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  • If You Could Change Your Power Tools...

    What would you change?

    Color?
    Some people like the tool, but hate the color -
    "Why doesn't Porter-Cable make something other than battleship gray?"

    Why is Makita's color and Bosch's color so close? Or Fein's and Ridgid's orange? Etc.

    If color is so important in tools, why is most construction equipment generic yellow? Wouldn't that work in hand-held power tools? Why? or Why not?

    More ergonomic?
    Tha big catch phrase today is ergonomics. What would you change?

    I'm left-handed and I get really annoyed on drills for example when the reverse switch clicks back to neutral soon as I grip it. Or, sometimes the trigger lock locks when I don't want it to.

    More speeds?
    DeWalt has three speeds on some tools, is this overkill - or not enough? (do you need a "morter/thin-set/drywall mud-stirring" speed?)

    Like the grip (and switches and other controls) with a rubber overmold?
    Or does it needlessly elevate the cost of the tool?

    More warranty?
    More service centers?
    Built-in theft-proof system?
    Is the power cord long enough yet?
    More (or less) Power?
    More models?
    (I KNOW, we need a jobsite Radio, Duh!)

    Everyone likes to complain or blow off steam about their tools. Now that I have your attention, this forum is the perfect venue to cut loose and let them know. You want better tools? You got to let them know!
    Swear by or swear at your brand - let's hear it!
    Please no complaints about cost or price paid - the market drives the price.
    Please no complaints about country of manufacture.
    Please stick to the topic.

    Who's Next, for the soapbox.....
    Phil
    Tools Rule

  • #2
    Color Orange and yellow are highly visible but ugly to me so i add some blue and silver to make it match my hand tools.

    More ergonomic?
    need to make sure all the switch's are lose enough that you don't have to take your hand of the handle to change direction big hands and little tight switches don't do well together.

    More warranty?
    I wish i had a better warranty with my Dewalt drills. my Ridgid 18v Impact driver gets used a lot now and i hope the 3 year warranty end right before i may have problems.


    More service centers?
    I travel less than 20 miles to get there but, others have to make a cross state trek. If you want to keep a good reputation with workers then improve the availability of service centers.

    Built-in theft-proof system?
    I think this would be better that painting your tools but, people usually take one look at me and leave my stuff alone.

    Is the power cord long enough yet?
    I don't own many corded power tools yet but for drills and small saws should at least have a ten to twelve foot cord. Stationary tools only need a 4 to 5 foot cord.

    More (or less) Power?
    Would be nice to have better run time and less weight. My co-worker loved my impact driver since he could have it in his tool belt and barely feel it, yet my sawzall is twice as heavy as his with 300 less spm. (strokes per minute)

    Lithium ion battery would be great from what i hear about their performance


    More models?

    18v Angle Grinder
    1 3/4 or 2 1/4 hp routers with plunge and fixed bases.
    SDS Rotary hammer drill with 3 settings Hammer drill, drill, and chisel.
    "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
    "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

    Comment


    • #3
      on the theft-proof i get on a new big job i start talking about my bloodhounds and how good they are doing tracking down people off the smallest sent article
      Charlie

      My seek the peek fundraiser page
      http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


      http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

      new work pictures 12/09
      http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

      Comment


      • #4
        Color is not so important to me. Though I do have a preferred brand for portable power tools and a preferred brand for power equipment.. Sorry some feel country of origin is not important.

        The length of cord on portable power tools should never really exceed about twelve feet as it makes the tool too unwieldly. Any more than that you need to pull out a short extension cord.

        I like the ergonamic handles and such the newer tools are incorporating. As one ages the stress of tool usage and such on the limbs takes a measurable toll. Carpel tunnel syndrome is not a myth.

        I have a few tool ideas but they reserved for after a contract has been signed. Intellectual property has intrinsic value and should not be given away.

        Five years for a warranty is pretty darned good. I can't see how anyone can really say their tools will last a lifetime given the environment they are used in and the type of punishment they recieve. If that lifetime warranty is still there 5 years from now I will begin to believe it.
        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

        Comment


        • #5
          I know better now, but when I was new to power tools I like Dewalt, because they were bright yellow and I was like "cool, I'm a badass pro woodworker."
          Now I like Dewalt tools because they truly are badass, but that's another story.

          I have some PC nailguns that I love, even though they look like they fell of the ugly tool tree. I wouldn't mind if they looked better, but I'm not going to spend one red cent more on a tool just because it looks awesome. Tools aren't used Hondas, and I'm not a high school kid, so mine don't need spoilers or racing stripes.

