At their recent 2015 new tool media event, Milwaukee revealed a whole new generation of Shockwave screwdriver bits, as well as impact-rated drill bits. Does that make these second generation or third generation bits? Either way, they’re brand new with an improved design.
I’m not going to mince words here – Milwaukee’s Shockwave bits are generally pretty good, but I have heard a lot of gripes about their longevity and how other brands’ bits simply last longer.
It looks like Milwaukee might have received the same feedback, or maybe they’re responding to competitors’ updated and improved impact-rated bits. Dewalt (with their FlexTorq bits), and Irwin (with their Impact Performance bits) both came out with new impact-rated bit designs back in 2013.
Dewalt also revealed new one-piece hex-shank PilotPoint drill bits at their recent media event.
The new screwdriver and drill bits will be available starting in September 2015, and the SDS masonry bits will be available this month (August).
Shockwave Screwdriver Bits
I don’t recall too many specifics, but Milwaukee was boasting about how much more durable their new Shockwave bits are compared to competing accessories.
They had an elaborate torque testing setup where they torture tested a selection of Torx bits until the heads sheared off. As expected from a media event demo, the Milwaukee Shockwave bit endured far more torque than any of the other bits that were tested in the same manner.
All of the new bits feature a red banded “shock zone,” or at least that’s how it was described with the previous generation of Shockwave bits. This makes it easy to tell bits apart. The older ones have silver non-banded midsection, these are red with Milwaukee branding.
There will be Phillips bits, of course.
And new slotted bits too, with a hollow ground profile. Not that I use slotted bits in a drill or impact driver, but some do.
Of course there are Torx bits too.
And hex, let’s not forget about them, which will presumably be available in inch and metric sizes.
There will be long power bits too, in addition to the 1-inch insert bits already shown.
Longer bits get a longer torsion zone.
This is what, a 6-inch bit? So it looks like there will be 2-inch, 4-inch, and 6-inch power bits.
I believe this was a 6-inch Phillips #3 bit. Raise your hand if you use Phillips #3 screwdrivers or bits. I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve needed this size, but I keep a manual screwdriver and a screwdriver bit or two around just the same.
This is the 2-inch bit, I think. Does the shock zone really throw off the proportions, or is it just me?
Last, but not least, there will be Robertson bits too. I forgot to ask if it’ll be available in different sizes, sorry. How often are #1 and #2 square bits used? I think I have only ever used #2 Robertson/square bits.
Other Current Shockwave and non-Impact Accessories
In case you forgot about Milwaukee’s other offerings, their Shockwave line also includes nutdrivers, sockets, and adapters.
Milwaukee also had some of their (non-impact) USA-made step bits on display, as well as Shockwave drill bits and hole saws.
Milwaukee RedHelix Drill Bits
New drill bits! To be honest, I don’t remember ever taking a close look at Milwaukee’s drill bits. Well, that changed as soon as I saw how well they performed.
First, there are new cobalt drill bits with a 135° split point and Chip Breaker tip. There’s also a variable helix design for more rapid chip extraction.
Here’s a closer look at the tip design. The “Chip Breaker” feature looks interesting.
There are also hex-shanked bits that are rated for impact use.
The 1/8″ bit doesn’t look like it’s one piece, but the 1/4″ one does. I tend to shy away from 2-piece hex drill bits, but will definitely take a closer look at these once they’re out.
Milwaukee wanted to show how well the variable helix design worked, so they chucked a competitor’s bit in their drill and bored a deep hole into some wood. Do you see that black stuff wrapped around the drill bit? That’s burnt wood.
Then they chucked their new RedHelix drill bit into the same drill and drilled another hole. The bit emerged clean and the chips, which were rapidly ejected from the hole, were clean and unburnt.
I’m really eager to see for myself how good these new RedHelix bits are. It looks like the variable helix design significantly improves chip ejection when drilling deep holes into wood. But is there a downside?
There will also be some be SDS masonry drill bits. Here’s a 4-cutter drill bit.
And a 2-cutter drill bit.
It’s not clear from the photos, but the huge foam models of the SDS masonry drill bits’ tips have these distinct red ridges.
This was the second-to-last presentation area of the day, and so I’m going to have to wait for official details to tell you what they’re exactly for.