This edition of Tool News Nirvana is chock full of new cordless tools from Milwaukee and Makita along with a few less mainstream tools like illuminated fish rod tips and borescopes you can view on your iPhone or iPad. Plus, we’ve got giveaways from Bosch and Festool to tell you about. Oh, and a slew of other tool news from Metabo, Powermatic, and Worx, just to name a few. Read on for the latest innovations and news in tools and accessories for the home fixated!
Milwaukee M4 Cordless Screwdriver
The crew over at Milwaukee always has new tricks up their sleeves. The tool stork recently appeared with Milwaukee’s latest baby: the M4 Cordless Screwdriver. I know exactly what you’re thinking, “Wait, isn’t M4 the British Directorate of Military Intelligence?” Nope, that’s MI4. M4 is not where James Bond works, it’s Milwaukee’s opening salvo in the battle for more compact cordless tools. Over the years we’ve been impressed with what Milwaukee (and others) have managed to pack into their 12v lineup. This first in the new M4 line is what we expect to join many more tools that promise to give even more portability to select tools. Will we see an M4 jackhammer? The Magic Eight Ball says “Signs point to no.” However, other tools previously unseen in the ultra-compact realm wouldn’t surprise us? Who knows, maybe Milwaukee will figure out how to bring a mini impact driver to the market. In the meantime, you’ll need to settle for their M4 Screwdriver.
We have to say, while it looks practical, this tool does not look sexy. The M4 sports a form factor that looks very similar to just about every inline cordless screwdriver in the last decade or two, albeit with an articulating body. Milwaukee specs the tool as follows: “Featuring 44 in-lbs of peak torque and a 21-position clutch with auto shut-off, the new screwdriver offers improved torque control during repetitive applications. Two speeds, 200 and 600 RPM, offer further user control for precision work. At only 244 millimeters in length and under one pound, the M4™ Screwdriver is easy to use with one hand, featuring ¼” quick-change chuck for one-handed bit changes.” They also go on to say that the tool drills “more than 200 holes per charge.” We don’t quite get hole drilling benchmark here. What diameter holes? At what depth? And, why are they drilling holes with a sub-compact screwdriver? We think a “Drives X Number of X Length screws” metric might be a little more appropriate here, but what do we know? Regardless of our style and marketing lingo concerns, if the M4 Screwdriver is like its bigger M12 siblings, we expect it to be the first of many useful ultra compact M4 tools from Milwaukee. We can’t wait to report on what else is coming down the pipeline. Stay tuned!
Milwaukee M12 Cordless Caulk Gun
Up until now, cordless caulk guns have tended to be a bit on the bulky and heavy side. According to David Lincoln, Product Manager for Milwaukee, “The M12™ Caulk and Adhesive gun is a lightweight, compact, and affordable solution that allows users to eliminate the excessive fatigue they experience by using repetitive manual tools all day. This new tool is optimized for use with common construction sealants and adhesives.” In addition, a Reversing Anti-Drip feature automatically backs up the plunger to relieve pressure from the tube, because nobody likes dripping caulk. I can almost hear the giggles. It even has a hook like those you’re accustomed to on manual caulk guns. According to Milwaukee, this small beast will dispense up to 150 10oz tubes of building sealant on a single charge. That’s an impressive figure! If you dispense any more than a couple tubes a day manually, run to off to buy one of these asap!
New Milwaukee Ductwork and Drywall Sawzall Blades
Not all the latest Milwaukee action is in cordless. They also recently released two new Sawzall blades, one for ductwork and the other for drywall. We were able to give these blades a go at a Milwaukee media event in the summer, and can say they most definitely make quick work of cutting ductwork sheet metal and drywall. We also saw, and heard, the traditional (sucky) way of cutting into ductwork. That method involved unceremoniously bashing a large screwdriver into the duct with a hammer and then using snips. I don’t know if you’ve ever stood next to a hollow box of sheet metal having the “sheet” pounded out of it, but it’s insanely loud, not much fun, and can introduce unwanted bends into your ductwork. The ductwork Sawzall blade appeared to be many times faster, and even more times quieter.
The Drywall Access Sawzall blade is primarily designed for electricians and plumbers (and smart DIY’ers) who need to cut into drywall but would prefer to avoid puncturing water lines or severing electrical wiring. The blade has a blunt tip, and the blade itself lasers through drywall, but with a deliberately dull blade. The biggest surprise for us when testing this blade was that it can cut in any direction, without even having to rotate the orientation of the blade. The result are wicked-fast cuts and turns that would make a Nascar driver jealous, all while hopefully avoiding “hydrogeddon” or a shocking display of electrical sparks, or worse yet, both.
