Talking with our tools is already here, and more is coming.
DeWalt is the first out the gate with integration of our site tools with wireless communication. Two DeWalt 20vMax XR Lithium Ion batteries are now equipped with BlueTooth transmitters/receivers that pare the batteries to your smart phone.
What does the battery communicate to your phone?
Its state of charge, temperature and Bluetooth signal strength.
What can you do to the battery remotely?
Shut it down so it doesn't discharge overnight, also making it useless to a thief.
Does it have a smart phone app?
Of course! The smart phone app will automatically alert you when it is moving out of range, automatically shut the battery down if it goes out of range if you choose that option, alert you that the charge is low, or alert you that it has completed charging and is ready for use.
DeWalt's integration of Bluetooth into its batteries is giving you a real-time handle on the condition and security of all your Bluetooth enabled batteries. www.dewalt.com
Milwaukee is taking a different tact on wireless communication with our tools. They are putting the communications module into tools themselves. In a three-phase program launch starting in September and running through January, Milwaukee is launching its "One-Key" program. One-Key to controlling your tools.
Phase 1: Inventory Management
In September, Milwaukee will launch a cloud-based INVENTORY MANAGEMENT system that you can use, via your smart phone or computer, to control information about all your tools. That's not new, but it is only setting the stage.
Phase 2: Tool Reporting
In October, the company will bring out its first "One-Key" empowered tool-Hydro Line Crimpers-an important tool for one of its key customer bases: electricians. The M18 FORCE LOGIC 6t Utility Crimpers TOOL REPORTING feature will automatically integrate into the One-Key cloud management system as it is wirelessly in contact with your cell phone, which is in contact with the cloud. Now the success and timing of electrical terminations can be tracked in real time, by someone back at the office coordinating a complicated operation, or by another lineman waiting for completion of a task down the line. The tool will constantly update its usage, making service interval alerts automatic and accurate.
Phase 3: Tool Control
In January, the cornerstone of this integration will come online with the introduction of TOOL CONTROL settings for new Drilling and Driving M18 FUEL products. We all use drilling and driving tools. The ONE-KEY app will allow users to use pre-determined set-ups for specific fasteners and materials, or completely customize their own profile with torque and speed settings for the application at hand. With a touch of the button on the tool, users will be able to easily go back and forth between these saved profiles so that each application is done with the most accurate and productive settings. No more memorized settings to adjust on the tool, just open your smart phone and send the pre-set to the tool. At the same time the cloud has documented the settings you have used, possibly for quality control.
This is finally one tool feature that can be added to and improved even after the tool has been built and sold. Just download the update. Of course, more tools are in the works to join Milwaukee's One-Key system next year. www.milwaukeetool.ca.
They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Carbide Tips On Recip Blades
Freud has long been known for their woodworking router and shaper bits, as well as their shop saw blades, all amongst the best in the world. This has always been due in a large part to the fact that they manufacture their own carbide. What you may not know is that Bosch, the largest power tool manufacturer in the world, found that their blades couldn't really compete with the Freud quality, so they bought the company. With that merger, Freud quit making power tools and Bosch started leaning on the Freud brand for all their blades-each concentrating on what they did best.
In the construction sector, Freud had introduced the Diablo brand to distinguish site tough blades from their fine-tuned woodshop and furniture making blades. So with the focus given to them by Bosch, they have made the leap of putting carbide teeth onto metal cutting recip blades. Aside from all the questions of the composition of the carbide and the shape of the teeth, the action of a reciprocal saw has the pressure on the tooth going in the wrong direction half the time-essentially trying to kick the carbide off the blade. Take a very close look at the Diablo recip blades and you will see that the tooth is actually socketed into the blade, not just soldered onto it.
Large teeth from Diablo recip blade (L) shave through both metal and wood.
The Steel Demon has a number of features that contribute to performance. For example, the 1" oversized blade body provides straighter cuts with less vibration. The blades are covered in a Perma-SHIELD non-stick coating that reduces friction and heat, thereby extending the life of the blade. Also, the carbide tips are attached to the blade with a bonding process that provides extreme impact resistance.
Now, a broad spectrum of metals including high strength alloys, cast iron, black iron and stainless steel can be sliced through quickly and easily. The carbide-tipped blade delivers a cutting life that is 20 times longer than standard bi-metal blades in extreme thick metal cutting applications between 3/16" and 1/2".
Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert
Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.