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Everything you need is in one tough case!
Click image to enlarge

Bosch Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver (#33614)

14.4 Volt Powerhouse

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   Remember when corded drills were the norm and battery-powered models were a curiosity? Over the last couple of decades, those roles have reversed with cordless drills assuming the dominant role in most woodworking shops. Like many, I still have a corded drill, somewhere.

   The Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver is typical of cordless drills only in being powered by batteries. From there, its list of features set it apart from the crowd.

First Impressions

   The Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver comes in a sturdy case that safely stores the drill, a pair of batteries, charger and instruction materials. By the way, the charger still has a cord: even Bosch hasn't been able to overcome that link with the days of old.

   The fit and finish is first rate with all of the exterior parts appearing well made and assembled. The Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver feels good in the hand, the various controls are conveniently placed and have a good feel to them. The instructions are more than adequate in the explanation of the features and their operation.

Batteries

The kit comes with (Top) two batteries and a 1-hour charger.
(Bottom) The battery packs plug in and out of the drill/driver easily.

Click images to enlarge

   At 14.4 volts, the batteries included in this kit are not the most powerful Bosch offers but their performance, particularly the duration, is surprising. The first few charges on new batteries are usually their weakest but these 14.4 Volt packs held the initial charge through several days of higher than normal use in my shop. I was rebuilding a wall in the shop, adding a wall-mounted jig and a section of pegboard that required drilling pilot holes and installing 48 screws along with several 3 ½"-long lag screws. Those jobs were completed with the first battery still in the Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver with no signs of slowing down. Two more days of more normal usage finally drained the first charge from the first battery pack.

   The 2 AH (amp hour) rating means little when trying to decipher exactly how long a charge will last in your shop. We all use tools differently, which means varying power usage. What I can say is that the Bosch 14.4 Volt batteries have outlasted any others I have had in the shop.

   The kit also includes a one-hour fast charger that apparently charges the packs very well. It has a socket in which the batteries are inserted and a nice light that indicates charging status but otherwise it just sits there and charges batteries. There just isn't much drama to the outside of a battery charger.

Chuck

The 1/2"-capacity, one-handed, ratcheting chuck makes bit changes simple and very fast.
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   This Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver is equipped with a ½"-capacity ratcheting chuck. The ratchet design means it can be released and tightened with one hand. A rubber-like ring around the chuck provides a no-slip surface that affords a good grip.

   Unlike some hand-tightened chucks, the gripping power of this Bosch-designed chuck is substantial. Though I never strained to tighten the chuck, no slippage was noted even when boring holes in hard maple with a 1"-diameter Forstner bit.

   The ½" chuck capacity means you don't have to find that old corded drill when using bits with larger shanks. This may not be a frequent problem in your shop but having the capacity is very nice when the situation arises.

   The ratcheting action stops the chuck abruptly when the trigger is released. There is a minor torquing reaction to this but it is not a big deal. I found it useful to have the bit stop immediately when I want it to.

Motor - Replaceable Brushes

Bosch includes user replaceable brushes to extend the life of the tool.
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   To make full use of the 14.4 Volts, Bosch designed a motor and metal gear system that develops gobs of power and torque with apparently minimal draw on the battery. The motor is exceptionally smooth running as are the gears that reduce motor RPM to 1500 RPM at the bit.

   The power remains consistent even when the battery is nearing the end of its charge. I noticed no loss of performance until the battery was nearly depleted.

   While some manufacturers design their brushes to be non-serviceable by the user, Bosch encourages this maintenance, making the task simple and fast. A single screw frees a cover over each brush for servicing. Bosch claims this task can be accomplished in two minutes, a span of time we all can make available to renew such a useful tool.

(Top) The variable speed trigger is smooth and effective.
(Bottom) Changing from normal drilling speed to the power mode produces a remarkable amount of torque.
Click images to enlarge

Variable-Speed Trigger & Selector

   The trigger on the Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver controls RPM within each of two ranges set by a selector located on the top of the housing. There is enough throw in the trigger to make full use of this feature, something that comes in handy more often than you might think.

   The speed range selector changes from normal drilling speed (0-1500 RPM) to a power setting (0-450 RPM) that produces remarkable amounts of torque. I drove several 3 ½"-long ¼"-diameter lags, each in one shot with no slowing of the motor. This is also how I discovered that you should use the torque setting with the clutch in the locked position with caution. When the lag bottoms out, the drill keeps cranking. The result is a pronounced torque reaction that twists the drill in your hand.

Clutch

   To control the power of the Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver, a 16-position clutch was added. The releasing action is smooth and consistent throughout the available range. I have noted

The grip is comfortable and slip-resistant.
Notice the heavy-duty snap loop for tethering the drill to you when working above ground.
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inconsistencies with other clutch-equipped drills that could cause a screw to twist off at a setting that released in the past. The Bosch clutch shows no such tendency. Returning to a previously used position sets the release point exactly where it was the last time. Consistency is a very good trait in a clutch system and this one is at the head of the class.

In the Shop

   The Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver feels very good in your hand. The rubber-like grip insert is both comfortable and slip resistant. The weight of the 14.4 Volt battery pack seems just right to balance the tool in your hand. I have another driver with a larger, heavier battery pack that acts like a pendulum that my hand has to resist during use. The balance of the Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver makes it far less tiring to use.

   Bosch includes a very stout snap-link at the lower end of the handle for tethering the drill/driver to your belt when working above other people. I found this loop handy for hanging the drill above my bench when not in use. I never have enough (open) bench space.

   The variable-speed trigger makes controlling the considerable power available easy. It is easy to slowly turn a drill or screwdriver bit to align it or start a hole. Pull the trigger farther through its travel and the speed increases smoothly.

The amount of power and torque available in the "Power" mode is surprising and should be respected.
Click image to enlarge

    As mentioned earlier, the amount of torque available in the lower-speed "torque" mode demands respect. There is plenty of power/torque to drive large lags or huge screws but you have to pay attention to avoid stripping or twisting off smaller fasteners. Fortunately, when set correctly, the clutch is more than capable of preventing these problems.

   The combination of the clutch and motor power allow the user to tailor the drill to sink screws to the exact depth wanted.

Conclusions

   The Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver is a well-built tool that functions at least as good as claimed. The combination of high power and ways to control it

make this an exceptionally versatile drill/driver that will make your shop a nicer place to work.

   If you need a new drill/driver, or just have not looked at the current models, check out the Bosch #33614 Brute ToughTM Drill/Driver. You won't be sorry.

 

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