With just about every tool manufacturer making oscillating multi-tools now, almost everyone has one. If you have been one of the few holding out for other options like a tool-free blade change system, you are now in luck—Fein’s FMM-250Q Top system isn’t the only game in town. You need to check out the new Porter-Cable PC250MTK Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit. This new tool from Porter-Cable has what might be an even better tool-less blade change system than the original from Europe. With this new convenience comes the catch that for now you can only use the Porter-Cable blades and accessories.
Porter-Cable PC250MTK Oscillating Multi-Tool Features
The Porter-Cable PC250MTK Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit come all packaged up inside a sturdy black plastic tool case that has room to store the tool along with a decent collection of included accessories. The overall body of the tool is made of gray glass filled nylon with about 75% of the outside covered with rubber overmold. When we initially pulled out the tool we were shocked to find a 10 foot long cord tucked in the tool case. The long cord means that you will probably be able to work on most things without having to use an extension cord. The PC250MTK comes with a 2.5 amp, high-torque, variable-speed motor that is controlled by a dial towards the back of the tool. The variable speed control allows for anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute (OPM) and provides 2.8 (total) degrees of oscillation. The on/off switch is a sliding type that is located near the front top of the tool which puts it in easy reach for when you are holding the tool around the middle. Now, where this oscillating tool is different than all the rest is the tool-free blade change system. Simply give the spring-loaded metal arm on the bottom of the tool a squeeze and you can pull out the accessory from the collet. The accessories each have nine holes that line up with the taped pins inside the collet. The pins in the collet are tapered so that, as both the tool and the accessories wear, they will always retain a tight fit and maximize the amount of torque the motor transfers to the blade. The blades can be adjusted and locked into 30 degree increments depending on how they are inserted into the collet. The best thing with this tool-free system is that there are no removable parts, which is good for me because I tend to lose small things.
Here is a quick run-down of the accessories that come with the tool kit:
- 1-1/2″ by 1-5/8″ High-Speed Steel Precision Plunge Cut Blade
- 1-1/2″ by 1-5/8″ High-Speed Steel Wood Plunge Cut blade
- 1-1/2″ by 1-5/8″ Bi-Metal Wood and Metal Plunge Cut Blade
- 4″ Half Round High-Speed Steel Flush Cut Blade
- Carbide Grout Removal Blade
- High-Speed Steel Rigid Scraper Blade
- High-Speed Steel Flexible Scraper Blade
- Sanding Hook and Loop Pad
- 60 grit sandpaper (x9)
- 120 grit sandpaper (x9)
- 240 grit sandpaper (x9)
Porter-Cable PC250MTK Multi-Tool Testing and Use
Having spent time with nearly every oscillating multi-tool on the market has made it easy to spot when something is different. Given how many there are now, if you want your tool to stand out you need to be pretty innovative. Porter-Cable wins the innovation award for sure with their new PC250MTK Oscillating Multi-Tool. Since the advent of the multi-tool market by Fein some years ago, no one else has come up with a true tool-free blade change system. Sure the Fein blade change system was good, but we think the Porter-Cable is better after we spent some time with it. What we have seen in the past is that many times guys will just pick one blade and use it for cutting everything, even if it was not meant for the task, because it is a little bit of a hassle to change them. With the Porter-Cable tool, there is no excuse now, to not use the right blade for the job. Just pull up on the lever, and pop in a new blade – it’s pretty simple. The trick is that currently the only accessories that are compatible with the Porter-Cable are their own. There is no magic adapter to make other brands work on this tool since it uses an open horse shoe shaped end on the blades to facilitate the easy install and removal. Consequently, the Bosch OIS system won’t work because the tool never allows full access to the collet. We did get word that they are working on an adapter that will allow this tool to use other brands of blades via a screw down system similar to most of the other tools starting in August 2011.
We tried out the Porter-Cable PC250MTK Oscillating Multi-Tool on a few different projects. While I am not exactly a hobbyist, I was working on a little project where I was fabricating some new grips for a handgun. For these grips I chose a black linen phenolic laminate material. What this material has is many layers of linen fabric embedded with a phenolic resin. What is cool about this material is that it is very durable, makes for a very attractive pattern when shaped and can provide excellent grip when left raw from rough sanding. I used the Porter-Cable Multi-Tool to do all the final shaping using the Sanding Hook and Loop Pad and the 60 and 120 grit sand paper. The multi-tool provided plenty of control and was easy to use with just one hand to grip the tool.
We also tested out some of the other included blades like the carbide grout blade, the flush cut blade and the coarse wood blade. All these blades proved to be adequate in the tasks that we used them for. One thing to consider with the plunge blades is that, given their cost, we would have liked to see either etched or stamped depth measurements in them. The painted-on measurements quickly wear off, making them all but useless. Normally, we’d say go for an alternative accessory – but with the PC250MTK you’re pretty much locked in.
As with any multi-tool, it is only as good as its accessories. The variety of blades and accessories that are available right now is adequate for most projects and materials. We suspect that as demand for certain specific types increases, Porter-Cable will deliver. The overall quality and functionality of the Porter-Cable accessories seem to be of pretty good quality apart from the labeling. We particularly liked the dedicated coarse wood plunge cut blade that had very large teeth and worked incredibly fast. As a fun side note, we were able to easily fit the Porter-Cable blades on other brands of multi-tools thanks to their hole placement being the same layout as a few other manufacturers. In the photo we placed a Porter-Cable wood blade on a Milwaukee multi-tool via a universal adapter. Here is the current list of available accessories along with their model numbers and suggested prices.
- PC3001 Sandpaper – Paint (6 pieces) $6.99
- PC3002 Sandpaper – Wood (6 pieces) $6.99
- PC3005 Sanding Pad Hook and Loop $13.98
- PC3010 1 1/2″ x 1 5/8″ High-Speed Steel Precision Plunge Cut Blade $17.98
- PC3011 1 1/2″x1 5/8″ High-Speed Steel Wood Plunge Cut blade $17.98
- PC3012 1 1/2″x1 5/8″ Bi-Metal Wood and Metal Plunge Cut Blade $21.98
- PC3013 4″ High-Speed Steel Flush Cut blade $19.98
- PC3014 3/8″x1 5/8″ Bi-Metal Wood and Metal Plunge Cut Blade $19.98
- PC3019 Plunge Cutting Blade Assortment 3 Pack $34.98
- PC3020 High-Speed Steel Rigid Scraper Blade $11.98
- PC3021 High-Speed Steel Flexible Scraper Blade $9.98
- PC3030 Carbide Grout Removal Blade $29.98
- PC3031 Carbide Rasp $28.99
All in all, the Porter-Cable PC250MTK Oscillating Multi-Tool kit was worth the wait to get a true tool-free blade change system. The tool has a quality feel to it that seems like it will be able to stand up to real job site use. The key to remember with any multi-tool is that it is not an end-all tool but rater to be used to augment the other tools in your collection. The Porter-Cable gets a 7/10 Value rating because the cost of the individual included accessories alone almost rivals the value of the tool which makes for a good bargain, It would have scored even higher, but the limited range of accessories could end up making accessories difficult to locate when you really need them (unless you plan ahead – and most of us don’t). For our Performance rating, we gave the tool a 9/10 because, even though it is a late player in the multi-tool race, we think it might be a game changer as far as the ease of changing blades, not to mention a great build quality and specs to match the best in the business.