I have been following progress on the Robbox xDrill, a new cordless drill that was supposed to be a smart cordless drill “of the future.”
The xDrill features WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, touchscreen controls, and there was to be a supporting smartphone app. It also featured a pivoting laser distance measuring tool and digital drilling depth control with automatic shutoff.
The Robbox xDrill was announced as a Kickstarter fundraising campaign in July 2020, and by July 2021 it still had not shipped.
I checked on the Robbox xDrill progress about a month ago, and it still had not shipped yet. However, there were signs that Robbox was getting close, as they had a preorder page on their website with a $499.99 price for the standard kit.
Looking at Robbox’s Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns, the last updates were posted in March, 2022, with notes about electronic chip shortages and app updates.
Backers have been complaining that they have yet to receive their Robbox xDrills.
I checked back now, and Robbox seems to have removed all reference to the xDrill on their website. In its place, there are new listings for “Sennses” measuring devices.
Robbox posted about their xDrill via social media, with the last mentions predating the tool’s removal from their website.
It’s unclear whether Robbox scrubbed the entire xDrill project, or if they simply removed their preorder page. However, it’s never a good sign when a product completely disappears from a brand’s website.
Judging from the campaign’s Kickstarter comments, backers are still waiting for delivery of their pledge rewards.
Robbox compared a corded hammer drill as “your old, outdated drill,” next to their “drill of the future” xDrill, which was never advertised as having any hammer drill mode.
They said you can get rid of that old outdated drill, but have yet to deliver. I hope all of their backers held onto their outdated drills!
In the meantime, Robbox has announced a brand new product line, called Sennses.
The Sennses Pro seems to provide some of the digital measurement functionality that was supposed to be built into the Robbox xDrill, and more.
Robbox says the Sennses is the ultimate digital measuring device on the market, with features such as a bi-lateral measuring system, two-axis digital leveling, stud-finding capabilities, and two-way work light.
It has a built-in battery that recharges via USB-C, Bluetooth connectivity, and Robbox app support.
Robbox is also offering some expansion options:
- Sennses Pro – $399
- Sennses Pro Laser Line Attachment – $189.99
- Sennses Pro 48″ Length Extension – $189.99
- Sennses Pro 36″ Length Extension – $159.99
- Sennses Pro 24″ Length Extension – $129.99
- Sennses Pro 16″ Length Extension – $99.99
Robbox says the Sennses measure accuracy is 0.03, and its level accuracy is 0.03° – 0.1°, but they don’t specify beyond this.
The xDrill was described as being “made for pros” and “amazing for beginners.” It was a “drill of the future.” Two years later, and it still hasn’t shipped yet.
As an aside, if you want a fancy futuristic-looking cordless drill, there’s one on Amazon for ~$90 after coupon, although I know nothing about the brand. Xiaomi also has one.
So, what’s going on with the xDrill?
Robbox has not provided many public updates, and it doesn’t bode well that the xDrill was scrubbed from their website.
Robbox’s CEO said in a Linkedin post that they’ve been working on Sennses alongside their flagship product, the xDrill. That could be an encouraging note that the xDrill has not been abandoned.
The Sennses seems like an interesting product. Similar in essence to Bosch and Dremel 3-in-1 laser measurer products, the Sennses has a base unit, and its functionality can be expanded with add-on modules.
The Sennses Pro base device, with is multiple measuring and layout features, is priced at $399. The laser line attachment is another $190. Level bodies start at $100 for 16″ and go to $190 for 48″.
You cannot actually buy the Sennses products yet either – Robbox has them available for preorder as part of a “limited offer,” with refundable deposits ranging from 25% for the Sennses Pro to 50% for the optional attachments.
It is said to be “capable of tacking [sic] both home and job site applications.” But what types of users is the Sennses aimed at?
Robbox’s Sennses announcement starts off with:
The Leader in Digital Power Tools Presents
I have to ask – what exactly makes Robbox a “leader” in this space?
Here’s Robbox’s profile for an upcoming “MoneyShow” conference:
Robbox is an award-winning technology company that’s developing the first generation of Smart Digital Power Tools for the connected world. Through the integration of senses and intelligence in their tools, Robbox is changing the way people use, and interact with their handheld tools for future generations.
I’m sorry, but the first generation of Smart Digital Power Tools for the connected world?? Wasn’t that Milwaukee One-Key? There was also Ryobi Phone Works, and countless other smart tools.
What about Reekon, who delivered on their first crowdfunded campaign and are expected to deliver their second by the end of the year?
The Sennses products look interesting, but also very pricey. I have not yet seen any reports of Kickstarter backers having received their xDrill, and so Robbox has yet to prove themselves as a credible toolmaker.
Robbox cites semiconductor delays and shortages as why their xDrill hasn’t shipped yet. But if that’s still an ongoing complication, how will they be able to fulfill any preorders they’re accepting for the new Sennses products?
It is telling that Robbox describes themselves as an award-winning technology company, rather than a tool company. Still, Robbox needs to better address the types of questions tool users have about their products.
For instance, the Sennses features a “precision-machined aluminum body” and “high-definition LCD with hardened glass.” But is it drop-rated? Has it been drop-tested? Is there an IP rating for dust or water resistance?
Their Sennses platform promises a lot, and I might be optimistic if not for the high pricing and Robbox’s track record so far.
Some of the ideas seemed innovative, but the Robbox drill never looked like something that would end up being made. I will be very surprised if supporters get a product anything like the marketing promised.
for 400 dollars for the base they can keep it.
I’l like to see a laser level, distance measure device – that BT to your mobile. that would be nifty – but not 400 dollars nifty.
