Howdy ya’ll! And welcome to another bronco bustin’ edition of News Nirvana. This month’s edition is slapped full of high on the hog tools that any 2×4 rustler is sure to love. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or this is your first trip to the rodeo, you’re in for a treat. News Nirvana says “YeeeHawwww” to Tapcons, Senco flooring nailers, Armstrong flooring, Milwaukee LED lighting, Bosch heated jackets, Veto Pro Pac storage gear, Klein tools Multimeters and Makita’s new golden accessories. So kick off your cowboy boots, tie off your horse and saddle up for this month’s News Nirvana!
Large Diameter Tapcons
From window installers to framers to plumbers to homeowners, most of us have driven a Tapcon into some sort of concrete at least once in our lives. And now, ITW, the inventor of the original blue concrete screw has just rocked the wedge anchor world with their new product, the large diameter Tapcon. These beefy blue screws can keep up with the best of red heads and molly anchors. Because of their new shear strength, thanks in part to their mid-section weight gain, these new Tapcons can be used for all sorts of applications in brick, block and concrete.
No more need for time-wasting sleeve anchors. No need to drill a hole, clean it out, drive the anchor then tighten the nut until it grabs the side of the hole and tightens the bolt. The new large diameter tapcons are just drill, screw and walk away. Save time and money with these new big boy Tapcons. Sizes range from 3/16 to ½” and can be found at any place where concrete anchors can be wrangled up.
Milwaukee LED Light Stick
Milwaukee expands its M12 collection of power tools even further with the addition of the LED stick light. Delivering over 220 lumens, this bright LED light has a magnet, coat hanger-like stainless steel carrying hook or it can stand alone to generate a bright light for the darkest of work places. And at over just ½ a pound in weight, it’s easy enough to carry with you wherever you roam on the range.
Bosch Heated Jackets
First Milwaukee, then DeWalt and now Bosch! It’s a regular heated jacket fest between these tool company giants! Bosch heated jackets heat up the competition with the company’s first 12V Max heated jacket. This jobsite ready jacket features three quick warming core heat zones and a three level heat control switch to keep you warm on even the coldest of jobsites. It’s even got a convenient battery backup source to keep your USB compatible devices charged and ready to go. And with up to six hours of heat, you can be sure you’re going to be nice and toasty no matter how cold it gets at the corral, job site, or tailgate party.
Armstrong’s New Alterna Vinyl Tile
LVT or luxury vinyl tile is making an impact in the flooring industry with its increasing popularity. That’s why Armstrong has introduced new shapes and sizes to its top-selling Alterna floor tile selection as well as a new vinyl wall application. But don’t call Alterna your typical piece of vinyl tile. Product Manager Yon Hinkle explains: “We call it premium engineered stone, a category unto itself. The raw beauty of natural stone flooring presents a look that never goes out of style. Alterna captures the groutable textures and vibrant color depths found in authentic stone flooring.”
Yup, you heard right, you can actually grout these tiles (if desired), making for a very convincing natural stone tile appearance. With over a 100 different SKU’s currently available, you can bet that you’re going to find the perfect tile for you and your project. But when it comes to wall tile, vinyl can be hard to come by. Not anymore! Now all Alterna vinyl tile products are being recommended for wall applications as well. Decorate your ranch flooring and walls in style and without breaking the bank, with Alterna vinyl tiles from Armstrong.
Veto Pro Pac Backpack
Whether you’re a professional electrician, plumber or AC mechanic, you know how tough it can be to carry all of your tools up onto a roof to do a job. It takes countless trips up and down the ladder and a rope or two to hoist the buckets of tools and materials up to the roof and that takes a lot of time and effort that could otherwise be spent on doing some actual work.
That’s what makes Veto Pro Pac Backpacks so great to have around. With 56 pockets both inside and out, you’ll be able to carry your cordless tools, parts boxes or hand tools easily strapped to your back for quick access and safe navigation up ladders, over walls and through crawlspaces. With the innovative quick release handle, you reduce the strain on your back while being able to have instant access to the tools in the center panel. The Tech Pro Pac is 21.5 inches high, 14 inches long, 9.87 inches wide and can be found at a retailer near you or check them out online here at vetopropac.com. Get one today and saddle up all your tools in one convenient place, partner.
Senco Flooring Cleat Nailer
One hit with the mallet and pow! The nail is set. And that’s how Senco describes their new SHF200 pneumatic cleat nailer. According to Senco “it delivers five percent more power than other flooring nailers in its class”, it can flush-drive a 16 gauge L shaped cleat through engineered or solid hardwood with one tap of the mallet.