Makita 18V X2 LXT® 1″ Rotary Hammer (36V)
Makita is doubling up on 18V LXT batteries to bring corded performance to their cordless platform and create a mean looking beast of a tool in the process. For all the high-power action, check out their vid:
Makita 18V LXT Cordless Fan
It may not be the season for it, but who hasn’t gotten a little hot on the job? Aside from comfort, how many times have you read the phrase “use with adequate ventilation” on a project? Makita’s foray further into the 18V realm has led to the unexpected BCF201Z cordless 18V fan. It sports two settings (high 1,700 RPM, low 1,200), and according to Makita, will keep the breeze flowing for up to 3 hours of continuous run time in low speed. It can be powered by Makita 14.4 – 18V Lithium-Ion batteries, or an AC adapter. It also has a 3-stage automatic timer that offers 1, 2 and 4-hour power-off selection in case you want your fan to work while you’re gone. After all, who wants to watch paint dry? We’re not sure if these will be more popular on the job, at summer tailgate festivities, or for giving Miss Makita and Señorita Makita that wind-blown look during photo shoots. You can find the tool-only version of the BCF201Z 18-volt LXT Cordless Fan for just over $90 on Amazon.
Makita 12V Cordless Jig Saw
Back when we reviewed the fantastic Milwaukee M12 cordless jig saw, we wondered why Milwaukee seemed to be the only company embracing the 12v line for jig saw use. Apparently Makita wondered the same thing. Makita’s latest 12V entry sports a more conventional top handle grip compared to Milwaukee’s hybrid grip design. According to Makita, “The new VJ01W is powered by a Makita-built motor that delivers 0-2,400 strokes per minute, with a variable speed control dial that enables the user to match the speed to the application. With 3 orbital settings plus straight cutting, the VJ01W is ideal for cutting a wide range of materials. The VJ01W has a through-the-body dust port for use with a vacuum to provide efficient dust management, and a built-in dust blower to clear the line-of-cut for improved visibility.” Having a dust port for a vac essentially turns this into a “corded” product in terms of maneuverability, so we’re glad to hear Makita included a dust blower too. The lack of a dust blower was really the only real flaw we could find in Milwaukee’s cordless M12 jig saw, so the Makita may have an edge there. While we prefer trigger control of speed (vs Makita’s dial), it sounds like an interesting new tool worth a look. It’s just over $142 via Amazon: Makita VJ01W 12V Cordless Jig Saw Kit
Metabo GE 950 Die Grinder
Metabo so loves their new GE950 Plus high torque die grinder that they sacrificed the perfectly good Mercedes seen here to show it in action. Now that’s commitment! The GE950 Plus features a unique spindle lock that makes accessory changes quick and easy using a single wrench. With speeds from 2,500 rpm – 8,700 rpm, the new die grinder can be used for polishing and graining, sanding, deburring, edge finishing, beveling and cutting metal (and defacing Mercedes vehicles, if that’s your thing). Inside lurks a LongLife motor delivering 950 watts of power, a rated load of 7,200 rpm and 27 inch-lbs of torque. The tool also has thermal overload protection, electronic speed stabilization and an electronic soft start to significantly extend tool life (and maybe keep all that torque from jumping out of your hands at startup). A soft rubber grip helps minimize vibes and insulates your hands as well.
Metabo KHE 3250 Rotary Hammer
The new Metabo KHE 3250 1-1/8” SDS-Plus rotary hammer is rumored (by Metabo) to have the highest power to weight ratio in its class.
The KHE 3250 SDS-Plus rotary hammer has a LongLife 7.2 A motor to provide 0 – 4,470 blows per minute at a force of 0 – 3.1 joules per blow and a no-load RPM of 0 – 1,150. Drilling capacity of the new rotary hammer is 1-1/8” in concrete using solid bits, 3-1/8” in brickwork using thin wall core bits, 1/2” in mild steel and 1-3/8” in softwood.
A nifty rotary switch selects between drilling with impact, rotary drilling without impact and chipping. Both the 360 degree side handle and the rear handle are engineered with anti-vibration in mind to help prevent those after-drilling-jitters.
