How to Operate a Power Drill


A power drill is one of the most versatile power tools you can own and operate. Besides drilling holes into wood, metal and concrete, a power drill can be used to drive and remove screws, sand or grind objects and even stir compounds such as paint and tile grout. All you have to do is find the right bit or attachment for the job. Many power drills on the market today are battery-powered, which gives them even greater versatility. But this may limit their power output.

Step 1

Choose the proper bit for the job. Masonry bits are designed to bore through concrete and brick. Spade bits provide stability when boring large diameter holes, while countersink bits let you drill a hole and countersink without changing bits. There are many bit designs and specialty bits available. Whatever job you have, choosing the proper bit from the beginning can save time and frustration.

Step 2

Loosen the chuck and insert the shaft of the bit into the vise. Tighten the chuck. In older drills and some higher powered drills, the chuck is tightened with a chuck key, or chuck wrench. Insert the key into its slot on the chuck until the teeth interlock and turn clockwise until tight. Most drills have a chuck that is simply hand tightened.

Step 3

Ensure the drill motor is not in reverse. Most drills have a thumb switch near the trigger that allows you to switch between forward and reverse on the drill motor. The reverse mode can be used to remove screws or loosen a stuck bit, but most of the time the drill needs to be in the forward mode.

Step 4

Place the tip of the bit on the point where you want to begin drilling. Grip the handle and place your index finger over the trigger. Place your other hand on the top of the drill to hold it steady, and align the bit perpendicular to the surface you are drilling. Only in special cases will the drill not be perpendicular to the surface.

Step 5

Squeeze the trigger gently once everything is set. Put slight pressure on the drill handle and continue to hold the drill perpendicular. Too much pressure can damage, or even break, the bit, so let the drill do the work while you gently guide it in.

Step 6

Back off the pressure just before you reach the end of the hole if you are drilling completely through your material. You will feel the resistance let up when you get close. Once you are through the hole, keep the bit spinning and slide it out. This helps clean out the hole.

Step 7

Align the drill for the next hole or change the bit, as required. To change the bit, simply loosen the chuck, remove the bit, place the new bit in the vise and re-tighten the chuck.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep safety in mind when operating any power tools, especially your power drill. Wear safety glasses to keep dust and shavings out of your eyes.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Various bits
  • Chuck Wrench (if necessary)
Keywords: power, drill, bit, operate, chuck

About this Author

Grant McKenzie is a 1993 graduate of the USAF Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. After 10 years in the U.S. Air Force in the fields of engineering, project management, and leadership development, he became a consultant for in the areas of leadership, team-building, and communication skills.

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