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FEIN UK & Andy Robinson Race Cars combine to notch, grind and weld

FEIN manufacturer modular belt grinders which are optimally adapted to metalworking and metal machining applications, and are popular tools for Andy Robinson Race Cars.

Andy Robinson Race Cars is a Hampshire-based business which fabricates and builds off-road/rally, touring and racing hot-rod cars.

The kit-car specialist company, run by Andy Robinson himself, uses a wide array of machinery to create the exclusive motor vehicles.

More specifically, Andy and his team uses fabrication machines to focus on tubing and welding work to produce role cages, chassis and other work.

Having already used one of FEIN’s multitools (MultiMaster), Andy investigated and found FEIN provide large ranges of metal working machines too.

Andy said: “We use a wide range of metal tools to deliver our projects, but I am really pleased to have the FEIN belt grinder in the collection as the product’s tooling and GRIT settings enable the team to deliver the notching results we need with our pipe work.

“Aside from various fibre-glass and carbon-fibre body work, usually sourced from Canada, and a local partnership with a CNC shop, we can pretty much build a racing car from scratch.

We’ve worked on some incredible projects, such as building a McClaren display car and a replica chassis for a Shelby Daytona.”

When building car chassis and building roll cages – both of which require tube bending and welding work to produce – Andy needs to notch the tubing using a belt-grinding machine.

Representatives of FEIN UK were invited to Andy’s car shop to watch a demonstration of a FEIN GX 75 belt grinder, and see the accompanying units.

FEIN UK’s representatives observed the tubing being measured and notched using the system, which is often done in one sitting.

The belt grinding demonstration was for a project Andy’s staff members were working on, which involved placing the suspension on a Barracuda.

FEIN representatives were also given a tour of the workshop, where they saw a further six vehicles at varying stages and various angle grinders.

Andy added: “Our local dealer EC Hopkins provided us a superb service, securing all of the specialist tooling required.

“Compared to anything else on the market the machine offered great quality in terms of build but was very mid-level in terms of cost - making the purchase one of superb value in our eyes.”

Andy by trade is a design engineer, starting his career serving as an apprentice with Detras Training Aids and GA Platon. He now has a strong team of eight in his workshop, including his son Luke.

www.fein.com

FEIN UK launches value pack range offering premium quality Starlock

FEIN UK openly discuss the success and feedback received on their Starlock range, giving advice on how tradesman could benefit in the future.

NEW FEIN multi-tool user Chris McGee talks about his experience using the machine and cutters, following his purchase at a FFX trade show earlier this year.

FEIN Starlock accessories are proven to last many times over comparable competitor blades – offering enormous value when comparing price to the lifetime of the blade.

The team reacted to requests for assortments of accessories - releasing last year a ‘Best of E-Cut’ set containing six of the best cutters in the range, for a promotional price.

I knew I had to add one Chris McGee, Managing Director at Lasercut.London Ltd, attended the FFX show earlier this year to purchase a Multi-Talent kit to help with his bespoke carpentry work.

He said: “Regretfully FEIN wasn’t my first choice, however alternatives offered plug-in tools and the price was hard to justify for the potential usage it would see in my hands.

"After borrowing a FEIN product from a friend, I knew I had to add one to the ranks - so I decided to visit the FFX show in Kent with my three-month-old boy.

"I had a great chat with the FEIN team, and after testing I knew that the 12v Multi-Talent Kit was the right one for me.

"The Starlock system wowed me, as it was so easy to change cutters so quickly, and I could see how snuggly the tool held the piece, so I knew it would cut smoothly, and I purchased a ‘Best of E-Cut pack’ with it too!

"Upon getting back to the studio we trialled the various blades on materials we use commonly such as Valcromat, Banova, Plywood and the hardest material which is bolts.

"In every circumstance, it exceeded the speed and cut quality that my preconceptions had. It has now dawned on me how this tool could have saved me many hours of problem-solving, especially when cutting square holes into the centre of sheets.

