Bad Dog Rover Bits: Good Stuff?

By Brian Rhodes, Published Apr 03, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Bad Dog Tools [link no longer available] ran a surprisingly busy booth at ISC West. Based in Rhode Island, the cutting tools manufacturer demonstrated their unique 'Rover Bit' and how it may prove to be useful for wire and cabling installs. This note reviews the 'Rover Bit', usage limitations, and pricing.

Overview

The 'Rover Bit' [link no longer available] cutting tool is a modified Forstner type cutter intended to be inserted in a portable hand drill. The bit has been designed to bore clean holes through a variety of materials including wood, plastics, and fiberboards. The cutter is designed with fluted 'side cutters' that allow moving the bit after it has been plunged into a soft material like wood. Here is it in action:

This feature may be especially useful to security installers routing wire through studwork in interior walls. Drilling right angled cable channels is possible by repositioning the hand drill during the cutting process. The picture below depicts the result when drilling a cable channel, and how this could be a benefit when running cabling through stud walls:

The bit is also advertised as able to cut mortise cutouts. This might prove to be helpful when installing access control hardware like strikes or electric locks. However, drilling proper mortise cutouts require delicate control and precision difficult to achieve with a wildly spinning drill bit. Installers who infrequently mortise frames or doors by using this tool invite distaster. Of course, the end result of using this tool will greatly depend on installer skill and dexterity.

Application

Along with cut courseness, the biggest drawback of the Rover Bit is limited use in cutting materials other than soft woods and plastics. Commercial installs are often tasked with drilling through steel studs, concrete, brick, CMUs, and other masonry blocks. While the Rover Bit can cut through obstructions like nails and screws, it is not designed to cut through dense, hard materials and will be of limited use for the installer primarily working in commercial buildings. 

Alternatives

The Rover Bit could potentially save time over swapping out several different bit types in the field. Long shanked Forsnter bits and Spade bits could be alternated to achieve the same effect, however, without the side cutting features those bits can easily break due to excessive cutter pressure. The Rover Bit stands to save the installer labor and cutter costs.

Pricing

Bad Dog Tools sells 'Rover Bits' as individual cutters in standard fraction sizes, or in kits of cutters covering a range of sizes. Pricing depends on size, ranging from $13.00 for a single 1/4" diameter bit, up to $69.00 for a 2-3/8" diameter bit.

Bad Dog has assembled a number of kits, and the "Rover Bits B [link no longer available]" kit contains cutters covering the most common sizes security equipment installers need, including 1-1/4", 1-3/8", 1-1/2", 1-5/8", and 1-3/4" cutters for $199.95. All bits come with a lifetime replacement guarantee [link no longer available] against breakage, and when dulled can be mailed back to the factory for free sharpening. 

Conclusion

For most security installers, the Rover Bit probably would not be a frequently used item. A home intrustion alarms installer would have higher tool use compared to a commercial video installer, due to the differences in construction material types. Undoubtedly, every installer will face an unexpected situation where the Rover Bit could pay for itself by saving valuable time.

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