Have you ever heard of Fastcap? Neither had I, then one day I was looking for some drill bits when I ran across their K.I.S.S. drill bit system. It was one of those moments in every tool junkie's life when you see something and instantly say to yourself “I must have that regardless of price or actual necessity”.
Bellingham, WA based Fastcap is to woodworking tools what Lisle is to automotive tools. It started in 1997 when Cabinetmaker Paul Akers (not Bob) came up with the idea for adhesive screw cap covers and things took off from there. Today their product line features a few hundred products and goes well beyond woodworking. They're what you might call an innovation company offering everything from woodworking and home products to gardening and even iPhone and GoPro accessories, all of which appear to be unique in some way. If you have a little time to kill, their website is pretty cool as well. In addition to their catalog, they have a really nice Shop Tip Library, and like Lisle, they have an Idea Program that pays you for ideas they decide to use. In short, Fastcap is the type of company you can feel good about supporting.
K.I.S.S. Drill Bit System
K.I.S.S. stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid”. I can't say I was super crazy about the name, but looking at it you find yourself wondering why this thing wasn't invented years ago. My drill bits have always been stored in a box, which always sat in a drawer, which is always mixed in with a bunch of other crap. By the time I dig out the box, then dig through the pile looking for the right size, I've got several minutes invested in getting a bit. I never took the time to examine the process and quantify my effort, but when I saw this thing I instantly realized there was a much better way.
The KISS system is “ingeniously simplistic”. It really makes the bit organization process as simple as it can possibly be. The set comes with the sturdy ABS Index (organizer), 76 nice quality drill bits in 29 sizes (1/16″ to 1/2″), and 6 hex shank driver bits in #1 Phillips, #2 Phillips, and #2 Square (2 of each). The smallest sizes come with 4 bits of each size, medium sizes have 3, and the largest 16 sizes feature 2 of each. For a full list of included sizes click HERE.
I almost feel stupid explaining this, but each bit is imprinted with the size as well as color coded on the end. Each bit goes into a corresponding hole which is also imprinted with the size as well as color coded. If you don't get the hang of it in less than 30 seconds you need to turn in your man card and sell off your tools. The index measures 11.5″ wide, 7″ tall, and 7.5″ deep, it's a little big for all but the deepest of drawers, but sits nicely on a bench or tucked away by a drill press. It can also be easily wall mounted.
The included bits are HSS and nicely finished with a nickel like finish that won't rust quickly in the humid southern climates like black oxide tends to. They are the 135 degree split point, jobber length, that seems to be the standard now days. Fastcap recommends them for general purpose use in Wood, Aluminum, Mild Steel, and Stainless Steel. While HSS bits do alright in steel with cutting fluid, they aren't the best choice for routine service in steel. Nevertheless, they are nice all purpose bits and seem comparable in quality to similar offerings from Irwin and the like.
The index really makes for a nice user experience. Aside from the ease of organization and speed of selection, it simplifies the inventory process and promotes good shop practice. The color coded bits can also be re-ordered directly from Fastcap at prices comparable to similar quality bits at your local hardware or big box store.
Our buddy Rich McCabe over at WorkshopAddict did a short video on the KISS system:
The complete set with the index and bits retails for $199. If you have a thousand bits already and you aren't OCD to the point that everything has to match, you can order the index only for a mere $30. I suppose you could even color code your existing bits if you choose.
As you can see, the K.I.S.S. system is a pretty unique take on something you usually don't think much about. It's like a solution to a problem you didn't know you had, but you do. If you're big on organization or just tired of digging in drawers for drill bits, the K.I.S.S. system is a viable solution. If you're content with your current drill bit situation, Fastcap is sure to have something that interest you. Check them out @ Fastcap.com