The Bosch IXO Cordless Screwdriver is a portable motorised electric screwdriver. It is shaped like a cute little mini-raygun from a 1950’s sci-fi movie and is very comfortable to hold in the hand. It has a 3.6V electric motor and is powered by an inbuilt Lithium Ion battery. The screwdriver’s bit holder takes standard screwdriver bits with hex socket heads. To help you see where you are screwing, there is a yellow LED torch located below the hit bolder that illuminates the surface directly in front of the bit.
The Bosch IXO III boxed set comes in a metal tin that also contains:
- 10 screwdriver bits including 4 Philips Head, 2 Flat Head, 2 Torx (star) and 2 Hex
- The charger, which also serves as a cradle and bit holder
- A torque-limiting adapter, with 9 different torque settings, to prevent you from accidentally screwing things in too far, damaging the screw head, thread or hole
- A right-angle adapter, that allows you to drive screws at a 90 degree angle, for screws located in awkward locations
I purchased it from my local ThriftyLink hardware store for $120.
Why I Bought the Bosch IXO Cordless Screwdriver
Being the person that I am, I often take things apart to assemble them, fix them, understand them or upgrade them. Recently, I’ve been doing some renovation work where I’ve had to drill into concrete, install plastic plugs and then screw in long metal screws. Clearly, there is a lot of screwing and unscrewing going on. If you’ve done that for an extended period of time, you can get really bad cramps in your hand and wrist. It has been suggested that this could possibly also lead to RSI or even arthritis after a prolonged period of time. I decided that it was time to let electricity take the load off my hands.
There are plenty of generic no-name cordless screwdrivers on the market, but I wanted a robustly-built quality product with good features. Bosch has a reputation as a quality German brand, and for me, two specific features set it above the others – the LED illumination and the Right-Angle Adapter.
If you are unscrewing things under a table or in a poorly lit corner, it can be hard to see the head of the screw and line up the bit. Having the inbuilt LED avoids the need to hold a torch in your other hand, so you can keep if free, to help you maintain your balance or to hold a component in place.
The right-angle adapter can make it easier to screw into the bottom side of a desk or any horizontal surface where there it may be awkward to hold the screwdriver in the normal straight position.
Using the Screwdriver
To use the drill, you simply squeeze the red button on the handle. The shaft turns at a constant speed of 180rpm, which is 3 complete turns each second. The yellow LED torch automatically illuminates.
On the top of the screwdriver, there are three indicator lights:
- A green forward-facing arrow that indicates when the screwdriver is turning clockwise (screwing direction)
- a red indicator with a picture of a fuel pump, to indicate if the battery is running low
- A green rear-facing arrow that indicates when the screwdriver is turning anti-clockwise (unscrewing direction)
The rotational direction switch is a red plastic rod located on the corner where the handle meets the top of the screwdriver, just below the ‘H’ in the Bosch logo. You can slide the rod into any of three positions, corresponding to clockwise rotation, no rotation (locked) and anticlockwise.
In the locked position, the motor is turned off and the red button on the handle cannot be fully depressed, but there is a nifty feature – you can still squeeze the button gently to activate the yellow LED torch.
Other Features of the Bosch IXO Cordless Screwdriver
Automatic Spindle Lock
When the screwdriver is not running, the spindle is locked and cannot be rotated manually. This makes it useful manual tightening or loosening of screws – useful if you need to be very gentle. It also makes it possible to use the screwdriver if the battery is completely discharged – not a good situation, but it may let you finish what you are doing until you have an opportunity to recharge.
The hexagonal shank is magnetised, to hold the screwdriver bits in place. The magnetic field is passed through the screwdriver bits, so you can use it to pick up small screws.
Lithium Ion Battery
The lithium ion battery holds its charge very well. I have left the screwdriver alone for maybe 3 months, and it was ready to run at full force the moment I needed it.
Suggestions for Improvement
Needs a Hex Extension as Part of the Set
If I were Bosch, I would have included a magnetised hex bit extension as part of the set. Sometimes screws are located deep inside narrow spaces. Without an extension, the bit will not be able to reach the head of the screw.
Bosch could modify the cradle to create a slot that that runs along the longest side, to store this hex extension.
Instead, I bought a third-party hex extension from the hardware store. I think it cost me less than $10.
Plastic End Cap
Surrounding the bit holder is a plastic cap, which must be removed in order to attach the torque adapter or right-angle drive. I don’t like doing this because the plastic end cap is small and can be easily misplaced or thrown away. I would make a design change to avoid the need for having this cap.
I have actually developed my own “lazy man’s” technique for limiting torque without the torque adapter. When I am screwing, I watch the thread of the screw carefully until it is near the end, then I relax my grip on the handle so that when the screw reaches the limit, the screwdriver handle will suddenly jerk in an anti-clockwise direction. As soon as I feel this, I release my fingers, giving the handle room to move freely and dissipate the rotational energy. I would still recommend that people use the torque adapter, but so far, I have not damaged any screws using my technique.
Combining the Torque Adapter and Right-Angle Drive
It does not seem to be possible to connect both the Torque Adapter and Right-Angle Drive in series. I have never had to do this yet, but there may be a time.
Tips for Using the Screwdriver
The screwdriver is very strong. The other day, it easily screwed an 8G wood screw into a piece of timber without a pilot hole [NOTE: always make a pilot hole if you want accurate positioning and to reduce the risk of splitting the timber). Since it is so strong, you must make sure that you use the most appropriate screwdriver bit for the type of screw you are working on. The bit should fit snugly and completely into the screw head, otherwise there is a risk that you may accidentally damage the head of the screw by grinding away the metal.
|Screw diameter:||up to 5 mm|
|No-load speed:||180 rpm|
|Max. torque:||3 Nm|
|Battery voltage:||3.6 V|
|Charging time:||5 Hours|
|Chuck:||Magnetic bit holder with hexagonal shank|
Tags: bosch, cordless, screwdriver
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