"I used this tool and the best of E-Cut blade pack during my studio move in April, where I delivered a bespoke fit out of two studio spaces.

Increase Starlock collection

"I used the tool during the creation of the kitchen, workshop and showroom.

"I intend on creating a bespoke blade storage system as I continue to increase my Starlock collection, and our work encompasses high-end awards, product design, furniture design and various bespoke projects.”

The Best of E-Cut pack is FEIN UK’s first ‘official’ value pack for their UK customers, offering an assortment of the best cutters to be used commonly on typical applications faced by tradespeople ‘on the job’.

FEIN UK is proud also to have announced the launch of four more additional value packs, each of which support with a particular area of work such as flooring, window work or bathroom installations.

www.fein.com

Fein ASCM12

Four Speeds = Flexibility and Control

Not all trades need endless power and lots of batteries in a drill kit. Many don’t need the raw power of 18v or 24v, or the weight and bulk that goes with it! Also, Ah is not that important either - a small 4Ah cordless combi can last for several days on a job.

With a smaller driver what you should get is precision control. Two speeds may be enough on an 18v drill, but control and accuracy are required on smaller fitting - enter the 12v machine.

Testing, Testing

 I tested this machine on various site jobs and I found flexibility, versatility, perfect control, ease of use and particularly quick changes between modes. One minute I may be driving screws, the next, drilling small holes and later, sinking a slot for a cabinet hinge or removing the chuck to drive a screw inside a 300mm wide cabinet.

The Range

The Fein ASCM12 is part of a range of three 12v drivers and has four selectable speeds via a sliding switch that can be moved so quickly between speed settings that you will use them – to your advantage.

The trigger is speed sensitive and it is possible to hold a slow speed, but a harder press quickly accelerates to max speed of either 400, 700, 1,400 or 2,500 rpm.

Build Quality

The 'Made in Germany' quality of the tool is evident. Rubber mouldings protect the casing and provide the user with a good ergonomic grip.  While I was using it on site the Fein fell 2m onto a brick path, followed a bit later by a 1m fall off a ladder. Both times, the tool was unharmed and worked perfectly afterwards.

Features

In retrospect I should have used the reversible belt hook supplied for safety.

The Fein has a 20-position torque setting collar for fine control. Drill setting allows a 40mm diameter hole in wood with the correct bit, and the motor brake stops the chuck almost instantaneously. 

It has a Rohm keyless chuck and a quick pull back on the collar releases it, leaving a standard 6mm/1/4 inch hex fitting. Now the tool is only 150mm long – cramped spaces? No problem.

You get a custom case, two 2.5Ah battery packs and smart charger. Charging is quick – just over the half hour. Battery packs have a simple four LED light system to indicate battery charge.

 

https://youtu.be/jvO5zaQKPUU

Fein ASCM12 Four Speeds = Greater Flexibility for Users

It may seem as though all that the trades want in a cordless drill is endless power and lots of batteries to keep that power constantly on tap. My own experience, and many of the tradespeople I chat to, tells me that there are many fitters of various kinds who don’t need the raw power of 18 or 24volt or whatever, because along with that power comes bulk – and bulk is not great when you are fitting hinges or drawer slides inside a kitchen cabinet, for example.

Also, battery Ah is not necessarily that important either. I have used a small 4Ah cordless combi for several days on a job without having to top up the charge.

What a smaller driver also ought to offer is precision control. Two speeds may be enough on an 18v drill where power is the name of the game, but control and accuracy are required on smaller fitting jobs and this is where a smaller 12v machine can be the answer.

Fein is just one of the manufacturers that has developed a compact 12v drill/driver to service the market. What I looked for when I tested this machine on various site jobs was flexibility, versatility, perfect control, ease of use and particularly quick changes between modes. One minute I may be driving screws, the next, drilling small holes and later, sinking a slot for a cabinet hinge. Later I might need to remove the chuck to drive a screw inside a 300mm wide cabinet.

