OT - hammer drill newbie question

I was given a box of some no-name hand tools by a well-meaning friend. Among the tools is a no-name drill that is supposed to be both a regular and hammer drill -- just press a button one way or the other. I've long known of hammer drills but have never seen one in action. I cannot see a difference between the two settings -- maybe just me. Does a hammer drill sort of vibrate a little when drilling through masonry or is the hammering really obvious? Do you actually have to be driling with real pressure against masonry to detect the hammering? (Against wood it seemed little more than the chuck being off-center.) I will have to do some drilling into my brick wall in the spring, so a working version would be helpful. Advice appreciated. TIA. -- Igor
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Almost all of our drills are hammer type here in UK as most of our buildings are masonry. The hammer setting allows the chuck spindle to move back a little when you put pressure on it. It then thrusts against a ridged plate so that it tries to oscillate in and out. The amplitude is low and the frequency is high so you won't notice the effect much at your hand but it will increase the drilling speed in masonry by about 3 times. Use a TCT masonry drill bit of course.
John
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igor wrote:

If it's working, a bit on masnory or even hard wood will let you know...
Quite possibly the hammer action switch is bad or the gearing is just shot if it's a cheapie....
Use a decent one in masonry and there's no way you'll try anything else ever again...
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

When I've got a lot of holes to drill in masonry, I rent a Hilti rotary hammer. It's much, much faster than a hammer drill.
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And much more expensive. Tools like that I rent.
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On Wed, 26 Jan 2005 12:13:59 -0600, Duane Bozarth

I'd never use a hammer drill in masonry. Here in Europe we switched to SDS drills instead about ten years ago, and I'm never going back.
Interesting point that masonry just isn't so common in the USA. I'd always known this, and always wondered why there was so little US interest in decent hammer drills, but I'd never put the two together.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Well, I didn't mean it in the context you took it, Andy...I meant having been given a cheap hammer drill, he'd find even it so much better than an ordinary rotary he'd not go back...
I'm not so sure what you're driving at wrt the masonry comment, however. If you mean we don't have stone castles dating from Norman times, no, that we don't... :)
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When you apply pressure to the bit and start drilling you'll notice the difference. It should vibrate quite a bit but the in/out strokes are fairly small so it's not like you'll get propelled back off your feet or anything.
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Jeff P.

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On Wed, 26 Jan 2005 17:42:45 GMT, the inscrutable igor

Give it a try with a masonry bit. You'll hear an extra buzz when the hammer is in operation under tension, almost like a loose clutch setting on a cordless drill. I have one of the cheapies and it works amazingly faster than the same bit in a standard drill.
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If you are just pressing the button and pulling the trigger with the drill free spinning, you will see nothing. Push the chuck against something in hammer mode and pull the trigger and you will see what it does.
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