June 23, 2009
Bosch has been one of the leaders in the 12-volt li-ion market and it seems that now they're branching off into the even smaller 4-volt category. We have no idea if they're going to get into tools other than their Pocket Screwdriver, and for the purpose of this review, we don't really care. We're here to review the SPS10-2 and that's what we're going to do.
Continue reading: "Bosch SPS10-2 4-Volt Pocket Screwdriver - Review"
June 18, 2009
If you live in Columbus, Ohio, or even if you live within a thousand miles of Columbus, Ohio, you should go to the Power Tool Drag Races this weekend. They're being held at the Columbus Idea Foundry from 4 to 6. If you want to enter your own dragster, you still have time because registration ends this Friday. If you don't have the time, but want to enter next year, they're holding a workshop on how to make your own tools into drag racers. How cool is that?
This is the first annual Columbus race and we hope that all of you who are able to go make it out for the event. It looks like a lot of fun, and the more people who show, the better the chance of it becoming an institution. Just think, someday you can tell your grandkids, "I was at the very first Columbus Power Tool Drag Race..."
Prizes for the event are being supplied by the great Ohio Power Tool and other sponsors include C.H. Hanson and Skil. There is more information on the Drag Races at the official site (http://www.powertooldragracescolumbus.com/).
In the spirit of the races, we'll send a tool to the first person who correctly identifies the movie that the above image came from. Just leave it in the comments.
June 15, 2009
Last week we were lucky enough to go out to the Milwaukee Tools HQ to get a glimpse at some of the new releases they've got all geared up for this year. As one of our favorite tool companies, they didn't disappoint with the sheer variety and usefulness of their new tools and accessories.
A few of the highlights of what we saw were...
18-Volt Cordless Bandsaw - They're still putting the finishing touches on this one, but were nice enough to let us try it out and, honestly, it's the kind of tool that makes us wish we had taken up plumbing instead of carpentry. It's got a whole lot of power but it's light enough to easily work with both above your head and in tight spaces. Having an awareness of how people will be using it, Milwaukee has made the shoe retractable, so the tool is able to cut a pipe that's already attached to a wall. It's one of those tools that makes your chest swell a bit when you hold it. There will also be a corded version available and both will be hitting the market probably in October.
Shockwave Driver Bits - This is one of those ideas that, once you hear it, you wonder why it took so long for someone to think it up. Driver bits built specifically for impact drivers. Anyone who spends time on a job site these days (like we do), knows that impact drivers are taking over. That said, they really do a number on driver bits so Milwaukee has tailored this new line to withstand the abuse. In addition to other features, the new bits have a slight degree of flexibility in order to handle the added intensity of the impact driver.
Cordless Tubing Cutter - Much like their copper pipe cutter from last year, this one is a real niche tool. We tried it out and it had no problem slicing up pex and pvc. It has a great feel and possibly the power to do a little topiary sculpting as well.
Testing and Measurement Tools - This is a new area for Milwaukee, but judging from what we saw, they're going to quickly establish themselves in the market. Of the tools, the most interesting is the Sub-Scanner which is sort of like an amped up, battle-crazed stud finder. It can be used to find studs and pipes in walls and ceilings, as well as rebar in concrete. The cool thing about it is that it lets you know the exact depth of what it is you're finding, so if you only have one option for placing that pipe hanger, you'll know that only a 2" screw will work because of the rebar that's hidden in the wall.
Those are just some of the highlights and by no means a complete overview of what we saw. Milwaukee is also rolling out some nice 12-volt LED flashlights, a 12-volt power port, a very cool looking mini-radio, oh and about a thousand new grinders.
Follow the action over at Milwaukee Tools.
Milwaukee tools at Amazon.com
June 8, 2009
Skil recently released a 4-piece Li-Ion combo kit and in addition were nice enough to let us test one out. The kit includes 2 batteries, a drill/driver, a circular saw, a reciprocating saw, and a charger. All put together it can be packed comfortably into the carrying bag. For the review, we're going to look at each tool separately and then close with some general thoughts on the kit as a whole.
Continue reading: "Skil 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 4-Piece Combo Kit"
June 3, 2009
In late March, we told you about Porter-Cable's seven new 18-volt cordless tools. It looks like they're now finally available in stores. Just in time for Father's Day.
It looks like the best place to find these tools is at Lowes, but from what we understand they will be sold at other retailers as well.
There is more information at the website: deltaportercable.com/18volt/
Porter Cable tools at Lowes
May 28, 2009
The madmen who brought us the Rage Circular Saw (which is capable of cutting the Golden Gate Bridge in half) have recently expanded their rugged technology into a mini-compound miter saw called the Fury3.
This saw, like the Rage can cut through everything from steel to wood to aluminum. Having the ability to make a quick (and straight) cut on a metal stud, trim a 2x4 and also zip the end off an aluminum gutter all with the same saw sounds pretty appealing. As with the Rage, this multi-material cutting power seems to be a combination of the hi-torque gear box and the blade design.
Because the saw is only 8-1/4", it weighs a mere 22 lbs. so it's going to be easily portable and it'll be no problem carrying it up a ladder or slinging it on some pipe staging. Neither of these things you want to do with a 12".
The Fury3 sells for around $200 which sounds to us like a great price for what it could be capable of. We do wonder about blade life though. Regardless of design, how much abuse can any blade take? In addition it's not like you can mosey into the local Home Depot and get a blade for this tool, you'll need to go to the manufacturer (who, at this point, doesn't even list replacement blades on their store).
May 19, 2009
If you've ever wanted a cordless screwdriver that charged so fast it was at risk of opening a worm hole, your day has come. Coleman's Flashcell 5.4-volt screwdriver charges in all of 90 seconds, shorter than the time it takes for Paula Abdul to ramble out her opinion on American Idol.
This tool has actually been out for well over a year and we've been meaning to write about it, but we figured we'd wait to see if it caught on or not. At the moment, Coleman's Flashcell website happily announces that the item is sold out and that you can email them to get on a waiting list. We also saw that it's at Amazon, with no indication of being sold out. To further confuse us, an old Gizmodo post from October 07 states that the tool costs $100. But back at Amazon, it's currently being peddled for $40. Not exactly an indicator of a high demand item.
Either way, it does look like an interesting tool and particularly handy for all of you city apartment dwellers out there who don't have a need for a larger cordless driver and who live in such a fast-paced world that even the 90 second charging time is bordering on too long.
May 11, 2009
Last Friday was a sad day for us because it marked the last breath from our Makita Drill. It's been our go-to cordless since the Panasonic died in November 2006 and during that time it's been a total badass. It's funny, but with all the hooplah about lithium-ion and compact this and micro that, it was always the 14.4 NiMH tool we'd go for. Over the two plus years it served us, it never gave out, took a tremendous beating and managed to do everything we asked of it, some of which was pretty extreme. Tools like this we practically consider to be our friends and we really hate to see it go. But since now the chuck won't spin and it only makes a strange farting noise, into the abyss it goes. Goodbye pal.
We still don't have a replacement and are happily taking suggestions/recommendations in the comments section.
Makita 14.4 Drill, Impact Driver, and Flashlight at Amazon.com
April 27, 2009
Ridgid recently increased the capabilities of their SeeSnake with the release of two new monitors for the system. The big selling point on these two new items seems to be the fact that they can be powered by both standard AC or with Ridgid's 18-volt li-ion battery. This feature obviously translates into a much greater degree of portability and ease of use.
The LCDPak is the larger of the two new monitors. It's got a 10.4" color LCD display with 640x480 resolution and ten levels of light adjustment. The LCDPak can run for about five hours on two 18-volt batteries, but can also operate for a shorter time on one if need be.
The MiniPak is a smaller version and can also be run off of both power sources. It has a 5.7" color display and only takes one battery to get to the five hour mark.
Keep in mind that these monitors are part of the SeeSnake system and aren't necessarily sold with the SeeSnake camera hose. They are also high-powered pieces of digital equipment and are priced accordingly. As stand-alone items, the LCDPak and MiniPak retail for $2,600 and $2,000 respectively. It ain't cheap, but that's not to say it's not handy either (hellooo double negative). We've played around with both the Ridgid and Milwaukee hand held versions of the inspection camera and quickly saw how these larger models could be helpful. They're not really items for the homeowner, but someone in the trades could put them to good use.
MiniPak at Ohio Power Tools
LCDPak at Ohio Power Tools
Here's a video with more information on the LCDpak:
April 2, 2009
Next month, Porter-Cable is releasing two new corded power tools, a 3/8" drill and a 6-amp jigsaw. These tools are part of a larger roll out that includes two new batteries and seven new cordless tools. They'll all be available at Lowes and other retailers.
From the press release...
With a high-output, 6.0 amp motor capable of 0 to 2,500 revolutions-per-minute (RPM), the PORTER-CABLE 3/8-inch drill (PC600D) is designed to provide the speed needed for a variety of drilling applications. The high-torque gear design makes the drill ideal for metal and wood fabrication, pilot hole drilling in deck building or frame construction, and other applications requiring the extended run-time of a corded drill.
The lightweight, hand-held drill incorporates a range of professional features, including:
a variable-speed trigger for application-specific speed control; a two-sleeve, keyless chuck for quick bit changes; a belt clip for securing the tool; and a six-foot-long, high-grade cord.
The PC600D will be available in April 2009 for a suggested retail price of $44.97.
The PORTER-CABLE jigsaw (PC600JS) is outfitted with a high-output, 6.0 amp motor capable of 0 to 3,200 strokes-per-minute (SPM) and offers a four-position orbital setting, encouraging productivity and user-controlled cutting performance across a range of materials and projects.
For accurate bevel cutting, the cast shoe has detents at 0, 15, 30 and 45 degrees. The jigsaw also includes a shoe cover to protect the shoe when not in use and to protect softer surfaces when cutting. Additional features include an on-board LED light for increased visibility of the work piece and cutline; tool-free bevel adjustments and blade changing; a seven-position speed dial for fine adjustments; and a six-foot-long, high-grade cord.
The jigsaw is ideal for cutting plywood, sink cutouts, scrollwork, art projects, shelving, as well as cutting designs into dimensional lumber. The PC600JS will be available in July 2009 for a suggested retail price of $79.97.