The Hilti BX3 is a battery operated tool designed to fasten to concrete and other masonry materials as well as steel. This is really a neat little tool that is finding it’s home in a variety of trades. I’ts proving usefull not just in the drywall, electrical, mechanical trade but also in the data comm/cabling fields. The latest version, the Hilti BX3 02 is a 22 volt tool that will hold a magazine of 30 pins. Advertised performance is up to 1.3 fasteners per second and a battery life of up to 800 pins with the highest capacity battery. The selling points of the tool include the idea that you have a clean quiet tool (compared to powder) that requires no user license. Some jobs are very noise sensitive, hospitals for instance, and some just won’t allow PAT tools. Shooting down track and other straight pins is just one use. The BX3 has a unique way of attaching clips and holders for the other trades.
The Hilti BX3 can fasten ceiling clips (including pre tied clips) rod holders, EMT straps, tie wrap straps and cable straps. Hilti recommends you use their X-FG B3-ME guide or nose piece to do this kind of work. While you may be used to loading a clip or strap in you powder actuated tools with the nail installed, the clips and straps have no nail installed. You will note they have a fluting that holds them in the nose piece and when you fire, the nail comes from the magazine. This is a nice feature if the fastening fails, just pull out the bad nail and refasten. The down side to this, is you have to use Hilti’s proprietary fasteners which can tend to keep the price up. We actually tie quite a few ceiling wires and are working with some of our customers to tie our wire to their clips for them.
Street pricing on the Hilti BX3 is up there, double or more of most powder tools, so it may not be the tool for everyone. But when a tool solves a problem for you, pricing concerns fade very quickly. If you are on the fence, you will find used ones here and there on ebay that are still in great working order and about half the price. Give it a try and if it doesn’t fit the bill, you will likely get close to what you paid for it back.
While the Hilti BX3 is the first of it’s kind, Dewalt offers the DCN891B. More to come on that tool!