Direct Fastening

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Lately we have received a few calls about 3/8″ stud guns for installing 3/8″ studs into concrete and steel so I wanted to create a little post about the tools.  Installing 3/8″ threaded studs with a powder actuated tool is nothing new but just isn’t as common as it used to be.  It still is the fastest way to suspend 3/8″ rod from concrete.  From a time standpoint, there is no comparison between shooting in a stud vs. drilling in an anchor.  While you may have some noise, it’s a short pop rather than the hammering noise that can last for 20-30 seconds with a rotary hammer.  You also have minimal dust to contend with.  For years the primary users of these types of tools were fire sprinkler installers and electricians but really anyone installing 3/8″ rod from concrete would have use for such a tool.

Click Here For 3/8“ Studs, Loads And Couplers

What Hilti And DeWalt Tools Shoot 3/8“ Studs?

Hilti still makes a few different tools that will install 3/8″ studs into concrete.  They are quality tools, and you will pay a quality price but they will hold up for years.  For many years the Hilti DX600N was the choice for shooting in 3/8″ studs.  You can still find them on ebay (see below) at a fairly reasonable price and parts are still available as it is a current tool at the time of this post.  This tool would be my preference.  With super heavy spall guard, this tool will do the job and is very well built.  The tool is actually fairly quiet.  DeWalt offers the PA3600 to shoot 3/8″ studs. I don’t have any experience with this tool but I suspect it would have a fair amount of kick as it simply doesn’t have the mass that the DX600N from Hilti has.   It also doesn’t have the heavy duty spall guard that the Hilti does.  A word of caution on the used market:  Many sellers are not quite sure what they are selling.  Some of the Hilti tools have different barrels and spall guards so make sure your are getting a tool that shoots 3/8″ studs.  A good clue is if they specifically say it will or if it has 3/8″ studs with it!

Where To Get The Tools & Supplies

We do stock the 3/8″ studs, loads and rod couplers for 3/8″ tools but we do not stock the tools themselves.  If you want to go with a Hilti tool, your options are Hilti direct or the used market.  If you go the used route, make sure you use a seller that has a good reputation and make certain they will stand behind the tool if it arrives DOA.  As for the DeWalt, it isn’t something that you can pick up at a big box stores but if you search the net for DeWalt P3600 or part number 52010-PWR you can find it.

Right Now on eBay 

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If you are looking to buy an 8’ to 12’ extension  pole to fit your Ramset, Hilti, Simpson or DeWalt powder actuated tool (PAT) please consider an option that will save you money and give you the right tool for the job.  One of the major issues we see with extension poles for PAT tools over 6’ is shipping.  For instance, a 6’ pole extension pole for a Ramset Cobra may cost $50 to ship via UPS or FEDEX whereas the same pole in 8’ can cost $175 plus!  Both poles are lightweight, under 10 lbs but it’s the oversize that makes it so expensive.  So, an 8’ pole will cost you close to $500 or more and may be perfect for one job but not practical for most jobs.  Please ignore the fact that I am a salesman for just a moment and consider what I think is a better option when you need an 8’ extension pole.   Consider the STIFFY PAT tool with a telescopic pole tool.

STIFFY PAT Tool With Telescopic Pole Extension

For just a bit more than what you will pay for an 8’ extension pole with shipping for your Ramset or Hilti tool, you can get the STIFFY PAT tool and a telescopic pole tool that extends from 4’ – 12’.   If you prefer, you can get a 6’-18’ telescopic pole as well.  The STIFFY tool is a .27 caliber strip tool and is designed exclusively for overhead fastening.  In fact, the only real knock on the tool is that it will only shoot up.  The tool is lightweight and very simple to operate and maintain.  If you can work with the 4’-12’ pole, it will collapse and fit in most gang boxes with the tool attached.  One real advantage of the STIFFY/Telescopic pole combo is you don’t’ have a lever to fire the tool.  You simply press the tool against the concrete deck to fasten.  Now picture if you have a fixed length extension pole and your ceiling is just a little shorter.  You may be bending over to fire the tool!

