A few months ago, I toured the new Milwaukee Tool factory in West Bend, Wisconsin, where they are producing hand tools in the USA from 100% USA-made materials.
This took place in August 2022, and I was last told at the start of this year that the new tools will be launching in mid-2023.
Photography was strictly prohibited, but I was permitted to take notes when possible. I recently reviewed my notes, and thought ToolGuyd readers would appreciate some of the details.
To start off, the factory is 95,000 square feet, and was built with expansion in mind, such as with a blow-out wall that can be removed when needed.
Milwaukee Tool invested $55 million to open the factory, and at the time they said they expect to employ more than 150 workers there.
The factory has modern automation and Industry 4.0 processes, with everything digitally connected.
Every process involves automated measurements, checks, and controls.
To start off, the pliers undergo press forging, as opposed to hammer forging. This involves less processes and contributes to better grain uniformity. It was later added that hammer forging, in comparison, is less precise, produces parts of lower strength, and does not modify the inner structure of the forged materials.
We were shown publicly-available “how it’s made” video footage of a competitor’s product line, as an example of how to make inferior pliers and cutters.
Milwaukee Tool made no effort to hide that they’re looking to take on the industry champs.
The initial forging process is done with a 1600 ton press, where a 2000A induction heater brings the billet to 2350°F for 2.5 seconds.
Underneath the press is a 14-foot concrete pad that, if I recall correctly, was completely decoupled from the rest of the factory floor in order to minimize vibrational transfer. The main floor sits on an 8-inch slab of concrete.
Vaughan, a USA-based hammer manufacturer, recently decommissioned large equipment from their factory. In their social media post, they said: 5000# drop hammer moving out to make space… was told that base weighs over 100,000 pounds. Bushnell residents might remember when this was being used… you could feel it almost around the whole town.
Milwaukee designed their vibratory pad and concrete foundation to ensure there’s no vibration transfer to the machining area, let alone outside the building.
The tools are made using all USA-sourced materials. This means they will be 100% made in the USA, without the need for “global materials.”
The trim waste is sent back to the steel manufacturer. We were also told that Milwaukee is not mixing metals for reclaim.
One of the talking points was about how the processing steps are so precise and consistent that left and right sides of pliers can be matched months apart.
The matching precision also allows for the jaws of long nose teeth to be matched with grooves aligning peak-to-valley for “incredible gripping power.”
Laser hardening of the jaws and teeth is used, rather the induction hardening, for precise control, and long-lasting edges.
The auto riveting process was a high point of the tour, showcasing Milwaukee’s automated fine-tuning process, which gives their pliers the “smoothest open and close.” There’s no break-in process needed, the pliers are smooth to open and close right from the start.
Unfortunately, I neglected to record how many points of measurements are taken in order to achieve this. But, it was made clear that this is a benefit of automation rather than leaving pivot/rivet installation up to human variances.
We were handed pliers to examine, and they felt perfectly broken-in. An early pliers sample was shipped to me, and the same is true. It remains to be seen whether off-the-shelves tools will have the same perfect feel, but I have optimistic expectations.
The end of the tour brought us into an on on-site quality and materials testing laboratory, where there was an abundance of equipment, such as Instron testing systems, an optical comparator, Zeiss coordinate-measuring machine (CMM), hardness testers, and more.
They have the ability to test things such as screwdriver torque, pliers open and closing effort, and cutting edge life. I wish we were able to see some of the testing in action!
It was planned that the factory would run 3 shifts 5 days a week, with weekend surge potential if or when needed.
What surprised me most is that there were 3 sets of machines for one stage of pliers production, each capable of outputting up to 10 pliers parts an hour.
If that’s the bottleneck, it means the throughput was limited to 30 parts an hour. Keep in mind that pliers and cutters require two parts.
As I understand it, this explains why it’s taking some time for the first wave of tools to launch.