The Fein ASCM12 is part of a range of three 12v drivers and is unique in the sense of having four selectable speeds via a sliding switch on the top of the machine.

One of the things I liked about the switch is that it can be moved so quickly between speed settings that you will use them. In fact the more I used the drill and became used to the speeds needed for different tasks, the easier it became to move the switch.

Although the trigger is speed sensitive and it is possible to hold a slow speed in whatever position has been selected for starting a screw, for example, the trigger very quickly accelerates to max speed once it is pressed a little harder. Accordingly, the maximum speeds are set as follows, 400, 700, 1,400 and 2,500 rpm, which should allow the user to choose the correct speeds for just about any task and thus retain control.

The Fein ASCM12 follows the usual layout of cordless drills these days – motor along the top casing, T handle and battery pack slid onto the bottom. The “Made in Germany” quality of the tool is evident wherever you look. The carefully placed rubber mouldings that protect the casing and provide the user with a good ergonomic grip, the smoothness of operation of all the controls, and finally the balanced “feel” of the tool in your hand makes it the kind of “go to” favourite tool that trades like in their toolkits.

I had occasion to thank the rubber “bumper” mouldings a couple of times for their protective qualities – while I was using it on site the Fein fell 2m from a conservatory roof onto a brick followed a bit later by a 1m fall off a ladder onto a wood floor. In both cases, apart from slight marks, the tool was unharmed and worked perfectly afterwards. I don’t usually treat my tools like this – but accidents happen!

In retrospect I should have been using the reversible belt hook supplied to attach it to me, but I don’t really like things dragging on my belt.

Users have the choice of 20-position torque setting collar for an even spread of torque control when driving screws. Very important on a machine where fine control is one of its USPs. The drill setting delivers full power to the bit where it is easily possible to drill a 40mm diameter hole in wood with the correct bit and speed setting. And the motor brake stops the chuck almost instantaneously when the trigger is released.

The torque collar is made from a composite plastic material and works really positively and is mercifully easy to adjust from setting to setting. Reverse/forward is selected via the push–through switch above the trigger.

The quality steel Rohm keyless chuck matches the quality of the drill. It works well and holds tight with 60Nm of pressure when clicked onto the shaft of a bit etc. To add to the tool’s versatility it has a quick release collar on the chuck. With the chuck removed there is a standard 6mm/1/4 inch hex fitting that will take driver bits etc. Removing the chuck reduces the length of the drill by about 70mm to a mere 150mm, so it becomes even more compact for working in cramped spaces.

One of the most important bits on any cordless tool has got to be the battery pack and the Fein ASCM12 does not stint. In the kit you get two 2.5Ah battery packs with a diagnostic charger to ensure their ongoing health and longer life. The battery charger is easily comprehensible – not the sometimes confusing run of lights and beeps that doesn’t tell you much. Charging is quick too – just over the half hour I found. The battery packs are well made and protected with a simple four LED light system to tell you the state of battery charge. The battery pack slide and button release system is positive, doesn’t stick in use and, as I found out, is forgiving even on very cold fingers. 

It took me a very short time to decide that I really liked the Fein ASCM. It is light compact, versatile and perfectly suited to the wide range of jobs that I do both in the workshop and on site. It certainly has enough oomph for drilling holes driving screws and general fixing. With four easily selectable speeds on hand the user can stay in control of the job. It also sits on the same battery platform as Fein’s outstanding 12v MultiTalent oscillating tool, which makes for a versatile, lightweight and durable combination.

 

NEW UNIVERSAL STARLOCK ACCESSORIES FROM FEIN

Inventor of the oscillating multi-tool and co-developer of the revolutionary new Starlock accessory mounting system FEIN has released three new universally fitting accessories with excellent blade life and cutting performance.

With all the advantages of the FEIN’s German manufactured top selling accessories, the three new bi-metal blades will fit any oscillating multi tool (OMT) with the 12-point mounting system, as well as fitting new machines accepting the Starlock system. The new E-Cut Universal long-life saw blades are available in the following sizes: 50mm x 50mm bi-metal wood blade (wood and nail tolerant), 55mm x 28mm (metal / wood – hacksaw pattern) and 55mm x 44mm (metal / wood – hacksaw pattern).