          I definitely would like a ultra-slow speed on drills to stir mud and thinset.

          Manufacturers should put easily-adjustable laser sights on their tools, or no laser sights at all. I have a Skil cordless circular saw with a laser guide, and it is so far off that it actually made me snort in laughter the first time I used it.

          One good thing (of the VERY few good things) that I can saw about Skil is that they put power indicators on their batteries - with a push of a button you can see how much juice you have left; I wish every one would do this.

          EDIT: On the warranty note, as soon as I found out that Ridgid was offering lifetime warranties, I bought a Ridgid CMS and belt sander, and I'm buying a Ridgid table saw and perhaps new Ridgid circ saw next week. A non-Ridgid tool will have to be MUCH superior to its Ridgid counterpart now, whereas before I always leaned towards Dewalt.
          Last edited by Fightgar; 01-27-2006, 12:18 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by plumber
            Color is not so important to me... Sorry some feel country of origin is not important...Carpel tunnel syndrome is not a myth.

            I have a few tool ideas but they reserved for after a contract has been signed. Intellectual property has intrinsic value and should not be given away.

            Five years for a warranty is pretty darned good. I can't see how anyone can really say their tools will last a lifetime given the environment they are used in and the type of punishment they recieve. If that lifetime warranty is still there 5 years from now I will begin to believe it.
            Plumber,
            you make some valid points. And, BTW, arthritis is no myth either. I've been dealing with some arthritic joints since my late 30's. Ergonimics have got me replacing all my tools to more comfotable styles as they become available.
            Although I agree fundamentally with you about country of origin, I am just one small cog in a giant wheel, other than boycotting this, that and the other, I don't feel I have much pull. Given a choice between buying a tool from the far east or performing the task by hand, the old school, slow way, I'll spend the money for the power tools everytime. Not to mention, many times we have to stay within a specific budget, yet purchase a tool and the imports are the only way this happens sometimes.
            I've learned to just chalk it up to the globalization economy that is taking place all over the world and with all products.
            Phil
            Tools Rule

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm not in the trades, so don't need my power tools (or hand tools) to make a living. But, I do appreciate a good tool for doing work on projects, home maintenance and I love to build things.

              I like tools that have been designed with good ergonomics. Tools where convenient little things are added, but not just added for useless purposes. I hate tools that aren't properly "finished" and think that so-called "fit and finish" is important. Little things count with me.

              I have a Craftsman drill that I bought 30 years ago. Built like a tank, but I hate the way the trigger pinches, if you're not careful. Likewise, it has no balance at all. But at the same time, I bought a Craftsman circular saw. It was the first saw that I ever saw that had a forward placed "second" handle. Every saw that I ever used before that was for one hand only. After a couple of hours, the things got too heavy and then they were dangerous! That forward handle was perfect for thin-armed guys like me. I still have it, and it still works perfectly.

              So, I like those little bit-clips that Ryobi and Ridgid puts on their drills. I like the longer cords the Ridgid uses and the innovative "lighted indicators" on the plugs. (No more disconnecting the wrong tool.) I also like the case, but understand why some folks find cases useless. (But then I also remember how crappy looking my Dad's old power tools would look kicking around in a cardboard box in the back of the stake-body.

              While color doesn't much matter to me, I like the overmold, if it is applied in the right places. Ridgid and Ryobi does a good job of that (I'm familiar with those brands, so no slight to others), but some brands I've seen just sticks a bit of "soft gel" here or there like it was an athletic shoe... what good is that?

              I hate cheap plastic, but quality high-impact plastic is great. I dislike things that are applied with no consideration for wear and tear; like Hello, you stick paper scales on a power tool? Now how long will that last before it wears off? Ryobi seems to do this as standard practice, I'm glad that Ridgid still uses metal.

              I like tools that are priced for the homeowner and that the pro's have tools that are worth their superior prices. While not everyone will agree on quality levels, at least we have some choices that fit our wallets and our level of usage. Overall, I think that power tools have gotten much better over the years. It's nice to see designers willing to "think out of the box" and give us some innovative ideas.

              I like innovation and pratical function, but I hate when someone designs a techie tool that has no function... like what good does a laser level do, if the laser itself is not indexed within the tool. Likewise, a clamp that slips, or ruler or square that is not accurate is totally useless and shouldn't be allowed on the market.

