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SWA’s new Battery Operated Crimping & Cutting Tool

SWA’s new Battery Operated Crimping & Cutting Tool is packed with all the features needed to ensure a perfect job every time.

It’s supplied with interchangeable cable cutting blades for copper and aluminium cable up to 40mm diameter – that’s up to 70mm2 4 core PVC/SWA/PVC cable!

SWA’s Marketing Manager, Colin Fletcher, said: “The new BCCT10300 crimp and cutting tool will save time and money for our busy contactor customers!”

The sturdy tool is supplied with all dies, cutting blade, 2 x li-on batteries, and charger and carry strap.

“Designed to complement SWA’s extensive current range of tools this handy new kit is supplied in a sturdy plastic carry case for easy storage”

For further information visit www.swaonline.co.uk

 

Hitachi Power Tools launches extra battery offer on KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB two-piece kits

Hitachi Power Tools has launched a battery redemption promotion, with an extra 4.0Ah battery free, when redeemed on purchase of selected KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V cordless two-piece kits. 

The offer is valid on a limited number of KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V cordless two-piece kits, which feature a sticker on the case and redemption leaflet inside. To receive the extra battery, the customer simply has to complete the redemption leaflet, attach the sticker and post it to Hitachi with the proof of purchase.

The KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V kits includes two 6.0Ah Lithium-ion batteries, two stackable cases and the UC18YSL3 superfast charger, which offers an outstanding 38 minutes charge time on a 6.0Ah battery, and an incredible 26 minutes for a 4.0Ah battery.

“This extra battery redemption promotion means there is even more reason to choose the tougher, faster, more advanced KC18DPL/JA and KC18DPL/JB 18V two-piece kits,” explains Simon Miller, Brand and Product Manager for Hitachi Power Tools.

Hitachi’s three-year warranty is also available on the tools when registered online within four weeks of purchase, meaning trade professionals can be assured of long service and peace of mind.

For more details on Hitachi Power Tools visit www.hitachi-powertools.co.uk

Flex CHE 18 EC SDS Hammer-Prepare to be Surprised

Aimed at: Small trades and those who need a compact and capable machine. 

Pros: Very good, even in very hard materials, and the battery lasts well too. 

Why Join the Cordless Party?

With so much competition in the cordless power tool market, it would seem that anyone wanting to join the party is either foolhardy or determined to prove that they can offer a really good alternative to other brands. Flex falls into the latter category, although the company has a long history of power tool manufacturing in Germany and, indeed, bringing many innovations to market. Its world-leading “Giraffe” wall sanders are a classic example.

Cordless tools also bring another big factor into play since the choice of battery platform is the biggest decider in what tools may be bought in the future. So, anyone wanting to join the cordless competition has to be sure that they have something different or extra to add to their tools in order to persuade buyers to make the initial purchase of a brand.

Flex has done a lot of homework and research, and in my view, has come up with a genuinely unique system for its cordless battery cells that will not only help the tools to perform better, but will add significantly to the range of cordless battery technologies out there.

The enemies of Li Ion

In an article I read recently, it was pointed out that the real enemies of cordless batteries are deep discharge and heat build up during operation. An overheated battery pack will deliver much less than its stated capacity and forced “overheating” breaks can cost tradespeople valuable time. The answer to these issues is to build in electronic controls to tools, battery packs and chargers so that they all work together to prevent them. How manufacturers program these into their tools will always vary and of course how end users treat the tools is always an unknowable…?

Solutions

Flex has joined the cordless competition with solutions on all three fronts. Firstly, a patented system of “Keep Cool” technology that helps to keep batteries cooler in order to deliver maximum power for longer. Secondly, a unique diagnostic charging system uses an LED display to inform users exactly how long the battery charge will take amongst other things. Thirdly, the smallish, but growing, range of German-designed and developed cordless power tools have electronic controls built-in. These controls are unique to each type of tool to take account of the way in which each tool uses power. For example a cordless drill/driver does not have the same power usage profile as a reciprocating saw and therefore the electronic controls will respond to maximize power delivery and battery life.   

The above may be a long introduction for a power tool review – but the question in my mind when I tested the 18V CHE SDS Hammer was whether the new Flex cordless technology would make a difference.

I will immediately confess that my answer is yes – this little Flex tool is a great tool to use and it seemed to have much longer legs than some other cordless SDS hammers that I have used – but that is just the bare bones of the story.

