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Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here

 
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:04 PM   #1
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Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


I've been in construction off and on for 40 years, 95% of which was residential building and remodeling involving wood.
Two months ago I started working for a commercial sub that specializes in restroom partitions, hanging doors and installing door hardware.
No matter what I do I cannot seem to successfully drive ss screws into hollow wall anchors in restroom tiles without snapping about 5% of the screws. I don't know what the typical failure rate is, but my boss acted as if he'd never had a screw break on him.

And I'm really, really bad at using self drilling screws in metal doors and frames. For example, the other day I had to install about a half dozen continuous hinges to hang some large metal doors. My boss had me use a Vix bit to dimple the holes and then gave me self drilling screws to complete the installation.

I tried using a lot of pressure at low rpm to a little pressure at high rpm and every combination in between, and it took me forever to drive most of the screws. I also had many issues with the bit slipping out of the screw head and scratching the door or hinge.

(In my previous limited experience with self drilling screws, I always used a fairly large drill bit and drilled all the way through the metal, them let the screw do the rest. This seemed to work out fine)

My boss was also driving screws at the same time and was moving at least 5 times faster and never had a bit jump off the screw.

I did have much better success when I was driving screws from about waist to chest level where I could really get good pressure behind the impact driver and could eyeball the straightness of the apex real well.
Needless to say, all of this was extremely embarrassing and if I don't step my game up real soon, I'll probably be canned.

HELP!
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:20 PM   #2
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


I have a GC friend who hangs commercial doors and all associated hardware- handsets, locksets , closers, stops, kick plates, etc. I help him occasionally.


I also experience frustration at how slow I am compared to how fast he is.

It sure makes you feel stupid when your bit slips out and dings the door frame. I know that one full well.

A couple things I noticed: he's very particular about his Phillips bits that he uses. It looks like they're almost serrated at the end. Use whatever your boss does.

He Tends not to change bits. He has a drill and impact both chucked up with what he needs. It's not a bad idea to have two or three impacts. On a cart, preferably.

He tends to drill before running the self tapping screws in. For kick plates anyway, that have over 10 screws.

Also he tends to work in stages:
Hang all the frames, hang all the doors, adjust all the doors, install all the locksets, install the kick plates, install the stops and closers,etc. I think the idea is you can get in a groove and do the same process several times.

Finally, like your boss, he's got the experience. If you could do what he does after a couple of weeks, he probably wouldn't be in business.





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Old 01-28-2017, 10:32 PM   #3
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


The stupidest question is "The one you never asked". (There wasn't a question mark in your entire post.)

Self drilling screws usually means no pre-drilling. Why not just punch the hole thru the material before switching to a screw?

Try switching to a drill for the self drilling screws, and see if that helps. Also change your driving bit if it is camming out. High speed, medium pressure has worked for me. Once it starts to thread in, slow it down a little and drive it like a regular screw.

Stainless screws are weaker and will break easily, especially if they are of low quality. Could you be over tightening them? Maybe switch again from an impact to a drill, or even finish them off by hand.

Would be good to let your boss know you are interested to learn how he does them.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:34 PM   #4
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordekyle View Post
A couple things I noticed: he's very particular about his Phillips bits that he uses. It looks like they're almost serrated at the end. Use whatever your boss does.

He Tends not to change bits. He has a drill and impact both chucked up with what he needs. It's not a bad idea to have two or three impacts. On a cart, preferably.

He tends to drill before running the self tapping screws in. For kick plates anyway, that have over 10 screws.

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The company has incredibly well organized carts (two identical carts per van) - each with two drills and two impacts and a board containing holes for all the drill bit sizes we use, apexs set up with all the different drive bits etc. so I am using the same everything that he uses.

No one in the company through drills their holes, they only dimple each spot with a self-centering Vix bit. I wish we could drill all the way through. When I've done that in the past, I seldom had any issues.

I know if I don't get fired first, I will eventually become proficient. But I'm hoping someone can explain what I'm doing wrong so I can come up to speed faster.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:37 PM   #5
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


If you have m18 line up. The new hydraulic impact driver has a setting just for self tapping screws. Starts off high speed and once it breaks through cuts the power down quick to prevent stripping. Also so fricken quiet is silly. (No really you could talk on the phone and still drive screws and talk) $150 bare tool if you have the batteries already.

Good bits help. Also magnetic tends to help too.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:44 PM   #6
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
The stupidest question is "The one you never asked". (There wasn't a question mark in your entire post.)

Self drilling screws usually means no pre-drilling. Why not just punch the hole thru the material before switching to a screw?

Try switching to a drill for the self drilling screws, and see if that helps. Also change your driving bit if it is camming out. High speed, medium pressure has worked for me. Once it starts to thread in, slow it down a little and drive it like a regular screw.

Stainless screws are weaker and will break easily, especially if they are of low quality. Could you be over tightening them? Maybe switch again from an impact to a drill, or even finish them off by hand.

