Arbortech Mini-TURBO - Review
We've been fans of Arbortech for a long time. First we heard about their insane AS170 Brick and Mortar Saw (here are our thoughts on an earlier version of the tool) and then we discovered that they also carry a line of interesting woodworking/carving tools, most notably, the Power Chisel and the Mini-Grinder. Not too long ago, they released a very intense grinder attachment called the TURBOPlane. It took the concept of a power planer and stuck it on the end of a whirling grinder chuck. It's pretty badass and the rate at which it removes wood is really impressive (our review is here).
So now, we got word that they're on the verge of releasing a smaller version of the tool called the Mini-TURBO. They were nice enough to get one into our hands. We gave it a good test run and here's what we think.
Well, it's a very cool item. It's a specialty one for sure, but it's certainly effective at what it does.
It can be attached to the Mini-Grinder or any 4-inch grinder body. Since there are probably a lot of people who don't own the Mini-Grinder but would be interested in this as a grinder accessory, that's how we tested it. So we put it on our Fein and started carving up some wood.
Installation onto the grinder is a snap. There's basically just a neck piece that you twist on the chuck just like you would a standard sanding backer. Then, the MiniTURBO easily attaches to the neck.
It's a very solid and well thought out design. The little carbide cutting blades are actually removable. Just loosen a little nut with an included tool and you can either replace the tooth or shift it a little.
The high point is that there are no cutting teeth on the outside edges of the disc. This means that the tool can be run along a template. Arbortech has a nice video of this in action. You can basically get a shape started and then ride the edge of the blade along the edge of the shape to make a deeper cut.
And as far as material removal goes, we can't imagine that anyone is going to be disappointed with the Mini-TURBO. It doesn't shave wood as much as it annihilates it. The picture below took maybe three seconds to do.
There is also a nice bit of control with the Mini-TURBO. We were able to quickly carve out some rough bowl with a high degree of accuracy. You're going to want the side handle on, but it's very easy to manage.
It also comes with a few compatible sanding pads to add a smooth finish to your work. Don't let this make you think that the planer blade leave a rough finish because it doesn't.
Our one complaint is that we wish it came with some kind of little case. If it was just the planer blade it would be one thing, but because there is the little tooth wrench, the adapter neck, the sanding pads, and a couple other bits of hardware, it's going to be tough to keep organized. Now we have to go and dig up some kind of box or all of the little pieces are just going to end up at the bottom of the grinder case.
It's also an expensive item at $140. This will likely scare away all of the people who are interested, but might not be sure if it's something they'll use. But if you know what this tool is about or if you have any experience with the TURBOPlane, you'll also know that it's a high quality accessory and worth the money.
Read More in: All Reviews | Grinders | Power Tool Accessories
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at September 19, 2013 9:47 PM