Tools & Materials
2017 Milwaukee Tool Product Symposium
Milwaukee expands their already impressive cordless lineup. Check out some of the innovative tools that impressed us most, all in a lovely shade of red.
2017 Milwaukee Tool Symposium / Extravaganza
Once again, Milwaukee Tool hosted the press and some of its biggest fans at their (newly added onto) world-class digs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We were treated to a hands-on sneak peak at a bunch of new tools and equipment. There was also plenty of good food and great entertainment, which led to much rejoicing.
The PACKOUT Modular Storage System is tough
What I like most about this system is how easy it locks together and comes apart. With the PACKOUT system you can stack toolboxes and organizers, but you can also stack soft-sided totes as well (I’m a sucker for soft-sided totes).
I was also impressed by the toughness of the boxes. They demonstrated their durability by dropping cinder blocks on both the Milwaukee boxes as well as a competitor’s product. The red and black boxes came out unscathed; the competitor’s were utterly destroyed.
PACKOUT™ Rolling Tool Box 48-22-8246 ($129.99)
PACKOUT™ Large Tool Box 48-22-8425 ($79.99)
PACKOUT™ Tool Box 48-22-8424 ($69.99)
PACKOUT™ Organizer 48-22-8431 ($44.99)
PACKOUT™ Compact Organizer 48-22-8435 ($29.99)
PACKOUT™ 20″ Tote 48-22-8320 ($129.99)
PACKOUT™ 15″ Tote 48-22-8315 ($99.99)
PACKOUT™ 10″ Tote 48-22-8310 ($79.99)
M18 Heat Gun
One might think that I should stop getting jacked up about is just another cordless tool, but I can’t help myself. This time it’s the new cordless M18 Heat Gun that’s got me all hot and bothered. What seals the deal for me, besides the obvious freedom of range, is that the gun stands up straight when the battery is locked in place. That means the working end of the gun stays out of harm’s way when you set it down. No more accidental fires on my workbench… What, that’s never happened to you? The 2688-21 hits the shelves this September.
Cool cool shirts
Summers can be super hot and humid in Minnesota (at least it doesn’t get brutally cold in the winter—oh wait…). I’ve been trying out the new WORKSKIN™ Light Weight Performance Shirts for a few weeks now, and I have to admit that they really do keep me cooler than a regular t-shirt. Milwaukee says that the CoolCore® Fabric Technology regulates sweat evaporation to move moisture away from the body. The breather vents under the arms and on the back make a big difference as well. As long as it keeps me from pitting out, I’m happy. They come in gray and high visibility yellow/green and cost about $30.
Compact, cordless ratcheting
The new M12 FUEL™ 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ Ratchets deliver up to 60 ft.-lbs. of torque and have a very compact head design. I got a chance to actually put them to the test. I cranked extremely hard on some bolts, and what surprised me most was that there was absolutely zero deflection in the housing of the tool. My experience with other high-torque tools that are fitted with plastic housings is that the housing flexes and feels as if it’s going to split apart; not these. Look for them this November.
An even more sub sub-compact drill and driver
This November, the 2nd Generation of M12 FUEL™ Drills and Drivers will hit the market. They’re over 1-in. shorter than the previous versions. I’m excited because most subs I’ve used almost—but not quite—fit into my pouch without falling out on a regular basis. I’m pretty sure these guys will fit in nicely and stay there. The handle felt less bulky than others I’ve worked with as well, which is also nice.
Here’s a handy tool, perfect for carpet pad, vapor barrier and return air panning. It fires standard 3/8″ crown (T50® Style) staples, and can be operated in either bump fire or sequential fire mode. It can shoot up to 1,500 staples on a single 1.5Ah battery. Was there ever a better time in the history of the world to be a tool junkie? Look for this tool in October. The stapler (2447-21) will cost $99 for the bare tool or $149 for a kit including a battery, charger and carrying case.
M12 Soldering Iron
It’s a soldering gun. It’s cordless. What else is there to say? Well, maybe just that it’s AWESOME! Available in September.
A level just for cement heads
I mean concrete professionals of course 😉 This level has a magnesium base with a unique rounded edge for forming and smoothing, and a squared edge for screeding and striking. The SHARPSITE™ Vial is super easy to read and to demonstrate how easilly it cleans up, the Milwaukee folks submerged it in a bucket of concrete, and let it set up for a couple days. It cleaned right up with a brush and water, pretty amazing. Look for this level in September.
Beats Grandpa’s old trouble light
I was thrilled to inherit my grandfather’s old trouble light. I used it dozens of times to work on vehicles. No offense grandpa (God rest his soul), but wow, what a pain in the butt! If I wasn’t burning myself on the bulb, I was replacing a broken bulb destroyed by dropping the light. And I was constantly struggling to get it pointed in the right direction in the engine bay. It seemed the cord was always pulling it one way or the other, pretty much in every direction except the one I wanted.
Here’s just a few of the features the new M12™ LED Underhood Light (2125-21XC) has over grandpa’s trouble light:
- It’s cordless (Up to 8 hours of run-time)
- It blasts 1350 lumens
- TRUEVIEW™ High Definition light
- Impact and chemical resistant lens
- FINISHGUARD™ hooks hold it in place without damaging the paint
At $200 (for the bare tool), this Under-hood Light costs more than I paid for grandpa’s trouble light, but I’m willing to invest and pass off my inheritance to my own son (Sucker!).
Portable trim saw
Most cordless miter saws come with a built-in handle but in no way are they portable; some weigh close to 60 lbs.! This little guy here weighs in at a manageable 28 lbs. (Less than half of its big brothers). Another feature to love is the 7-1/4″ blade, which means you can get high-quality replacements for cheap. This saw would work great for standard-size base and casing, and it would be absolutely perfect for those small jobs where you just need to make a few cuts and run. The M18 FUEL™ 7-1/4″ Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw will be available in August.