Over at Home Depot, they have some fantastic deals on select Milwaukee M12 cordless power tools.
First up they’re bundling their new M12 Fuel right angle die grinder with a free bonus battery. The tool-only version, 2485-20, typically retails for $169 or $179, and here you have it for $159 PLUS you get a bonus 2.0Ah battery to go along with it.
If you’ve got an M12 or M18/M12 charger, you’re all set.
Next up, the M12 Fuel cordless cut-off tool is on sale for $119, also bundled with a 2.0Ah battery.
The bare tool, 2522-20, is typically priced at $139, and so here it’s $20 less plus you get that battery.
If you purchase both the right angle die grinder and cut-off tool bundles separately, it would be $159 + $119 = $278.
Or, buy this combined bundled and save an extra $19. $259 gives you both bare tools and 2x 2.0Ah batteries.
Purchased separately, the bare tools would run you ~$308-$318. This seems like a very good deal.
For $90 more than the right angle die grinder, cut-off tool, and 2x battery bundle deal, this deal also throws in a 3/8″ ratchet and a third 2.0Ah battery.
These deals were advertised as part of Home Depot’s Special Buy Tool Deals of the Day (ending 3am ET 6/11/2021), and also are included in a separate M12 bonus deal selection.
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I have the 90 degree die grinder, and I am super happy with it. It’s surprisingly capable.
I don’t own the cutoff tool (yet), but one feature that I really like about it and feel is worth pointing out: it’s reversible. That’s huge in my opinion. I’ve always found that dedicated cutoff tools were simply a less flexible version of a die grinder. Want to cut something off? Stick a mandrel in the die grinder that takes 3″ abrasive wheels. But die grinders generally don’t have reverse. This does. Which means you have control over which direction the sparks and the dust fly, and that’s awesome whether you’re working under a car or under a sink. This is the first time I’ve ever thought there was a reason to buy a “cutoff tool” rather than a die grinder with a mandrel.
Thanks – that’s a very good point about it’s reversibility!!
Koko The Talking Ape
Absolutely. And reversibility lets you control which way the tool wants to pull, which could improve safety. And it’s’ also got that depth-adjusting shoe and blade guard for cutting panels.
I ordered one. I’m super excited to try it out!
I have the identical Ryobi cut off tool and its the *one* tool I have that I don’t like. I haven’t found it super helpful yet. Seems to burn thru discs really fast and always wants to jump off the cut line
Koko The Talking Ape
Hm. Does it still jump out of the cut when you reverse the wheel direction? If you’re moving the saw forward, the blade should be spinning from underneath up to the front, so it holds the saw down against the piece.
I picked up 2 of the cut off tools about 6 months ago. They are quite good for their size. I can conform that the reversibility is useful in some situations.
I converted one of them to a 1/2″ x 18″ mini belt sander using the belt attachment off of a pneumatic one from Harbor freight. You need to machine a few custom parts. Alternately their is a seller on eBay that has conversion kits available. https://www.ebay.com/itm/274450561719
The cut off tool is quite capable comparing favorably in terms of power with the Snap on 3″ air powered cutoff tool I occasional use where I work. They are quite battery hungry I would not even consider using them with 2 AH batteries. The compact 3 AH are even marginal. They do much better with the 6 AH packs and I suspect would be OK with the 4 AH. Additionally when cutting metal the quality and thickness of the discs make a big difference. I am getting good results with 0.035″ thick 3M Silver series discs. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0781Z3KFM
The price is good, and the tool is good, just plan on getting a bigger battery pack to get useful run time.
I forgot to attach pictures of the conversion from cutoff tool to belt sander
I completely agree about the quality of and thickness of abrasive cutoff discs making a huge difference in general. I prefer the thinnest possible disc, they are admittedly less forgiving of poor technique but they cut much better, especially with compact tools which may be of marginal power. This is also a situation where cheapo no-name brands do not pay off. Quality abrasives are worth the spend, in my opinion.
How are you liking the bandfile conversion for this tool? I saw the idea online and thought about building one myself but I’m concerned about the power. What has your experience been like with it?
I haven’t really beaten on it yet but power wise it compares favorably with the air powered ones.
I use an maintain a few Dynabrade DynaFile-II’s where I work. While the harbor freight air powered one that the working end is taken from is definitely not as robustly built it is plenty good for average use. If you are planning on using it hard daily it probably won’t hold up. However as a problem solver for occasional use it is great.
