I found myself in the shop yesterday building a quick bracket to mount some equipment in the house. Because I have a ton of scrap metal lying around (and a nice MIG welder), I built it out of metal. I tacked together a couple of pieces of 1/8″ x 5″ flat bar to make a flat panel, and I was about to weld on a couple of pieces of 16-gauge square tube when I noticed a box sitting on the shelf above my shop sink: drill screws.
Otherwise known as “self-tapping metal screws,” these little suckers are handy as hell. Because they feature a little drill bit on the tip of the screw, you don’t need to pre-drill holes for them. And the threads are tough enough to thread themselves, so you can leave the tap and die set in the drawer. Just flip the drill to high speed, hold the screw in place for a sec while it drills in, then drive the screw in. Done!
They’re no replacement for a drill and a tap, but they do a better job than you might think. You can easily remove the screw and re-install it afterward, which is enough for me. Essentially, you get a pain-free way to fasten two metal items, and you can pull them apart (more than once) with nothing but a screwdriver.
Instead of welding, I chose the drill screws, and it totally paid off. I ended up placing the bracing a little too far forward, but took only a minute to back the screws out and shoot them back in and over a little.
These screws saved me a ton of time, and I plan to keep a box around. You should, too. Expect to pay around $5 for a box of a bunch at your local big-box.