More Advantages Of The Telescopic PAT Pole Tool

The telescopic pole tool that we recommend for the  STIFFY is the Lagmaster Plus.  In addition to fitting the STIFFY PAT tool, the Lagmaster Plus includes interchangeable plugs that allows it to not only fire the STIFFY but you can install eye lags and Sammy Screws with the tool.  Plugs are also included for hex drivers, broom thread and more.  So, with this set up, you can accomplish what you set out to do, fasten to a higher deck and have the ability to perform other tasks as well.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, my thoughts on a better option than a fixed length 8’-12’ pole tool for your Ramset and Hilti tools.  It is more than just the shipping cost, operationally, a PAT tool on a telescopic extension pole is just a better set up.  With the Stiffy & the Lagmaster Plus, you will have the right tool for the job as well as a one that adapts to whatever you run into on the next project.


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The DeWalt DCN890 battery concrete nailer is a great tool and it becomes even more useful if you add the the Stick E contract trip or probe to the tool.  With this probe, you can shoot up the DeWalt series of Stick E clips which include MC straps, EMT straps, rod hangers, ceiling clips, lathing discs and more.  Check out the video below and see how simple it is to add the probe.  You can find the DeWalt DCN890 tool, pins, clips and more online at ConstructionFastening.Net


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The DeWalt 50213-PWR CSI Spiral Ceiling Clip/Pin is another ceiling clip worth giving a try if you are looking to improve your stick rate in tough situations.  The 50213-PWR CSI pin has a beefy .157 spiral shank.  That’s about 8 percent thicker than a standard ceiling clip which means it’s less likely to turn or fish hook.  That means a better stick rate.  The DeWalt CSI Pin/Clips are made for use in mostdewalt 50213-pwr csi spiral ceiling clip powder actuated tools including DeWalt, Hilti, Ramset, Powers, Simpson and others.  Over the years we have had opportunity to trouble shoot a lot of powder actuated tools.  What we have found is that  upgraded pins like the DeWalt CSI clips are well worth trying.  What we stock and sell locally in MN as our everyday pin is what some vendors would consider as premium.  While some jobs, like concrete over metal concrete are super easy to shoot even with an economy pin, you should have at least have a better pin on hand when your stick rate starts to drop.

Want to give the DeWalt 50213-PWR a try for yourself?  Visit our sample request page here and we will get a handful out for you to try.  Visit our e-commerce to order the DeWalt 50213-PWR ceiling clip  and find more info including performance data.


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Here is a brief video showing how easy it is to fasten a 2×4 to steel using your Hilti, Ramset, Simpson or DeWalt powder actuated tool.  In the video we are using a Ramset Cobra, the Ramset SP178 Power Point pin and a red power load.  A few words of caution: Safety first, make sure you have appropriate safety apparel including safety glasses and hearing protection.  Don’t get to close to the end of your 2×4 or it may split.  Also, keep in mind that the Ramset SP178 pins are not for use in treated lumber.  Check out the video below and watch through the end to see the slow motion side shot, it’s kind of cool.  You can find the pins online at ConstructionFastening.Net


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The DeWalt 50376 rod hanger is designed for use in P.A.T. (powder actuated tools) like Ramset, Hilti, Simpson and DeWalt.  The hanger features a 1/4″-20 rod coupler fastened to a ceiling clips with a 1-1/8″ pin with a .300 head installed.  This hanger works well for suspending bridle rings, drop rods, j-hooks and more.  After you shoot the hanger to the concrete deck, you have 1/4-20 female threads hanging from overhead. Whatever you have that can be attached with standard 1/4-20 hardware could ultimately be fastened to the hanger.  The DeWalt 50376 rod hanger fits most powder actuated tools.  Depending on the tool and  what you are  fastening, you may be able to pre assemble it to the hanger before you attach it.  For instance, many tools will accept the hanger with a bridle ring or threaded rod pre attached.  It really just depends on the muzzle end of your tool.  We have a brief video below and you can find the DeWalt 50376 rod hanger online at ConstructionFastening.Net


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What is a DeWalt STICK-E Cable Tie Donut? Well, if you are hoping for a glazed donut, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a fast clean way to bundle cable, you will be pleasantly surprised at this simple little piece of plastic. As you look at the design you will see the slots are large enough for your standard ties and up to ½” hook and loop cable ties. As you look at the side view, you see the mount is scalloped a little bit to seat the cable. You will also notice no sharp metal edges like a ceiling clip. There are a few ways to mount it quickly to concrete, wood and steel.

