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Tips On Using A DeWalt SDS Max Drill

Tips on using a DeWalt SDS Max Drill

SDS max drill with labelled parts.

At Wonkee Donkee, we believe that before you use any power tools it is vitally important that you read and understand all of the functions and safety advice. Our number one tip is to always be safe when using any power tools and that includes wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment for the task!

Selecting Operating Mode

Guide on how to use the SDS hammer drill, hammer only or neutral settings.

Turn the mode selector dial on top of the drill until the arrow is lined up with the appropriate symbol:


Hammer drill – for drilling into hard materials such as masonry, brick, concrete and stone.


Hammer only – for chiselling, demolition work, or levering up a jammed bit.

Setting Up the Chisel

SDS max drill mode selector - indexing chisel.

You can index and lock the chisel into one of 18 different positions.


First turn the mode selector to the neutral symbol, then rotate the chisel to your chosen position.


Set the mode selector to the hammer only position then twist the chisel until it locks into place.

Inserting and Removing SDS-Max Bits

Detailed diagram of tool holder and locking sleeve for DeWalt SDS Max Drill.

Clean and grease the shank of the bit, pull back the locking sleeve then insert the bit into the tool holder. Rotate the bit a little until the sleeve snaps into place.


Pull on the bit to make sure it’s secure. It should be able to move a few centimetres to enable the hammer function to work, but not come loose.


To remove the bit, simply retract the locking sleeve and pull out the bit.

Setting Electronic Speed Dial

How to operate the speed dial on an SDS Drill from DeWalt.

This feature is available on some upper range DeWalt SDS-Max drills. Turn the dial upwards to increase speed and downwards to reduce it.


A high setting is best for breaking or drilling in harder materials such as stone or concrete.


A low setting is more suitable for chiseling or drilling in soft, brittle materials, or when you’re trying to avoid breakout.

Adjusting Side Handle

SDS max drill side handle can be fitted to front or rear.

For ease of use you can position the side handle on the front or rear of the drill, and on the right or left side.


The front position is usually best for working horizontally, and the rear position is more comfortable if you’re pointing the drill down at the ground.


Always make sure the handle is completely tightened up and secure before you start work.

Switching On and Off

The speed trigger on a DeWalt SDS Max Drill.

To get the drill going, press the trigger switch. Let go of the trigger to bring the tool to a standstill.


If your model has a lock-on button, you can set it in continuous operation mode. Press and hold down the trigger, slide the lock-on button upwards then release the trigger.


To stop the drill while in continuous operation, press the trigger briefly before releasing it.

Making the most of Active Vibration Control

Top tips for using an angelr grinder from wonkee donkee.

This feature neutralises rebound vibration from the hammer action, which makes the drill more comfortable to use for long periods and extends tool life.


For the best results, hold the drill with one hand on the main handle and the other on the side handle.


The hammer only requires just enough pressure to engage the active vibration control. Pressing too hard won’t speed up drilling but will merely worsen performance and shorten the life of the drill.

A Few Tips on Drilling

Hammer Drilling with a Solid Bit

SDS max drill is much faster than a standard one.

Turn the mode selector to the hammer drill symbol and insert your bit. Turn the electronic speed dial to the required setting if your model includes one, and fit the side handle.


Mark the spot for the hole, position the drill bit over the spot and switch on the machine. 

Hammer Drilling with a Core Bit

Start hole off with centre drill when core drilling.

Move the mode selector to the hammer drilling icon, insert the core bit and assemble the centre drill (an attachment for making a properly centred pilot hole).


If your model has an electronic speed and impact control dial, set it to medium or high speed.

Using SDS max drill on concrete wall.

Fit and adjust the side handle to the correct angle for your needs, then put the centre drill on the spot and turn on the machine.


Drill down until the core penetrates the concrete to a depth of about 1cm, then stop and remove the centre drill. Put the core bit back into the hole and carry on drilling.

Wonkee Donkee Guide Top Tips

If you’re drilling through material thicker than the depth of the core bit, break away the round cylinder of concrete inside the bit at frequent intervals to prevent it becoming stuck.


To avoid breaking off concrete around the edges of the hole, first drill a hole of the same diameter as the centre drill right the way through the material, then drill the cored hole halfway from each side.

Chipping and Chiseling

Chiselling with Dewalt SDS max drill.

Insert your chisel and rotate by hand to lock it into one of 18 different positions, then turn the mode selector to the hammer only symbol.

Set the electronic speed dial, if your drill has one. Adjust the side handle, switch on the tool and you’re ready to go.

When you’ve finished working, remember to switch off the drill before unplugging.

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