After a nice introduction by Paul Fry on the history and direction of the cordless tool line, we got to check out some of the new cordless tools available from the 2011 Milwaukee Tools Media Event. This was probably the most anticipated part of the media event – I mean, who doesn’t like new cordless tools? Tom Simeone, who I got to spend some quality time with over dinner later that evening, showed us the new M18 Cordless Caulk and Adhesive Guns. There are four different configurations which are available as separate SKUs and also as accessories for the main gun. They are particularly well-suited for high-force applications like high-viscosity urethane. This stuff gets really hard, particularly at low temperature. The new guns have 950 pounds of force. Taking a tube of urethane that he had store well below 50 degrees, Tom laid down a nice even bead with the tool’s variable speed trigger. When he let off the trigger, the tool automatically releases and it engages the drip-free feature.
To avoid seam breaks, the tool also makes clean 90 degree turns. This is perfect for glass installation, where you don’t want any breaks. Flow rate control is controlled simply by varying the trigger. The other thing we found innovative was that the tool uses a new piston design comprised of a cone that reaches up into the nozzle to use far more of the sausage packs than other guns we’ve seen. When you’re going through tens or even hundreds of packs per month, this is going to save a lot of money.
The tools can be purchased with a standard 10 oz caulk barrel, an aluminum sausage pack barrel, a clear sausage pack barrel, or a model that takes a full quart cartridge. And get this: you can empty 250 tubes on a single compact M18 battery! That’s going to make this a very convenient tool to have around, particularly if you’re in the glass or insulation business.
All of the accessories thread into the adapter and it looks super-easy to swap out the heads for different applications if necessary. The first two tools, the standard 10 ounce and the 20 ounce aluminum barrel sausage-style model, are due out in September for approximately $299 and $329 respectively.
David Lincoln showed us the new M12 Cordless Jigsaw. The tool is incredibly compact, much smaller than the M18 Cordless Jig Saw (2645-22) we reviewed earlier this year, and has positive bevel stops at 45 and 90 degrees. It also has what Milwaukee calls its “hybrid grip” and it really feels more like a drill than a jigsaw, which is to say that it’s very comfortable in the hand. We cut out a few holes in some linoleum countertops and found the saw to be extremely easy to maneuver. The included LED lights also did a good job of keeping the work area illuminated as we drove the saw around our laid-out cutting path. An included battery gauge and variable speed trigger make this a really good tool to see added into the M12 line. The tool doesn’t have an orbital mode, but as part of the M12 line we aren’t sure this is something we’d expect or even want to see. Pricing is said to be around $149 for the kit version of this tool which will have an M12 RedLithium battery and charger.
Bobby Shaw, who, contrary to popular opinion, is NOT a famous rock star, revealed the new M12 Cordless 1/4″ (2456-21) and 3/8″ (2457-21) Ratchet kits. These tools are seriously designed to replace pneumatic tools of the same type. These are ingenious tools that really address some of the issues related to those who otherwise have to reach for pneumatics when performing work on motors or anywhere else a ratchet is needed. They even use a familiar paddle-style switch that makes them easy to activate and lets you maneuver them inside tght spaces and adjust your hand on the handle as necessary to get the job done. With the new M12 products, you can really just pick up the tool and go to town. Milwaukee recessed the forward/reverse switch on these tools so you can’t accidentally bump it and switch direction, even when you’re using the tool in cramped quarters. There’s a variable speed trigger and the expected LED light. Lastly, a battery gauge let’s you know how much juice is left on the tool so you don’t get stuck with a dead battery when you need to get some work done. These tools put out between 30 and 35 ft lbs of torque depending on the model.
Available in October, both models shown off at the 2011 Milwaukee Tools Media Event will retail for around $150-$160.
Corey Dickert presented the newest inspection camera from Milwaukee, the M-Spector 360. A bunch of competitor cameras were set up at a focal length of 1″. At this range most inspection cameras fall apart. Since those of us using inspection cameras aren’t always thinkning in terms of staying within the desired focal length, the close-capabilities of the new M-Spector 360 is a welcome change. We also liked how detailed and colorful the new camera is. It has a really narrow 9mm camera head that outperforms most 17mm heads. The lack of washout and the clarity of the image was very impressive. We saw close-ups of jean material, circuit boards, and Cat 5e cable and it did a good job of revealing definition. This is a tool that is going to be very popular.
The new tool’s display even rotates 360 degrees to adjust the image to where you are. Milwaukee also demoed how current extensions have 4″ inflexible points along the cable. To solve this and simplify the most common uses, Milwaukee opted to provide the M-Spector 360 with both 3′ and 9′ cables and do away with extensions. A new pipe guide attachment let’s you snake through some impossible places and were able to get it nearly all the way to the bottom of a standard Kohler toilet.
The new M-Spector 360 will be available in October for between $199-$229 for the 3′ version kit and the 9′ kit will retail for roughly $249.
Excited to see more of these tools? We are, too and will be sure to review most of these as they become available to us.