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How to Use a 9/16 Drill Bit With a 3/8 Chuck

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There's nothing worse than arriving home from the hardware store with shiny new tools, only to find that they won't work with your current tools. If you purchase a 9/16-inch drill bit, and come home to find your drill is equipped with a 3/8-inch chuck, simple math will tell you the bit just won't fit into the chuck. You're temporally out of luck. But all is not lost. There are a few things you can do to fix this problem.

Most drill manufacturers offer replacement chucks that you can add onto your existing drill. Once you have a 1/2-inch chuck--which will work fine with a 9/16-inch bit--you must remove the old chuck. Open the chuck as far as it will go. Determine the type of fastener that holds it in place inside the spindle. It's usually a hex type of Allen screw, but sometimes you get lucky and it's a simple Phillips screw. Either way, turn the screws clockwise to loosen them (they are reverse threaded). Insert a large, L-shaped Allen wrench into the spindle and tighten it securely. Gently tap the hammer on the Allen wrench several times to remove the chuck.

Replace the new 1/2-inch chuck following the above steps in reverse.

Locate a drill bit that's 9/16 inches at its cutting end, with a smaller spindle that will fit a 3/8 inch drill. These are fairly common, and will work well on all but the most extreme jobs.

Buy a 1/2-inch drive drill in the first place. The difference in cost between the two is negligible. The 1/2-inch drill can do everything the 3/8-inch drill can do, but not the other way around.


Rex Molder began writing professionally in 1999 and specializes in automotive, technology and travel articles. His articles have appeared at iPad- and SEO-related websites. Rex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian studies from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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