They also don’t cost over $500 zoro.com/dynabrade-air-belt-sander-industrial-05-hp-14-40320/i/G3635685/ It is nice to be able to buy every part and completely rebuild one if needed.
I really like how the current generation these new cordless tools can exceed the performance of their air powered counter parts when using a average size portable air compressor. If you have a large air compressor Air is still better for heavy use.
These are marketed toward automotive work, but I’m wondering what uses everyone finds for them in work around the house and workshop? Thanks
The cut-off tool can cut tile. It comes with a shoe, like on a circular saw, that is rarely shown in the advertisements. You would have to buy a diamond blade. I don’t know how well it does given that it cuts dry.
I own the grinder. With a diamond blade it is excellent for small, intricate cuts in tile, as well as making neat cut outs in old plaster.
The bare tool comes with a regular abrasive wheel, a tungsten carbide grit wheel and a diamond wheel. I have not used the diamond as I use mine mostly for metal. but it was included.
I think a good way to look at the die grinder is that it’s a “big dremel tool”. You can actually use dremel accessories in it using the 1/8″ collet so anything you can use a dremel for you can use this for as well. Though it’s also a lot more powerful so you can do more aggressive grinding/shaping of materials with it. Fit it with an abrasive cutoff disc and you can now use it as a cut-off tool. Fit it with the right kind of mandrel and you can use it with sanding or stripping discs for surface prep, cleaning, etc.
That said I rarely use mine for “around the house” sort of things. About the only thing that comes to mind is if I have to put a screw into something and the point protruding out the back side becomes a problem, something like this is handy for grinding the tip of the screw down flush. 99% of the time I use these for metal fab in the welding shop, or automotive use. I have both the straight and 90 M12 and the much larger straight Dewalt 20V max.
I imagine the cutoff tool could be used for a variety of DIY purposes. It works as a light-duty tile saw. It cuts fiber-cement board, thin sheet metal and ducting (think HVAC), and a variety of small metal objects. I bet it would be awesome for cutting metal mesh or “hardware cloth”. I think it could be a pretty handy problem solver.
Koko The Talking Ape
I plan to use the cut-off tool for cutting steel threaded rod and angle stock, and maybe for cutting thin plywood or other panel stock.
The M12 bandsaw will probably be a faster better option for threaded rod and up to 1 1/2″ angle. The only advantage the cut off tool would have is in tight locations where the band saw would not fit.
It is probably not the bets option for plywood either as abrasive wheels are likely to burn the wood rather than cutting it. I am curious if it might be possible to fit 3 3/8″ circular saw blade in the guard. If so that might work OK. I might have to try that.
Koko The Talking Ape
Faster yes, but the cut-off saw is more compact, as you say. It’s also cheaper! Also, it’s more versatile, since it can also cut tile, formica sheet, etc.
I wouldn’t use abrasive wheels for plywood. The M12 comes with an adapter to let it take 3″ Dremel blades, and there are Dremel blades for wood. I don’t know about fitting larger blades.
You can fit 3″ circular saw blades on the tool but I wouldn’t expect great success cutting plywood. The RPM for an abrasive blade is usually much higher than that for a toothed blade, I’d bet that this tool will be spinning a bit too fast for optimum cutting with a toothed blade, and the depth of cut is also quite small which limits you to pretty thin plywood.
Unless you have a need to cut tile specifically I’d suggest a compact circular saw. I used mine to make a new trailer hitch receiver for my buddy’s truck a couple weeks ago. I cut 3/8, 1/4, and 1/8″ steel with a lot less effort than an abrasive saw and needless to say with a normal woodcutting blade equipped it certainly handles wood no problem.
Koko The Talking Ape
(Replying to MM):
I hadn’t thought about RPM’s, but that’s a good point. But at least the saw can actually do it, and also tile, laminate, etc.
But I got the new DeWalt 6 1/2″ brushless circular saw a few months ago, and that thing is a beast. Easily handles 2x lumber.
After looking closer at the specs for the 3 3/8″ blades will not work. The arbor hole is too large, and the guard on the cutoff tool is slightly too small.
Additionally 20,000 RPM is about twice as fast as a 3 3/8″ blade would need to be run to have a surface speed in the same ball park as larger circular saw.
I looked at the available Dremel Saw Max blades but did not see anything that looked and better for wood than the tungsten carbide grit blade that it comes with.
This might be a possible improvement in a future version of this type of tool. Multiple speed settings via a button selection like current impact drivers. Along with arbor adapters and guards that would expand compatibility to 3 3/8″ saw blades. Having a all in one compact tool that could handle cutting almost any common material would be really slick.
