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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Drill Baby Drill!

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

We recently got some new windows installed in the workshop building and I got a pleasant surprise (or shock, you might say...) when I saw the condition of the power drills that the workers had brought. The window men had two very nice Bosch Professional drills that both sadly lacked a plug on the end of their power cables. My personal favorite is seen in this photo having a 2m "extension cord" made from low-voltage speaker wire (rated well under the 240V it was carrying) twisted and electrical taped to the end of the cord. To top it all off, the speaker wire ends were then balled up and crammed into the power outlet for final use.

The electrical engineer in me cringed at the sight and the handyman in me jumped at the opportunity. Obviously the existing cords on the drills were not suitably long enough for their usual operations, so simple putting a plug on it was not the solution. Instead, I gathered up some spare power cable and crimped it to the existing cord along with some cable ties for strain-relief and electrical tape for protection. A new plug later, and the window men have a beautifully functioning long-lead power drill for their installation jobs. It sure is satisfying to help improve the safety and reliability of their equipment. The next day they brought another drill to fix (this time for a small fee) and told me of 12 others they have back at the shop in need of similar repair! I hope to hold a repair session for them soon so they learn how to fix the drills safely for themselves and then teach their friends to do the same. Every little step counts and helps to bring the ideas of risk and maintenance into everyday living.

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