Worx Semi Automatic Driver
Here’s a tool that Clint Eastwood would love (the “Dirty Harry” Clint Eastwood, not the “Talking to Imaginary Obama” Clint Eastwood). This cordless weapon from Worx brandishes a six slot revolving chamber that rotates screwdriving bits in and out as needed, without you touching a single bit. Draw back the magazine to advance a bit into the chamber, then slide forward; you’re now locked and loaded just like Seal Team Six. It even includes a screw starter drill bit to pinpoint a pilot hole. According to Worx, “The rotating cartridge assures that the most common bits are always in place and ready to use. Since 1-in., hex-shanked bits are widely available at hardware stores and home centers, the user can customize the cartridge to meet specific needs, whether the job calls for slotted, Phillips, square-recess, hex, Torx or a combination of bits.” The tool uses a built-in 4V Lithium-ion and a full charge takes 5 hours, so we don’t imagine a whole lot of pros will be buying these up for high intensity work. But for the DIY crowd, this could be a fun tool for light-duty screwdriving projects or scaring away intruders. Adding it to your arsenal will set you back about $50.
Powermatic PM1500 Band Saw
Since not everyone needs a band saw that can cut a sizable redwood tree in half, Powermatic has downsized a bit with the new PM1500 15” Bandsaw (the little brother of the popular PM1800, 18” model). Even with the smaller size, it still has a full 14” of resaw height and 14½”
of blade-to-frame width.
Destined to be one of the most versatile machines in the shop, the Powermatic PM1500 can be used to resaw and rip lumber to size, cut curves for cabinetry or furniture making, create decorative scrollwork or even cut joints such as tenons and dovetails. Name a precise woodcutting task, and the PM1500 handles it smoothly, quickly and easily. At 394 lbs., the PM1500 is no lightweight. The bandsaw’s sturdy cast iron table and trunnion assembly provides maximum rigidity for heavy work pieces. Even the steel cabinet doors are secured with all-metal, rotating cam locks. Overall dimensions of the saw are 30¼”L x 34-3/8”W x 80¼”H.
General Tools iBorescope
We typically think of any product with a lower case “i” at the beginning that isn’t made by Apple as an invitation for a lawsuit from Apple’s eager legal team. But with Steve Jobs no longer around (RIP), maybe they’ve softened up enough to let General Tools run with their iBorescope. Our buddies at HANDY magazine picked this for one of their 2012 Innovation Awards. We’ve all seen various cordless inspection cameras like the Milwaukee M-Spector, but they’re all locked into using their own screen. General thought out of the box on their inspection scope and decided your iPhone, or better yet, iPad would make a great screen for it. Since the last plumber we worked with showed up with an iPad, they may be onto something here. The technology uses the instrument’s Wi-Fi hotspot capability and a free iBorescope App. They let you instantly capture and wirelessly transfer high-definition inspection images and video to iPad®, iPhone® and even Android® devices just so the Google crowd doesn’t get (more) bitter. With a retail price of $299, it’s in the realm of many popular inspection cams.
Klein Illuminated Fish Rod Tip
No, we didn’t accidentally include the hottest night-fishing lure. Klein, beloved by electricians far and wide, is looking to get even more love from them with a clever illuminated fish rod tip.
Klein Tools’ new illuminated fish rod tip (Cat. No. 56119) casts a bright white, omni-directional light when fishing above ceilings, in attics, through walls, in crawl spaces and under raised floors. Hook and bullet nose attachments which are sold separately fit smoothly into the threaded top and the ends are tapered for easier pushing and pulling. The Illuminated tips fit drilled holes as small as 5/8” and are compatible with ¼”, 3/16” and 5/32” diameter rods. Replaceable batteries are included so you’re not left with electronic trash when the battery dies.
Festool Giving Away a Syslite Every Week!
If you’d like a sexy cordless light at 100%-off retail pricing, check out Festool’s latest giveaway. The Rules and Conditions page, (which also includes a link to Festool’s Facebook page and covers the details. Basically, you’ll need to like Festool’s Facebook page and part with your email address. Well, not permanently, you’re just sharing it with Festool. A small price to pay to potentially bring light to darkness. For more on the Syslite, check out the vid:
Win a Set of L-Boxxes from Bosch!
We recently reviewed the Bosch L-Boxx-1A and also announced our December giveaway of three different sizes of L-Boxxes (including the 1A). Entering is simple; subscribe to our email newsletter or leave a useful comment on any HomeFixated article online. If anyone has ever diagnosed you as OCD, or you just like to keep your tool loot safe, organized and much easier to transport, our December 2012 Free Stuff Giveaway is for you! Hurry, you’ve got until the end of December!