And Now to Work ..

First impressions of the 18EC SDS are very favourable. Mine came in a stackable custom-fitted Sortimo box with charger and battery pack. On first charge, the charger told me that I needed to top up the battery for 25 minutes, and so it proved. The LED display on the neatly designed charger tells you what you want to know without the usual confusion of a series of flashing lights. By pushing a small button on the front of the battery pack users can get an up to date display of the state of battery charge – four bars is full, one bar is 25% or less.

A bright LED light on the handle base aimed at the chuck end is also a very useful addition for me – I need light when I work nowadays!

Handling – It Feels Good

When I first lifted up the hammer I immediately felt at home with it because the balance is spot-on. The handle is well covered with grippy, vibration absorbing rubber overmould and it slims down towards the bottom for a real ergonomic feel. Forward/reverse is chosen by the trusted method of the push through switch.

Since this tool is going to be driven into hard concrete amongst other things, there is a substantial thumb and forefinger groove right behind the axis of the drill point in order to apply maximum control and performance. There is also a big removable auxiliary handle attached to the front collar. This is covered with grippy rubber too and can be moved to any suitable position by unscrewing the handle a bit. An adjustable bar-type depth control is also part of the handle.

A rotatable switch on the left side of the hammer is used to choose either drilling, hammer drilling, neutral or chiseling mode. This system is easy to use and very positive as each position has a click stop to show that it is engaged.

The battery pack is attached via a substantial slide and is easy to attach and detach. The whole tool can be stood on the battery base because it is flat and right in the middle so it provides a stable position.

Brushless is the Way to Go

Flex’s new range of tools all use brushless motors, and this machine uses all their advantages to do a great job. With a 10mm SDS bit and a hard concrete paving stone I drilled hole after hole without a lot of effort on my part. I would go so far as to say that I was quite astonished by how easy it was to use and how willing the tool felt as I used it – it really seemed to want to get on with the job. Other people I showed it to had a similar reaction – surprised that a drill so compact could feel so capable.

With a maximum capacity of 18mm diameter in concrete, this SDS drill will, I am sure find a number of happy users amongst building and plumbing trades etc. At the moment, it shares a battery platform with a few more commonly used Flex tools like drill drivers, impact driver and a recip saw, but Flex, as we speak, is developing and launching further tools into the range, some of which will be reviewed in these pages.

I am always happy when there is competition in a market, and in my view I think this SDS drill/hammer in particular, and the new Flex range of cordless tools in general, certainly add to the choices we can make. My experiences with Flex tools so far have been very positive and make them definitely worth a closer look. 

To see further FLEX Reviews, click here.

For more information FLEX, please visit www.flex-tools.com

 

 

 

 

 

State of the art! SWA’s battery-operated crimp tool launched

SWA’s new advanced Hydraulic Crimp Tool is packed with all the features needed to ensure a perfect job every time.

It’s a product designed with ease of use firmly in mind, offering auto cut-off when optimum crimping pressure is reached, a 180-degree rotatable head and an ergonomic grip. Weighing in at only 3.3kg, the cordless tool comes with a pair of high-capacity 18v Bosch lithium batteries. There is even a built-in LED torch light and a useful battery level indicator.

Designed to complement SWA’s extensive current range of crimping tools, the new hydraulic tool is suitable for copper tube terminals from 10mm2–240mm2 and is supplied with a box of 11 hex crimp die sets spanning that range of sizes.

The tool, which is supplied in a sturdy plastic carry case, also has its own battery charger. The SWA order code is BCT10240.

For more information, please visit www.swaonline.co.uk

Warn Drill Winch from Arbil- It Works!!

Aimed at: Users who need to move heavy objects with minimal effort.

Pros: Using a drill as a power source is a convenient and versatile way of powering the winch without always relying on mains power.

I must admit that when I heard about the Warn Drill Winch I thought that it was perhaps an idea too far. Or maybe it was a gimmick with too little capacity to be of much use to anyone, let alone anyone needing to move anything substantial.

However, I was wrong on both counts. This winch will move bulky and heavy objects up to 227 Kgs using the power of a corded or cordless (18v and upwards is best) drill. Having tested a cordless drill this issue with a 136Nm torque rating, it looks like the future may well bring even greater capacity for cordless tools and by extension, tools like the Warn Winch.

