Bits and magnetic bit holders - am I doing it wrong?

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Forum topic by opalko posted 01-13-2014 02:17 PM 2576 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 3001 days

01-13-2014 02:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question driver

I know there has to be a better way but I don’t know what it is. This past weekend I had occasion to drive several hundred 1 5/8” deck screws with a star head. This particular brand comes with a star bit in each package of screws. So I place the bit tip in the magnetic bit holder (like the one in the image below) and start driving the screw in (pre drilled holes, btw).

7 times out of 8 the bit would stay in the head of the screw after driving it in. Time after time. Take the bit out of the screw head and pop it back in the magnetic holder. Next screw, repeat same process and results. Frustrating!

I tried 4 different makes (Milwaukee, Ryobi, 2 unmarked) magnetic bit holders all with the same result.

This isn’t the first time – seems like every time I use these little bits they won’t stay in their holder. Am I doing this wrong or is the magnets in them so weak they don’t really work that well? I even tried Gorilla Taping the bit in without success.. I finished the project but it could have been a lot easier and taken less time if I hadn’t had to spend so much time on those *&^%$#!!$ bits.


10 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5093 posts in 1686 days

#1 posted 01-13-2014 02:22 PM

I don’t know who makes them, but I have a few magnetic bit holder that look similar to the one you have picture. The only difference is on the end is a sliding collet that incorporates a single ball bearing that falls into the groove cut into the middle circumference of the bits. This positively locks the bit into the holder so that it cannot be removed without sliding the collar, much like an industrial pneumatic coupler.

View waho6o9's profile


8165 posts in 2543 days

#2 posted 01-13-2014 02:39 PM

Sounds like an upgrade is in order Opalko. Fastcap, Wera, or Festool have a system
that’ll end your frustrations.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10355 posts in 3394 days

#3 posted 01-13-2014 02:42 PM

I’ve experienced the same. Probably, the bit is just a micro smaller than it needs to be. I even tried putting a 1/2 rare earth magnet on the barrel of the bit holder. That helped.

bigblockyeti, that holder sounds like a great solution. Do you remember where you found it…or a brand name?

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2453 days

#4 posted 01-13-2014 02:45 PM

Some Epoxy would fix it also.

I have about 50 of those magnetic bit holders laying around. Probably enough for at least 2 of each type of bit I use. I could glue them all in and they would never slip and never wallow out the hex.

Instead, I use the starhead (Torx) deck screws that come with a 2” bit. It doesn’t need a holder so I chuck it up in either the drill or the impact driver.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3614 days

#5 posted 01-13-2014 02:47 PM

a star bit/screw combination has much more friction than flat-head or philips head. as such, depending on how much torque you use to drive those screws in, changes are it will stay in the screw head. those magnetic bit holders are useful, but not the end-of-all-answers.

not only that – all those free bits that you get are usually from softer metal and can easily dig or be digged into or bent a bit to add even more friction.

don’t sweat it too much.

is it possible that you are using too much torque driving them? have you drilled a pilot hole? have you tried a better quality star bit (like those made specifically for impact drivers)?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View opalko's profile


148 posts in 3001 days

#6 posted 01-13-2014 03:02 PM

Yes, piloted holes and low torque. It may have to do with too much coating on the deck screws also that makes the bit get wedged in there. I like the looks of the Fastcap system, may check that out.

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 1693 days

#7 posted 01-13-2014 03:06 PM

I’ve had that happen, learned to twist the drill off of the screw instead of pulling straight up.
I have a magnetic holder that you tighten the collar to lock in the bit.

View Picklehead's profile


1041 posts in 1895 days

#8 posted 01-13-2014 03:08 PM

I made a dedicated square drive bit holder by heating up the bit and the bit holder with a heat gun, then putting a little hot glue in the bit holder and pushing the bit in with pliers. Stays put til I want it gone (when the bit wears), then I heat it up and replace it. Never had it come out. Bit holders are cheap, so it’s easy to have one dedicated to a specific bit, like a star drive.

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5093 posts in 1686 days

#9 posted 01-13-2014 03:13 PM

I know I got them at an auction from a lumber yard that was going out of business, but can’t remember the brand name. I don’t think it was Irwin, but it might have been, it was from a counter top merchandizer that had several different small bins with different holders and several different bits, all covered by a hinged piece of plexiglass. For some reason the auctioneer broke the unit into multiple lots???? go figure, at any rate I can’t remember.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10355 posts in 3394 days

#10 posted 01-13-2014 03:20 PM

Thanks for your reply, bigblockyeti. I’ll look around the next time in the lumber yard office. See if I can find a couple.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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