July 26, 2010

Milwaukee 2010 Product Symposium

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The reason we were so light on posts last week is that we were lucky enough to be at Milwaukee's annual Product Symposium. While there, we ate some great food, hung out with a solid group of our tool-writer pals, enjoyed a lot of great conversations with the Milwaukee crowd, and most importantly had the opportunity to get a look at this year's line of new tools.

The nitty-gritty of the event has been covered by a few of our fellow compatriots here and here, so we're going to stick to just a few thoughts on some of the new items that we saw...

Milwaukee_jacket.jpg1. 12-Volt Jacket - Yes, it's true, and sort of hilarious. Milwaukee has proven yet again that they're willing to do whatever it takes to ease any burden or discomfort from their construction site users. It's a nice coat and it heats up three areas of your core, drawing power from the battery that sits in a little pocket to the rear of the hip. The coat itself is much thinner than you would assume and other than the little light on the chest logo and the subtle battery pouch, there is nothing to indicate that it's any different from any other coat. According to Milwaukee, a full battery can get about 8 hours of heat. Pretty slick.

2. No Hub Driver - This one was officially released earlier in the year, but we never gave it much thought, mostly because we didn't understand it. The NHD is a driver with two preset torque settings; 40 in/lbs and 80 in/lbs. The reasoning here is that in order to reach code with the installation of no-hub couplings on cast iron pipe, the mentioned torque settings must be attained.

The tool worked great and it's a perfect example of what we appreciate so much about Milwaukee. Here is a company that is putting the time and production investment into a tool that is not only specific to plumbers, but rather, specific to plumbers who do big cast-iron jobs. We guarantee that this one won't ever be on the Amazon best seller's list, but Milwaukee knows there's a need for it. All during the event, we were constantly amazed at how protective of their end user Milwaukee is and how far they're willing to go for them.

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3. Oscillating Tool - So Milwaukee has finally hopped into the game with an oscillating tool. We would have been much happier to see a corded version, but they opted to go cordless. Our opinion is that even with all of the new tools out there, Fein still has no competition at the high end. Not to mention that cordless oscillating tools have the Achilles heel of poor battery life. We didn't get a chance to get too much hands on with the tool, but we're hoping that it can get more than 8 or so minutes of sanding per battery.

The most intriguing aspect of the Milwaukee oscillating tool is the universal adapter that allows the use of all blades currently on the market. If you're not in the know, thus far, each oscillating tool manufacturer has their own connection style and there is very little crossover between them (see the chart we made here).

Milwaukee_Hammerdrill.jpg4. 12-Volt Hammer Drill - Another cool and effective tool. We drilled a few cinder block holes with it and liked the general action of the tool. We prefer rotary hammers to hammer drills for concrete applications and since the release of the Rockwell H3, have been waiting for others to get with the program. But Milwaukee went with the hammer drill instead, which is cool but we hope that they're at least looking into a small rotary hammer.

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5. Accessories - There's a nice new self-feed auger bit, a new easy change hole saw, and some very effective scraper blades for the recip saw.

6. 12-Volt Palm Nailer - You can look at this one of two ways; 1) pimped-up Auto-Hammer or 2) cordless palm nailer. After sinking a few 16d nails in some wet PT, we're opting for choice #2. This one's got some serious power to it.

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7. Sawzall Upgrade - Milwaukee has been spending some time with their mid-range Sawzall and have now given it a cool anti-vibration mechanism as well as more protection against dust infiltration into the guts of the tool.

8. Shhhhhh -There are also a few other items that we can't talk about just yet, but be confident in the fact that Milwaukee will be making some good waves as the year goes on.

8. Evel - The end of the event was reserved for a tour of the Harley Davidson Museum and the limited-time-only Evel Knieval exhibit, which, whether intentionally or not, is a breath-taking example of the healing power of the human body as much as it is a testament to one man's pure disengagement from his own mortality.

We'll be covering these tools more in the coming months but for now want to wrap up with a big thanks to the Milwaukee crew for their great hospitality and generosity with the event.

Read More in: Bits and Blades | Cordless | Lithium-Ion | Oscillating Tools | Plumbing | Power Tool Accessories | Power Tools | Tool News

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at July 26, 2010 5:04 AM

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Recent Comments

Nice write-up Doug! Thanks for including us in it too! Great hanging out with you at the event.
Buckethead, I talked to one of the Milwaukee reps at the same event and they gave a Fall release time-frame for the 12V Multi-Tool.


Posted by: Marc at July 27, 2010 1:08 AM

Excellent, I've been thinking of picking up a cordless oscillating tool and since I don't have any 12V tools at the moment, I was hoping Milwaukee would come out with one: their 12V line seems to have the most interesting tools in it. Any idea when it will be released?


Posted by: Buckethead at July 26, 2010 10:57 AM
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