How do I work this drill?
March 3, 2009 5:43 PM   Subscribe

How do I put a drill bit in my Black and Decker handheld power drill?

I don't know anything about drills, but I needed one today and found one in the basement. The label says "Black & Decker, 3/8" drill, variable-speed reversing, No. 7140, Type 1". There's no drill bit in it. I found a bunch of drill bits in the bottom of the toolbox.

After some googling I determined that the drill has a "key" for its "chuck" and I need to find that in order to put a new drill bit in. I don't even know what a key would look like! And I don't know what I'd do with it after I find it. Please help.
posted by Xianny to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Here you go. The key is the thing on the left. You put that in the chuck and rotate it, which opens the slot for the drill bit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:46 PM on March 3, 2009

Try this one, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:47 PM on March 3, 2009

Chuck and key.

You insert the key so that the teeth match up with those on the chuck, and then turn. The grippers (the three small pieces in the mouth of the chuck) then open wider. Once wide enough, insert bit, and then tighten again (very tight!).

My dad taught me this, bless him.
posted by Sova at 5:48 PM on March 3, 2009

You need a chuck key.
posted by mlis at 5:51 PM on March 3, 2009

A drill chuck key looks like the thing on the left here. You insert the rounded end in to the hole and spin it and it cranks open the little grippy parts at the top. This YouTube video can give you a way to end run this if you don't have a chuck unsing a drill bit and a screwdriver, but it's sort of a pain. It might be "keyless" in which case here's a video that explains it. They are standard sizes for drills so if you can't find yours, you can get one at a hardware store, pretty sure.
posted by jessamyn at 5:51 PM on March 3, 2009

Lots and lots of Blu-Tac.

Seriously though what everyone else has said. Certain models let you widen the aperture manually by twisting the thing, the drilly part of the thing, but not many.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:13 PM on March 3, 2009

If you can't find a chuck key, you can turn the outside part of the chuck (the section towards the body of the drill) to the right (looking down on the drill while it is right-way-up) until the bit will slide in. You can then tighten it by turning it the other way. Depending on what you are drilling into, this might not tighten the chuck enough to stop it spinning around the bit, so there is something else you can do to tighten it - while holding the drill as for normal operation, hold the outer part of the chuck with your other hand and give the trigger a quick squeeze. This is tough on the hand, so might not be fun if you have soft hands. Another way (particularly if the drill is not a variable-speed type) is to do the same, but don't hold the chuck before you start it, grab hold of it as it is slowing down.

I know this sounds like a dangerous thing to do, but it's quite safe as long as you are careful.

If all else fails, use a hammer to make the hole instead ;-)
posted by dg at 8:23 PM on March 3, 2009

One more thing: there are scads of different sizes of chuck keys, some of which vary by only 1/64" in size (and let us take a moment to despise and curse the bastards who designed such brand-specific nonsense, yay unto the seventh generation of their descendents!).

So, be sure to take the drill with you when you go to the hardware store to buy the chuck key.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:07 PM on March 3, 2009

Other useful information.

If it's a reversible drill make sure it's switch to forward. It is amazing how bad some drills are at allowing you to accidentally switch them into reverse.

When you tighten the three jaws on the drill bit you want, you want the ends of the two flutes to be before the jaws of the chuck. It will help to keep the bit from slipping. You also want to make sure the chuck clamps down good and tight on the drill bit.

Don't push too hard and keep a firm grip on the handle. This is that "let the tool do the work" advice you may have heard before.

What are you about to put a hole in?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:18 PM on March 3, 2009

Unless I'm doing some real heavy duty drilling, I never use the chuck key. Just grab the chuck firmly in the left hand, switch the drill to reverse, pull the trigger and the chuck will open. Stick the bit in the chuck, grab the chuck again with the left hand, switch to forward, pull the trigger and it will tighten. You need a good grip and strong wrists, but it's very fast if you need to rapidly switch between drill bit, countersink and screwdriver.

The purists might blanch at this technique but if you're working on the clock and need to get stuff done, this is really fast.
posted by JackFlash at 10:33 PM on March 3, 2009

Old Black & Decker drills used to have a hole on the bottom of the drill where you inserted the chuck key. It might be pressed into the base of the drill.
posted by Lame_username at 11:36 PM on March 3, 2009

I got the drill working, thanks everyone. I'm trying to mount some brackets to hold a curtain rod. I started drilling and it went in so far and then... stopped. We suspect there's some kind of metal support in the drywall.
posted by Xianny at 8:44 AM on March 4, 2009

uh, hope that you are not drilling into a pipe.
posted by Drasher at 1:23 PM on March 4, 2009

A pipe, in an exterior wall, near the a window frame would be weird, but stranger things have happened. If you stick you're head out the window you're not looking right at your gas or electric meter or just a few inches from an exterior light fixture, right?

Since it's dry wall and not plaster, it's probably not an all brick house, which, believe me, is a pain.

I'd bet that you hit a nail. If you have a rare-earth magnet try placing it over the spot in question - it will probably stick. Then move it a centimeter up, down, to the left and right. If it doesn't stick, it's probably safe to assume it's a nail. Try drilling a little bit away from your first hole.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:41 PM on March 5, 2009

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