An electric screwdriver is a handy addition to any tool box (or in my case a couple of drawers) and is a life saver on bulk tear downs of old electronics which normally have about 300 screw to remove per device.
So a few weeks ago I picked up the latest model of the Bosch IXO. It is an incredibly popular DIY tool and I had high expectations when I received it.
The Bosch comes in a tough metal case with a well designed moulded plastic inside that keeps everything snugly in place.
The contents of the box are: the driver itself, a charger with a micro USB connector (more on this in a minute), a rather pitifully small collection of bits but enough for your average home user I guess and a pointless manual with mainly safety warnings and not much useful content.
If I have learnt one thing from YouTuber AVE it is that you can’t judge a book by its cover… but more by what it’s like inside. Alors, the next step is to take it apart:
There is a small rubbery cover that pulls off the front of the driver with quite a lot of force. Underneath is the mount for the various accessories you can get for this driver.
I was pleased to find that only 4 Torx 9 screws and a sticker hold the two halves of the shell together. The shells themselves seem to be ABS with a hard rubbery urethane over-moulding that gives the Bosch its comfortable grip.
As for the guts, it’s a very compact arrangement and they have really done a good job of cramming everything into such a small form factor (at its widest, the Bosch is just over 170mm). On the far right we can see the black plastic gearbox that houses the planetary reductions gears. The plastic seemed extremely tough so I performed a scratch test with a utility knife. The sound was very scratchy as I took a thin slice of the surface which suggests to me that it is GRP (glass reinforced plastic). I’m impressed Bosch! That stuff is almost on par with an aluminium casting (depending on the glass fibre content of the plastic)!
The single 18650 Li-ion battery is only 1500mah which is a bit disappointing, I would like to see at least a 2200mah in a quality product like this. The battery charger i only rated for 500ma which I guess is to maintain the life of the cell.
The motor is a common hobby style dc motor which doesn’t draw much power but has a fairly high KV rating for such a small motor. All the torque is handled by the reduction gearbox, stepping down the RPM and increasing the torque at the bit.
The motor is single speed with no speed control. The trigger actuates a little micro switch that controls the motor. A selector switch at the top controls forwards, reverse and neutral.There is also a battery indicator LED at the top of the driver.
I firstly did some testing with hex shank drill bits to see the capability when it comes to drilling with this driver. It is obviously not designed for this but I think it would be useful to be able to drill some holes in 3d printed parts or other light duty jobs.
I was very impressed by its drilling performance. It managed to power through even a chunk of 10mm aluminium plate with relative ease. Of course there is no bit retention apart from a magnet so when pulling the bit out oft he hole it can get stuck and detach from the driver.
For the screwdriver test I selected 3 common screws that I use. From left to right we have a no.10 x 40mm, a no.10 x 55mm and a no.12 x 50mm. I drove each of these screws into a piece of outdoor treated 3×5 with no pilot hole.
The smallest of the screws went in very easily, helped along by its turbo-drive thread. I could have easily screwed it in deeper as the Bosch still had power to spare but once it had self countersunk I stopped. It drove in very quickly, impressive for the little Bosch.
The second, slightly longer screw went in just as easily as the previous.
The third screw however was more of a challenge and the Bosch was not able to force the countersink head of the screw into the wood. This is the largest size screw I would recommend using if you don’t use a pilot hole.
All in all though, despite the battery not being as large as I would have hoped, I am very impressed with the Bosch and I shall report back my progress as I use it more. Yes some will argue that it is more of a gimmick for the home DIYer but I have found it a useful addition to the toolbox, I find myself using it for all sorts such as assembling mini-quadcopters quickly as the screws don’t need to be overly tight and for tightening hold downs on my CNC router which it does perfectly. It is very useful and can help out on those little things that can be quite time consuming. It is an ideal companion to a drill whilst working on a project and cheap alternative to an impact screwdriver.