Here’s what it takes to produce pliers and screwdrivers:
Milwaukee Tool USA Pliers Manufacturing Steps
- Forging (press, not hammer)
- Automatic CNC machining
- Laser edge hardening
- Automated Riveting
- Handle Assembly
- Laser Etching
- Finish and product inspection
Milwaukee Tool USA Screwdriver Manufacturing Steps
- Deburring and grinding
- Handle Assembly
- Laser etching
Lastly, the forging dies have a life cycle of 10,000 strikes, and can be redressed for extended life.
Milwaukee said that they invested $450 million dollars in the USA over the last few years. $55 million towards this factory seems like a small but meaningful part of that.
The new 95,000 square foot factory was designed with the potential for growth and expansion in mind. Milwaukee Tool also has the right of first refusal to purchase an additional 20 acres in the area.
The factory is located in a new 216 acre industrial park in West Bend, which is 20 minutes away from Milwaukee Tool’s global and R&D headquarters.
More than 5 years ago, Milwaukee Tool Group President Steve Richman said the following:
Milwaukee Tool is dedicated to driving growth and creating new jobs in the United States.
At the time, Milwaukee Tool employed over 3,500 people in the USA.
As of February, 2023, Milwaukee Tool “proudly employ[s] more than 10,000 people in the U.S.”
What do you think Milwaukee Tool will do with up to 20 acres of developable land in an industrial space 20 minutes away from their main campus?
Here is a list of pliers and cutters that are being made at the Milwaukee’s West Bend, WI factory:
Lineman’s Pliers with Dipped Grips
- 9″ (MT500)
- 9″ w/ Crimper & Bolt Cutter (MT500C)
- 9″ w/ Thread Cleaner (MT500T)
Lineman’s Pliers with Comfort Grips
- 9″ (MT550)
- 9″ w/ Crimper and Bolt Cutter (MT550C)
- 9″ w/ Thread Cleaner (MT550T)
Long Nose Pliers
- 8″ Dipped Grip (MT505)
- 8″ Comfort Grip (MT555)
Diagonal Cutting Pliers with Dipped Grips
- 6″ (MT506)
- 7″ (MT507)
- 8″ (MT508)
Diagonal Cutting Pliers with Comfort Grips
- 6″ (MT556)
- 7″ (MT557)
- 8″ (MT558)
So given that they keep stressing 100% USA materials, that means we can safely assume these are made using USA steel? That’s actually a pretty big deal and, if so, I can’t wait to purchase these.
That’s what they said.
They made a big deal about not having to include any asterisks or fine print on the “made in USA” badges.
I was told this information a few years ago by the V.P. of Milwaukee Tools Assistant when they came to the local Home Depot.
Of course I wanted to talk to him directly, but per the typical “Senior Executive Attitude,” it was made obvious that he was only going to speak to the HD Store Managers, once incoming and one moving up to a higher management position in HD.
Regardless of all that, I was told that they will be using 100% US materials, and would also be moving the wrenches/ratchets/sockets to their new factory, and possibly their power tools within 5 to 8 years.
All of this is good news, even though it is a bit older news, compared to SBD/Craftsman laying off employees and shutting down their US plants, even though they were using Global Materials.
This makes me feel better about my Milwaukee addiction! 🙂
I’m in. Definitely don’t need anymore pliers but I’m going to support their efforts.
Yep. Habitat for Humanity might well be seeing a lot of higher end hand tool donations shortly.
Any insight into pricing? Hard to get excited about this if the pricing doesn’t undercut Japanese and German hand tools.
Not yet. They said it would be “competitive,” which I presumed to mean Klein-level pricing.
City electric supply has flyers and pricing for some of the new tools, but are not currently able to order any of them. I’m on their wait-list for a few of the new tools.
I would not expect these to undercut established manufacturers, given the small volume and amount of new automation required to get these tools made with US parts and labor.
