Roger Bisby believes that impact drivers are way too powerful for most jobs and lack the intelligence to know when less is more. Has Milwaukee got the answer in its M18 FID-0?
I never thought I would say this, but impact drivers have become a little too good at their job. As each respective manufacturer seeks to leapfrog the competition in a Newton metre race we end up with impact drivers that are over-powered for most of the tasks they perform.
You can, of course, alter the impact by lowering the speed but if you don’t (and who does?) you risk snapping the heads off bolts and screws.
My observations around building sites is that most people are using impact drivers for jobs which hardly require them, but once you are set up with your screwdriver bit you tend to impact drive everything.
Of course, if you snap the head off a screw or two you reduce the power or buy a better screw – but how many times are we unwittingly driving screws to within a whisker of their life?
We will never know how many heads were over-driven and just about to break. Certainly, a lot of the screws out there are not built for this kind of punishment but that is what we have with impact drivers routinely delivering 180Nm.
Milwaukee recognised this problem and came up with an answer which gives them a unique feature among impact drivers.
It is a 4 mode impact driver: Mode 1 is for precision work which is really a screwdriver with no impact. Mode 2 is limited impact which helps prevent damage to screws, heads and bolt heads. It is also a lot kinder to impact driver bits. Mode 3 is full-on impact for heavy duty driving. This will give you a huge 203Nm.
Mode 4 is an intelligent mode that automatically detects when the tool has impacted on a fastener for a second and automatically shuts the tool down to prevent over-driving. In effect, this is like torque control on your drill/driver but it is done electronically. The fourth mode also has a controlled start and a controlled finish.
The driving force is a brushless Powerstate motor, which gives a more powerful, smoother drive. The motor and battery have over-heat protection which shuts the tool down for a short period – rather like putting it in the sin bin.