CMU School of Drama

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Why Powerful Drills MUST Have Auxiliary Handles

ToolGuyd: Heavier duty cordless and corded power drills and drivers often come packaged with auxiliary, or secondary, handles. Speaking from personal experience, auxiliary handles often make larger, heavier, and more powerful drills easier to balance, manage, and control.
But auxiliary handles aren’t just provided for user comfort, they’re there for increased user safety.
Until recently, I did not really think too much about this. It just made sense, that large/heavy/powerful drills should come with auxiliary handles.


rmarkowi said...

This is quite interesting, especially because last week or so, I was using a screw gun, and the screw got hung up, and the drill wrenched my arm. All was well, but it actually occurred to me then if all drills should have extra handles. I didn't think that that'd be something that should be regulated but seeing these specs makes it make sense. It seems like an obvious thing in retrospect: that more drills should come with aux handles, because even if you aren't maxing the drill all the time, it seems like a good safety precaution.

Sam Andrews said...

It's nice to see that manufactures are taking consumer safety to another level with the design of their drills. Speaking from experience aux handles are a life safer when it comes to doing work with high powered drills. Working as an irrigation contractor I have done a substantial amount of hammer drilling through concrete, rock, brick etc. etc. Typically this means using a hammer drill with very large bit( think 1" in diameter plus). These drills pack an INCREDIBLE amount of force and if it binds you are screwed if you are not strong enough to hold it even with an aux handle. This is one scenario that if your not strong enough to be using the drill you need to find someone else that is because you will get hurt. That being said I cant imagine drilling without the aux handle. In fact I probably would have broken my arm or wrist a few times without one. I disagree with Rueben about his statement that all drills should have aux handles because I think they just get in the way. I have never had a screw gun wrench my arm, typically the amount of force behind a screw gun is not high enough that I cant hold the drill in place. However, I do find it appropriate that screw guns have the ability to add an aux handle for use with whole saws.

Philip Rheinheimer said...

I have yet to use a drill that requires the use of an aux handle but I totally understand why they are necessary. That being said I felt like the article didn't do a good job of really explaining, in layman's terms, the necessity of aux handles. I get that you need an aux handle with large and high powered drills because it makes them easier to control and also allows you to counteract the torque, especially if it binds up. However, it seemed like the main point of the article was explaining why some compact drills need aux handles too, which, other than by demonstrating the math that UL does, wasn't really explained clearly.

Hunter said...

This was a significantly more in depth article than I was expecting. I imagine that this did an excellent job of explaining exactly what physics are happening during drill use and why when the torque gets to a certain amount an auxiliary handle is necessary but it certainly took a very long time to explain it. Either way I have had drill bits bind up on me a couple of times and if I had been using an auxiliary handle I probably wouldn't have hurt my wrist.

Thomas Ford said...

I really liked how in depth this article went. I didn't really know what UL meant, even though I've read it on a bunch of things, so it was nice that the author gave an explanation to that. None of the drill I own came with a side handle, which is interesting because there have been times when I've had near serious wrist injuries. In retrospect those drills probably should have come with side handles, and hopefully in the future they will be required to. Also, I really liked how the article explained the physics behind these auxiliary handles. Before reading this article I thought that they were mostly just for drilling into concrete or mixing large quantities of liquids, but now I see how important they can be. My favorite part of the article was actually reading the comments after it, and reading about how other users have had bad experiences without the handle and how some people lower torque setting for safety.

Frank Meyer said...

Having twisted my wrist using a hammer drill before, I'm glad that standards organizations are beginning to require the manufacturer to supply side handles.

I think the next step is that a governing organization (OSHA?) require the use of these Auxiliary Handles, whenever practical.

In the entertainment industry, especially during a load in, we seem to find creative ways to use tools. I think that's great, and perhaps these handles provide a safer way and perhaps more possibilities as far as "creative" use of our tools.

jcmertz said...

This is an interesting article for me because I have often ignored the aux handles on powerful drills. Thankfully I haven't done anything to injure myself while not using the aux handle, but after reading this article I will not be risking it again. Of course it makes since that they make use of the drill safer by providing a better ability to resist the torque of the drill, but it wasn't something I had ever thought about in my work.

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