Great write up! Thank you for sharing the details! Currently studying Work Analysis and Design which primarily focuses on production settings, so the bottleneck comment made me smile! The dream to work for a modern facility, manufacturing tools is alive!
Thank you, I appreciate it!
I’m not sure it’s actually a bottleneck; for a factory like this, I’m sure the cells are optimally balanced. Still, I found the throughput figure interesting.
Made in USA is nice and it gives Milwaukee an entry in selling tools to federal, state and local government entities and the contractors that have government contracts with buy-American requirements.
I have looked into this with my last job and I believe the company has to be USA based. And Milwaukee is a wholly owned Chinese company.
That aside, I’m excited to see them bringing manufacturing jobs to the US
Do you remember the source?
All I have ever seen are regulations regarding where products are made, and where their source materials originate from.
TTI, Milwaukee’s parent company, is publicly-traded and based in Hong Kong. Milwaukee Tool is headquartered in the USA.
I stand corrected, according to the Government accountability office regarding the “buy American act”
Two conditions must be present for the Buy American Act to apply: (1) the procurement must be intended for public use within the United States; and (2) the items to be procured or the materials from which they are manufactured must be present in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available commercial quantities of a satisfactory quality. The provisions of the act
Yes, they would need to procure them through a small business, such as an SDVOSB, WOSB,….etc. But the government can still choose 100% foreign made products over US made products, because of the Trade Agreement Act. A lot has to do with price ….and which government branch the products are intended for. Like, the DoD follows slightly different rules, than non-DoD facilities. I was in the industry and learned a ton on how are tax dollars are spent. The procurement process is mind-boggling, but necessary. It levels out the playing field for small businesses owners vs. large corporations. Giving the little guys a piece of the pie….and keeps everyone honest (most of the time).
looking forward to buying these tools!
I’m curious given the technology and claims they’re making of true state of the tool making art why these particular hand tools wouldn’t, be by definition, state of the art on a worldwide basis?
I know I’ve exchanged Wiha, Channellock, Knipex and Klein tools occasionally…
They very well could be, although I am not aware of how pliers are manufactured in Europe.
I would assume that many existing European toolmakers, like many domestic toolmakers, continue to rely heavily on tried-and-true equipment and processes.
It is expensive to change your equipment, and many manufacturers stand by “if it works and it works well, why fix what isn’t broken” rule.
Sure, there are some that innovate in design and function of the tools they make, but even then, a higg majority are still using the same manufacturing process.
I’m not privy to the details but I remember seeing Knipex talk about their high tech automation for production and inspection on their website–I visit it time to time to check out the “new products” section–so it would seem that at least some of them are keeping up with the times.
Thanks for this news; the part about the pliers being broken in from the start caught my eye because I’m looking to replace a pair of Klein needle nose pliers that have been stiff from the start and have never broken in properly, no matter how much I work them. As for the availability date, I would love it to be mid-2023. But given the fact that schedules like this are usually optimistic, and can slip due to a whole lot of factors, I’m just hoping they’ll be available in time for the 2023 holiday season.
I am all in! I will be buying them as soon as I can! Love this! This is how you develop loyal customers. Take note SB&D!
I find this article very interesting, informative, and exciting. I appreciate your time and effort; thank you. I look forward to the product release.
Question: Did you also mean to include the new screwdrivers from the list of tools that are being made at the Milwaukee’s West Bend, WI factory?
Thanks! Good point. I mostly talk the pliers here, but there’s a full list of screwdriver sizes and SKUs in my recent update post – https://toolguyd.com/milwaukee-usa-made-hand-tools-2023-update/ . I changed the wording from tools to pliers.
The screwdriver production was interesting too, but the pliers involved more steps and seemed to involve more advanced automation processes, which is why I took down more notes.
Excellent post, Stuart. Do you know if Milwaukee has plans to export these tools to foreign markets, or are these intended for North American distribution only? To my knowledge there are not very many examples of USA hand tools that are widely exported, so the prospect of seeing these new Milwaukee tools on the global market is an interesting development.