Bosch did the measuring tool that BT to your phone years ago. That thing ruled, especially with the app that would allow you to make layouts based on the measurements. Some of the higher end ones you could put into a 2′ level body, I always wanted to get one of those, maybe that will be my next purchase.
Anything touchscreen near anything dust-producing is an absolute horror. It’s tolerable in massive CNC machines that need the ability, but in a drill …. ?
Sadly seems like a tool designed for the weekend wallet warrior and not actually to be “used”.
The drill depth feature might almost be interesting, if it wasn’t replicable with a bit of masking tape.
In my opinion the depth feature is silly. Even if it ends up being reliable–and that’s a very big “if”–it’s obvious from looking at the tool that the laser distance feature could only work on flat surfaces. Now suppose you’re working on something that’s not a single flat surface. Perhaps the surface is curved, or there are obstacles like pipes, wires, or whatever else near where you need to drill your hole..or perhaps you’re working on a small part…now what? That laser distance sensor isn’t going to help you then. Meanwhile the ‘ol classics like putting a mark or tape on the drill bit, or using a stop collar, always work.
The other problem I have with the depth sensor is where they put it. It takes up a lot of room between the trigger and where the motor of the drill is located. This is bad for ergonomics. You want the grip to be raised up as close as possible to the centerline of the chuck so when you are drilling there is less angular strain on your wrist. If this was a handgun we would say it has a very high bore axis, and that only makes this thing’s already bad ergonomics even worse.
I think this analysis is spot on – it’s not going to work and the ergonomics will be terrible.
I hadn’t considered the ergonomics aspect – but that makes a lot of sense.
If the laser depth stop worked, I’d still consider it an innovative and useful addition despite those drawbacks. Wouldn’t it be neat on a drill press? Prevent those unsightly “arcs of shame”.
My old 1950’s Carlton radial drill has an automatic depth stop on it., there is a large dial with vernier markings, you rotate it to set whatever drill depth you want, and the power feed to the spindle automatically disengages the instant it hits that depth. While obviously insane overkill for a hobbyist shop, that kind of feature is common on industrial drill presses.
You can see it being demonstrated at around 3:00 in this video. This is actually my machine, I asked the dealer for the video demonstration before I purchased it.
As for a laser doing that job? I’d be worried how the laser might react to swarf and chips getting in the way and triggering the stop early.
For every Tesla there have been countless NewCo failures.
Robbox looks like a failure on many levels.
I bought 2 things through kickstart. Both were delayed, one by months, the other by two years. And neither are as complex as what Robbox is promising. I would be snide and say their name should be “Rob Box” and their CEO is enjoying his backers grants; but you are not actually guaranteed a product on kickstarter. It’s a known hazard. And always the first tier of backer support that scrolls up is just giving money cause you think the device is a great idea the world needs. As far as what Robbox seems to be shifting their support, Sennses, I don’t see why that is compelling versus buying an existing laser measuring system from an reliable source like Bosch or Dewalt or Stabelia.
Maybe… if you’re using your tools in your kitchen on cakes and deserts, on camera.
No one who has ever used a drill before would fund the xDrill. If your idea of a drill is the old one pictured you don’t really need one. Just hire someone.
My experience with both Kickstarter and Indiegogo is that they are a good way to kiss your money goodbye. After being victimized a number of times with either no product or a product that was not like that promised, I now have nothing to do with either. Your mileage may vary, but mine has been disappointing.
My experiences mirror yours. Our optimism is their best hope.
With just a couple of minor photo-centric buy-ins they’ve all been duds. So I’m out going forward. Just not worth the bother.
I’ve backed two kickstarters, both went well (other than being delayed a year or more, but that’s about your best case scenario). The biggest things to look for in a kickstarter where they’re manufacturing a physical product is
1) A team of people who have brought products to market, many times. You cannot learn how the manufacturing industry works on the fly.
2) That the product already exists. It’s been designed, prototyped, tested, and been manufactured in low quantities BEFORE the kickstarter launches.
If they meet both of those criteria I’d say backing is likely safe, although it’s always going to be a gamble. Back things that are affordable and fun, with money you can afford to lose.
Just who is the target market for this thing? It’s far from cheap so I can’t imagine the average DIYer or hobbyist buying one. It’s obviously a joke for any sort of professional use. It’s really a toy for people who love gadgets and also have deep pockets.
Looks like just another overly-ambitious CGI render at best (bald-faced scam at worst).
Always a great sign when a company moves on to the next “revolutionary” product before they can even deliver on the last one…
Products are way overpriced and full of features that either already exist or are ridiculously unnecessary/impractical. The company doesn’t seem at all credible. Pass and pass.
A fool and his money……………..you know the rest
Scam from day one
I recently bought the HOTO 24-in-1 precision screwdriver and am very pleased with the quality of the machining and the amount of retention of the magnetic bit carousel… astonished actually, at the ~$17 sale price. It lends plausibility that the HOTO 12v max Raygun/ driver would be passably capable at $90.
As far as I am aware Hoto is just the tool focused sub brand of Xiaomi, so they have plenty of resources to actually design decent products and at least something of a reputation to uphold. I’ll second that the precision driver is great if you get it on sale, but I probably wouldn’t have bought one at the full $30 price.
The name is apparently short for “HOme TOols”, so they’re definitely not targeting pro users, but the stuff I’ve seen from them seems fine for any occasional diyer that wants their tools to fit a modern minimalist aesthetic.
Pull trigger, go vroom. Variable speed is the only thing I want. Every other gimmick is just going to frustrate.
Koko The Talking Ape
New products? They aren’t “prodducts”?
A smart drill? How the heck does that work? Do I hold the drill in one hand, my phone in the other, then tap on something to drill a hole? Then who holds the part that needs to be drilled? This “smart” products thing is getting out of control. The operator needs to be smarter than the tool.