Would be good to let your boss know you are interested to learn how he does them.
Good catch. You're right, I never did ask the question.

What am I doing wrong?

I sure wish I could experiment with different methods to do the job, especially drilling 1/8" through holes before running the screw. Unfortunately, the company has been doing this for years and the owner of the company wants absolute consistency in regards to exactly how each task is preformed.
I have asked the various superintendents I've worked with for help and advice and they all seem completely disinterested in teaching but very interested in criticizing my speed / accuracy. (It's my understanding that they make a lot of bonus money if the jobs come in under the estimated man hours)
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:50 PM   #7
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unger.const View Post
If you have m18 line up. The new hydraulic impact driver has a setting just for self tapping screws. Starts off high speed and once it breaks through cuts the power down quick to prevent stripping. Also so fricken quiet is silly. (No really you could talk on the phone and still drive screws and talk) $150 bare tool if you have the batteries already.

Good bits help. Also magnetic tends to help too.
That sounds like an incredible tool. Unfortunately all our drills and impacts are DeWalt so we don't have any batteries. (Heck, if we did, I'd buy that out of my own pocket - it sounds like it would help a lot)

We use magnetic apexs and I use the same bits everyone else uses.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:57 PM   #8
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


None of us want to hear you lost your job.

Maybe you can just watch and mimic them? Not very nice to not offer help at all, especially since you asked.

Are they using the exact same impact drivers as you?

FWIW I have a nice Makita brushless impact that became my secondary when they came out with the newer brushless version. I used to break screws often and more often, while installing drywall, over-drive them, breaking thru the paper. With the new driver that offered better control I was able to slow down (It will shift automatically if so desired) and gently set the screws. hard to believe how much of a difference an impact driver can make. The driver could be part of the issue with the stainless screws breaking, which is why I suggested switching to a drill (And set it on low speed for control).

Bits and their quality are very important. Swap to a new bit quicker. Try a few Wiha bits and see if that doesn't help keep the screw in place. As mentioned above the bits with ridges on them help hold the screw. The cheapo bits from Home Depot, etc aren't going to help you make a good impression.
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:04 PM   #9
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Maybe get some stock and equipment and practice at home?
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:08 PM   #10
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Also learning to let off the throttle helps me alot. I see alot of guys go full throttle then off all the way. Then full throttle, off, full throttle, off. Most of the time it snaps the screw on the 2nd and 3rd full throttle triggered.
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:34 PM   #11
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Maybe it's a case of "give the new guy the crappy drill".
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:20 AM   #12
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Maybe it's a case of the new guy is doing awesome and knows what a board stretcher is, so let's pretend he's incompetent.


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Old 01-29-2017, 09:58 AM   #13
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Practice.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:22 AM   #14
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Have you tried using his drill/impact to see if its the drill, the bit or what. You have been at it two months with him and he hasn't fired you yet, hang in there. By now I'm sure you have voiced your concern with him, is he a decent boss or a putz? He shouldn't have a problem giving you 5 minutes of his time to work out the kinks.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:31 AM   #15
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


I have trouble with self tappers too. Sometimes simply changing how you grip the drill can help. I'll often hold the impact like a pistol grip instead of a T-handle. This way when you're putting forward force it's inline with the screw.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:49 AM   #16
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Ask to see how deep the boss-man is dimpling with the vix... he might be cheating by almost breaking through, while you might be just kissing the surface.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:52 AM   #17
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


After you start the dimple with a vix, maybe try giving it a tap or two with pointed set to deepen the dimple and get it really close to puncturing. Should help the tip stay in the profile.

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Old 01-29-2017, 11:59 AM   #18
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Sounds like a t handle driver problem. I prefer a pistol grip so the force applied to the screw is in line with the fastener. That's why you're flopping the screws over. It's by far and away the biggest problem with virtually all cordless drills, & drivers. If you have problems with breaking very small drill bits, it's the same issue. The web of your index finger & thumb should lay in the groove on the back side of the driver. You pull the trigger with your middle finger. The index finger lays alongside the tool. It's why all drywall guns are pistol grip.


http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...FUc2gQodcdQP6w

Or the one I just bought:
http://www.dewalt.com/en-us/products...40-ah/dcf622m2
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Last edited by Railman; 01-29-2017 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:11 PM   #19
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner10 View Post
Practice.
I wish I could somehow practice. If I could have a chance to work alone on the other side of the building for a day or two and take my time without all the "hurry up, hurry up you gotta move much faster" I'm sure I'd come up to speed pretty quickly.
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:13 PM   #20
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Re: Probably The Stupidest Question Ever Posted Here


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Originally Posted by Defenestrate View Post
Ask to see how deep the boss-man is dimpling with the vix... he might be cheating by almost breaking through, while you might be just kissing the surface.
Nope, on the contrary he barely makes a dimple. I made mine twice as deep and he was still 5 times faster. It's so frustrating.
When no one was looking I drilled all the way through a couple of times and the screw went in like butter.

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