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Thread: Lee Valley Driver Bits are NOT "Impact Driver Bits"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan

    Lee Valley Driver Bits are NOT "Impact Driver Bits"

    Some of you may remember that I bought two Hitachi 14.4V Impact drivers a while back, they are great work well, but one thing that I did NOT know is that the driver bits for Japan are different than the ones you guys use in the US and Canada.

    The ball-detent location is different.

    Here is a comparison....
    Attachment 34881

    As you can see the Japanese style bits are different, they are double ended (nice feature) and the ball-detent is further along on the shaft of the bit. This means that I cannot use the commonly available bits here. I did find some that were made for one brand of air tools, but they were expensive, over $5 a bit, ouch.

    I got on Lee Valley's website, as I needed a few other things as well, I found these driver bits >> HERE << and ordered 20 of the 1 15/16" and 20 of the 3 1/2" length bits.

    The price seemed decent, so I was happy.

    Then, when I used them, they started to blow up......

    Attachment 34882 Attachment 34883
    These bits drove one or two screws before blowing up, I think one of them actually did three screws

    After four bits in about 5 minutes, I knew something was wrong, so I stopped using the short bits, I have used a 3 1/2" bit for nearly two days now and it has NOT blown up on me........... yet.

    I contacted Lee Valley and they informed me that these bits are NOT for use with impact tools......

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Valley
    Thank you for your e-mail. We are sorry to hear of the breakages you are experiencing with some of the Phillips bits that you recently purchased. These chrome vanadium molybdenum tool steel Screwdriver Bits are hardened to Rc59-62, and while this produces a solid bit that will resist stripping when used in regular power or hand drills, they are not designed for use in impact drills. Impact drills run at a much higher speed with a quick pulse and require screwdriver bits that are made of a more flexible steel to withstand the sudden strong jolting action of this tool without snapping off. We are actually surprised to hear that the longer bits are not breaking too.
    Well, OK, I guess I'll be returning the unused bits, but I did point out to them that their online catalog says this.........

    Each bit is machined from chrome vanadium molybdenum tool steel and is hardened to Rc59-62. These will last much longer than normal bits, especially when used in cordless drills or power drivers.
    I pointed out that if these bits are NOT for use with "Impact Drivers" it should say so, as some people, like me, thought that "Power Drivers" meant something different than "Power Drills" as they do list both, and I made the wrong assumption that "Power Driver" was an impact driver.

    As Lee Valley does not sell bits for impact drivers, they were kind enough to send me several links to companies that do, I ended up ordering >> THESE << from McFeely's which are rated for impact drivers.

    In the end, I'll have to eat the four busted bits, and the two longer ones that I've already used, plus the shipping to return them to Lee Valley.

    Not their fault, and they are accepting the returns, and they did suggest a source for the tools I need, but still not the best experience.

    I hope that they take my e-mail suggestion and change the online catalog so it states that these are NOT for impact drivers, I know the paper catalog cannot be as easily changed.

    Just a little FYI for you all.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
    Interseting. I use the bits that home depot sells, (dewalt I think) They dont mention being for impact drivers, but I use them with impact drivers all the time, and have never had a problem. I do often have a problem with the screws breaking though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN
    I'm with ya Barry, I use dewalt drivers with my 14.4 makita all the time and have never had a problem. I also use the square drive bit that came with my kreg jig with no problem.

    Stu, I would have assumed that those bits would have also been for impact drivers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Thanks guys, I would just think it would be a good idea for Lee Valley to put a note saying these bits are NOT for impact use, that is the real point of my post.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Stu, the double-ended bits are not a matter of nationality or culture. Some are just made that way, some aren't. Both can be bought all over the place here. As for the Phillips, I have had bad results with genuine Phillips products. I'll just call it a 'soft steel' issue. I'll search out no-name, or other brand products before buying Phillips stuff.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    i use apex i`ve found!
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Thanks for the post Stu, I would also have thought power drivers was an impact driver. I too have used the Dewalt ones in my Dewalt driver and no problem. Come to think of it i did not know there were bits made for different purposes. Now I know.
    Thanks Todd for the reference.

  8. #8
    I used a junque driver that came with the screws, all day today with an impact driver with no problem, Can't see a scar on the bit... Hmmmm

    It were a Torx driver with Torx head screws, we were building a "Fort" for my Grandson. My son did the labor, I Engineered and did the cutting,

    I'm getting too old for this stuff, he did all the work and I was Pooped out.

    But the driver bit is still ready for another day...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I use whatever bits I have in the drawer with my impact driver, and most of them are cheapie Phillips heads that I buy in bulk at the checkout counter of the local mini borg (OSH). I've never seen one disintegrate like yours did, Stu.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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