My Father, who’s been a master plumber for over 40 years, loves his job. There is, however, one thing that he hates to do more than anything else: soldering. You’d think it would be something like digging up a sewer line, squeezing into a dark crawlspace or one of the other not-so-glorious plumbing procedures, but for him, it’s trying to solder a copper fitting with water in the pipes. Just when you think the drip has finally stopped, you light your torch and get the infamous solder balling up instead of melting into the joint. During times like these, you’d swear you could solve the world’s water shortage problems by harnessing whatever phenomenon is allowing water to keep running through these pipes! Is the Milwaukee M12 Force Logic Press Tool the answer?
Thankfully for my dad, there have been some incredible inventions over the last 10 years that changed the way we run water lines. PEX is a really popular alternative to copper, and it makes jobs much faster for the installer. (It’s also cheaper for the customer.) However, in our experience, it isn’t easy to convince certain customers that the plastic blue and red pipe is a professional alternative. One recent invention that solves this problem is the Pro Press system, which involves special fittings that require force instead of solder to join them to copper and steel pipe. This means no more flames and more importantly, no more waiting for the water to completely stop. Hallelujah! Sure, there are push fittings out there that don’t require solder either, but they come with a high price tag and, in my opinion, tend to look unprofessional.
Time to Throw Out Your Solder?
Seeing the value in the Pro Press industry, Milwaukee has recently introduced its own line of Force Logic press tools with some great new features not found on other brands. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the Milwaukee M12 Force Logic Press Tool kit, which can join copper pipe from ½” up to 1-¼”, making it perfect for the residential plumber like myself. The M12 kit (2743-22) comes with everything you need to get started: The press tool, 2 RedLithium 12V batteries, a 30 minute charger and 3 attachment heads (½”, ¾”, 1″). I’m glad that companies like Milwaukee are starting to realize that the cases they make for their tools are just as important for the user’s experience. The heavy-duty plastic case, which neatly holds everything in the kit, doesn’t feel like they tried to skimp on space. I hate trying to fit a tool back into a case that’s too small, so I don’t mind if it’s a bit bulky.
I was surprised how light the Milwaukee M12 Force Logic press tool was, given the fact that it can deliver over 5,000 lbs of pressure—that’s 2-1/2 tons! Weighing in at 3.8 lbs., the Force Logic is currently the lightest press tool on the market. I like that Milwaukee decided to use the inline design so that you can use it with one hand, much like their popular M12 copper tubing cutter. Unlike the other brands that use a gun-like shape, the Force Logic extends straight out which helps get into tight spaces. It feels well balanced in my hand, and the hefty rubber grips and activation button are in a comfortable place. The status light is also well-placed, which allows you to see it from nearly any angle. The M12 battery is compact and will make approximately 40 connections per charge. We haven’t had to do any service work on it yet, but the manual says that it can run for 40,000 cycles before needing its first calibration. In other words, forget about having to service it for a long, long time.
Milwaukee M12 Force Logic Press Tool Testing
The first job we tested it out on was a 3-story, residential unit with a commercial space on the second floor. When it comes to shutting down the water in a commercial building, timing is everything, so we wanted to put this tool to the test. We had to remove a leaking tee in the basement, and we needed to do it fast! We left the tool in the case, hit the stopwatch and went to work. My Dad cut out the section of pipe, while I removed the tool and attached the ½” head. He measured and cut the length of pipe and attached a coupling and a new tee. It was in a floor joist, next to a 220V power line and a phone cable, which can be a disaster when soldering with a flame. The Force Logic, however, made the job safe and easy. Within 7 minutes, we cut out a leaky fitting, replaced a section of pipe and turned the water back on, all while the pipes were still dripping. At this point, I knew why Milwaukee named it the Force Logic—because you don’t need much common sense to use it or understand how it’s going to save you time and money. Once you attach the head and place the jaws around the fitting, all you have to do is push the button until the cycle is complete. After approximately 5 seconds, the indicator light will turn green, giving you a confirmation that the fitting is secure, and you will hear the jaws release with a slight whooshing sound (like air being released). Presto, an instant connection that is secure, professional looking and time saving.
At the end of the day, what’s more valuable to me than the time I saved using the Milwaukee M12 Force Logic Press Tool is the absence of frustration. There’s nothing worse than starting your day trying to solder a wet joint, only to find out after you turn the water on that it has a slight leak. Sometimes it can ruin my day and affect my attitude for the other jobs. The Force Logic was a joy to work with from the very beginning, and I always look forward to the next job I’ll be able to use it. Now that my dad doesn’t have to complain about soldering anymore, I wonder if we’ll argue about whose truck it’s going to stay in?