Reviews at a glance

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

Wiha’s MagicRing and Magic Spring L-Keys

Why Get Them?

Sometimes you need to attach the fastener to the L-Key without a magnet – computer for eg don’t like magnets!

Wiha’s team has come up with several solutions that fit the bill

Features

The pack of nine ErgoStar MagicRing Hex keys have a ball end with a spring retainer – they retain the fasteners even at an angle of up to 20 degrees on the ball end.

Made with 57-60 HRC Chrome steel and meeting all the ISO and DIN standards they are of professional quality.

The short end of the keys allow max torque and maximum access for the tools in confined spaces.

The above is all very well for hex keys, but Torx fixings are becoming much more popular these days, especially for more demanding applications. Wiha also makes a ball end Torx L-Key and its engineers have solved the problem of retaining a Torx bolt onto an L-Key. The clue of course lies in the name – the ErgoStar MagicSpring.

The MagicSpring Torx L-Keys are in a 13-piece pack and have a black finish.

 The same ingenious holder is used so there is no hassle needed to get at the keys, but at the same time the set stays safely together.

Included is a wall hanger for the entire set so that it can be attached to a rack or van interior.

Overall, there is no doubt that these Wiha L-Keys are professionally rated pieces of kit with a few handy innovations that will make jobs easier and more efficient. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJzGksW1oi8

Festool CTM 36 E AC HD Vacuum Extractor

Systems, Systems

One of the best aspects of buying Festool is that you are buying into a system that links together wherever possible. So, saws and sanders and benches and vacuums etc, can all be coordinated to create a team of tools that will hopefully enable the highest quality work. This does mean that the user has to be up to the job too, but the Festool System provides a great starting point.

Confidence and Ease of Use

The first thing that buyers of this Festool vac will know is that it comes with the required HEPA filter and Airflow necessary to extract dangerous dusts up to M-Class requirements.  Along with this is a built-in electronic monitoring system for filters and airflow. If the airflow ever falls below 20m/s a warning beep will sound to alert the user. All the control switches are grouped together and all are marked in green - Festool’s long-established way of marking parts that users need to know are controls.

Up to 5 diameters of extraction hose can be selected, from 16mm to 50mm, and the electronics will take care of power required from the motor to ensure the best possible extraction rate. The guesswork is taken out for the user – simply choose from the options and you can be confident of the correct performance.

Other controls are equally simple. Auto Clean is selected with a switch and this activates an electronic control that forces air under pressure through the filter and it is this that removes the dust from the filter and provides an opportunity for the extractor to take a breath every 10 seconds. To see this in action go to this link: -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jeh5QWMGf6M

By simply plugging a corded power tool into the auxiliary socket and connecting it to the extraction hose, and selecting ‘automatic’ on the switch, the vacuum will come on when the tool is started and turn off when the tool is switched off. I was able to work at sanding a series of six rather woodworm eaten doors outside with no visible dust, and the noise levels from the vac were less than the sander’s. Selecting the suction needed to ensure good extraction as well as efficient sanding is again very easy – just move the relevant switch.

Other Reassuring Things

For those tired of squashed and easily tangled extraction hoses, the 4 metre-long green and black Festool hose resists kinking and is antistatic. No clingy dust when you clear it up at the end of the day. The machine end of the hose has a rubber adaptor that fits tightly into the front of the machine, as well as into the closing slide that comes with this vacuum. Using the closing slide ensures that the user can close off the hose aperture when the hose is removed, making dust leaks impossible. Or you can use the sealing plug provided. The other end of the hose has a standard rubber adaptor that can be teamed with a Festool stepped adaptor to fit the tool in hand. Storing the hose in transit is done via the foldable hose holder on top of the casing.

To allow for a generous working radius the Festool has 7.5 metres of rubberised mains cord and typically, Festool has thought about where to store it by providing a tool and cable storage holder that is attached to the back by two screws.

By attaching an optional Systainer retainer, other tools in boxes may be attached for easy transport.

Filter and Bag Maintenance

There is little point in providing M-Class extraction only to expose users to concentrated dusts when the dust bag needs emptying or the filter needs changing. Of course, the right grade of face mask is needed, but both of these tasks can be done quickly and easily by the user. Replacements are simply slotted into place with a minimum of exposure time to dust.

The vac can also be used to collect water spills but precautions need to be taken and then it needs to be allowed to dry out thoroughly before reinstalling a dust bag.

In Daily Use

I used this vacuum intensively for two weeks on a barn restoration, where it was used connected to circular saws and sanders, as well as collecting cement and sand dust and clearing up at the end of the day. It has a big 36 litre capacity and took up a large space in my boot. Weighing 14.5 Kgs it is not that easy to lift into my hatchback, but the big wheels make moving it, even on roughish surfaces, quite easy. The truth is, regular site users need a machine with some capacity because of the workloads. By the end of the two weeks I had grown so used to the Festool that it was part of my work routine. Efficient, easy to use and reliable.

Some will always bring up the common complaint about the price – this vac costs over £600. But we need to take into account Festool’s extended warranty, service and insurance offer and 10 year parts guarantee in our calculations.

 

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