Introduction: Bit Magazine for a Blue Drill

Raise your hand if you've ever worked on a project OUTSIDE of your cozy warm shop, where everything is neatly tucked away where it out to be and everything is sunshine, sparkles, and generally right with the world. Now raise your other hand if, whilst venturing stalwartly out in the darkness of FiElD wOrK, you have ever found yourself faced with an unexpected foe, one for which, despite all of your meticulous preparation, you are woefully un-equipped. Now raise another hand if that nemesis is a wayward screw, defiantly laughing in its infuriating Torx-pitched chortle at the pathetic #2 Phillips currently engaged in your now useless drill. Oh, are you out of hands to raise? Feeling helpless and inadequate? Now you know the feeling.

See, months ago, some idiot (you, most likely) stripped the first Phillips screw when you (he) was up on the ladder trying to attach the fastener bar to the junction box, and instead of going back to the store to get the correct screw, he decided to use some rando square-head screw leftover right there in the bottom of the pouch that just happened to fit OK. Now as you're trying to replace the fixture, you find yourself paralyzed 10 feet in the air halfway through the job. The good news is that you have the right bit... out in the truck.

Well, no more. For six easy payments of $0.30 and 90 seconds of your time, you, too, can have personal bit procurement assistant so loyal that he'll never even leave the drill!

Step 1: PREREQUISITES (or "Materials, Equipment, and Skills")

You may ask yourself, "Wow, what an incredulous statement! How is this possible?" There is, of course, some fine print. Ain't nothin' for free in this world, Jack. Here's what you need to bring to the table:

1 - A Blue Drill or Impact Driver. The secret brand starts with "M" and ends with "akita." It's Makita. You need a Makita Drill. Surely there are similar solutions to the Yellow or Red or other flavored drills (see Addendum), but this one was engineered specifically for the Blue.

2 - A Rubber or Rubber-based Bit Magazine. If you want to maximize capacity, I would recommend getting one with 9 slots. That'll allow it to clear the 3Ah battery when attached. But this can be customized for whatever. If you can't find one that exact size, then get one a tad longer and cut it down with a sharp tool. Just remember we'll be sacrificing up to 3 slots fastening to the drill. They can be found for a song at the Freight Harbor containing rainbow bits, which may or may not be total garbage. Generally a buck will get you what you want. I just picked up a more expensive ($4) set of nut drivers here because I actually wanted them. Crazy huh? Buying an item for the contents.

3 - One M4-0.70 x 20 MetricPan-head Phillips machine screw (preferably Stainless Steel). The best place to pick these up I've found is the Blue-flavored big box store. I got 4 for $0.50.

4 - 1/8" Drill Bit. Or a sharp nail. Or some other sophisticated device designed to put a screw-sized hole in a thin strip of rubber.

5 - A Phillips Screwdriver.

6 - Basic Mechanical Aptitude. If this is your first exercise with the aforementioned items, it is recommended that you seek the services of a professional or the supervision of an adult.

Step 2: DRILL (or "Tear It a New One")

For ideal results, pierce 3 from the top. Or wherever you desire the attachment point to be located. Use only the most advanced personal protective equipment. And ensure your backup spotter has first aid within arms reach for immediate action should something go horribly awry with this harrowing procedure.

Step 3: FASTEN (or "Inherent Mechanical Dynamics for Beginners")

Can you guess where the screw goes? If not, I'm amazed and proud of you for getting this far through the narrative. Good job!

Drive the screw with the thing that drives screws until the screw exerts enough pressure on the magazine to keep it in the desired position. Generally, this will push the two adjacent slots in too much to be usable for bit storage. But that's why you have six others. Need more than six bits at any given point? You could repeat the previous steps to make another holder for the other side. Or you could make yourself a bit bandolier like a carpenter Chewbacca.

Step 4: DONE (or "Stop Piddling and Get Back to Work")

Hooray! You made it. Now load 'em up and get out there, secure in the thought that your drill is now 600% more equipped to handle whatever enemy tries to stand in its way. You're now an unstoppable driving force.

Epilogue: I offer my most profound apologies for the above pun. I have shamed myself and my ancestors.

Step 5: ADDENDUM - Play Well With Others

But what if your drill is a shade other than blue? Seems kind of elitist to single out one color to receive special privileges. Only a jerk would do that.

Well, good news! It turns out that most newer model drills have a screw-based belt clip receiver. Even better, many use the same M4-0.70 screw. If not, then you can easily determine the right size using the templates at the hardware store.

But, you will say, my drill is a veteran drill that has served many years and deserves the same rights as these young whippersnappers! Very true. Fortunately, there's a simple modification that will yield similar results.

At the base of virtually every drill, there are screw ports that hold the two plastic housing shells together. You can remove the screw in one of those ports and replace it with a longer screw. For example, both my Craftsman and Ryobi veteran drills use a #6 pan-head metal screw. My guess is that many veteran models use the same.

The trick is finding a screw with an adequate length to hold the magazine. The longest I could find at either the Blue or the Orange hardware stores was 1-1/2". This was fine for the Ryobi, but the Craftsman required some further trickery. I had to pre-thread the screw at an angle into one wall of the magazine so that the head of the screw fit into the existing bit hole. Then using a smaller screwdriver, I was able to screw in the rest of the way through the empty drilled hole opposite the one engaged. Obviously, a longer screw would have been more ideal.

If you feel so inclined, you could even fill the gap between protruding screw and the walls of the porthole with hot glue or other filler, but everything seemed adequately secure without it, so I just left it.

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