Bosch has just announced a new MX30E oscillating multi-tool that features a tool-free blade and accessory change mechanism. Fein’s MultiMaster, Dremel’s Multi-Max MM40, and models from Porter Cable and Craftsman feature a tool-free blade change as well.
The new Bosch MX30E Multi-X is powered by a 3A motor, which is said to the be the highest amp rating in its class. Speed is adjustable from 8,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute, and electronic controls keeps the speed constant even under heavy load.
Bosch designed the multi-tool with a reinforced gear housing meant to cut down on tool vibration, and multiple soft-grip areas to further improve user comfort.
The new Multi-X will be available in several kit configurations:
- MX30EC-21 comes with 5 cutting and scraping accessories, and 16 sanding accessories ($199)
- MX30EK-33 comes with 7 cutting, scraping, and grinding accessories, and 26 sanding accessories ($249)
- MX30EL-37 comes with 11 cutting, scraping, and grinding accessories, and 26 sanding accessories ($299)
An optional dust collection kit (OSC003) will also soon be available.
Bosch Multi-X via Amazon
Bosch MX30E kits should be soon be available via authorized distributors nationwide.
Stuart– what’s your opinion on tool-free accessory changing? Do you see it as a real improvement in tool design or more of a market-driven feature? If given the choice between tool-free and keyed, I’m more likely to go for the cheaper option if everything else is equal. I own a few key-free tools that don’t lock in the bits and blades as well as a keyed chuck, disc, or blade holder does… sometimes it matters, sometimes not. But I ask because I’m seeing “tool free” pushed as a marketing device so much more often these days, even though the advantage of tool-free accessory swaps doesn’t seem to merit the hullabaloo.
Tool-free blade change mechanisms often add to the complexity and cost of oscillating tools, but they do add to greater user convenience. I greatly prefer tool-free blade change designs, such as with jig saws, reciprocating saws, and oscillating tools, but you are right in that execution is important.
Some manufacturers might be inspired with “me-too” motivations, but with this type of tool there really is no room for error.
Although each current tool-free design features a first-generation blade change mechanism, I have faith that 1) manufactures did enough testing to ensure that tool-free holders work as effectively as ones that use hex bolts, and 2) users will spread word of poor designs rather quickly.
Although there may be some similarities (e.g. between Fein and Craftsman tool-free designs), closer examination suggests that each manufacturer developed their tool-free mechanisms independently. As such, time will tell us if a particular design is significantly better than the others.
Personally, I do like “tool-free blade change” tools (when the mechanisms work effectively as advertised), and especially such oscillating tools.
Tools with non-tool-free blade change designs will still be around as they are more economical, but eventually we may see a complete shift to tool-free designs. Consider the Porter Cable oscillating-tool – it features a tool-free blade change but is still relatively economical.
Long story short, while manufacturers cry “ZOMG look at our tool’s tool-free blade change!!,” I believe the shift to tool-free is market-driven and user-demanded, and there are merits to such a feature.
The original Fein – used a hex cap screw and friction only (no star pattern holder or multi-holed ring) to secure blades. As a consequence some blades were notoriously prone to moving around. As the end of Fein’s patent got close – it seems that blade attachment innovation was introduced – as was the more powerful Supercut, While I still think our Fein tools are just that “fine” the competition that now exists for this tool category will likely bring some much appreciated innovation and choice
I have the original version of the Multi-X and I would welcome a quick-change version. When demolishing my bathroom last year I was using three different wood blades and the diamond blade for drywall and switching between them all took a lot extra steps. I didn’t think of it at the time but a cordless drill with the right hex driver would have made it quicker to change the bits, that is if you can use one Bosch tool on another without remorse. I am interested to see how they designed the head on this new model because the Porter-Cable version has a slot in the blades but the photos of the new MX30 use the same closed-loop blades as the original. Those Germans…
I have the Bosch MX30E Multi X and it’s super solid…. but it failed catastrophically after less than 30hours of cumulative run time. Probably due to the thin design in the gear head casting.Where the cir-clip attaches to the casting, there’s a really thin lip holding the oscillating shaft assembly down and the casting wore through. Disappointing given that it’s made in Switzerland of all places.