In my opinion they could *greatly* improve this tool by doing three things.
1) give it a 2-speed gearbox just like many drill/drivers have. 1:1 “high gear” for abrasive/grit/diamond blades, 2:1 “low gear” for toothed blades.
2) offset the motor to give a larger depth of cut.
3) give it a retracting guard like most circular saws have. Make this easily removable, just like the shoe the tool comes with.
Koko The Talking Ape
Hm, I was just looking for 3″ blades for wood, and I did see them, with carbide teeth.
Re RPMs, I heard here that for each material there’s an optimal in/sec rate for advancing a saw through it, and the blade should be designed to accomplish that. But there’s lots of leeway in blade designs. I’m sure that they could make one that performs well at higher than optimal RMS. For one thing, they could reduce the number of teeth.
But I agree, I think the thing should have variable speeds, and perhaps two speed ranges, or just two speeds at least.
I have to say I was surprised when it turned out to have just one speed. Somehow I expected the thing to have variable speeds, maybe because it’s reversible, and reversible drills are usually variable (VSR).
Thanks—appreciating all the advice and experience
I purchased the cut-off tool a couple months ago for cutting plaster (based on a YouTube video). The shoe has a dust collection port that helps a great deal with controlling dust. It made the job (and clean-up) go smoothly.
i bought the 3 cutoff tool right after it came out. I find it really useful. I like the idea of converting it a bandfile tool, I do have the corded Harbor Freight tool and that works pretty well. Chance are i will usually have access to power outlets, but Milwaukee should take notice
I’ve written a lot about bandfiles recently so I’ll take the opportunity to double down here: I absolutely think that bandfiles are huge gaping holes in the product lines of many of the major cordless tool manufacturers.
Ryobi, Makita, Hilti, Metabo, Ingersoll-Rand, Snap-On, and others have them. Yet for some reason huge brands like Milwaukee and Dewalt do not. I’ve already written to both companies about how I just bought a Makita despite being heavily into their brand because that was a tool they didn’t make. I’m hoping other people will contact them and request the same.
Although I really like bandfiles and have a fair bit of experience using and maintaining them. They really are more of a specialty tool.
Though they are versatile there are many applications that other more common tools can do adequately. Additionally they are more mechanical complex and therefore tend to be more expensive. Small die grinders and 4.5″ angle grinders can handle most general fabrication needs and are ubiquitous and cheap. Hand files can get into tight and awkward spaces and work well enough for most non production applications.
I hope seeing the aftermarket conversions that people are making for the M12 cutoff tool that Milwaukee realizes that there is a market. I just hope they don’t decide to ignore it because some one is already filling it.
As I understand things they are not very well known to the average North American contractor, though things are different in Europe. There, a bandfile is the standard tool for cutting a mortise in a door for installing locks, and most brands offer corded tools. I’d think there would be plenty of demand for that from the Euro market alone, the same way that Dewalt has their DCS397 “alligator saw” for poroton blocks there. Here in NA they seem to fall into either of two niches: welding/fab shops for smoothing out welds to make the finished parts look nice, and for auto body work where they are much faster for removing spot-welds between body panels compared to a drill. The industrial (Hilti, Metabo) and the Auto-specific brands (Ingersoll, Snap-On) seem to have caught onto this and are offering the tools here, but Makita and Ryobi are the only ones offering general models. It seems odd to me that Dewalt, Milwaukee, and others have avoided making them, especially when they do make some incredibly niche tools already.
They would not find much use in installing most average door knob or deadbolt locks in the US as everything that is commonly available uses a 2 1/8″ hole through the door with a 1″ hole from the edge intersecting it. The only mortising needed is just a shallow recces on the edge of the door for the latch. Which is usually just done using a wood chisel, or in the case of a metal door that was not preped at the factory a special forming tool. It is just not that common to see new mortise style door locks in the US outside of large institutional settings.
I completely agree that the average US contractor wouldn’t get use out of them for door locks as I’ve installed too many to count myself. My point was that the Euro market alone may be enough to warrant them producing the tool, the same way that Dewalt makes the alligator saw even though US contractors don’t get any use out of it. Then at least we could import Euro models if they didn’t bother to sell them here.
If the design were up to me I’d make the arm have two different mounting positions so it could take 21″ contractor-style belts that are standard in Europe as well as the 18″ industrial belts one normally sees for the welding and body shop type bandfiles here in the states. They could target multiple markets with one tool.
