Quick Drill Test
Wednesday 16 February 2011
Anthony Bailey looks at the interesting features of the Metabo BS 18 LTX and reports back
Metabo products have always been respected, but more recently they've shown how original design thinking and technology can be used to up the ante with their competitors. From a range heavily skewed towards the demands of the building industry comes this version of their newest, cordless drills - part of their woodworking powertools range - the BS 18 LTX Quick. Anthony Bailey passes his critical eye over this workshop and site tool essential.
This drill is one of seven 14.4 volt and 18 volt cordless drills each with a slightly different spec. This one is a drill driver not a combi drill, thus it lacks hammer action. It has some interesting features however, which make it different to the norm.
ToughVisible metal is limited to the front gearbox casing and the keyless chuck. However the drill body is made from a plastic that seems almost metal-hard and certainly very tough. The flush inset rubber overmolding is almost as hard as the surrounding plastic although comfortable to grip and use.
CompactThe general build reflects the use of Li-ion batteries and more compact motor construction so once the body is stripped bare of battery and chuck, it's quite compact, if not light in weight. The standard battery isn't much smaller than an NiCad so will presumably have plenty of staying power. A press button shows a varying number of red LEDs on the battery to indicate the charge state. The battery lock button is on the drill grip rear with a slide action to fit or remove the battery. Rubber bumpers on the grip sides protect the battery if the drill is dropped. The intelligent charger takes about sixty minutes to rebuild a full charge and is fan cooled.
The snappy, lever-operated torque settings are much less than the usual, in this case seven plus drill, it doubles of course if you move from low to high gear, which is changed by flicking a lever on either side of the body. There's also a side-slide forward/reverse/lock button making this a unidextrous tool. The switch trigger is comfortably rubbered and care in squeezing it allows quite subtle speed changes.
What makes this drill a bit different starts with the 'Impuls' button just above the battery. Pressing this means the motor pulses, giving that final push home as you screw or giving a good start when attempting to drill into polished surfaces like metal, without centre punching. This should not be used continuously and will switch off if the tool is left idle for five minutes. Next to the 'Impuls' button is a bright, angled LED work-light aimed at the 'Quick' chuck.
The business end of this model is the keyless 'Quick' chuck, which can be removed or attached fast by pulling the sprung red collar. The chuck connects with the motor shaft because it has a hex pin in the rear that couples with a standard hex socket on the drill front. Suddenly the drill has shortened and as an emergency you can fit a driver bit in the socket for awkward access work. However, Metabo have thought about this and also provide a 'Quick' driver bit holder that snaps onto the drill front and detaches equally fast. It features a bit lock collar that's pulled forward to release the driver bit.
Lastly, there's a bit storage collar that snaps around the 43mm euroneck, which can be exchanged for a substantial sidegrip with red rubber inset panels.