Made with a stainless steel holder for even greater precision, durability, reduced noise levels and vibration, the wood and nails blade is perfect for cutting all wood, plasterboard, plastic materials and is not affected by mild steel nails up to 4mm in diameter. Equally, the metal / wood blades are ideal for cutting sheet metal up to 2mm, aluminium profiles, copper pipes, all wood, plasterboard and plastics.

Based on the top three selling blades from the pre-Starlock FEIN range, these new accessories have been slightly shortened and narrowed to make them suitable for lower powered machines with the 12-point mounting system. With these three new additions, the total range of Starlock accessories available for the wider OMT market numbers 28. What’s more, because of their superior manufacturing, Starlock accessories can actually improve the performance of the machines they are attached to, offering faster work progress and extra durability. When they are combined with a Starlock machine, the three-dimensional fit provides a more secure connection and increased power transmission from machine to accessory.

Andy Mills, National Sales Manager at FEIN, commented: “The Starlock accessory mounting system is the fastest there is, taking less than three seconds to change a blade, and offers complete power transfer between machine and accessory. The great thing about these new Universal blades is that they offer all the benefits of the superior Starlock accessories to OMT users who don’t have a Starlock machine yet. So while they can’t enjoy the quick blade change, they can at least take advantage of the improved performance and durability of our accessories.”

Available from dealers, prices for FEIN Starlock E-Cut accessories can be bought for as little as £4.99 (excluding VAT). For more information or to find your nearest dealer please visit www.fein-uk.co.uk

Fein Dusts Off Powerful New Extractor Range

FEIN’s family of extractors is expanding with the addition of two new premium class, wet and dry extractors. Both are powerful and for the first time are equipped with automatic filter cleaning. The Dustex 35 MX AC is an M Class approved extractor (WEL > 0.1 mg/m 3) whilst the FEIN Dustex 35 LX AC is rated for L-classification extraction (WEL > 1.0 mg/m 3). Both machines come with a large number of special equipment features and extensive accessories making the tools suitable for multiple professional tasks on site or in the workshop.

Safety extractors for tradespeople are split into dust classes: L (Low), M (Medium) and H (High) depending on the risks associated with the dusts involved. Some wood dusts (such as beech and ash) and mineral dusts containing quartz fall under the M class. Since recognizing substances can be difficult, a safety extractor is advised on most sites.

The launch is also the first time FEIN has equipped its extractors with a fully automatic filter cleaning system. The innovative new AutoClean technology reverses the airflow every 15 seconds, blowing away any fine dust that may have settled in the filter back into the secondary deposable bag. Fitting the extractors with AutoClean allows for a consistently high suction force, meaning even large volumes of hazardous dust can be removed. Both dust extractors will work across wet and dry applications, reliably absorbing fine dusts and liquids.

This Auto clean system also extends the filter’s life considerably, meaning the machine can work continuously and uninterrupted for much longer because of less frequent filter changes. This approach is far more effective than the traditional closed filter bag system and makes the extractors more cost-effective. As well as being economical the premium class extractors guarantee above-average suction power with a 1380W turbine, a volumetric flow of 4,320 litres a minute and a 254-millibar vacuum.

Furthermore, FEIN has designed the new extractors so that its toolboxes and those from other manufacturers can be easily fitted onto the box holder. This special new design will allow users to move around site freely without complication. Toolboxes can also be secured with tension belts and the extractor’s 7.5m rubber cable and 4m hose provide users with a large working radius.

FEIN has also fitted the Dustex extractor with high-quality wheels that can be turned 360 degrees and locked securely on sloped surfaces. Additionally, with an extensive range of accessories supplied, the tool can be tailored to user’s needs. Included with each device are two suction pipes, an elbow, a floor nozzle, a crevice nozzle, two tool collars and an intake brush. Furthermore, models with M classification are fitted with an electrostatically discharging suction hose as standard. All accessories are compatible with the compact class and the hose and other accessories can be secured with an elastic band.

