Milwaukee introduced a ton of tools and accessories at NPS17, enough to keep us busy here at ToolGuyd for months. Last week, Stuart posted his top 5 new tools from Milwaukee NPS17. In a few paragraphs, I’m going to tell you about several more of the top new tools we saw and tried out at the show.
But first, I wanted to give you a general overview of the product symposium. This year they broke the day into 5 different sessions:
- Concrete Solutions, Carbide-Toothed Cutting Accessories, and Empire Levels
- Hand Tools, Storage, and Gear
- M12 and M18 Cordless Systems
- One-Key and Lighting
- Ergonomics, Plumbing, and Power Utility
Each session was in a different large tent structure outside Milwaukee Tool’s headquarters. You can see that Milwaukee focused on quite a few different areas. What I’m going to do here is talk about which one new product really stood out to me from each of the broad categories.
Session 1: More Carbide Teeth
To go off topic for a second, Milwaukee really came out swinging in the silica dust removal area, and it’s no wonder why – new regulations are coming soon, and they will require contractors to mitigate the amount of airborne silica dust that is released at jobsites.
I’m not comfortable enough in this area to compare the new Milwaukee masonry dust collection tools and accessories to what has already been introduced to the market. That’s part of why those tools aren’t being discussed here.
Plus, I really think adding carbide teeth to the Torch Sawzall blades and the Hole Dozer and Big Hawg hole saws made for a more impressive display.
The Torch series of Sawzall blades are optimized for cutting metal, and the Torch with carbide teeth increases the range of metals you can cut effectively, such as cast iron, stainless steel, and other high strength alloys.
They had demonstrations of the new Torch blade, cutting 4″ cast iron pipe and then a boron-reinforced B-pillar from a car. The new carbide-toothed Torch blades sped through those applications much faster, compared to other blades and cutting solutions.
The Big Hawg’s deep gullets and wide teeth make it fast and easy to drill holes in wood, and to remove the plug quickly. With carbide teeth the Big Hawg cuts faster into more materials, lasts longer, and will cut through nail after nail without losing performance. They even had a demonstration with lag bolts embedded in 2x6s, and the Big Hawg with carbide teeth powered right through them.
Adding carbide teeth to the Hole Dozer increases the life of the hole saw and increases cut speed in a variety of materials. They showed the Hole Dozer with carbide teeth cutting though wood, metal, and even cement board with no problem.
Torch with Carbide Teeth: Sep. 2017
Big Hawg with Carbide Teeth: Nov. 2017
Hole Dozer with Carbide Teeth: Nov. 2017
Session 2: VDV Tools — Ethernet Cable Stripper
There’s no question that the Packout modular tool storage system was the big news in the hand tool and storage session. But Stuart already posted so much coverage of this system, that it wouldn’t add anything to devote more space.
Milwaukee introduced a bunch of new and revised tools into this session, and I don’t think there was any clear winner. So I’m just going to pick my favorite: the Ethernet cable stripper.
I didn’t even notice it the first day. They spent most of the time at the VDV (voice, data, video) station touting the new punch-down tool and 4-in-1 multi-pick tool, so I missed this slick little stripper the first go-round. I picked it up the second day, wondering how I missed it. It is really satisfying to use once you get it dialed in for the cable you are stripping.
The stripper is made for removing the outer jacket of CAT 3 though CAT 6 cable without damaging the insulation of the wires inside. It seemed like it was all metal so it has a nice hefty feel. The blade has a large diameter adjustment range and rides on a finely threaded screw. This allows you to precisely dial in the thickness of the cable jacket.
Stuart’s Note: The look and feel give me the impression that it’s a prototype, but I’m not certain.
In addition to the cable stripper, there is a new punchdown tool, multi-tool with hook, spudger, and screwdriver bits, a termination crimper tool, and scissors. All of the VDV tools are due out in November 2017.
Session 3: M18 Fuel Brushless 7-1/4″ Miter Saw
I think this category had some of the best new tools. Stuart already talked a little about the revamped M12 impact driver and drill, the new M12 Fuel ratchets, and the M12 stapler. I’m also excited about the M18 heat gun and M12 soldering iron, but I think the M18 Fuel 7-1/4″ dual-bevel sliding miter saw was the most interesting tool in the cordless session.
I’ve been using the M18 Fuel 10″ miter saw since it was released, and found there to be situations where it just seems 18V can’t provide enough power for a 10″ blade. My other big problem with the saw is that it shoots sawdust everywhere, including back at the user. The dust collection just doesn’t cut it for use in finished spaces.
I’m hopeful the new 7-1/4″ saw solves those problems. Obviously it won’t have the cutting capacity of a 10″ saw, but 18V should be plenty of power for a 7-1/4″ blade. And after trying out this saw for myself, it seems to have much better dust collection — I wasn’t covered in sawdust after I used it and most of the dust was directed at the bag.
This saw is also light. At 28 lbs, it’s easy to carry one-handed and comfortably, either by the top or side handles.
Stuart’s Note: My first inspection shows a much better blade change system than a certain competitor’s 7-1/4″ cordless miter saw. This saw also looked right on home on top of Milwaukee’s new compact miter saw stand. The behind-the-blade dust collection funnel worked okay to throw some dust into the included bag, and we’re eager to see how efficient dust collection is with a vacuum attached.
Available September 2017
Session 4: New M18 Rover LED Worklight
The session started out with a talk about One-Key. This year there were only a few new One-Key products — the M18 high-torque impact wrench, and an M18 Radius site light. In the same session they also talked about improving tool tracking and simplifying One-Key functions.
Milwaukee came out strong again this year in the lighting category, introducing several new personal and site lighting solutions. I think the new M18 Rover magnetic flood light is the best new LED lighting product. It builds upon the strengths of the M12 version, and addresses its weaknesses.
While the M12 Rover is a bright little light with great runtime, I’ve found it is difficult to aim it anywhere you want. The new M18 Rover takes care of that problem with it’s rotating and folding light panel.
It has a 2″ spring loaded clamp for gripping a wide variety of materials, or you can hang it by it’s powerful magnets that can hold up to 25 lbs. As one reviewer put it, “now I have a place to hang my cinder blocks.” The light is impact rated; the product manager threw one down onto the floor from a lift and it maybe scratched the plastic a little.
Available October 2017.
Session 5: Air Snake
The M12 Air Snake was definitely the most broadly interesting tool introduced in this session, and potentially the most likely to be misused too. Several different reviewers noted how this would be a great way to drum up business for restoration contractors after somebody blows apart the pipes inside of the wall. Still, when used properly, it definitely has potential to be a powerful tool in the plumber’s arsenal.
The idea is to use compressed air rather than an in-pipe cable and auger to clear grease clogs, slow drains, and other types of clogs. The tool can direct a blast of air from 0 to 50 PSI directly to the drain without having to disassemble traps. It can reach clogs up to 35 feet down the line, even past the air vent.
Here you can see some of the accessories for the tool, like a 90 degree head and heads for other drain types.
Available November 2017.