting 3 and start driving the screw into the material.
I don’t start on 1 because it usually kicks in straight away before the screw turns. So torque setting 3 is usually my starting point.
Once torque setting 3 stops the drills chuck from spinning, I will visually see if the screw has gone all the way in.
If it hasn’t I then adjust the torque setting again, going for a higher number.
This time I will go up in two’s until the drill finally drives the screw in flush with the material and the torque setting guard kicks in again to stop it going any further.
Now the drill is ready for all the other screws that are going into the same material.
This gives me piece of mind that the screw and the material won’t get damaged, and I won’t worry if I hold the trigger any longer than usual.
Grab yourself a scrap piece of wood and some screws and have a go yourself, it is satisfying to know YOUR in control of your drill.
What Do The Symbols On a Drill Mean?
Other than the numbers on the drills spindle, you will see a symbol that looks like a drill piece, and a symbol shaped like a hammer.
This setting is used when a hole needs to be drilled, this eliminates the involvement of the torque settings, giving you the drills full torque and power to help you drill a hole.
This setting can be used on all materials from wood, metal and soft brick
Don’t use this setting to drive screws or fasteners because it could potentially ruin the screw, damage the material and worst hurt your wrist if it snags.
If a screw/fastener can’t be driven in all the way with the normal torque settings, you can switch to the drill setting just to give it a little nip but be very careful.
It sounds contradictory but sometimes a little nip is all you need, again be careful.
The hammer setting gives you all the benefits of the drill symbol but also adds a percussion vibration to the drill to help get through hard materials.
Drilling through brick will call for the hammer setting to be used.
The hammer setting will help the drill bit break through brick and any other masonry material.
Coupled with a masonry bit (a spade shaped drill bit) will give your drill ultimate cutting power through brick.
The hammer setting should only be used for masonry drilling, except for tiles, the vibration will crack them.
But, avoid using on metal,plastics and wood.
What Does 1 and 2 mean on a drill?
The numbers 1 and 2 on top the drill indicate the speed at what the chuck will spin.
1 is a low speed with high torque, this setting is best used for driving screws.
2 equals high speed and low/medium torque, which is best for drilling and driving some fixtures.
Some drills come equipped with a 3rd setting and this even better for drilling.
Be careful not to change the number while the drill is in operation, this will causes the gears to wear and fail.
Wait for the drill to completely stop before selecting your speed.
Also What Do The Arrows On a Drill Mean?
These arrows are usually built next to the trigger.
They correspond to the direction of which the chuck spins.
The arrow pointing towards the front of the drill indicates forward driving, going in.
And the arrow pointing towards the back of the drill, is for reverse driving, coming out.
Some drills allow the directional button to slide mid range , locking out the trigger.
Did This Post Help?
Hopefully now you won’t be thinking what do the numbers on a drill mean anymore.
But, if your still unsure about anything drill related, leave a question in the comments sections below.
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