We got a chance to try out the new Starlock Oscillating Multi-tool System. The Bosch GOP40-30 oscillating multi-tool featured the new accessory system at the 2015 STAFDA trade show in Phoenix. The new Starlock mounting system is being developed jointly by both Fein and Bosch as a new standard for oscillating multi-tools. Bosch is particularly motivated to get the new system to take off. They want the Starlock system as prevalent in the oscillating multi-tool market as their SDS system is for rotary hammers. The Starlock OMT accessory system arrived in January 2016. It seems to have succeeded in setting yet another new standard in the industry.
Fein Starlock Oscillating Multi-tool System Features
The Fein Starlock oscillating multi-tool system is a brand new design. It features a raised portion of the accessory that interlocks with the tool in three dimensions. That differs from the OIS accessory system that presses blades and such between a fastening washer and the tool. With the Starlock mounting system, Bosch, Fein, and other tools using the system get to grasp the accessory. Accessories feature a 3D configuration in the form of a quasi 12-sided dodecagram (a 12-pointed star). Protruding upward from the surface of the accessory, it looks like an oversized bottle cap.
The accessory literally snaps into the tool—there are no levers or fastening systems to prep or activate. It’s not just tool-less, you literally don’t have to touch a lever or insert a pin to load an accessory. You just place the tool over the accessory at whatever angle you want and press down. It automatically grasps the Starlock blade or accessory and locks it into place. A lever on the Bosch Starlock tool releases the accessory or blade without forcing you to touch it. That’s good if you’ve just cut through enough wood or metal to heat up the blade to 160+ degrees. Starlock tools and other compatible tools will work in the same way.
Using the Bosch GOP40-30 Oscillating Multi-Tool with Starlock Mounting System
There are several advantages to the new Starlock system. The most obvious is its snap-in function. Never before has changing the accessory on an oscillating multi-tool been faster or easier. The Bosch GOP40-30 oscillating multi-tool uses the Starlock mounting system with a snap-in function. It lets you change the accessory in less than 3 seconds. It also does it without requiring you to touch a potentially hot blade—which makes this a safer system as well.
The Three Flavors of the Starlock System
The Starlock mounting system will come out in three variations for reasons of backward compatibility. You have the basic Starlock system, which fits a majority of the corded or cordless oscillating multi-tools on the market (including the Bosch MX30E multi-tool or any Bosch OIS-compatible tools), the Starlock Plus which fits the Fein MultiMaster FMM 350 Q, and the Starlock Max which is being reserved for heavy-duty tools and accessories. All three are trademarked by Fein. Noticeably absent are any solutions that will work with tools requiring a slotted accessory, such as the Dremel Multi-Max, Porter-Cable PC250MTK, or DeWalt’s newest oscillating multi-tool.
Presumably, there will be a redesign of the Fein SuperCut line and accessory interface as well, preparing it for the heavy duty Starlock Max mounting system.
The Starlock oscillating multi-tool system is certainly unique (it’s also patented). But will it set the new standard in the oscillating multi-tool market? We’ll have to see. The oscillating multi-tool has gone from a fad of just a few years ago to a full-blown tool that’s indispensable for those doing trim work and anything requiring flush cutting for tile and flooring. It’s also handy in other applications like electrical work and when you need to cut a bolt (or anything else for that matter) flush to a surface.
The most telling thing about the Starlock oscillating multi-tool system is that the accessories are backward compatible with all OIS and OIS-compatible tools. The only hang-up is that new power tools from Bosch, Flex, Fein, and Festool that use the new Starlock mounting system will only work with Starlock accessories. The recessed mounting position won’t accept any of your existing OIS blades or accessories.
The unique Bosch color coding will remain the same with the new Starlock accessories as it is with the current OIS accessories:
Look for the new Bosch GOP40-30 oscillating multi-tool and the new Starlock and Starlock Plus accessories to hit the shelves around January 2016. Pricing should be very similar to existing OIS products.