I have used winches before to pull heavy objects up a ramp laid on steps, drag heavy things into place and also to pull down semi-cut branches from dreaded Leylandii trees into a very limited space accurately. I very quickly learnt what is needed on a winch, and an examination of this one reveals that it is well made, robust and has all the features needed for a useful working life.

There is a nice big grippy handle made in moulded plastic right on top of the winch. The handle makes it easy to carry as well as orienting the user to the two main working ends of the winch. The grey plastic body actually covers the whole of the winch, which of course helps keep fingers and hands well clear of winding parts. Importantly, there is a clear plastic window underneath the handle so that the cable can be monitored as it is wound or unwound. For safety, the cable needs to be wound on so that it does not concentrate on one part of the spindle winder. It is best for the cable to be spread evenly and neatly over the whole drum and the window allows this.

 

Underneath the plastic body is a pressed steel body that is integral – in other words the cable, winder and anchor end are all made in one solidly bolted together unit so that they will not part company under load. There is a rugged cast cable fairlead that serves as a guide to the cable and it will no doubt come in for a bit of friction wear from the cable.

The winding drum is also a solid casting that holds about 10 metres of 4mm diameter steel cable. On the working end of the cable a cast hook with spring closer can be attached to the load usually via a nylon strap. Handily, there is also a red nylon strap that fits onto the hook so that users can pull the cable out without having to touch it, which although very shiny and smooth when new, will soon develop barbs as it is stressed under loads.

It is worth noting that the cable ends are properly attached using steel loops, strong bolts and D Shackles that are clearly strong enough for the specified loads that this winch will pull.  

The “anchor” end of the winch also has a cast hook with spring loaded closer. The hook is designed to rotate using a castellated nut through a big D shackle. Since the “anchor” end is just as important as the “pulling” end when attaching a load, users will need to use these features to get a secure fixing.

On one side of the winch is a big red switch that locks the drum clutch into free or pull mode. This is really easy to use and well marked to minimize any user mistakes.  On the other side of the casing is the 5/16ths inch hexagonal driver shaft onto which the chuck of the chosen drill can be tightened.

One of the ways in which a cordless drill can be used on a winch to pull a substantial load is by using appropriate gearing, the lower the gearing, the greater the load that can be pulled. However, this means that the cable winds very slowly as well. This can be minimised by the way in which the user plans to work with the winch, and remember too that the further out the cable is, the more power is available at the winding drum. As the cable winds onto the drum, the gearing factor will change to be less advantageous.

I looked around for a suitable task to test the Warn winch and a good one presented itself when I had several 25mm thick MDF sheets delivered on a pallet, and I had to move them from the car park to the side of my workshop so that they could be protected from the weather.

Fortunately I have a couple of substantial trees on the edge of the space that I could use as an anchor for the winch. A suitable nylon loop from a local trade outlet was passed around the trunk and the winch was attached with the anchor hook.

I only had to free about 5 metres of cable before I was able to loop securely through the slats and base of the pallet ready for the pull.

I used an18v newish cordless drill driver and an older 650W corded drill for the pull so that I could compare results.

I expected the cordless drill to struggle a bit with the load but the winch gearing is such that it more or less keeps up a constant speed of wind that doesn’t seem to stress the drill motor at all. There is no need to use low speed on the drill either.

I also expected some backlash on the drill handle, but there was none. Clearly the clutch mechanism on the winch works well. With the corded drill of course, there is no danger of running out of battery power, but it was very effective and never felt strained.I was happy with the results because I managed to move about 100 Kgs of MDF sheets single handedly and safely across smooth tarmac. My back was happy too! 

The pull was a bit slower than some winches I have used, but to be honest, I expected that because it is probably the only way to use the power of a cordless drill on a winch. The compact Warn winch is effective, and would be useful for users who need to move or pull heavy things. The freedom of using a cordless drill as a power source will be a major plus point for these users. It is definitely not a toy or a gimmick and is robustly made – so try one!

For more information please visit www.arbil.co.uk

Fein Cordless Multi Master + Video Review - All the Capability of Mains with the Portability of Cordless

 

Aimed at:- Pros and Canny Amateurs who need the cordless convience of a good multitool.

Pros:- The Cordless verision does what the corded one does alongside a good control of vibration and noise. 

I know that there is a lot of brand loyalty out there when it comes to power tools, and manufacturers now have a big advantage because the major brands of cordless tools mostly have a battery platform that fits all the other cordless tools in their ranges.  But, in my chats to people in the trade, there seems to be common consent that Fein still has the advantage when it comes to making oscillating Multi Tools. There is still something in the “Original and Best” slogan that apparently makes sense to end-users.

