I've spent my fair share of afternoons trying to clean old gunked up bolts. I've used wire brushes and I've used small files (between the threads). One thing I haven't used is the Thread Wizard, mostly because I didn't know it existed until just a few days ago.
It's a simple little design and (judging from the video, at least) it looks pretty successful. It's basically a die with a wire brush set behind it. There are two models available (metric and SAE) and each is built to handle eight sizes of bolt. The design also allows for the tool to be held in the hand or clamped in a vise.
They cost $25 a piece, so if you want the set, it'll set you back $50. At first, I thought, "well, now THAT's expensive." But now that I'm thinking about it, the immediate ability to quickly clean up 16 different sized bolts is fairly significant. For the right person, I could see these things paying for themselves fairly quickly.
So Prolong has a product called SPL100 which is made with something they call AMFT (Anti-Friction Metal Treatment). At first glance, it seems like a WD40 type lube, something you could spray on just about anything to make it better. The Prolong website says that it can...
lubricate, penetrate, and prevent corrosion, free sticky mechanisms, displace moisture, stop squeaks, and reduce friction and wear on all metal surfaces. It cleans and protects metal surfaces, tools or any metal equipment exposed to water or weather.
Prolong sent us a few cans and spray bottles of the stuff to try out. We've used it in a number of applications, one in particular had an interesting result.
Last week we had the honor of attending this year's Milwaukee Product Symposium. It's their big annual to-do where they announce all of their new tools for the coming year. There were big tools, little tools, new tools, classic tools, and most of all embargoed tools. It's this last category that is driving us a little batty at the moment. These are the tools that Milwaukee is on the verge of releasing, but they're not 100 percent ready to make the public announcement yet, so all of us press types got to look at them, play with them, hear about them, but we can't talk about them. It's killing us too, because some of these tools are great. As in really great. One in particular (to us the highlight of the show) is so bizarre and off the beaten path that it makes their 12-volt Pex Expander look like a common everyday item. But enough about the things we can't talk about and on to the things that we can...
Everyone who's anyone has a set of locking pliers. Note: We're aware that they are more commonly referred to as Vise-Grips, but that is the name given to the tool by the most popular and influential manufacturer, Irwin. Swanson once sent lawyers after us for using 'Speed Square' in the generic sense, so we want to avoid having to deal with that BS again. Locking pliers are an essential part of the toolbox and their functionality seems to have remained fairly unchanged since the dawn of time. That is....until now (cue 2001: A Space Odyssey music).
A number of new press releases have recently hit the inbox. We'd normally do each one as its own post, but laziness has taken hold and it has a firm grip. All of the press releases are below the fold in the order that the images appear. Enjoy.
We've used bandsaws on a variety of job sites, but its always been on metal, so we sort of mentally anchored the tool to that material. Now, after having the MasterForce cordless bandsaw just kicking around the shop for about two months, we can say that the bandsaw is a far more versatile tool than we gave it credit for. In fact, it's sort of our new best friend.
RotoZip is on the verge of releasing something called the ZipSaw which seems to walk the line between a 'grinder' and, well, a 'grinder.' It looks like a good one-stop tool for a tile installer, but it's likely that anyone could find plenty for it to do.
It really is just a grinder with a slightly modified body shape, optimized for cutting rather than grinding. So the difference is an ergonomic one. It has the same detachable side handle as a grinder and the same power (7amps - there are plenty of grinders that get up into the 12-13 amp range, but they're built for hours of metal grinding, not tile work like this tool).
When equipped with a RotoZip XWheel, the ZipSaw is capable of a flush cut, which is a nice feature. Because there are XWheels available that can cut metal, tile, and wood, this looks like the ZipSaw could be good tool to have around, especially for a bathroom or kitchen remodel. The dust collection system makes it even more appealing. We've never had any issues with our RotoZip and in fact, we're constantly impressed with its durability, which gives us high hopes for the ZipSaw.
The tool, a couple wheels, and a dust collection kit will be sold for $100.
Watching a plasma cutter in action is an impressive thing. We first saw one on a job site where we had to cut away a section of 1/4" stainless steel plate. It was far too big of a job for a recip saw and we couldn't get a band saw in the cramped conditions (and who knows if that would have even worked), so we called on the metal guys and their plasma cutter. The process took about 1/2 of a day, 7/8 of which consisted of the electrician wiring a plug, and everyone else setting up protection so nothing would catch on fire.
The actual work was done in about 15 minutes of light, sparks, and dropping blobs of hot metal. The ease with which the cutter diced the stainless was pretty intense and left us in awe of these 'anti-welders.'
So it was cool to hear that Miller has just released a new plasma cutter that makes the whole portability factor a whole lot easier. it's got a feature called Auto-Line which means it can run on a variety of input voltages without compromising the cutting quality. It can also handle changes in power input (say if it's running off a generator). This translates into not needing an electrician and a much quicker set-up. Not to mention the wider variety of situations it can handle.
The Spectrum weighs about 55 lbs so it's nice and portable. It's capable of cutting metal up to 1-1/4" thick, so it should be able to handle most jobsite issues.
The Miller costs about $1950 and it's at Amazon.com
The press release with more information is after the jump.
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