Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff
From angled bit holders for hard-to-reach spots to sanding or polishing discs, drill accessories allow you to do much more with your tool than just plain drilling. Drill guides, pumps, depth stops or even flexible drill bits... follow our guide to find the right drill accessory for your task.
- Angled bit holder
- Wire brushes and sandpaper
- Cutting discs, grinding attachments and rotary files
- Pump and flexible drill bit
- Mixing paddle
Different ways to use your drill
From mixing to grinding, polishing, cutting, milling and sanding, drills have many different uses beyond simply drilling though walls.
Drill accessories are designed to be attached to the chuck in place of the drill bit. The size of the chuck is commonly either 10 mm (3/8") or 13 mm (1/2").
Most drill accessories are made to fit on keyed chucks and won't work on an SDS chuck.
Different types of drill accessories
Whether you're working with metal, wood or plastic, you may find yourself having to correct a cut, corner, edge or even a whole surface. To do so, you'll need to fit your drill with a grinding attachment. These attachments are fitted just like a drill bit and allow you to deburr or adjust a workpiece. The most important thing when choosing a grinding attachment is consider the material you plan to work with. The diameter and length of the attachment are secondary factors to take into account. Depending on the type of task you want to tackle, you can choose between flat, round, conical or spherical grinding attachments.
If you don't have an angle grinder, but find yourself needing to make a few cuts, you can always fit your drill with a cutting disc or blade. Just like accessories designed for angle grinders, you can find discs for cutting, grinding, sanding or polishing. In order to fit your drill with a cutting disc, it will need to be mounted on a special arbor adapter. This type of attachment is fitted where a classic drill bit would go. Be sure to check that the size of the shank matches the bore size of the discs you need to use. Otherwise, you simply need to choose the right type of disc according to the material of the workpiece you want to cut or sand.
Rotary files are designed for milling, precision work, filing, sharpening or even cutting various simple or complex shapes onto a workpiece. They allow you to carry out precise work on wood or even soft metals. In the past, rotary files were milling tools designed exclusively to fit industrial machines. These days, you can fit your drill with high-quality rotary files to match your every need. The best way to make the most of a rotary file – and the level of precision it offers – is to fit it onto a pillar drill or benchtop drill press.
Angled bit holder
An angled bit holder allows you to access tight spots that you cannot fit a drill through. These accessories are often used for screwing tasks. This type of attachment fits onto the drill chuck and is used to spin the drill bit, screwdriver bit or any other kind of drill attachment at an offset angle. Most angled bit holders hold your attachments at a right angle. However, it is possible to find more sophisticated accessories that allow you to adjust the angle yourself. Most can be screwed into place manually or by a quick change system (as long as your tool is compatible with this type of system).
Wire brushes, polishers and sandpaper
These types of accessories are also suitable for use with a grinder and are used for tasks that require precision and finishing work. Depending on the task at hand, your drill chuck can be equipped with a wire brush for cleaning or even stripping, a polishing attachment for buffing or polishing or a sanding disc which should be fitted onto an arbor adapter. Flap wheels can be used to sand or strip materials, depending on their grit type (which should be chosen in the same way as regular sandpaper).
Drill pumps are designed to be fitted directly to the chuck and work just like any other water pump. The wheel works to turn an impeller which pressurises the liquid. Fitted with a water inlet and outlet, drill pumps can be used to drain small amounts of water or to pressurise the water within a circuit (e.g. to remove limescale from a pressure washer).
Hole saws are designed to drill large holes. Depending on the material and the type of quality they offer, hole saw attachments can be used to drill through tile, concrete, wood or plasterboard. They may be one solid part or two parts (hole saw and adapter).
Flexible drill bits
Held like a pen, drill bit extensions are used for precision work and are connected to the chuck. The tip of these extensions can be fitted with rotary files, cutting discs, drill bits and so on. These extensions are lightweight and allow you to turn your drill into a precise grinding tool like a Dremel tool.
A mixing paddle attachment allows you to mix paint or any other liquid product. Mixing paddle attachments are fitted directly onto the chuck. They tend to measure about 40 cm in length and feature a rotating blade. However, very thick solutions are best mixed using a paddle mixer tool.
Interchangeable drill chucks
Depending on your drill and the type of task you want to complete, you might find that your drill cannot be fitted with the attachment you need. In this case, you can simply change the chuck or fit an additional chuck. For example, you can change your SDS chuck to a quick change chuck, keyed chuck or vice-versa. You must ensure that the chuck you have chosen is suitable for your drill. If you only want to use the attachment occasionally, the easiest solution is to purchase an additional chuck that fits onto your drill like a classic drill bit. This way, your drill can be fitted with any type of tool or accessory without any problem.
Dust collecting pads and other drill accessories
Beyond the various attachments already mentioned, you will find a whole range of other attachments designed specifically for tasks that require a high degree of precision. A wide range of accessories is available but the most common include drill guide attachments (for furniture, doors or shutters), depth stops for drill bits, dust collection systems (such as dust collection pads) and even jigsaw kits. Other types of accessories, (which generally fall under the category of drill bits) can be used to drill through glass or tiles.
Quick change chucks
Tips for drilling safely
For high-quality results, go for high-end accessories and replace them as soon as they start to show signs of wear (especially cutting discs, sandpaper, etc.).
A pair of protective gloves will always be a welcome addition to your kit and will help to effectively protect your hands from sparks and flying material of any kind.
Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff, 131 guides
Electrician by trade, I first worked in industrial estates where I installed, wired and fixed a large number of electrical installations. After this, I managed a team of electricians for this type of work. 10 years or so ago, I turned to building and construction. From the modest family home, to gyms and theatres; I have been able to coordinate, audit and organise all sorts of construction sites. for 4 years now, I am restaoring and bulding an extrension to a bungalow in the heart of the welsh countyside. My experience in manual work and my knowledge means I am proud to be of service. Terraces, interior design, roofing, plumbing, electricty, anything goes! We have, my wife, daughter and I, built almost everything we have from scratch! So to answer all of your questions, and to orientate and advise you on coosing your tools? Easy!