With Fein’s launch of a new version of the corded MultiMaster a while ago, that had noticeably much less noise and vibration, the goalposts moved significantly. And now that the cordless AFMM18 is on the market Fein MultiMaster users have a significant choice. Perhaps a difficult choice to make?? Corded or Cordless?

Left to myself I would have both versions, but then I am greedy and could be accused of being fussy too. In truth, there is a fraction of difference in the weight, handling and size of the corded and cordless models – the Fein Engineers have done a great job ensuring that the balance and ergonomics of both tools suit their power sources. In my view, either tool is a good choice, but if you have any other cordless Fein tool, then perhaps the cordless AFMM18 would be a good choice to take advantage of the battery platform.

The “working” end of the AFMM18 is almost identical to the corded Multi Master and therefore includes Fein’s rather good system of isolating the oscillating movement, and its accompanying vibration, from the body and the hand of the operator. My own experience of the vibration and noise levels from this tool are very positive. I have no official measures, but I did feel comfortable doing several hours worth of sanding of exterior window frames. The stop/start nature of the work means that your hands don’t ever really feel uncomfortable.

I am always a little chary of the “Quick-in” lever on the top of the machine. The “Quick-in” idea is a good one, because the old system of hex keys was very slow, but some users have complained to me that it can trap an unwary finger as you snap it down to hold the working cutter in place. This is no longer the case. Although it still sounds very snappy, in fact the composite lever has lost its spring loading as it reaches towards being at right angles to the body, so fingers are not really in danger as the system snaps firmly onto the cutter.

On the body, the black rubber overmould that provides good grip and some protection from vibration is sparing but well placed so that the palm of the hand is where the grip is. There is a simple thumb operated slider switch for off/on that is perfect to use, and a few centimetres behind that is the 6-position knurled wheel switch for selecting oscillating speeds. Again, simple and efficient. With an oscillating speed range of 11,000 to 18,500 /min there is enough of a range to sand and cut effectively, as well as work carefully at low speeds on sensitive operations. I would say that in my experience of the tool, this speed control was one of the key features of the tool that added to its usefulness.

Placed carefully for balance on the rear of the machine, is the battery pack. The kit I was sent for review had two 2.5 Ah packs with it, and frankly I found that they lasted long enough for me not to hanker after a bigger 5Ah battery that would last longer, but also be heavier. Fein has one of the simplest and most robust battery pack mounting systems on the market which I like a lot, as I hate fiddling with buttons that you have to squeeze in on each side to release the battery. The new battery packs are very slick looking with a black base colour and Fein Orange stripe, but more importantly the right side of the battery pack houses a system of four lights that indicate the state of battery charge. Also important in avoiding deep discharge, the enemy of Lithium Ion, a continuous red light will show when the battery needs a charge urgently and a flashing red light says “charge me NOW! although the electronics will not allow the tool to operate on a dangerously uncharged battery.

The charger is compact and the series of lights indicate very clearly the state of the battery. A fan will cool the pack if it is too hot to charge and it usually takes about 40 minutes or so for a full charge.

As is recognized by oscillating tool users, they can do jobs that other tools can’t, and although I do use the delta sanders sometimes, the things I have found that they are best at is blind cuts through surfaces, slicing the bottoms of door frames when fitting flooring, cutting out old grout from between tiles and scraping off old adhesives. This cordless Multi master does not disgrace itself performing any of these functions. For some reason, maybe because I am developing a steadier hand, I found the tool easier to control especially when plunge cutting.  The correct choice of cutters is vital and there is now a huge range of accessories available. Included in the kit is a scraper, a delta sander and sanding sheets, a semi-circular wood blade, a straight wood blade and a straight wood and metal blade, but in my view the carbide coated cutters are also a must for me.  

A quick word about the box – like all Fein boxes they are well laid out, have ample space for bits and pieces and the moulded polystyrene inner will hold the tool safely and firmly while in transit – easy to pack too and carry too.  

When I compared noise and vibration levels between mains and cordless they were so similar that I am sure that a blindfold test would not be able to tell which is which. Suffice to say, working up a ladder for example or on mains-free worksites, the AFMM18 is a perfect solution.

