From Batteries to Blades
As with personal computers, construction high-tech is getting smaller, more useful and more affordable — but high-tech isn’t limited to electronics.
Milwaukee Wall Inspections and Batteries
The Milwaukee 12-volt M-Spector AV
wall (and other hidden place) inspection camera came out even better than I expected (see Tool Talk, July/August 2009). The screen image is clearer than most and you can capture 12,000 digital photos, or 90 minutes of audio/video, as well as power it with any of its M12 batteries. Now you can reflect on what you think you saw, show it to someone else and archive it.
Order information: $400 from www.MilwaukeeTool.com
A long time ago, the tool manufacturers figured out that if they could lock you into their cordless batteries — the ones that were not interchangeable with anyone else’s products — they could lock you into their whole line of power tools. Now they are taking it further by extending the use of those rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries to accessory items like Milwaukee’s great new M12 Sub-Scanner
To call it a stud finder is an understatement. It will scan out re-bar in six inches of concrete (and tell you how deep it is), it will detect wood and metal studs, wires and copper pipes, but also PVC and PEX pipes. It also visually gives you edges and centres. It will scan through gypsum, OSB, ceramic tile, marble and concrete. It isn’t cheap or small, but it is rugged and precise.
Order information: $390 from www.MilwaukeeTool.com
Ryobi Delivers Audio and Visual
Ryobi, generally a DIY brand found only at Home Depot, is reaching up in an effort to penetrate the professional market with its four-volt specialty products. Its Tek4 series is quite varied: It includes a rugged, water-resistant construction site digital camera, an accurate laser distance measurer (even with a time delay function, like running to get into the camera shot), an infrared thermometer, alarm and key boxes.
Finally, a reasonably priced, rugged, self-leveling plumb/cross laser. It shoots dots to ceiling and floor for a plumb and can also project horizontal, vertical, or both lines on a wall. You can set it on a table, a ladder, or screw it to a standard camera tripod mounting. It holds about 25 hours of run time per charge.
Order information: Ryobi RP4000
, $129 from www.RyobiTools.com
Ryobi’s Audio Plus Noise Suppression Headphones will give you 24 hours of operation on that same rechargeable four-volt battery (which itself costs only $13). They have active circuitry for extreme noise cancellation, yet a voice-level bypass will allow you to carry on a conversation while tuning out the wailing of a power tool. It also has quick response circuitry to catch gun shots and nail strikes, is water and dust-resistant for construction site use, and you can even plug them into your mp3 player if you want. They are slightly heavy because of the battery, but still comfortable — and, oh, so quiet.
Order information: Ryobi RP4530
, $70 from www.RyobiTools.com
Colour Change Technology in Construction
Krazy Glue now goes on blue and turns clear when cured. In fact, a number of adhesives use similar colour changing technology to help customers achieve even coverage during application.
Now, Sico is following suit. It has a disappearing-pink Flat for Ceilings paint. Although not the first colour changing paint on the market, this readily available flat ceiling paint will finally allow you to be sure that you, or your workmen, have even coverage of the first, but especially of that second “white on white” coat. Why? Because it will be pink on white, turning to white on white when dry. With more nine-foot ceilings and less visibility, this can avoid a recall to touch up a paint job. You can’t tint this paint, but other than that, it is just like regular paint — right down to the price tag at about $27 per gallon.
Order information: product # 711-116 from www.Sico.ca
Stanley’s Low-tech Innovation
Stanley has come out with two winners in the low-tech category.
The first is the double-headed FatMax utility twin-knife for roofers, carpet installers and more, which delivers one knife with two blade slots. That means one-handed blade switching without even lifting the knife from the work. You can use two of the same blades, or two different blades.
Order information: model #10-789, $18 from www.StanleyTools.com
The FatMax Brute tape measure includes an oversized tape hook that hooks as all tapes do, plus hooks on the top as well as both the left and right side of the tape. This allows for a 13-foot tape standout to actually work because you don’t have to try and twist the tape to hook the end — that moment when all previous rigid tapes buckle and fall down.
Order information: model #33-890, $30 from www.StanleyTools.com