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Machinist's Workshop

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A Custom Fitting for an Impact Drill

By Mark Jachniewicz

I recently needed to drive some pipes into the ground to install Malibu pipe lights. I have a Harbor Freight electric, heavy-duty impact drill, but I couldn’t find an appropriate fitting to drive the pipe. Time to cannibalize – the job needed to get done!

PhotoI started by cutting the head off of a chisel, using an abrasive disk. It is almost impossible to turn hardened steel without going through carbide tooling, so I had to cook the shank for several hours to take the temper out and make it soft enough for machining (Photo 1). After testing with a hacksaw, I machined the shank to the size necessary to fit the driver I made.

PhotoPhoto 2 shows the new machined fitting for driving pipes into the ground. The drill has an option to just hammer without rotation, and I used this when driving the pipes.

PhotoBefore you bang a pipe into the ground, you have to flatten the tip. Heat it red hot and hammer it to a chisel point; otherwise the pipe will not go in.

The finished Malibu pipe lights are shown in Photo 3. The only problem is that in the winter when the walkway gets icy people will grab the lights; the lights don’t like that. Now I need to make a handrail!

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