For more information on the Fein Multimaster, please visit www.fein-uk.co.uk

Metabo MT 18 LTX - Pick and Mix the Metabo Way

18v Cordless Multi-tool

Aimed at: pros and high end DIYers with specific jobs in mind.

Pros: Metabo cordless battery system, slimline body and quick tool change.

Multi-tools are now everywhere, ranging in price from around £50 to £200 and over – a niche and price for every DIYer and tradesman. Increasingly, cordless makes sense too, with smart electronics for charging and controlling batteries and enough power to rival corded machines.

But, we come to Metabo with great expectations since the company has staked a claim on the cordless worksite of the future.The new MT 18 LTX Multi-Tool is part of the “Pick and Mix” range of over 40 different Metabo 18v tools that can use all current Metabo18v battery packs. Buyers can choose what they want – whether it is the naked tool, or with a battery, a charger, in a box or with other variations like different chucks etc. In other words a totally flexible set of options that can save a lot of money and be as comprehensive as you need. Lots to like here in my view.

My sample arrived in a sturdy cardboard box, inside which was a custom fitted tray that would slot into one of the new range of Metabo plastic cases now available. For the MT 18 LTX, the MC05 carrying case or the MetaLoc II stacking case are the ones to go for. The tray has custom spaces for the tool (with battery) a charger, an extra battery, dust extraction tubes and a lidded compartment for a limited range of accessories.

Immediately I picked up the MT 18 I was struck by just how slim the main body is and therefore how easy it is to handle, especially for my small hands. Some readers will know how much development Metabo has done on developing smaller, slimmer and more powerful electric motors, and clearly the work is paying off here too. There is a small amount of grippy rubber around the switch and body to aid grip and provide some bump protection. The balance of the tool is right with the oscillating head balanced by the battery pack at the rear. With a 5.2Ah battery pack on board, the tool weighs only 2Kgs and has electronically controlled no-load oscillation speeds of between 7,000 to 18,000 /min with an oscillating angle of 3.2 degrees left to right. The speeds are selected steplessly via a red-toothed wheel on the base of the tool.

We have come to expect all manner of tweaks and sophistication from our cordless tools these days and the MT 18 LTX Multi-Tool delivers in all categories. The quick accessory tool change system means that changing cutters etc is a simple matter of lifting the lever above the oscillating head and removing the tool holder and cutter. The tool holder is designed so that pretty well all makes of multi-tool accessories will fit, so users can choose what they need at the price point they want.

I was very taken with the two bright LED worklights inset into the front of the tool. This may be a comment on my aging eyesight, but I do always find these lights useful and I seem to be working inside a cabinet or in darker places more often these days.

One of the jobs for which a multi-tool is ideal is for detail sanding. I found that fitting the sanding delta pad and dust extraction was about as simple as it could be. The choice is to have the extraction tube locked on the left hand side where it is out of the way of the sanding head, or it can be mounted so that it can move freely round. Connected to an extractor via the standard 28mm Metabo vacuum adaptor the results were brilliant, with pretty well all dust collected that could be. Delta sanding, in particular, depends on the quality and grade of the sanding sheets and Metabo has a very good range covering most materials.

One of the tests I always do on multi-tools is to cut a slot out of the centre of a board. This is their USP – no other tools can do this. I used a piece of 35mm thick brown oak and was very happy with the results. The cutter even had a row of mm markings down one side so I could check how far I had cut – but I did need my glasses to be able to read them.

Another thing that pleased me was that the noise and vibration from the cordless motor was very well controlled. Multi-tools, because of their nature, have a sort of scream that can be tiresome, so less noise and vibration is very welcome.Another of my tests is removing grouting using the carbide half round cutter – this is a job that is made simple, efficient and quick with a multi-tool, and for me, a good enough reason to buy one. Again, the Metabo worked very well, and was very controllable too since I could choose the most efficient oscillating speed on the machine.

The rough carbide delta sander is perfect for sanding external surfaces where speed is important – I find that flaking paint simply disappears and also doesn’t clog the sander.

I mostly used the 2.0Ah battery supplied with the tool and it lasted well enough. However, when I tried a 5.2 Ah battery the machine seemed to run forever, and with the new battery chargers, downtime is minimal.

I confess that up until a few years ago I thought that some classes of tools like routers, circular saws and multi-tools would never transform well into cordless operation. But I am happy to say that I have been proved wrong and the Metabo MT 18 LTX Multi-Tool is a welcome addition to the competition. It is worth a look at purely on its own merits as a multi-tool, before you even consider the fact that it may fit into your existing Metabo cordless tool set at a price that will save you a lot of cash. With a typical body-only price of around £150 it could be the tool that adds a lot more versatility to your tool chest.