It is very encouraging to see investment in the “tools that make the tools.” It seems to me that this is the only way that American manufacturing will be sustainable. The prices need to be competitive, and automation is perhaps the only way to make that happen.
They didn’t comment about this at all.
One step at a time?
I really liked reading about how the teeth and valleys align on the long nose pliers. I will definitely buy several pairs when they become available.
There is some stiff competition from Knipex and NWS, but I’ll try a pair, and maybe many more, if these come to Canada.
You know who else makes needle nose pliers with “teeth matched with grooves aligning peak-to-valley? SOG, on their multi-tools.
That always impressed me, though I wonder how much of an advantage it really is. I imagine as soon as you’re gripping something more than1-2mm thick that doesn’t squish, then all that matters is that you have teeth, not whether they mate top-to-bottom. On the other hand, you might be pulling out a wire that will squish and line up with the teeth, in which case that would make a difference.
Yeah, the “incredible gripping power” because the grooves mate is pure marketing genius.
That was my reaction also.
Excellent writeup. Thanks for the details that you were able to share, they’re fascinating.
I was actually recruited by Milwaukee not too long ago, but they needed me on-site in Milwaukee, and that wasn’t an option for me at the time. Maybe in the future…
I love a recurve in my needle-nose handles. Currently I have pair of Wiha discontinued rubberized recurves, but I will purhcase the Milwaukees to support.
I’m fairly excited about these. I will definitely buy something after release, if only to support the effort. I’m still smarting from the abrupt end of Malco’s Eagle Grips 🙁
Yeah, I really agree with you on the Eagle Grips – love using them. Definitely looking forward to giving this new lineup a shot. Hopefully they got the numbers right and can make this work long term.
This post makes me happy.
Thanks for the write-up, Stuart!
Agreed. I needed this post to makeup for the post about SBD shuttering their Fort Worth plant.
I’m due for a new pair of lineman pliers and will wait to compare Milwaukee with Klein.
Thanks for the write up
Is it just me or does the first photo on this post seem like a totally wrong use for lineman pliers? I could not picture them cutting through braided steel cable. You need the bypass cutting action of proper cable cutters to not mash and chew up the wire rope
You are absolutely correct. I’ve never cut cable as a lineman – buy cut plenty of bicycle cable and cable for garage door lifts. Even though you might get through it with a lineman’s pliers – you’re going to mangle and crush it. For small diameter cable – my choice is my Felco
But a lot of bicycle guys might choose a Park and electricians might stick with Klein:
Knipex has a cutter which is so similar to that Felco that I can’t help but wonder if one of them is the OEM for the other. Check out the 95 61 190. Regardless of who makes what they are both fantastic at cutting and the latch which holds them shut (or is supposed to hold them shut) is temperamental.
Otherwise I totally agree, a shear-type cutter is preferable for this type of cable.
Longtime Klein, Knipex, tool-truck pliers snob here. But I can’t wait to check these out and compare. Probably buy a couple pairs just to support the effort if nothing else. Nice to have a reason for optimism in the tool space!
Sound like a cool place to visit. I wish Stuart also talked about the “soft” side of manufacturing. Do they use Lean? What is the flow time, from start to finish? Is there a pile of parts at each stations or one piece flow?
There are always limits as to what can be gleaned in limited time and with photography barred.
What are “blowout” walls? Did concrete works before and that word bring PTSD. Does it simply mean none load bearing, or something more?
DuPont had a gunpowder factory in Delaware starting about 1800. The ingredients for gunpowder were mixed by hand in a fairly small building. There was a line of mixing buildings spaced on the banks of the Brandywine River. Each building was made with three stone walls with the fourth wall and roof made with wood. If the gunpowder ignited there was a chance the men making the gunpowder would survive because the wooden wall and ceiling would blow out relieving the pressure inside the building. The blowout wall faced the river so the explosion would only take out one building leaving the other buildings intact so gunpowder manufacturing would not stop.
