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Easy Ground Rod Driver

by Paul Quillen, N4LCD

Everyone has problems driving an 8' ground rod into the ground with a sledge hammer. The rod wobbles every time you hit it.  And it's easy to miss a wobbly target 7' off the ground even if you try to hold it still.

I bought a Bosch 11224VSRK Rotary Hammer from Lowe's in Lexington, Virginia for $229.00.  (If you think that $229 is extravagant for driving in a few ground rods, compare that to the the loss of productivity, and the doctor and hospital bills from a broken wrist or hand.)  

A Rotary Hammer is like a Hammer Drill, except more heavy duty and it doesn't have the normal Jacobs chuck.  It has an SDS PLUS chuck which is designed for holding hammering type tools.

I bought this particular model because it was made by Bosch, in Germany. It's also the cheapest Bosch Rotary Hammer that has 3 modes of operation which are:

1. Hammer only. (what I needed)
2. Hammer and Rotation.
3. Rotation only.

Since it was the kit version (note the K on the end of the model number), it came with a package of hammer drill bits, plus a 10" long 3/4" wide chisel. The center portion of the chisel is a 6" long round shank which is 0.548" diameter.

The 8' Lowe's copper clad ground rod is 0.565 diameter.

So they're both pretty close to 9/16" diameter.

I cut off the chisel end of the 10" chisel using a rotary air grinder with an abrasive disk, then squared up the end as good as possible, and then chamfered it.

I got a piece of automotive heater hose about 6" long. It measures about 9/16" ID.

I slid about 3" of the heater hose over the top of the ground rod and secured it tightly to the ground rod with a worm screw hose clamp. The remaining 3 inches of heater hose sticking up above the ground rod acts as a guide.

Then I put my 8' step ladder next to the ground rod and inserted the former chisel's shank into the 3" of rubber hose sticking out above the top of the ground rod, and pulled the trigger.

Within a couple of minutes the ground rod was 7.5 feet into the ground. I didn't even have to push on the Rotary Hammer. I just held it firmly on top of the ground rod.


Picture of the Bosch 11224VSRK Rotary Hammer with SDS Plus chuck:


Bosch SDS Plus Hammer Chisel tool with the chisel end cut off:


Lowe's 8' Ground rod with 3" of the 6" of automotive heater hose clamped around it:


Bosch Rotary Hammer two minutes after starting. Note that the selector knob is in the hammer only position: