September 5, 2012
Next month, Black and Decker will be getting into the modular tool arena with something called the Matrix. It's sort of their version of the Ridgid JobMax. It's a battery-powered handle with a PTO end that can accept a variety of different tool heads ranging from a sander to an oscillating tool to a router to a mini-circular saw. It looks like B&D has two different bodies to choose from; one powered by a 12 volt battery and one powered by a 20 volt battery. An AC version in en route and will arrive early next year.
The kits come with a drill/driver attachment and the other available heads are...
From the B&D website:
Impact Driver Attachment
• Up to 1,300 in-lbs of torque** for tough fastening applications
Oscillating Multi-Tool Attachment
• Up to 18,500 OPM (oscillations per minute)** for precision and performance when sanding, cutting, scraping, grinding, or paint removal
• Tool-free release that allows users to quickly change between accessories
• Up to 2,800 SPM (strokes per minute)** for fast straight cutting or detailed curve cutting in wood, metal and plastic
Detail Sander Attachment
• Compact tool for access into tight spaces
• Up to 9,000 RPM (revolutions per minute)**- ideal for use on decorative edging projects, small woodworking projects and more
Trim Saw Attachment
• Up to 3,400 RPM (revolutions per minute)** for use on plywood, paneling and fence boards
One thing that's funky about the Matrix is that they've opted to go with a screw gun-like base, rather than a 'lightsaber' base like Ridgid used. Not sure how easy the router head will be with the Matrix, but we'll see. There are always drawbacks with the 'one-tool-does-everything' scenario and here the handle may cause some issues.
It's doubtful that the Matrix will be able to handle the abuse of a construction site, but that's OK. If it functions as advertised, it could be a nice item for a DIYer looking to consolidate or an apartment dweller who is looking for a lot of functionality but only has room for one or two tool boxes.
At Black and Decker
July 11, 2011
CNC Machines live in that mysterious world of the professional metal shop. You've got to be a pretty intense dude to have one of these things in your garage. What they are is automatic cutting systems that work through a computer program. Draw something in a CAD program, load it over to the CNC machine and it carves or cuts out the shape. These things are usually massive and some of them are even encased in a large chamber with a constant oil spray to lube up the cut.
So anyway, Torchmate, a well-respected name in the CNC world has recently released a smaller version of their popular machine. This new one, the 2x2 has a much smaller bed and is intended to be a user-friendly version of their larger machines, one that will hopefully appeal to the average Joe hobbyist. They were nice enough to send us one to play around with for a while and we happily agreed.
Continue reading: "Torchmate 2x2 CNC Prototyping Machine - Review"
June 8, 2011
The release of the Bosch Colt a few years back seemed to be the official kick-off of the 1+ horsepower laminate trimmer/router. We don't know if it was the first or not, but it was certainly the first that made a real beachhead on the construction site. We got one right when it came out and since then, we've hardly used our full-sized router at all. Now, most brands have these little workhorses and last year, DeWalt upped the game with their own version complete with a plunge base. Porter-Cable has followed suit (not surprisingly, now that they have the same parent company as DeWalt) and released their fixed/plunge base model (that looks eerily similar to the DeWalt, minus the variable speed). They sent us one to check out and we found some good and some, well, not so good...
Continue reading: "Porter-Cable Compact Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit 450PK - Review"
September 16, 2010
Dremel recently released a funky looking tool called the Trio (and were nice enough to send us one to review). In the great Venn diagram of power tool abilities, it seems to overlap with 'rotary tool,' 'router,' and 'RotoZip (aka spiral saw).' We're generally wary of tools that try to do too much (seems like they usually end up doing not too much of anything) but because of our very high regard for Dremel, we had hope and were looking forward to digging into the Trio.
As it turns out we found some good and some bad. Unfortunately, more of the latter than the former...
Continue reading: "Dremel 6800-01 Trio - Review"
Update: we heard from Dremel and as it turns out, we were using the Trio in an incorrect manner. We've updated the review with some clarifications. Amazing, eh? We write a post about tool safety and then rip this thing out of the box and start using it without reading the instructions...."
September 3, 2010
has just announced the release of a new compact router which appears to sit the fence between 'laminate trimmer' and 'router.' It's got that Bosch Colt vibe, but with a 1-1/4 hp motor it's more powerful (the Colt has 1hp) and with the plunge base, more versatile.
We really like the looks of this one. The Colt has been our go-to router for years. As a day to-day-carpenter, there is rarely a need for a full-sized router. We're usually just doing a sill bullnose or a casing bead, nothing too big. So looking over the press release, there are a few things that stand out as features that set this one apart from the competition. The first is an LED set-up that illuminates the workpiece. We scoffed at LEDs when they first started showing up on drills, but now we're full-on Kool-Aid drinkers on the things. The second feature is the plunge base. Having the plunge ability on a small router is a great idea and this seems to be a first for that.
The fixed base model is going to retail for about $140 which is $25 more than the similar Colt kit. The full kit with the plunge base will go for $200.
The press release is after the jump...
Continue reading: "DeWalt DWP611 Compact Router"
July 16, 2010
It's amazing what a handle can do.
When you boil the Dremel Trio down to it's mechanics, it's a rotary tool, just like the million-and-a half other rotary tools that Dremel has released over the years. But when you get creative with the handle (and in this case we would say, 'very creative'), all of a sudden you have not only a standard rotary tool but a mini-router as well, and sort of a jig saw, and kind of a RotoZip and maybe this and a bit of that. It's kind of tricky to wrap the head around this little item with it's pivoting handle and its plunge-cutting ability.
Well, actually it's not that little. At least not as little as we thought. We played around with one at Home Depot and the body is actually 'softball-sized' where, from the picture, we were thinking more along the lines of 'baseball.' This size has allowed Dremel to stuff in a 2 amp motor, which makes the Trio more powerful than any of their rotary tools to date (the Dremel 4000 has a 1.6 amp motor).
We see the Trio being useful to the woodworker and hobbyist, particularly with the plunge-cutting ability. We have our reservations on bit-life though. If you've ever used a Roto-Zip, you know that embedding a spiral blade in wood and scrolling around with it equals a severely short bit life. Dremel may have addressed this, as we noticed a disclaimer on the Dremel site saying that the Trio is not compatible with standard rotary tool accessories. Sounds like they've made a more durable set with the Trio in mind.
The Trio is currently available at Home Depot and Amazon.com (only pre-order at Amazon though, with a release date of Sept 15th...wonder what it took for HD to get first dibs?)
November 27, 2009
"Man, this thing has some stones."
That's what our coworker said after borrowing the Dremel 4000 to fine tune a radius cut on a piece of 1/8" steel. The grinder bit was devastated after the five minute process, but the tool seemed like it was just getting warmed up.
The Dremel 4000 is simply the latest update to Dremel's omnipresent rotary tool. Over the years, we've tried a number of different rotary tools and we keep coming back to the fact that Dremel is where it's at in this category. In fact no one we know even uses the term 'rotary tool,' preferring to use 'Dremel' as the catch all, like 'Kleenex.' So with the release of this new installment in the ongoing Dremel saga, the company was nice enough to ship a unit our way for reviewing purposes. We immediately tossed it in the back of the truck and headed off to work to see what it was capable of.
So what's new with the Dremel 4000? Quite a bit actually. And as an added bonus, the changes are pretty significant when it comes to the functionality of the tool.
First, the 4000 is more powerful than its predecessors, ticking in at 1.6 amps, as opposed to the 1.15 amps of earlier models. We understand that 0.45 amps might not sound like much, but here it makes a large difference. Compared head to head with an older Dremel, the 4000 has reached a strength level that really increases the uses of the rotary tool. Until now, we saw Dremels as items that are useful in many situations, but their 'hobbyist' vibe (read: low strength) prevented us from embracing them as a job site item. Since we're coming at things from a carpenter's perspective, the added strength is right up our alley and, like we said, it opens a lot of new doors for the tool.
But there's also a 'double-edge sword' thing going on here though. Yes, the tool is more powerful, but because of this added strength, the Dremel has outgrown some of its accessories. We used the 4000 to tinker around with the pre-cut lock set openings on a metal door and while the tool showed no signs of stress, we went through the grinder accessories like they were made of origami paper. They might be fine for someone sitting in their basement carving ducks, but on a job site, a more aggressive grinder wheel is necessary. If we were Dremel, we'd start considering a 'Pro Line' of accessories. If they're going to make a tool with this strength, morons like us are going to push it well beyond its limits on a regular basis. (For all of you non-carpenters out there reading this, you can probably ignore this paragraph and take comfort in the fact that the Dremel 4000 is powerful enough to do what you ask.)
The added power is just one of the cool things about the 4000. There is also a new handle attachment called a 'detailer's grip,' that screws onto the chuck and allows a tremendous amount of control over the tool (not available in all kits). During use the handle would loosen some, but this was nothing more than a minor irritation compared to the level of added maneuverability. The kit we used also had a sanding guide and a multi-purpose cutting guide (not available in all kits).
To wrap things up, this is a fantastic tool and by far the best rotary tool in Dremel's already stellar line up. The ergonomics are off the charts and like our pal so eloquently said, it does indeed have 'stones.' Lots of 'em.
It looks like there are three kits available, the differences being in the number of included accessories and chuck attachments. We tested out the 3/34 (3 attachments, 34 accessories), and after looking at the other kits, that's probably the one we'd recommend. There is also a 2/30 kit and a mega 6/50. We suggest checking out each kit to see which one suits your needs best.
Dremel 4000 2/30 at Amazon.com ($80)
Dremel 4000 3/34 at Amazon.com ($87)
Dremel 4000 6/50 at Amazon.com ($150)
July 28, 2008
Festool has recently bombarded the market with four new tools; a modular router, a full-size router, an upgraded workbench, and the much talked about Kapex miter saw. Not only does Festool operate at a level of quality that must frustrate other tool makers, but they are one of the few companies who consistently design from the ground up, seemingly forgetting everything they know about the tool at hand and starting over with, usually, fresh and revolutionary ideas. We got a chance to test out their new MFK 700 Trim Router and were excited at the potential of this tool.
Continue reading: "Festool MFK 700 Modular Router - Review"
May 19, 2008
Recently Festool launched a number of new tools and among them is a new trim router called the MFK 700. We've used the Bosch Colt quite a bit and we're interested to see how the Festool compares. We're willing to bet that the Festool is one seriously precise machine. The basic kit (with just the vertical base) goes for over $500 while a fully-equipped Colt (with 4 bases) isn't even $175. We're pretty interested to see where that extra $325 is going. We're going to start playing around with it this week and we'll post up a review as soon as we can.
March 1, 2008
To accompany the release of their new MFK 700 router/laminate trimmer (as well as the MFT/3 Workbench), Festool has also updated their large model router into the new OF 2200. According to the Festool website, there are "nearly 40 unique features" on the new tool. While, we didn't bother to count out and verify this oddly high number, we did spend plenty of time on the Festool website and can say that it seems apparent that the OF 2200 has everything anyone would ever want in a full-sized router. It's insane, actually.
Since we really don't even know where to start, we're just going cover a few of the more impressive features.
Continue reading: "Festool OF 2200 Router"
Along with their OF 2200 Plunge Router and the MFT/3 Workbench, Festool has just announced the U.S. release of the MFK 700. To date, it's the smallest of their routers, but this in no way means that it's light on features. In fact, it's pretty heavy on them, and from what we can tell, there isn't a bad one on the list.
The MFK 700 comes with two bases; one for horizontal routing and one for vertical routing. The change from one to the other is made with a tool free system (just a locking knob) and, from the looks of it, it can be done very quickly.
Continue reading: "Festool MFK 700 Modular Router"
Festool, maker of some very good (and wildly expensive) power tools has just dropped a bomb with news of three new tools to be released this spring. Earlier in the week, we had heard that they were going to make an announcement and were hoping that the Kapex Miter Saw was going to be one of the tools, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer for that one. Instead, they're releasing a completely new modular router, upgrading their larger plunge router, and upgrading their work table. Each tool has its own website where you can get overload yourself on all the features, pops, and buzzes of these new releases.
Read more about the:
MFK 700 Modular Router
OF 2200 Plunge Router
February 28, 2007
We are big fans of Bosch tools. They're durable, they look good, and they're incredibly precise. That said, it comes as little surprise that the Bosch Colt Variable Speed Router is an outstanding tool and is now our go-to router for all small and medium sized jobs.
This little machine has some serious power behind it (one horsepower), and the ergonomic grip is far superior to anything we've ever seen on a router of this size. The adjustments, knobs, and on/off switch are all in the right place, making the operation of the Colt feel natural and easy.
The Colt's other perks include a soft start, a 1/4 inch collet, a nice carrying case, an edge guide, and a variable speed dial. Bosch does sell a version of the Colt that is single speed, but having the option to set the speed is worth the additional cost.
Continue reading: "Bosch Colt Variable Speed Router - Review"