Atom Drillmaster 960 Professional
A few years back my dad broke his wrist while using an electric pistol grip drill to bore an auger through a hardwood post. It was the classic story of getting it done with whatever was on hand, which lead him to use the wrong tool for the job and ended in serious injury. Tools with incredibly focused task parameters can be hard to justify, but I can tell you now, if my old man had an Atom Drillmaster, he would have got the job done much quicker and not suffered a broken wrist for his efforts.
The Atom Drillmasters are petrol powered drills, made to bore holes in Australian hardwood (and soft) of up to 32mm in diameter and up to 760mm deep. Designed and made in Australia for Australian conditions on farming, fencing and big timber jobs, the Drillmaster is a very specific use tool, but as such is designed to excel at its given task.
The tool I was given to review is the Atom Drillmaster 960 Professional. It’s the top spec machine in the Drillmaster range. It boasts world first status by using a 4-stroke Honda GX-35 motor (those of you who know my reviews also know that Honda power is a big tick from me). It incorporates a number of very clever design features, including a wrist-saving safety feature that prevents jamming, whereby if the engine drill suddenly reacts (severe twisting) due to auger binding or jamming in timber, operator throttle control automatically moves to idle position allowing the operator to maintain control of drilling operation. It has tough all ball bearing high tensile steel reversing clutches that are hardened and ground using premium steel cut crown gears and pinion. It also has a self-locking collar, preventing auger loosening during use; but the thing that sounds the best in the Drillmaster’s description is the automatic reverse feature.
When I tested the Atom Drillmaster the machine was easy to start and operate. Its throttle/speed control operation is not unlike a motorbike set up, and is well located and easy to use, balanced nicely by the big handle at the front. Starting the hole was no bother, with the gutsy torque of the Honda motor dispersed easily through the grip positions for the operator. Running the Drillmaster through its paces, one of the claims I was keen to test was the auto-reverse function. It’s a clever bit of design kit, whereby if you pull back on the unit, reverse automatically engages allowing for ease of use and no interruption to the process to engage reverse. As I was getting deep into boring a 32mm hole through a decent sized dry red gum post, the auger started to bind up, so I pulled back on the machine and it automatically and instantly engaged reverse. As soon as the auger lead screw unwound, the drill automatically engaged forward again clearing the wood shavings and allowing me to back out enough to take another bite. The Drillmaster made the job a breeze and easily coped with the task at hand. Brilliant!
I was really impressed with the Drillmaster. It is a great example of the huge benefits of having job specific tools at hand. Yes, you can get away with using a big pistol grip drill to do the job, but with much more effort and at high risk to the operator; in my dad’s case leading to months off the job. Because of its task specific design, the Atom Drillmaster can and will save the operator time, money and energy because of its very clever design, functionality, portability and power.
Jason Waterhouse is renowned for his sculpture, but also creates interiors, furniture and fabrication work for artists. Jason is the director of artist and makers’ space Stockroom and men’s ware store NOTOWN Outfitters in Kyneton, Victoria.