              Tools don't have to be top quality or overly expensive, but they do have to be functional and durable to the extent that their target market requires. What I don't like is when some guy buys a cheap tool and then expects it to perform beyond even the most expensive tools design; and if it fails, he spends a great amount of time bad-mouthing it.

              But I'm sorry to see that hand tools have dropped in quality. It's hard to find things like wrenches, and pliers, and chisels, and screwdrivers that have good metalurgy. I find it a shame that nobody makes a good woodbrace anymore, or that some hand tools are so hard to find. Such is the age of power and cordless, and "need to get the job done quickly". Mostly I miss "Made in America" regardless of the color it comes in or the name that is on it.


              Just my tool cents... pun intended ,

              CWS

              Comment


              • #8
                CWSmith,

                For hand tools i buy Klein Tools. I had a cheap pair of husky diagonal cut pliers and they are crap. I can barley cut copper wire with them.
                It is worth the money to get a better tool. I have the Ridgid power tools which are made in china. something I'm not to happy about but I can't really afford something more expensive yet. I'd like to see a company that makes all their tools in America. sadly though they would have to be supported by the government, well like that'll ever happen.....
                "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
                "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

                Comment


                • #9
                  A smart move would be to make batteries and tools that can withstand a fall. I know Bosch is like this but not their batteries. Dewalt batteries will just crack open and then you have to tap it to your tool if you can't afford a new battery. On occasion the battery on my Ridgid tools get jammed but that's only because they get a bit of dust in there. I hated the handle on my old black and decker Gel max 12v but hey a free drill isn't something to complain about.

                  The perfect drill can be dropped 20 ft and still work perfectly, have batteries that come out easily but don't just fall of with the slightest vibration. Ridgid and some others do good here already. color is not an issue it could be pink or look like a cow and I'd still use it. I may even paint my Dewalts to look like cows! (I need a better hobby!) A longer warranty, if a tool costs you an arm and a leg it should be made with a higher standard. I don't want to have problems with it every couple of months. When you need to replace a worn out part it should only be the motor brushes. All other parts of the tool should not have a problem functioning for long periods of time. Over working a motor is still possible with the morons that can't figure what the grayish gas and smell is. Cordless tools do have limitations, but drilling a small hole in metal should not be one of them!
                  "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
                  "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Polar Sparky 1224
                    A smart move would be to make batteries and tools that can withstand a fall.
                    The perfect drill can be dropped 20 ft and still work perfectly!
                    That is a darned good point!
                    (note to self: make equipment gravity-proof )
                    I tend to drop all sorts of stuff, but usually it's only from benchtop height. Almost everthing will survive that. You're right though, and that is a reason I've replaced some tools. One time, I had a Craftsman corded drill drop on the chuck, and it was not the same after that. It actually bent the shaft, and jammed the chuck. (I really liked that drill - it was the smoothest drill motor ever; this particular one was made by Singer! {the sewing machine co.}) Now, it just sits gathering dust in my tool-retirement home!

                    Bosch does have a drop-proof line (so they say) but, I'm skeptical because there's always that one drop that it will hit just right and waste it.
                    When I work at height, I tend to use a lanyard on my tools if I can, not necessarily to protect the tool, but I hate to be wasting time running up and down ladders for stuff I drop. (when working on lines, we always carry 2 of everything just in case.)
                    I know some people say that tool color doesn't matter, but I hate after a project gets going good and there's plenty of clutter that these devices become camoflaged in the shopscape! DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Ridgid have done pretty well to keep tools from becoming lost by their use of a bright color.
                    But, my Makitas, Porter-Cables, and Bosches sort of hide. Especially the PC, that battleship gray color to me just hides (maybe, if they don't change their color, they could put a flashing red LED on the top ) . I'm kind of iffy about the Hitachi color, it can also hide, but fortunately, not too much stuff in the shop is green.

