Having just returned from Milwaukee’s 2014 new product symposium, I wanted to highlight some of the really innovative new tools now revealed; but, before I delve into some of what I saw, I would be amiss if I didn’t first mention what a superb job the folks at Milwaukee did in setting up the event itself.
The venue was a spectacular historic building, and though just a warehouse of some kind, besides the charm of its rustic bricks, it still possessed the architectural features of an era long gone and almost forgotten. Girthy wooden pillars, beams accented with molding, ironwork fastening it all together—It was the perfect setting to showcase some of the world’s best tools.
Of course a building by itself wouldn’t make for much of a show, so the great folks at Milwaukee transformed it into a construction site in progress. There were open wood stud walls, and metal stud walls; there was roughed-in electrical conduit, and roughed-in water pipes and drain pipes. All set up in just two days, there was just about everything you’d expect to see on a construction project that would require tools to complete. And what would a construction project be without Milwaukee tools?
M18 FUEL 7 ¼” Circular Saw (2731-22)—Weighing in at only 9 lbs, this saw does everything you’d expect from a corded tool—only without the cord. In fact, the prevalent theme this year was, “Cut the cord,” and with a power source like FUEL, doing the job without a cord is a reality.
M12 FUEL Hackzall (2520-21XC)—This reciprocating saw is a light weight easy to handle tool. This tool was designed for one hand operation, and performs so well at that task that I filmed the saw in action with one hand while my other hand operated the saw to cut a piece of pipe.
M18 LED Stick Light (2352-20)—This little light can shine! Compared with other lights, both corded and non-corded, the Stick Light out lights the others and does so with an easy-on-the-eye light that allows the natural color of your work area to shine true. So, if an electrician is looking for a red wire in a panel with a rainbow of color, he can be confident of picking out the red. (Unless, of course, he is color blind.)
Jobsite Backpack (48-22-8200)—This pack is specifically designed for the tradesman—most notably, the electrician and technician needing to carry a gamut of well organized tools and supplies. The backpack stands up on its own with its hard molded water-tight base, making it easy to open up and locate a specific tool. Made of 1680 Denier ballistic nylon, this fabric is five times stronger than the typical 600 D polyester.
13″ Jobsite Work Box (48-22-8010)—Get off your bucket-seat and sit on a tool box designed specifically as both a handy tool carrier and a convenient work seat. And unlike a bucket, this box comes with a vertical tool organizer, an interior divider, and a floating tray.
M18 FUEL 1-1/8 SDS Plus Rotary Hammer (2715-22)—A concrete drill that drills faster than its corded counterpart; and with only a re-charge at lunch, you can go the whole day without tripping over a cord.
M18 Sawzall (2621-22)—Perhaps the most iconic Milwaukee tool, the corded Sawzall in its red metal case has been a staple in countless Gang-boxes for over 50 years. This cordless Reciprocating is deemed to cut 35% faster and last 40% longer per charge than competitive brands. My own hands demonstrated that this recip is faster than corded counterparts.
Hole Dozer—This hole saw line features a step slot for ejecting the hole plug. Slip a common screw driver into the slot and even thick plugs can be ejected by advancing to the next step.
Rapid Charge Station—Charge up to six batteries in 74 minutes. This unit charges both M12 and M18 batteries, and has index marks to easily mount it on a wall.
Hand Tools—Similarly conceived like the 300-plus tools that will fit in your tool bags, the Torque Lock locking pliers were inspired by how individual tools are modified and customized by their users. For instance, when a worker replaces a thumb-turn tightener on his pliers with a common eye-bolt to leverage the tool’s grip, it just stands to reason that the tool should be designed that way from the start.
It should go without mentioning that this is just a small portion of all the new innovative tools I saw at this year’s event. And we hope to review many of them in greater detail soon—so stay tuned.