Metabo Cordless Mitre Saw KGS18 LTX - Flexible + Cordless + Cutting

Aimed at: Professional and enthusiast users who need cordless versatility.

Pros: Accurate, cordless with decent crosscut and mitre capabilities.

An accurate mitre saw is essential for the work that I do – it is easily within the top ten of my tool necessities. Accordingly, I have a big and powerful corded mitre saw that I can and do take on site occasionally, but I also had a 36v cordless chopsaw that I took onsite more often, until it died….. NiCads don’t last forever!Time to think about getting another. Fortunately, to help my research, Metabo has recently launched the Metabo KGS18LTX 216 that I had the good luck to preview last year at Nuertingen, Metabo’s HQ in Germany.

Getting started with the KGS18 LTX is simple because nearly everything is attached and adjusted at the factory. Pretty well all you have to do is set the saw arm from the transit position to 90 degrees, attach the dust collection bag and insert a fully charged 5.2Ah battery pack.

I used an engineer’s square to test the accuracy of the factory settings and I found them spot on both in vertical and horizontal. A set of mitre cuts on a small picture frame proved the accuracy – which to me is an absolute necessity in a mitre saw. However, as we all know, the saw will lose its settings due to bumps and knocks and general use, so it is important that the factory settings can be restored easily. The Metabo doesn’t disappoint in this either – an onboard hex key is always available to reset the fences etc. so that accurate work can be maintained.

The specs are also generous given that the KGS has a relatively small 216mm diameter blade. At 90 degrees vertical and horizontal, a 305mm width and 65mm depth is easily achievable. At 45 degrees vertical and horizontal this is reduced to 215mm width and 36mm depth. But think about it – for most on-site general second fix work, these capacities are more than enough. I use mostly hardwood, and I found that there was more than enough oomph to cut it – so to speak. There is a technique to learn – because it is easy to stall the motor by attacking a cut too quickly. The way that worked best for me was to start the cut quite slowly and increase the feed rate as the cut advances across the workpiece, listening to the motor for any signs of overload. I regularly cut through 45mm thick beech and oak and the standard 40-tooth thin kerf sawblade supplied left a very smooth, almost planed surface.

What makes this and other Metabo mitre saws easier to use is that all the controls are marked out in bright red and all major controls can be accessed easily from the front even at arm’s length in the case of the vertical bevel adjustment. The adjustments are all positive with standard “click” stops at commonly used angles. The scales are easy to read in one-degree increments so users can set the “odd” angles that are needed – I have never come across a perfect right angle so far when I have been fitting skirtings!

The motor appears to have a direct drive to the blade and the battery pack is mounted right onto the operating handle on the right hand side of the blade housing. The battery pack mount is a standard Metabo slide that is easy to fix and release. Also on the control handle are a couple of red switches for the red laser cutter guide and the white LED worklight mounted onto the bladeguard. This lights up the workpiece very well and is very easy to clean by simply wiping away collected dust with your fingers – but do watch that your other hand is nowhere near the start switch!

The control handle is horizontal with a large trigger inside the loop and a press button on each side. Suitable for left and right-handed use, one of these side buttons must be pressed and the trigger switch squeezed before the motor will start. Each battery pack has a red button to press to ascertain the amount of charge still remaining.

There is a sawhead lock to hold it down for safe transit, as well as a lock nut on the slide mechanism so that it can be centred for equal weight distribution when being carried. Right on the centre of balance on the sliding arm is a big rubberized loop handle that enables one-handed carrying. Trenching cuts are possible by using the red-topped screw to the left of the dust extraction duct. Unusually, there is a depth of trench indicator, so that repeatedly accurate cuts can be made.

Dust extraction from mitre saws is generally quite difficult because of their design. Metabo has actually maximized dust collection by adding a flexible “shute” behind the blade. Proof of effective dust collection is that the dust bag fills quite quickly. However, there will always be some escaped dust around after use. Indoors, especially the use of a dust mask is necessary

This situation can be improved by inserting a dust extraction hose into the dust port and the amount of dust will be reduced to very little indeed. Using a vac extractor is much more feasible with a mains-powered saw since it can be directly plugged in to the auto-start. With a cordless saw the main advantage is its independence of AC power, so I guess a dust mask will remain a necessity until the launch of a really efficient cordless vac extractor.

