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3 Tools Every Integrator Needs

Most integrators don't have these tools, but they should.


Jessica Camerato · February 26, 2010

The retrofit market can be challenging. Working in pre-existing spaces presents obstacles uncommon in new construction. 

How many times have you encountered one of these situations on a job site?

  • You have to work in a confined space, but your tools won’t fit
  • You have to drill into a wall, but don’t what you’re going to find on the other side
  • You’re not sure which tools you’ll need for a job, so you end up bringing way too much

There are solutions to those problems. Though it sounds more like the inside of a carpenter’s toolbox, custom installers need to have biters, drill bits, router bits, and saw blades to simplify installations. 

Bad Dog Tools, a Rhode Island-based tools manufacturer, is also a fan favorite at EHX, drawing a crowd with energetic live demos. At EHX Spring (March 25-27 in Orlando, Fla.) the company will be showcasing some of its latest products.  Ann Strong, an engineer and vice president/marketing manager for Bad Dog Tools, shares three tools most integrators do not have but should.

Forstner Bits

At Bad Dog, its Forstner bits are branded under the name Rover Bit. “It’s a unique bit because you can drill vertically and cut horizontally with it. You can side cut with it, which makes it great for running wires,” says Strong. “If you go through any sort of framing, you aren’t limited to just a 90-degree pull. You can make the hole go at whatever angle you need it to go to appropriately run the wiring.”

Strong says Bad Dog has some updates to that tool, a quick-change hex shank. “It speeds up the process of drilling so you don’t have to loosen the chuck and take the bit out,” she says. “You just pop it in, pop it out. That’s a time saver and time is money. That’s how we really approached it.” 

Power Nibbler

“The other tool that is tried and true for us and EHX attendees as well, based on the numbers we sell every year, is the Bad Dog Biter,” says Strong. “It’s a drill-mounted, steerable sheet material cutter – a nibbler, if you will. We have a number of different patents on it.

“It’s so small, about 2 inches in diameter and has two different cutting heads. One can cut 2 inches into the material and the other cuts 4 inches. It cuts conduit and any sheet material. Most nibblers are air powered, but this is powered by the revolutions on your drill. 

“Sometimes you’ll go on a job and you don’t know what you’ll be encountering. If you have to bring a nibbler, you’re talking about an air compressor, 50 feet of hose, and they tend to be quite large. But this just sits right in the tool box. If you come across something you have to cut into, here it is. Just pop it on your hand drill and go to town.”

Multi-Purpose Drill Bits

It might sound obvious, but a good set of multi-purpose drill bits is always important. Bad Dog offers sizes ranging from 3/32 x 3 inches, up to 3 feet (long) x 1 inch. This is a bit that can drill into any material, from concrete to wood to metal. Strong recommends dealers get one full set of drill bits from the same manufacturer and keep it in one package.

“So whatever you encounter, this one set of bits is going to be able to get through that material for you,” Strong says. “That’s a great savings in terms of when you’re on a job site, you don’t want to be schlepping around five different kinds of drill bits.” 

“And the nice thing about the drill bits is that you can sharpen them yourself. It’s a 118-degree flat grind so you just keep a diamond wheel in your tool box and you can sharpen them right up. They have a hex shank so it’s not going to slip in your drill chuck.”

Click here for more on the Retrofit Track, presented at EHX Spring 2010.



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  About the Author

Jessica Camerato is a web editor for CE Pro and Commercial Integrator. Have suggestions or something you want to read about? Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jessica at jcamerato@ehpub.com

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