Hi all, regarding the cutoff tool. Just wondering if anyone shares my experience with it. I picked up a kit a few months ago at my local HD, it was on sale, and was an impulse buy. Came with the shoe and a couple of different blades. I’ve tried using it on a variety of materials, and no matter what I tried cutting, the stupid thing would stall out in a matter of seconds. There appears to be some sort of feedback/protection circuit, whose life mission is to cut power to the motor before any actual stalling happens, and it does so with a resounding “oh, hell, no” and the resolve of a helicopter parent. Thus, getting through some 1/8 plexiglass happens in maybe 3-4 inch increments at a time. I don’t expect it to plow through like a circular saw, but I should hope that it would have faired better than a dremel. (Speaking of which, the m12 rotary tool is even more useless – overheats and stalls so much that you’d think that was a design feature – you know, because otherwise it would make too much sense). So, what gives?
P. S. I also bought a wood blade for the cutoff tool, (I know, Mwke says not to use them, or the tool will ‘splode in fireballs, and rain fire, and hell on earth for all eternity and some such – yeah, whatever, not like it’s functional to begin with). So, the wood blade. And 1/16 plywood. My thumbs are starting to hurt from all this typing, so, in a nutshell- great idea. For about 6-7 inches worth of a cut. Enter the stalling/shutting off issue. Ok, rant over. Thanks!
I have had a much better experience with mine. You have to keep your expectations in check as it is a compact battery powered tool.
You will also see a huge difference in performance depending on which battery you use with it. If you are trying to use it with the 1.5 or 2 AH that came with a drill kit you will be disappointed. They just can’t supply enough current to get full performance let alone decent run time. With a 6 AH battery I have gotten about 4-5 feet of cutting in 14 gauge 304 stainless steel sheet using a 0.035″ thick 3M silver series cutting wheel. That was definitely pushing the limit as the tool was quite hot afterwards. It took probably about 3-5 minutes to make that cut, you just have to find the sweet spot for how fast you can cut without stalling it.
It is really not the right tool for cutting plastics of wood. In plastics it is way too fast is will just end up melting and burning it. Wood will be similar just with less melting. A tool optimized for abrasive cutting is not going to have optimum torque for a toothed blade. It might work but if your primary use for it is plastic or wood you have the wrong tool.
I really wish Bosch would have brought their 3 3/8″ 12V circular saw to the north american market. That looks quite appealing for cutting smaller pieces of thinner plastics and plywood. They even have a track saw adapter for it. If I could find a reasonably priced importer that would actually ship that adapter I would have probably bought one. If one could combine the functionality of the M12 cutoff tool and the Bosch 12 circular saw I think it would be a really awesome and versatile tool. rather than each being more of a specialist tool.
Like Peter Fox wrote I think you have to take into account that this is a light duty tool, but more important than that is the choice of application.
This kind of tool would be my last choice for plastic or wood. It’s much too fast spinning for either. It generates too much heat and melts plastic, which then starts to bog down the blade and overloads the tool. It spins so fast it cannot properly clear the chips (sawdust) when cutting wood. Where this tool shines is cutting small metal bits in tight areas (auto use), and for light duty work in things like tile or cement board. I can’t imagine using it to make a cut longer than a couple inches, at that point you need a real saw IMHO.
Now speaking of “real saws”: I have the M12 5-3/8″ circular saw, model no 2530. It’s a bit more expensive than this tool but it’s in the same rough ballpark. Equipped with a Diablo steel-cutting blade it happily will make cuts all day in 3/8-inch thick steel. I even did several *plunge cuts* in 1/4″-thick steel and it handled those too. Slap a wood or composite blade on it and you can cut plywood, 2×4’s, plastics, and all that jazz. In my opinion something like that is a much better choice for general work unless you need either the super-compact size of this tool, or you need the ability to cut tile/ceramics/similar.
MM and Peter Fox, thank you both. The high speed / low torque issue certainly makes sense, as it does leave one hell of a bead of molten plastic in its wake. As someone mentioned, if only this thing had a gearbox.. just one more lower gear would make it so much more versatile. As to the battery, the little 3-cell ones definitely aren’t cutting it (oh man, I’ve resorted to dad-joke pun level). I’ve been using the kind that you can stand the drill upright on, don’t remember the capacity but they look like they have 3 more cells horizontally in the base, so to speak.
The die grinders are not recommended for accessories larger than 2″ and since there is no guard not really a great idea ti use cutting wheels.
Grinding with carbide bits.
Polishing or sanding with 2″ pads or flapper wheels yes.
Hi, are your price australia dollars
USD unless specified otherwise.