Product Focus: Two Chucks Better than One

Product Focus: Two Chucks Better than One

Conventional power drills have a single chuck to hold just one drill bit at a time – “Not good enough,” thought Australian inventor John Whitehead, who has just developed a twin-chuck system…

We all know the hassles involved in changing drill bits: the repetitive cycle of extracting and inserting different drill and screwdriver bits is about as much fun as a trip to the dentist.

Caption: John Whitehead, inventor of the Double Chuck DrillAHJProductFocus01July05

For some professionals and DIYers the solution is to carry multiple drills, each equipped with its own bit. But this is obviously an unwieldy and expensive way around the problem, and hardly advantageous if power sources are limited. A novel alternative is to use one drill equipped with two chucks!

John Whitehead’s new Double Chuck Drill – awarded the Gold Medal at the International Inventions Expo in Geneva, Switzerland, in April; and the People’s Choice award on ABC TV’s New Inventors program in May – uses an electronic switch to disengage one chuck and flick the second chuck into position. It’s an especially valuable device for jobs involving alternating drilling/screwing operations.

According to John, the beauty of the chuck changeover system lies in its powered, single-handed ease of use. The process of switching from one chuck to the other involves two separate mechanical motions. Once the electronic switch on the side of the drill has been flicked, the active chuck rises 90° (to face skywards), simultaneously lifting the second chuck into primary position. Then, proceeding in a continuous flowing movement, the head rotates the skyward-facing chuck laterally 180° downwards – the unused chuck is therefore always locked in a lowered position in front of the handle. The whole procedure is completed in about two seconds flat.

Powered Movement
“I felt it was important from the outset to make the chuck switching operation a powered function,” says John. “If you had to manually unlock one chuck and push the other into position you would be left with a two-handed job, which is not much use if you’re holding onto a ladder!”

AHJProductFocus02July05Caption: The Double Chuck Drill won a Gold Medal at the 2005 International Inventions Expo in Geneva

John, a farmer from Jerilderie in NSW, says he spent 18 years developing the Double Chuck Drill from its initial concept to the current award-winning prototype. “It all started when I was building a cubby house for my children, and I was using two drills – one with a drill bit and the other with a screwdriver tip. I was going up and down the ladder and thinking, ‘This is just maddening’, so I investigated the market to see if there were any double-chuck drills and there weren’t any. That’s when I decided to invent one.”

“I had a lot of assistance along the way,” John explains. “Many of the parts were made by R&I Instruments in Dingley, Victoria, and I also had invaluable help in the product development from Dr Cruickshank of the Aird Laboratory and Frank Frisina of Roll On Multimedia.”

John says he would like to see his Double Chuck Drill marketed one day as a fully pre-configured drill package, suitable for both DIYers and professional tradespeople. Any manufacturers interested in discussing licensing arrangements should call Robert Galinsky at Whitehot Innovations on 0425 700 044 or visit

By John Power