No need to adjust the nailer for different material thicknesses using that extra tool you lost somewhere, like many flooring nailers require. Just lift and rotate the non-marring base plate to the desired depth setting and release it to lock it in place. This allows you to accurately place the cleat every time without the need for special tools to make adjustments. And throw in the fact that the SHF200 comes with a solid carrying case, mallet, oil, wrench and safety glasses, and is priced for just $299 – you’ve got a great flooring tool that would make any tongue and groove flooring rustler shout Yee-Haw!
Klein MM500 MultiMeter Gets Tough
We can’t guarantee the MM500 will survive a direct missile strike, but it is tough (check out the video above where it’s subjected to abuse underwater, dragged behind an RC car, shot at by paintballs, and, worst of all; played with by a toddler). Klein sent us one of their new MM500 MultiMeters which we’ve had a chance to play around with a bit. Standouts include durability (IP67 rated to stop more dust and moisture than you’ll find at a rodeo in a thunderstorm), 10 foot drop-tested, and simplicity (only three buttons, auto-detects AC/DC). While many meters sport a dial on them with more settings than an MIT Electrical Engineering grad can decipher, the MM500 is dead-simple.
The LCD is easy to read and includes a light you can power on with a simple press-and-hold of the top button. Batteries are a bit of a hassle to get to with four screws, but that’s the small price you pay for a rugged tester that resists dust, moisture and abusive play tactics by small children. Two handy integrated clips stow your probes right on the back of the meter which dramatically cuts down on the detangling you normally do with your meter leads. You can also slide the probes into the front of the clips which positions them the exact width of an electrical outlet. Unfortunately, we found the probes too short (or the protective housing for them too thick, depending on how you look at it) to fit into most of the outlets in our home. We contacted Klein, and they clarified the issue for us:
The caps are on the leads to make them CAT IV 600V compliant. The new IEC 61010 standard requires that only 4mm of metal is exposed on the tips when measuring high voltages in a CAT IV environment. Per safety ratings, the caps do not need to be on when measuring a standard outlet. So, the meter probes are not intended to be inserted into an outlet with the caps on. Outlets are CAT II rated, and the probes are CAT II with the caps removed. With the caps removed, 19mm of the probe tip is exposed, and will reach into the outlet.
So, there you have it. . . you can go with max safety when needed, and then slip the caps off for testing lower voltages like a typical electrical outlet. Lastly, the optional “hold” setting is great for locking in a steady reading in a hard to reach area. The MM500 is a rugged, simple MultiMeter that both pros and enthusiastic non-pro’s alike should love.
Makita Goes for the Gold – Impact Gold
When we first opened our sample of new Impact Gold impact driver accessories from Makita, our first thought was “we’re rich!!!” Clearly someone at Makita had lost their mind and sent us enough solid gold accessories to finance an early retirement from the grueling life of online tool media. Wait – what? They’re not solid gold? Sigh. . . I guess that means we need to finish up talking about them. It turns out these hot new accessories for your favorite impact driver are made from high-quality, machined steel, with a “proprietary gold coating.” One thing for sure is with the gold bling in effect, you won’t mistake these for other standard bits.
For basic impact fastening, Makita offers up a nice selection of insert and double-ended power bits. According to Makita these will last 10x longer than standard bits. Some of the ones we checked out come in a funky little spring-loaded magazine. The set stows away nearly flat and then pops up faster than a thrown rodeo rider with an angry bull headed his way. One thing Makita touts on these is their “fitment” or how precisely machined these bit tips are. The result is a bit with more contact on the fastener and less slip – think fewer stripped screws. The fitment was so tight, we could drive a screw at 45 degrees and then let go of the impact driver and it would stay in place just from the fit of the makita bit into the screw. Of course that trick won’t work on every fastener around, but it’s still pretty cool and a testament to the tight manufacturing tolerances on these.
Another accessory we liked in this batch is the No-Debris Grip-It Nutsetter. Conventional magnetic nutsetters are great for starting your fasteners, but not so great when it comes to the amount of metal shards and debris their magnets catch. Makita’s new Grip-Ip versions use a small spring clip to secure your fasteners. The result is a nutsetter without a bunch of metal gunk blocking your fastener from seating properly in the bit. We likey.
Lastly, Makita also has a line of sockets ready for action. Our favorite feature here (aside from driving sockets with an impact driver), was the socket adapter that allows for tilting up to 15 degrees in tight or awkward spaces.
Despite the “proprietary gold coating”, prices seem very reasonable on all these. The 21 piece Driver Bit Set is about $22. The 9 piece impact socket set is around $25. And, the 11 piece magnetic driver bit set is a mere $14-ish. So, the next time you’re doing work with your impact driver, you may want to go for the gold with Makita’s Impact Gold Accessories.