A couple of readers have mentioned hearing about Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 3 drill overheating issues. I did some searching, and I didn’t find much. I also haven’t heard of any issues from other reviewers.
I wanted to look into things, so I took some time today to put my test sample through some quick torture tests.
I grabbed a fresh Milwaukee M18 XC battery pack, a 1-1/2″ self-drilling spade bit, and a 2-foot section of 2×4.
I clamped it down, and then drilled forward. I kept my second hand on the back of the drill, for stability since I didn’t have the aux handle attached, and to feel for what the motor was doing.
For the first test, I drilled 12 holes as fast as I could, on the lower speed setting. That’s the setting that should be used for larger bits like this. The max speed of the drill exceeds the recommended max speed of the bits.
At the end, the motor area was warm, but not hot. The bit was somewhat hot.
Okay, I needed to push the drill a bit harder. So I drilled 12 holes in another 2×4 section, this time at the higher speed setting, which can be more taxing on a drill.
As mentioned, this exceeds the maximum recommended speed of the bit and is NOT recommended. The drill also feels less controllable, which can be dangerous, and is NOT recommended.
I drilled the 12 holes as fast as I could, and at the end, the motor area was warm, but not uncomfortable. My thermal camera is charging, but before the battery gave out, I saw temps of maybe 110°F for the motor, and 200°F+ for the drill bit.
Not many cordless drills could have done this; a 1-1/2″ self-drilling spade separates the light and medium duty drills from the higher-powered ones.
Long story short: overheating? What overheating??
There are a few things I can do to torture-test the drill even harder, such as drilling a 1″ or 1-1/4″ hole through the 3.5″ edge of a 2×4 with downwards pressure, either with a self-drilling spade bit or self-drilling auger. Or, I can push a 1-1/4″+ auger through the side of a 2×6. Maybe I’ll need a longer bit even, the kind that is normally used with heavy duty right angle drills or impact wrenches. Or maybe I can use a paddle to pix a bucket of mud or other viscous material.
But, from what I’m seeing so far, there’s nothing unusual.
I ran it through a fairly tough task for maybe 10 minutes, and without giving the drill much of a break. I stopped only to take a quick photo and change out the 2×4 test block.
If you’re a Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 3 brushless drill user, have you experienced any unusual overheating?
If you are, maybe there’s a specific application or test I can do in an attempt to replicate what you’re seeing. But if not, I don’t see any reason to continue with unrealistic rapid-drilling torture tests.
If I have to bring out steel plate, or turn more 2x4s into Swiss cheese, so be it. But I haven’t seen any evidence of overheating yet, under normal circumstances or the first round of torture testing.
I have overheated cordless drills before, and the motor will usually start burning up the insulation covering the copper windings around the same time it gets uncomfortably warm or even hot. I haven’t seen anything like that in this drill, not yet.
I have yet to see any cause for concern or hesitation. I’m up for investigating this further, and can use a bit of help.