Roger Bisby gets a ‘fixx’ on a Starmix dust-catcher.
If you had been in the room when I opened the package containing the Starmix bohrfixx you may have heard a slight sigh, because I have seen so many dust-catchers over the years, many along similar lines, and not one of them yet has gone on to become the must-have drilling aid for domesticated tradespeople everywhere.
Is this one destined to do what the others didn’t? If there were any justice in the world the answer would be a resounding ‘yes,’ because this one overcomes many of the shortcomings of other models.
For a start it hangs onto the wall or ceiling like a lizard on steroids. I tried it with a Henry vacuum cleaner and it had no problem at all staying put and, just to prove a point, I reduced the suction power to half setting and it still stayed firmly in position. The limpet like quality is so impressive that I had to find out how it’s done.
It has two chambers, one for the dust and the other for the limpet, so neither is compromised by the other. This also means that there is no dusty footprint on the wall when you remove it.
The other really good thing about the design is that it doesn’t rely on sacrificial rubber grommets to form a seal around the drill bit. The power of the vacuum is sufficient to suck the dust from around the drill bit, even if you are drilling a ceiling.
The lack of rubber seal around the drill bit means that you can use different diameter drill bits up to 14mm without fear of irrevocably enlarging the hole.
The fact that you have a steady stream of air around the bit, rather than a dead vacuum, makes dust removal so effective that there is no residual dust mark when you remove the device.
With so much going for it I started to think about why so few people currently use a device such as the bohrfixx. I have seen many tradespeople holding a vacuum cleaner nozzle under the drill bit so it proves the will is there.
I came to the conclusion that, unless a dust catcher is reliably self-supporting, there is no real advantage over the nozzle under the drill bit. So the essential feature of any dust-catcher device is that it frees up a hand, and this is where so many other models I have tried, quite literally, fall down on the job.
There is also the size and shape to be considered. One other model that is languishing in my shed worked well enough but was just too big and round to fit in all the places I wanted to drill.
If it is to be always at hand the device also has to fit in a drill case – and this one does. Finally, the fact that you don’t have to clean up the wall with the vacuum cleaner means that you remove it and get on with the fixing job.
The manufacturer, Starmix, makes a range of high quality dust extractors, but they have designed this device to fit on virtually any vacuum cleaner or dust extractor, so there is no need to resort to Duck Tape. I would give this product ten out of ten but I have a hard-bitten streak in me and never give anything 10 – so I’ll give it a nine.