This was an early use of a blowout wall. Today the phrase has changed to mean a wall designed to be easily removed. Wall could be removed to change a building. Another common use is a wall designed to crumple under impact from water during a storm – this is common along the Gulf Coast where a “hard” wall might allow the storm surge to take down the entire building.
Thanks for an interesting read on how engineering works.
Johnny H. Freight
Ft Pickens in Pensacola , old civil war fort, it’s ammo chamber blew out the several feet thick (outer) brick wall, with debris landing across the bay.
Place is a must see if in the area, just wonder around over a century of various use. Mexican-American war thru WWII.
And yes there was a confirmed German U-boat which actually went into St Andrews Bay just down the coast in Panama City.
So even in WWII these old civil war Era forts still served their purpose.
Pensacola harbor at the time ranked right up there with NY and SF as important ports for the US.
As Steve described, there are multiple meanings.
In this case, it’s a wall (or walls) designed to be easily taken down without affecting the structural stability of the rest of the building.
I assume there’s no critical infrastructure there, and it’s removal wouldn’t affect the adjacent walls.
The wall appears to be a permanent part of the building, and could be treated as such, but is specifically designed to be easily removed or taken down when it’s time to expand the factory.
The factory is the size they need and want now, but is not necessarily in its final form yet.
All of a sudden I feel the need to buy spare Pliers. This is awesome news and I can’t wait to support.
Any word on if they’ll expand to other pliers types, like wire strippers and water pump styles?
No word yet.
But, the tech and processes developed for these tools can be extended.
The first wave includes a lot of SKUs already.
Milwuakee Tool has a winning formula where they enter a market, test things out, and then incrementally expand to conquer that segment. Consider what they did with mechanics tools.
This is a cornerstone endeavor for them.
Maybe hammers will be next? There’s unlimited potential here.
Does Milwaukee (or TTI) still own Stiletto? Might they see hammers as possibly cannibalizing Stiletto sales?
Yes. Stiletto specializes in titanium hammers. Milwaukee has a wide range of hammers today, none of which directly compete against Stiletto offerings.
Consider Milwaukee squares and levels compared to Empire. There’s a much greater risk of cannibalizations there than when talking about Stiletto.
In theory, Milwaukee could launch new USA-made products under the Stiletto brand, but I would think their own brand has a much larger loyalty base and greater sales potential.
Logical thoughts – I hadn’t paid attention to Milwaukee having hammers beyond Stiletto.
Brand recognition is obviously important.
B&D did a great job in promoting and expanding the Dewalt brand – and now SBD certainly is trying to capitalize on it.
Milwaukee – once rescued from possible oblivion by TTI – now seems to be successfully capitalizing and expanding on their traditional power tool heritage. I was impressed on how fast and competently they moved into both power and hand tools for plumbing and electrical trades.
I haven’t seen other power tool brands making the same sort of moves into hand tools or mechanics tools – with Bosch, Makita and the KKR brands (Metabo and MetaboHPT) looking like they are mostly sticking to their knitting (power tools and accessories). Maybe that’s because of the current economic climate and not wanting to overextend themselves. In the case of the KKR owned brands it may have more to do with KKR’s efforts (much like Bain Capital with Apex) (as yet unsuccessful) to sell off the business.
Any speculation about how Milwaukee can get a new plant to work but SBD can’t?
That’s the question we’re all wondering.
Milwaukee and SBD have completely different approaches and corporate cultures. I can speculate about how Milwaukee got to this point, as there are a lot of details to build a story from, with less to guess about in between. I know very little about SBD’s factory.
I want to jump in and speculate!
First, Milwaukee’s factory is pliers and screwdrivers, not full mechanics kits like SBD. SBD’s plan, though it never came to fruition, seems more ambitious.