Concrete & Masonry Materials. The DeWalt DFD405902 STICK-E Cable Tie Donut is designed to be used with the DeWalt, DC890P2 battery concrete nailer and the STICK-E contact probe. These tools are becoming more common in the low voltage, electric and mechanical fields. They are expensive but more and more tradesmen are finding this a nice addition to their toolbox. They are quieter than powder actuated tools and require no license to operate. For this application, the tool has a magazine of pins, and you stick the donut cable mount on the probe and fire away. A simple fast and easy way to attach you bundle to the concrete.

Wood. While intended for mounting quickly to concrete, the cable tie donut can be mounted to wood with a simple #6 coarse drywall screw. Just start the screw and it will pull its way through the donut and cinch down tight. If you are going to a plywood backer board, you would want either a #6 x ¾” or 1” coarse drywall screw. If you are mounting to a wood stud through drywall, a #6 x 1-1/4” or 1-5/8” should work.

Metal. There may a few different applications where you could be mounting to metal. If you are mounting to a metal stud through drywall, a sharp point fine drywall screw may work but if it is a heavier gauge stud, you may need a self-drilling drywall screw. If you are mounting to something like a cabinet or a rack, a self-drilling screw with a #3 point may be needed.

The DeWalt DFD405902 STICK-E Cable Tie Donut is a nice alternative to a ceiling clip with a more finished look and no sharp edges. And keep in mind it’s not just limited to it’s original mounting option with the DeWalt battery concrete nailer. With the right screw the STICK-E Cable Tie Donut makes an excellent mount for cable ties and hook and loop alike.   Visit ConstructionFastening.Net to see these and other products in the DeWalt Stick-E Line up.


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Stiffy Tool Powder Actuated ToolThe Stiffy Tool has been around for a while, and we have just added it to our site.  Let me share a few things that we really like about the Stiffy Tool and why you may want to consider it for your next powder actuated tool for overhead work.

When I say the Stiffy Tool (sorry that is its real name) has been around for some time, I am not kidding.  The tool itself goes back decades.  First it was red in it’s Steelcon version, then Ramset grabbed it and turned it orange.  CEAS attachments has this old standby in gray.  It is a time proven time-tested design that is quiet, lightweight and super easy to service in the field.  So here is what we like about the Stiffy Tool.

First and foremost, the tool is time tested and reliable.  The fact that it is lightweight, quiet, and easy to service when need are all real plusses.  To see what I think are a couple of the big advantages of the Stiffy Tool, you have to look  a little deeper.  First, it is a bump fire tool.  That means there is no trigger, you simply deliberately raise the tool up to the work surface and push up and the tool fires.  It is a true bump fire tool as there is no trigger slide like on the Ramset Viper 4 or a lever like some other tools that can be adapted to a pole tool.   That means you can mount the tool to a telescopic pole tool.  The telescopic pole tool means you can collapse the tool to 4’ and fit it in your gang box.  When needed, you can extend the pole tool up to 12’.  Or you can get a 6’-18’ telescopic pole if you have taller ceilings.

We recommend the Lagmaster Plus pole tool that has interchangeable heads.  So, while you would have a telescopic pole for your Stiffy Tool, you could change the head and now you can install eye lags into wood or steel, install and tie bar joist and purlin clips as well as Sammy Screws from the floor.  The combination of the Stiffy Tool and the Lagmaster Plus will allow you to handle most any type of ceiling  you are suspending  grid wire.  Of note as well is the manual load advance which will cut down on you skipped load count.

Shooting wood with the Stiffy Tool.  By switching to the wood nose piece (sold separately) you can suspend from wood structure with the tool.  The special timber clip and pin is ring shanked and is designedStiffy Tool Ramset Timber Pins specifically for this application.

Cons for the tool.  I would be hard pressed to offer any complaints on the Stiffy.  Yes, it is only an overhead tool, but that is what makes it so good at what it does.  The piston is a gravity return so you will need to clean the tool a little more often, but it is easy to do.  The load advance is manual which some see to not like but truly it lowers your skipped load count and really is a simple thing.

You can find the Stiffy Tool along with the Lagmaster Plus pole, clips, pins, loads and parts online at ConstrucgtionFastening.Net


Construction Fastening Systems, Inc.

Specialty tools & fasteners for the trades.
952.230.7725Toll Free 1.877.212.2377

cfsdelivers.com

contact@cfsdelivers.com

Serving the entire U.S.

Based In Twin Cities, MN



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