I have used the KGS18 for several weeks now and I am thoroughly chuffed with it. It has proved to be accurate, powerful enough to cut dense hardwood and with capacities that enable me a much more flexible approach to onsite and workshop operations. In short, it is so much better than my old 36v chopsaw that the Metabo has replaced it in my affections completely. I can’t really think about any downsides of my uses of the KGS18. Some pernicketies might complain about dust collection, but I am relaxed about it. The KGS is a fine tool and I am sure that it will gain many fans.

Time to think about getting another. Fortunately, to help my research, Metabo has recently launched the Metabo KGS18LTX 216 that I had the good luck to preview last year at Nuertingen, Metabo’s HQ in Germany.

Getting started with the KGS18 LTX is simple because nearly everything is attached and adjusted at the factory. Pretty well all you have to do is set the saw arm from the transit position to 90 degrees, attach the dust collection bag and insert a fully charged 5.2Ah battery pack.

I used an engineer’s square to test the accuracy of the factory settings and I found them spot on both in vertical and horizontal. A set of mitre cuts on a small picture frame proved the accuracy – which to me is an absolute necessity in a mitre saw. However, as we all know, the saw will lose its settings due to bumps and knocks and general use, so it is important that the factory settings can be restored easily. The Metabo doesn’t disappoint in this either – an onboard hex key is always available to reset the fences etc. so that accurate work can be maintained.

The specs are also generous given that the KGS has a relatively small 216mm diameter blade. At 90 degrees vertical and horizontal, a 305mm width and 65mm depth is easily achievable. At 45 degrees vertical and horizontal this is reduced to 215mm width and 36mm depth. But think about it – for most on-site general second fix work, these capacities are more than enough. I use mostly hardwood, and I found that there was more than enough oomph to cut it – so to speak. There is a technique to learn – because it is easy to stall the motor by attacking a cut too quickly. The way that worked best for me was to start the cut quite slowly and increase the feed rate as the cut advances across the workpiece, listening to the motor for any signs of overload. I regularly cut through 45mm thick beech and oak and the standard 40-tooth thin kerf sawblade supplied left a very smooth, almost planed surface.

What makes this and other Metabo mitre saws easier to use is that all the controls are marked out in bright red and all major controls can be accessed easily from the front even at arm’s length in the case of the vertical bevel adjustment. The adjustments are all positive with standard “click” stops at commonly used angles. The scales are easy to read in one-degree increments so users can set the “odd” angles that are needed – I have never come across a perfect right angle so far when I have been fitting skirtings!

The motor appears to have a direct drive to the blade and the battery pack is mounted right onto the operating handle on the right hand side of the blade housing. The battery pack mount is a standard Metabo slide that is easy to fix and release. Also on the control handle are a couple of red switches for the red laser cutter guide and the white LED worklight mounted onto the bladeguard. This lights up the workpiece very well and is very easy to clean by simply wiping away collected dust with your fingers – but do watch that your other hand is nowhere near the start switch!

The control handle is horizontal with a large trigger inside the loop and a press button on each side. Suitable for left and right-handed use, one of these side buttons must be pressed and the trigger switch squeezed before the motor will start. Each battery pack has a red button to press to ascertain the amount of charge still remaining.

There is a sawhead lock to hold it down for safe transit, as well as a lock nut on the slide mechanism so that it can be centred for equal weight distribution when being carried. Right on the centre of balance on the sliding arm is a big rubberized loop handle that enables one-handed carrying. Trenching cuts are possible by using the red-topped screw to the left of the dust extraction duct. Unusually, there is a depth of trench indicator, so that repeatedly accurate cuts can be made.

Dust extraction from mitre saws is generally quite difficult because of their design. Metabo has actually maximized dust collection by adding a flexible “shute” behind the blade. Proof of effective dust collection is that the dust bag fills quite quickly. However, there will always be some escaped dust around after use. Indoors, especially the use of a dust mask is necessary

This situation can be improved by inserting a dust extraction hose into the dust port and the amount of dust will be reduced to very little indeed. Using a vac extractor is much more feasible with a mains-powered saw since it can be directly plugged in to the auto-start. With a cordless saw the main advantage is its independence of AC power, so I guess a dust mask will remain a necessity until the launch of a really efficient cordless vac extractor.