I don’t think they’re targeting the same price points either – though we don’t know yet exactly where SBD thought they would land. E.g. Milwaukee says they will be “competitive”, but I presume that means “competitive with other premium brands” – Stuart mentioned Klein.
Hints from SBD made it sound like they wanted to be “competitive” with the offerings from Taiwan – which sounds like Tekton and Gearwrench to me (though Gearwrench has some Chinese production now too).
Milwaukee’s competition in the premium space, Klein, NWS, Knipex, etc, are making pliers in the USA and Germany. No doubt Milwaukee thinks they can do it better and with higher margins, but the competition isn’t undercutting them merely due to offshore production.
SBD is competing with established manufacturers in Taiwan. Sounds like they HAD to make a factory that maximized automation and output speed in order to make it work without ending up in the premium tool space (they already make tools in the USA after all for Proto and Mac – they know what that takes and where the price ends up).
If nothing else, the pricepoint for Milwaukee as a brand is much higher than Craftsman. SBD has (or at least had) other american factories, but the issue seemed to be about getting costs low enough to sell under the Craftsman label specifically.
Any word if they will be available in Canada?
Not yet. There’s been no word about distribution channels at all.
I’ve been thinking about a linesman pliers for a while. It’s one I don’t have.
Worked much of my career making pliers at Western Forge until they shut the doors a few years back and have been finding this Milwaukee stuff exciting. But a lot of this information is not new, not new at all. Every company has a reason for one process or another because it pairs itself well with a later process. they just state their reason only. At the forge we could make 500-1000 an hour. 30 seems low? Still exciting.
15 pliers an hour makes no sense for a factory with 150 workers. They need $90000 a week on payroll alone. 15 * 120 hours in 5 days = 1800 pliers a week. Maybe there’s a mix-up with the numbers.
Right, I’m confused by this as well. Even only paying minimum wage to every one of those 150 employees, with no additional payroll tax or benefits, and with zero factory seconds or losses to testing or calibration, they’d have to price these at $50 to break even… *before* materials cost!
How much cost and labor went into getting the product line established? How much went into capital expenditures?
How many pliers and screwdrivers will Milwaukee need to sell to offset the $55 million it cost to set up the factory?
Let’s say that pliers and screwdriver sets will have a $40 retail price. These are fictitious prices for hypothetical purposes. If Milwaukee marks up 100% and retailers mark up 100%, the cost is $10 and profit is $10. Cost and profit to the retailer would be $20 and $20.
So, $55 million at $10 profit per pliers or screwdriver set would require $5.5 million tools to be sold, not including marketing costs, and certainly not including ongoing labor costs.
Forging does need to be reworked every 10,000 strikes. Machining requires consumables. What about maintenance?
Will Milwaukee recoup their costs before they expand the factory further?
It’s pointless to even speculate about the break-even point right now – there are too many variables and too many unknowns.
My notes say 10 parts/hour, 3 machines. That is what I was told.
The initial forging process can support at least a couple of hundred parts per hour. For all I know, they could have added many new production cells between then and now.
They had separate screwdriver production cells as well.
Great article and information, thank you! Very good news and it makes me wish I needed new pliers.
Random questions: 1) Is the polishing process automated or will there be workers at wheels? 2) Will everything be dipped or will they offer molded grips as well…and if so will they make those in house?
You know what I would really like to see happen is for the US drill bit manufacturing industry to get a big lift. And other cutting consumables. We still have a handful of great companies that are surviving but maybe not quite thriving, and my understanding is that at least two of them have had to source their drill rod from overseas rather than US or Canada. Perhaps if Milwaukee were to commit to US drill bits (contracting or buying someone out) and put their resources into it we could all enjoy the benefits there. I’ve worried that some of our US cutter/drill manufacturers might dry up and blow away and that would be a real shame – very important stuff they do.
Nearly everything was automated.
There looked to be more human involvement and oversight with the initial forging and coining steps.