Available at specialist retailers, the Dustex 35MXAC has an SSP of £539.95 excluding VAT and the L classification Dustex 35LXAC dust at £429.95 excluding VAT. To find your nearest dealer or to find out more information about FEIN, please visit www.fein-uk.co.uk

Fein, Starlock and Me - The Future of Oscillating Tools?

The new Starlock Technology from Fein, is set to change the way Oscillationg Tool users go about their work.

The Fein Company, based at Bargau, near Stuttgart, in Germany, is most famous for its MultiMaster range of oscillating tools. I use my Fein MultiMaster regularly and in my view it is the best “get out of trouble” tool around. So when talk of a new “Starlock” system gathered pace, I was intrigued – how could the development of the famous Fein “Multi” Machines be moved even further on?

Jointly developed by Fein and Bosch, the Starlock system will be fitted onto all Fein oscillating power tools in the coming months. Current Fein and other brand oscillating tool users need not fear - the new Starlock system is backwards compatible with older tools.

There are several areas in which the Starlock range is different. Engineering logic tells us that in order to achieve the most efficient cutting, scraping etc, the connection between the tool and the blade has to be made as tight as possible, so that any oscillating movement is translated straight to the edge of the cutting blade and not lost in slackness or free movement. The Starlock system has introduced a “dish” into the blade fitting that has corners similar to a socket or ring spanner. These engage with the head of the tool and enable the blade to be held securely without any play. Fein has put some figures on it: - in their tests the new system has proved to be up to 45% quicker for the new Supercut and 35% quicker with the new MultiTalent and MultiMaster.

Making a revolutionary new blade fitting system is not easy if you want to ensure full backwards compatibility with your own machines, as well as ensuring that the new system will fit other brands of oscillating machines. Accordingly, Fein has introduced three new classes of cutters, Starlock, StarlockPlus and StarlockMax.

Through the new coding into performance classes, FEIN ensures that only the accessory that matches the performance of the machine can be clamped on, thus preventing overloads. The Starlock covers the lower performance range and is compatible with all FEIN oscillators and common multi-function tools on the market. StarlockPlus works perfectly with all oscillating power tools from FEIN and all multi-function tools with a StarlockPlus mounting. StarlockMax is the right choice for very powerful oscillating power tools, such as the FEIN SuperCut Construction, and all multi-function tools with a StarlockMax mounting. Accessories for lower performance classes can also be used on tools with more power. Current SuperCut users will require an adaptor to fit Starlock blades, a minor compromise to allow access to larger, more readily available accessories.

Revolutionary Blade Mounting

For me, the technologies highlight  definitely the new blade mounting system on the new range of Fein oscillating machines. Instead of using a mushroom-head pin that was pushed through the blade fitting and held securely by the QuickIN system, the user simply pulls a lever on top of the machine and a pair of spring-loaded clamps grab hold of the cutter and when the lever is returned these grip the Starlock cutter securely, without any play, onto the machine. The spanner-like recess helps guide the cutter into place and the whole thing works so smoothly that blade changes are possible in about three seconds. For a bit of fun I placed a row of blades on the demo bench and there is now a video of me out there somewhere, changing 3 blades in less than 10 seconds. I am definitely looking forward to giving this system a thorough testing when I get my hands on one of the new machines.

Innovation – The Key to the Future?

I am sure that many UK users will be just as impressed with the Starlock system and furthermore, how Fein operate as a company.  

I am always pleased when I witness a way of doing business other than the inevitable “bottom-line” thinking of margin cutters and cheap and cheerful manufacturing that seems to be the most common way nowadays. Above all else, it is a sustainable method – and who wouldn’t want a quality, sustainable set of tools to work with?

To see my review on the Fein Cordless Multimaster, click here. For more information on Fein, please visit fein.com

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

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