I need to use self drilling screws shown below to attach something to a piece of metal. First time user of a cordless drill with so many settings. Do I use the drill setting at low speeds or the driver setting and adjust the clutch setting?Self Drilling Screw

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    If it has an adjustable speed trigger, would just leave it on drill setting. You can usually tell how fast to go by feel. Putting in drywall screws, might want another setting to repeat each one over time.
    – crip659
    Aug 23, 2021 at 13:42
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    You're not planning on self drill through the metal are you?
    – DKNguyen
    Aug 23, 2021 at 23:25
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    Commenting because this is a related tip for a newbie but not an answer - The screw shown likely has both a phillips and a hex head. When driving it you can use the hex head for better grip and torque. The phillips head will tend to cam-out, this can limit over tightening but it can also be super frustrating if you need to drive the screw just a little bit more and it slips.
    – Freiheit
    Aug 24, 2021 at 14:42
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    OP can you make an edit and say what materials you are joining and where? The experts here may have different advice based on your project and specific materials.
    – Freiheit
    Aug 24, 2021 at 14:42
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    @DKNguyen is your question thus "those self drilling screws you bought; you're not planning on leveraging the drilling aspect, are you?" ??
    – Caius Jard
    Aug 24, 2021 at 16:45

4 Answers 4


With my variably speed drill (with an adjustable clutch), I usually start out fast until the screw starts to penetrate the 2nd piece of metal. Then I slow it down and snug it up gently. Like others have said, it's easy to over tighten and strip out the holes, especially when working with light weight aluminum like is found in gutters and downspouts.

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    A heavy trigger finger can even strip out heavier gauge duct work. A light touch is important.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 23, 2021 at 14:34
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    Even better, stop once you're through and finish with a (hand) speed wrench. That way you have total control of stopping point and torque, instead of having an entirely stupid machine just blow through it. Aug 24, 2021 at 0:19
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica I agree with this on a lot of materials. Even the lowest clutch setting on my drill will put more power in than I would with my hand.
    – Logarr
    Aug 24, 2021 at 16:48
  • @Logarr Are you sure you're talking about clutch? Sounds like you're describing the torque setting; usually just 1, 2, and sometimes 3. The clutch usually goes from 1 to anything from 10 to 100. If you have exceptionally weak wrists then I guess the lowest clutch setting would win against your hand.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 24, 2021 at 17:33
  • @MonkeyZeus I’m referring to the component that has settings 1-15 and Drill on my black and yellow drill. The one that starts to skip when it starts taking more power to turn the screw than the setting is set for. While I guess it could be considered a torque setting I have always known it as the clutch.
    – Logarr
    Aug 24, 2021 at 17:35

I am assuming that you're mating two pieces of relatively thin metal, right?

If your drill trigger is pressure sensitive then just take it slow until the metal is firmly attached. Don't overspin it because it could make the screw difficult to remove in the future.

If you try using a specific clutch setting then you will find that it suffices less than 50% of the time. Some times it won't pull tight enough and you'll have to increase the clutch and other times it will overspin the screw.

There's no secret really, just pay attention.

If you're expecting to perfectly use a drill on your first try then you're in for a world of disappointment. Do a few practice screws first. Also, practice screws are how you would even figure out the correct clutch setting in the first place. One of my drills goes from 1-100 and another goes 1-20. The drill with the 100 is more powerful than the 20 so there isn't even a direct conversion.

If you're really paranoid then screw it in only 75% of the way and then use a screwdriver or socket wrench to finish the job.

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    I agree with this. Attaching to sheet metal the problem you may face more often is that the lowest torque setting rips it. (But as this answer says, that's not a science). If you only have one or two opportunities to succeed, like a downspout, do the last few turns by hand. If you're doing something like attaching the back panel of a fridge, with 20 screws, to the chassis you can start with the lowest torque setting and if that ends up destroying it, you have another 19 screws as backup.
    – jay613
    Aug 23, 2021 at 16:19
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    Another tip: attaching something to wood: Never use the screws that come included with any object or device. Always use your own high quality screws that you become familiar with. But if you do ever use the included screws, always use the lowest torque setting because they are always crappy screws that even a cheap drill can break easily.
    – jay613
    Aug 23, 2021 at 16:21
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    For two items of thin metal, I'd consider using rivets not screws.
    – Criggie
    Aug 23, 2021 at 22:34
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    @jay613: I'd remove "attaching something to wood". I never, ever, use supplied screws/plugs
    – SiHa
    Aug 24, 2021 at 10:21
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    @SiHa So you're the guy putting deck screws on door strike plates instead of using the supplied brushed-nickel finish screws?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 24, 2021 at 13:10

I will usually click the appropriate socket onto a 1/4" socket adapter and click it into my impact driver. The impact driver (very different from an impact wrench - much lower torque) has two settings Forward and Reverse, so I'm not really sure it makes a lot of difference.

My drill has two torque/speed settings. I couldn't begin to tell you what the difference is between 1 and 2 - I can't hear a speed difference, though I've checked every now and then. I'm sure it's in the manual which is... around here somewhere... Honestly, maybe I should, but I basically never switch the "speed" setting.

Since you've got a clutch on yours, you may want to set it to a somewhat lower setting, then increase it as necessary. As a new user, you're somewhat more likely to continue spinning the screw once it's fully seated which can strip out the threads that the screw has cut, leaving the screw to spin in the hole and no longer actually hold the metal. By setting the clutch below the "drill" setting, it will stop turning once the torque passes the clutch's setting. If the setting is too low, it won't set the screw at all, but you can simply go to a higher setting until it gets as tight as necessary.

  • IDC if it's one screw; I will go back out to the truck and get my impact driver before I do it with a screw gun. Because that shit sucks, and nothing anyone will ever say on this page will hold a candle to how easy these make driving sheet metal screws.
    – Mazura
    Aug 25, 2021 at 0:49

Too much torque can snap the head off the screw or tear up the hole so start with low torque

Use high speed, and plenty of pressure. start with the cluch io the low setting, and if it's slipping before you're finished setting the screw increase the clutch setting, having determined sufficient clutch you can use that setting for the rest of the screws.

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