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Old 05-30-2005, 08:06 PM   #1
wwilson1
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Drill for mixing thinset?

I bought a spiral mixer from Lowes the other day and come to find out I'll need a 1/2" drill to operate it.
I would like a recommendation for a corded drill that will work for about 1/2 bag (25lbs) batches. It looks like there are two versions of lower end drills out there.
1. 0-700 rpm with 2 or 3 stage gear reduction.
B and D $49.00 at lowes
Craftsman
2. 0-2700 rpm.
Champion. I'm a little worried about the higher rpm's, which may translate to poor torque at lower (mixing speed?)

The drill will be used for doing a couple small bathrooms, and then I figure it will end up used about as much as my current 3/8 corded drill (rarely.)
What kind of RPM range should I be mixing at?
Thanks, Wayne
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Old 05-30-2005, 08:13 PM   #2
doitright
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Hi Wayne

The lower the rpm's the better. Usually around 350 won't allow too much air entrapment.
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Old 05-30-2005, 08:21 PM   #3
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Generally, you never want to mix faster than 450 rpm. Mixing drill that we pros use generally will cost from $200 to $450 . I have heard from a few part time tile setters that have had very good luck with the Dewaldt 1/2" heavy duty, about $160 . I would never dream of trying to use a 3/8" drill, it will probably get burnt by the third bucket of thinset.
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Old 05-30-2005, 08:37 PM   #4
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Lowe's has a very powerful 1/2" Hitachi drill that I bought in an emergency to mix mortar. It costs about $90.00 and will last a long time. I don't use it as my main mixing drill, but it still gets plenty of use. It is going on a year now and works just fine.
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:23 PM   #5
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no 0-2700rpm drills

FYI _ When my last 1/2 drill died, I bought a high torue dewalt drill that advertiesed 0-2500 rpm. I figured it had enough amps and was variable speed, so it should work. NOOOOOO

the drill would not spin thinset at low speed. In fact, it would just sit there humming until I gave it more juice at which point it would break free and spin at something like 1000 RPM thereby throwing mortar all over the place. When I'd modulate the trigger, it would just alternate between no spin and full bore. So no more for me. I took my cheap, $99 craftsman cordless that has a switch for hi and lo torque and mixed what I needed for the day and threw the brand new Dewalt in the closet, likely to never be used again.
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Old 06-02-2005, 10:36 PM   #6
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Look at a pawn shop for a drill motor.
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Old 06-03-2005, 06:12 AM   #7
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I agree with Jerry about looking at pawn shops. When looking at used tools, I always check the condition of the power cords but also look inside the motor housing for excessive dirt and grime. Many sellers will clean up tools before selling them by using a solvent to wipe down all of the surfaces. Grime or rust inside the motor housing tells me that a tools wasn't well taken care of by the previous owner and that the tool may actually be a three-legged pig on it's way to the butcher. Check the condition of the chuck also as some people would rather use a wrench to tighen their chuck than a chuck key. A chuck that's really chewed up thell me that the previous owner might have had some trouble keeping the chuck tight.
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Old 06-03-2005, 07:17 AM   #8
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Okay, given my circumstances: I'm cheap, and only need something just better than doing the mixing by hand. I'm going to try this:

Harbor variable speed unit.

I accidentally bought a non-variable ($39 not $59) unit and have to take it back.

Non-variable

I'll give an update if I ever get around to actually laying tile in my bath remodel.
Wayne

Last edited by wwilson1; 06-03-2005 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 06-03-2005, 11:25 AM   #9
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Old 06-03-2005, 11:33 AM   #10
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Wilson,

The Harbor Freight variable speed will do ok for you. Thats the one I used and it's still going. The only problem is under heavy load the drill will not keep the speed slow but gets a mind of it's own. But then again, you get what you pay for.
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Old 06-03-2005, 11:34 AM   #11
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I thought that was what plumbers use to increase the deflection of joists!
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Old 06-03-2005, 11:49 AM   #12
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Mixing by hand, anyone? How long, how hard? I dont really want to buy another drill right now. I have tow cordless drills, a small screwdrive type 7.4V and a craftsman 12V. I dont think either has the muscle.
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Old 06-03-2005, 11:53 AM   #13
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John --

For smaller jobs, hand mixing is a possibility. However, hand mixing will not achieve as smooth a result as power mixing, and us DIYs can use every advantage we can get.
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Old 06-03-2005, 12:24 PM   #14
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"Mixing by hand, anyone? How long, how hard?"

I am doing a small bathroom project and have been mixing my thinset by hand - 3 gallon bucket and a wooden spoon. I have been getting nice results - and the added bonus of muscles...

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Old 06-03-2005, 12:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwilson1
I bought a spiral mixer from Lowes the other day and come to find out I'll need a 1/2" drill to operate it.
I would like a recommendation for a corded drill that will work for about 1/2 bag (25lbs) batches. It looks like there are two versions of lower end drills out there.
1. 0-700 rpm with 2 or 3 stage gear reduction.
B and D $49.00 at lowes
Craftsman
2. 0-2700 rpm.
Champion. I'm a little worried about the higher rpm's, which may translate to poor torque at lower (mixing speed?)

The drill will be used for doing a couple small bathrooms, and then I figure it will end up used about as much as my current 3/8 corded drill (rarely.)
What kind of RPM range should I be mixing at?
Thanks, Wayne
I purchased the B&D model you have here when my older drill finally quit. Although it's not one I would pick if you were doing this kind of work everyday, but for just a few small jobs, it should work fine. I've managed to tile a large kitchen, breakfast area, good size laundry room, 2 master bathrooms, and a regular bathroom, and my B&D is still working fine. One thing to note though: my thinset batches were normally about 16 lbs each (1/3 of a bag).

Last edited by Revstriker; 06-03-2005 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Spelling
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