Sunday, July 17, 2016

Installing the Oxford Anchor 14

So install was a pain.  Drilling concrete is never easy.

Besides a pencil/Sharpie, earplugs, a level (if wall mounted), pliers, gloves, glasses, etc, you will probably need to acquire:

-  A decent 1/2" hammer drill.  A rotary hammer is better, but expensive.  Consider renting one, it may make life easier.

-  Masonry bits in various sizes from 1/8" through 3/4". 

Why so many bits?  Several reasons:

-  You need the smaller sizes because nobody in their right mind will try to drill a 3/4" hole in concrete straight off.  Start with a very small pilot hole and work up slowly.

-  Masonry bits can wear out quickly.  You may need two or three of the smaller sizes to get four holes.

-  The bracket fasteners are 16mm.  They will not quite fit into a 5/8" hole, and DO NOT try and tap them in or they will deform and/or come apart.  They will fit and tighten in a 3/4" hole if you cannot find the requisite 16mm bit.

-  Many of the "all-in-one" drilling/driving sets have a few masonry bits.  But they probably go up only to 3/8".  Chances are you'll need to buy one or two of the 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4" sizes, respectively.  (I ended up going through a few small bits but only needed one 1/2", one 5/8" and one 3/4". for ten holes.)

-  A good masonry bit will bite and drill relatively easily.  If it is not biting, it is probably worn out.  Or maybe you've hit rock or rebar.

-  The bit bits are a little expensive at $10-$15 each.  I found them cheapest at Home Depot.

More details:

-  The commenters are right.  Drill ONE hole first.  Mount the bracket up, then mark & drill hole #2.  Repeat until you get all four.  Trying to mark and drill four at once is a recipe for at least one to be off-center.

-  If you're having trouble getting your initial hole on center, you can use a "regular" titanium or high-speed bit to get a dimple to center the masonry bit.

-  If you end up with bits that melt, flatten, pancake or mushroom - i.e. an  un-drillable hole - chances are you hit some rebar.  In which case you can spend $100 on a carbide rebar cutting bit, or move to a new location.  After melting nine bits (!) I eventually chose the latter, which is why I had ten holes and not eight.

-  If you miss or have to shift, you will have some leftover holes.  Fill these in with weatherproof grey silicone or similar.

-  ALWAYS completely thread the provided fasteners to ensure they thread cleanly.  I had two that were difficult to thread, and they could have caused problems if I'd inserted the anchors without clearing them.

-  I tightened mine with a torque wrench, but only because I had an inch-pound wrench lying about that I had inherited but never used.  You will need the right adapters, bits etc. to let you put a 6mm hex key on it.  I used the 3/8" torque wrench, a 3/8"-to-1/4" adapter and a deep 6mm 1/4" drive socket.  To make the 6mm hex bit I cut the long leg off of the L-shaped hex key that came with the bracket.

-  I have no idea how you're meant to hammer the ball bearings in to the bolt heads.  You'll need a punch, I guess?  I didn't try.  Will be easy if floor-mounted, but IMHO rather unnecessary.

-  Hammering the cover plugs into the bracket is hard.  Expect to miss and mark up your nice new bracket.  (Note mine were wall-mounted - floor-mounted might be easier to keep on target.  Maybe use a rod or something between the cap and hammer to avoid hitting the bracket itself.)

-  If you have difficulty removing a fastener and end up leaving parts inside the hole, you can fish them out with a magnet.  They are steel and not aluminum.

I had to make a cardboard & cloth pad to let me lean against the drill with my body, without crushing my hands or squashing myself too badly.  It takes a LOT of force to get the bit moving sometimes and I simply cannot deliver that with my arms alone.  Knee pads or a mat are also highly recommended.

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