                    Just a tidbit of information about color, and why it is important. A bunch of research goes into how the human eye reacts to color. (I found out about this in a college course when learning about fiber optics and lasers etc, and eye safety) The human eye reacts to "visible light" in the 400nm (violet) to 800nm (red) Outside of these wavelengths you can get eye damage (UV <400nm and IR >800nm). the human eye is most sensitive to the green (570nm) - yellow (585nm) part of the spectrum and starts to desensitize towards the upper end (orange 620nm) the light starts to look too "hot" (which causes us to begin to squint and at the lower end (blue 470nm) the light starts to be dim which causes us to begin to strain.
                    And I gaurantee these corporations don't take color lightly. The eye can pick out more shades of the yellows and greens than any of the other colors. The wavelength that is absolute to the eye is 560nm. Also, I once read where Honda, as they were trying to choose a team color for the motocross motorcycles, spent a wheelbarrow of money on color research, with a bunch of it going to find out which color looked best when dirty and mud covered! They chose red!
                    So, color may not matter much to the layman (other than personal pickiness), it's choice it is not taken lightly.
                    Well, I guess that concludes today's soapbox lesson.
                    Phil
                    Tools Rule

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My main problem is when i am pulling wire i have to watch my tools as well. When I'm up on a 12 foot ladder or a lift and the wire is just flying into the conduit you really have not time to remove any snagged tools, they just come out and fall to the ground. The most annoying thing is when the wire wraps around my hammer or the drill battery and just lifts it clean out. I have to drop my tool belt (if I'm on a lift) which really slows me down.

                      Ridgid is OK with the orange A color i haven't seen is purple is there a reason why?

                      I think it would be nice to have a small led light on some tools. like the impact driver and drill. Sometimes i have to get under cabinets and there is no room for a light, and a head lamp just gets bumped around.
                      "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
                      "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Polar Sparky 1224
                        My main problem is when i am pulling wire i have to watch my tools as well. When I'm up on a 12 foot ladder or a lift and the wire is just flying into the conduit you really have not time to remove any snagged tools, they just come out and fall to the ground. The most annoying thing is when the wire wraps around my hammer or the drill battery and just lifts it clean out. I have to drop my tool belt (if I'm on a lift) which really slows me down.

                        Ridgid is OK with the orange A color i haven't seen is purple is there a reason why?
                        I hate it when the cables get wrapped around stuff. Nothing good ever comes out of that. And that happens about once a day when we're cabling. I swear, someday, I'm gonna get a spider monkey to do my cable pulling.

                        I can't tell you why no one has picked up on purple (violet man, I'm an electronics person) for their color. It is known as a color of royalty. I kind of think the tradesmen may think of it as a bit of a gay color!
                        Phil
                        Tools Rule

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You mean those guys who sang "Y-M-C-A" weren't professional tradesmen??!
                          Practicing at practical wood working

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gofor
                            You mean those guys who sang "Y-M-C-A" weren't professional tradesmen??!
                            You know, there's a spot on every jobsite for those that are light in the loafers, the roof. They don't fall, they just sort of float when they slip...

                            Back to issue of color, I heard somewhere that Kawasaki was coming out with their line of power tools in KAWASAKI GREEN!

                            I saw some small PINK cordless tools on Amazon one time. Obviously aimed at the women who enjoy tinkering with hardware.
                            Phil
                            Tools Rule

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The most important thing is dependability. If a keyless chuck also shoot fire or a battery charger also brews coffee, it all doesn't matter if that feature isn't there in a few years of hard use.

                              Besides that, there is very little to complain about. I think most quality tool manufacturers are representing us and themselves quite well. Features are seeming to blend between brand and sometimes it really comes down to picking a brand you love (for pros) or a color you like (for beginners).

                              Warranties are a heaven send, and cost is calculated thus. Lower-end tools, like Ryobi and store-brand tools might carry warranties themselves, but most likely you WILL have to use them...and to what extent are they covered? If a drill is $65, but for $265 you get a more reputable make and model that has 5 years behind it in warranty (that may not need used), doesn't it even out? If, with heavy use, the lesser costing drill burnt out and required additional purchases on the fly during a job/project out of instant necessity, wouldn't that add up anyway? Over years?

                              Overmolds and cushioning systems are definitely worth the extra cost to reduce hand fatigue. Balance is highly important as well.

                              I swear by Milwaukee at every possible chance. I wish that my favorite drill, the Milwaukee 0624-24 had a place to store bits on it. DeWalt is good, but the color is nauseating. Bosch, Porter Cable, and Makita are about comparable in my opinon. Ridgid is very much impressing me. I bought the WD1245 12gal vac, and everything that shop vac and crafstman gets wrong, they correct. More tools are coming in now because of that suprise in quality.

                              I hope that the lifetime warranty service is extended for a while since I may have to go on a spending spree.
                              Last edited by binary; 02-04-2006, 10:08 PM.
                              Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace. -- James Madison

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