Metabo has come out with the BE 18 LTX 6, an 18V cordless drill capable of reaching very high speeds – 4,000 RPM. It’s described as the ultimate pilot hole and sheet metal drill.
When drilling small pilot holes, or small holes in sheet metal – say 1/8″ through sheet metal to accept rivets, or maybe even 3/16″, you want more speed, not necessarily more torque.
Modern cordless drills are fast, but not very fast.
Drilling speed charts, at least the couple of ones I just looked at, gives recommended drilling speeds in the 3,000+ RPM range for smaller diameter drill bits (1/8″ or 3/16″ max depending on the chart). Some of the recommended values are impossibly high, such as for thin aluminum.
Sure, you can use slower speeds.
But for metalworkers who have to drill LOTS of small holes in thin materials, efficiency losses add up. It’s for these types of workers that Metabo designed their BE 18 LTX 6 cordless drill.
It seems to be capable of handling other drilling tasks as well, as long as users keep in mind that it’s designed for fast and light drilling. You’re not going to be able to drill large holes into plate steel, or into an I-beam with this drill.
- 4,000 RPM no-load speed
- 3/8″ chuck
- 1/4″ max drilling in metal, 1/2″ in soft wood
- 35 in-lbs max torque
- Weighs 2.6 lbs with 2.0Ah battery pack
- All-metal ratcheting chuck
- Ergonomic grip and lock-on switch
- Aluminum gear housing
- Made in Germany
Price: ~$185+ for the bare tool
(Pricing is converted from international vendors, since US pricing is not yet available.)
Buy Now(via Amazon UK)
Years ago, part of the reason I bought my Bosch hammer drill was because I wanted a higher speed drill for general purpose work and for use with accessories, such as a paint stripping wheel for cleaning up metal parts. I used it for masonry drilling too, but it has seen more use as a heavy duty drill and with non-drilling drill accessories.
Most cordless drills these days are aimed at general purpose applications, and the types of needs a contractor, tradesman, DIYer, or average industrial user might have. They can handle small pilot holes and holes in sheet metal.
I know some of you are going to look at the 35 in-lbs torque rating and think that it must surely be a mistake. I almost did at first.
It’s important to remind you of the somewhat specialty nature of this drill, and how it’s aimed at metalworkers and other users wanting to drill small diameter holes in thin materials.
When drilling small holes, you need speed, not torque. Well, a little torque, and that’s what you get with this drill.
The price is modest – under $200 if you convert from overseas product listings.
The tool looks a little unconventional, but it also looks quite compact when you see it scaled with a battery pack. And as listed above, it weighs just a hair over 2-1/2 pounds.
I can definitely see the appeal in this drill, and think that Metabo’s The Ultimate Pilot Hole and Sheet Metal Drill claim has a good chance at ringing true.