They have dipped and comfort grip handles – you can see more here: https://toolguyd.com/milwaukee-usa-made-hand-tools-2023-update/
There are several USA drill bit manufacturers already, and the same with reciprocating saw blades and hole saws. Milwaukee makes Sawzall blades and Hole Dozer hole saws here, as well as step drill bits.
The USA-made drill bits are generally by industrial brands, and sold at prices much higher than general drill bits from construction tool and accessory brands.
Lee Valley starts with USA-made drill bits to make their brad point drill bits.
If there’s a shortage of USA-made raw materials for such accessories, it might be out of the control of drill bit and tooling makers.
Yes…it wasn’t that long ago that most were made in the US, though, and all of the major big box store brands have sourced from China for many years now. The bits don’t have to be expensive but as outsourcing ramped up so did some of the domestic pricing (many reasons but one of them was absolutely just needing to keep heads above water). There are loads of people today who don’t know what a good drill bit is or how pleasant (or profitable) they can be to use. The half dozen or so sets from DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Bosch that I have or have had really pale in comparison and the grind quality or consistency just isn’t there…I use the good bits in the shop and at home or whenever it might matter more. With more volume the prices could certainly come down, as it mostly used to be…they aren’t terribly expensive or time consuming to manufacture (and steps/vortex styles or pilot points not much more so). I think I’m just wishing that more people would get behind this idea and some of these giant conglomerates would follow…would be good for users and good for the nation. I think we still have the capability with raw materials, as much as that has seen decline, and some of that could be expanded or ramped up….market and backing have to be there, though, else they decline as they have.
I wasn’t fond of the Lee Valley brads. CTD/Norseman/Viking are quite nice….the Montana/RMT are also nice but very aggressive with a different tip design. I usually seek out the quality and try to support US on cutting tools, but your mention of hole saws is a good example. I think the Milwaukee ones and the previously-US made Dewalt/Lenox/BluMol were pretty average, and the most recent Milwaukee are kinda crap….very rough construction/wood holes, fine. Morse is still great, Starrett (Brazil) is still great and they are comparably priced, often cheaper, in many ways superior performance (roundness, squareness to arbor, accuracy of sizing).
Anyway, I think since consumables are a constant expense/constant profit, it would be great to corral that into domestic production again in the mass market rather than niche or industrial outlets. No reason they couldn’t.
I spied one of my neighbors trying to drill some holes in a hitch arm to his trailer. When I moseyed over to take a look – he said that he must be doing something wrong as this brand-new titanium bits were not cutting and wondered if he needed carbide or diamond because the steel was too hard. I went home and grabbed 2 sets of old (probably 1970’s) – but sharp drill bits (jobber length – Greenfield and screw machine length Chicago-Latrobe). My plan was to start with the short bits – then finish if needed with the longer ones. The 4 holes needed were all drilled in pretty quick order with one C-L bit and a drop of oil. I had considered that he might have work-hardened the holes that he had started by letting his bits skate around – and that I might have to go back to the shop and get out some cobalt-steel bits – but just good HSS was up to the task – while a shiny new TiN coated – hex shank bit out of a nice red storage case from Home Depot was not.
You missed your opportunity to sell that fellow a brand new plasma cutter or the latest 18V two speed EDM rig. 🙂
I’m in, if as legit as you say, I’m buying, I’ll pay a reasonable premium. I’m sick of looking for true old school Craftsman and other great tools.
Good American /democratic quality over poorly made quantity ( manufactured by massively oppressed peoples). No thanks
I live in Australia,
I’m an earthmoving contractor, Nearly all my tools are Milwaukee, they make great Spanners, sockets, and fantastic 18v power tools, it’s great to hear there commitment to quality and above all 100% made in the USA, l will continue to support Milwaukee 100%.
SBD and their Fort Worth debacle left the door open for Milwaukee tools to explore the possibilities of expanding their US footprint and claim made in USA title that SBD tried and failed.