I bought a new set of drill bits the other day, and there's a hollow plastic tube with a spring inside - any idea what it is and how it works? I'm guessing something to do with centring?

Edit to add - I've no idea what to call the drill bits in general, but it's this set (Erbauer 4659X): https://www.screwfix.com/p/erbauer-straight-shank-mixed-drill-bit-set-50-pieces/4659X?tc=TT2&ds_kid=92700055262507123&ds_rl=1244066

Also, looking at that site, I think it's something called a screw starter - still not sure what it's for though...

Posting an image...

[1]: https://i.sstatic.net/8Sa3b.png

  • Hi, welcome to Woodworking. Just to check, these normal twist bits? Or is it a set of lip-and-spur bits (AKA brad-point or dowel bits)?
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 18:29
  • 1
    Thanks for the update. The plastic tubes are mounted in the case by the screwdriver bits, they're not a quick-change bit collar are they? Although I don't know why they'd want to make these from plastic (but then I can't see why you'd want to make nearly anything associated with drilling from plastic, except the storage case LOL).
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 8:09

1 Answer 1


Aha! (and I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who was mystified):


(they're for holding flat-head screws in place whilst you start screwing, so associated with the screw-bits, rather than the drill-bits)

  • Funny how this very common tool everyone had has fallen into obscurity. I guess that's what happens when everyone adopts Robertson head screws.
    – user5572
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 22:38
  • I've attempted to use them and never found them particularly effective. I've also got a couple of quick change bit extensions that have sleeves that will slide over the screw head to help hold it, too. Never found them useful, either. To me, at least, it's just not that hard to hold the screw/bit and turn the drill slowly to get it started, then once the screw has bit in, there not much left to do but run it in...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 10:59

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