I have used the KGS18 for several weeks now and I am thoroughly chuffed with it. It has proved to be accurate, powerful enough to cut dense hardwood and with capacities that enable me a much more flexible approach to onsite and workshop operations. In short, it is so much better than my old 36v chopsaw that the Metabo has replaced it in my affections completely. I can’t really think about any downsides of my uses of the KGS18. Some pernicketies might complain about dust collection, but I am relaxed about it. The KGS is a fine tool and I am sure that it will gain many fans.

Panasonic Cordless Angle Grinder-Dual Voltage Versatility

Aimed at professionals who need cordless flexibility.

Pros:- Powerful, dual voltage with all of Panasonic's legendary electronic expertise built in to this Tough Tool.

There was something that appealed to me about this 125mm angle grinder the moment I took it out of the box – just the way it looked and felt in my hand made me feel that we could be friends. By adding a battery pack the impression was reinforced because the balance of the tool in the hand became pretty near perfect.

With time for longer reflection and a closer examination I found a lot more to like about the grinder. So, starting at the front…

Many end users have told me that they like to have a small grinder head that is as compact as possible because sometimes, small grinders, by definition, are required for use in applications where space is very limited.The compact grinder head itself is made of a very well finished alloy casting with a cast-in ventilation grille for the motor. The draught from the grille blows outwards, so don’t fret that the dust is being blown inwards across the vital motor bits. Also included is a well guarded but easy to use spindle lock button to enable speedy disc changes. A cranked pin spanner is supplied for tightening and loosening the disc nut. The crank allows easy access to the nut over the edge of the disc guard.Two threaded holes, one on each side of the head, allow an auxiliary handle (provided) to be fitted for easier handling.

The cutter guard is substantial steel pressing that provides excellent protection to the user and disc. Some users might complain that it has no quick-release adjustment system, but in fact all that is needed is to loosen a single screw easily accessible screw to adjust the angle of the guard or indeed to remove it.Four sturdy screws attach the grinder head to the Panasonic grey and black body of the grinder. Right behind the head is the black rocker switch that seems to be a standard on grinders these days. This switch design is perfect because it actually requires some intention on the part of the user to switch the machine on. However, a quick press on the back of the switch is all that is required to turn the machine off.

The switch itself is protected by a ridge around it that would help prevent the grinder from being switched on accidentally –for example if it was packed into one of the soft bags that many tradespeople use these days.The grinder’s body is really quite slimline and my small hands had no difficulty gripping it securely. Grip is definitely helped by the careful and intelligent use of a rubberized overmould around and under the body. The top and bottom of the grip are slightly shaped into an oval for more comfort.

In a cordless machine the battery is a very important and on this grinder the position of the battery pack is arranged to balance and offset the weight of the grinder head at the opposite end.However, when you buy a Panasonic machine you also buy into the reputation that Panasonic has for excellent electronics and battery technology. Accordingly, this little grinder is not only a dual voltage machine, but also has a built-in warning light near the base of the body which indicates if the battery is being overloaded or is too high in temperature.

The advantages of a dual voltage machine are many – not least is that end users who have one voltage, say 14.4v, can buy a more powerful and longer lasting 18v battery to use in the same charger and in a range of different Panasonic dual voltage tools, without having the worry of which battery fits where. In my experience, having used this dual voltage system on a variety of Panasonic tools I have tested, I can say that the system is completely seamless and may even make Panasonic users a bit smug since they can be very flexible on tools and battery packs.

Another key ingredient for the grinder is that it is part of the Panasonic TOUGH TOOL IP system. In essence this means that the grinder has enhanced protection and sealing against water and dust, efficient cooling systems for motors and the use of alloys in gearboxes and other moving parts and the incorporation of electronic protection systems for motors and battery packs.

Users can confidently use this grinder on site and in the toughest working conditions knowing that it is up to the job.

When I collected the grinder from Panasonic the parting shot was words to the effect of ”give it some beans”. Clearly the team at Panasonic has great confidence in their little grinder. So I did just that, I gave it as much “beans” as I dared. Using a variety of thin metal cutting and grinding discs for cutting and grinding on a number of metals I laboured for quite a long time exploring the limits of this little grinder. In effect I treated the grinder like a mains-powered machine and I was as relentless as I could be without wanting to break it. It came up trumps – it really is a nice well-balanced, sufficiently powerful and easy machine to use. Definitely Recommended.

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