Some us will remember the Black and Decker system where you couid add different accessories to its standard mains powered drill to turn it into a saw, sander or jigsaw. A few may have fond memories, others less so. My dad had one that was hit and miss to say the least.
This time around such a tool is being introduced by a different manufacturer, and is powered by Li-ion batteries, but is the launch of a multi-option tool a wise move?
I have to say that I was certainly a bit apprehensive when I first espied the system among new products, but having the opportunity to not only handle everything but also to use it, I was very impressed.
Discussing the tool with my colleague Phil Davy at that time, I said I had reservations about the durability of the drive as it’s a rubberised spline type, fitting into alloy sockets on the heads themselves. AEG obviously sees this as a ‘wear’ part and includes a spare in the kit.
I said to Phil at the time that I thought a metal pari would be better, but have since reconsidered this. Because the tool relies on oscillation and vibration for some of the functions, my guess is that the rubberised spline fit helps dampen the vibration feedback. When using the delta sander and cutting blades this is no different through the tool from others I’ve tried, and the performance of the tool in this area is certainly up to scratch.
The other heads offered within the interchangeable system are interesting in their diversity, so I was keen to give them a go Some of these are still prototypes and may yet be developed further, but I had the chance to try them at the launch, as well as getting a closer look at the two-headed kit featured here.
One that stood out immediately was the nailer head. I’ve seen these as palm nailers using compressed air, but had my doubts that one of these could drive a nail home easily.
I was proved wrong, and it made short work of driving a 75mm wire nail through a 12mm sterling board into a softwood stud below, and did so very quickly, plus the vibration feedback was low; just a bit of light hand pressure was all it needed to get the nails to drive.
The head is angled at 90° to the tool so while it may not beat a nailgun. or indeed a hammer in some instances, getting a fixing into a tight spot is right up this particular head’s street
The right-angle head is a common theme on the other heads, so the impact driver head, while having a relatively low torque by current standards at 62Nm, is still going to have value in similar situations, but you may need pilot holes if bigger fixings are driven.
The right-angle head drill that comes with the kit is again relatively low torqued at 12Nm and has a 10mm chuck but will manage holes up to 18mm diameter in wood, so will do the job of piloting for impact work, running holes for small-bore pipe and cable under floors for example.
Two other heads were on show but are currently not on the accessory list in the manual, The first is a square drive head for sockets with, again, a right-angle head, and the second — over which I did have some reservations — was the jigsaw head. Like the other heads, the quality could not be faulted, but with no pendulum and driven by a relatively low-power battery and amp hour rating, I didn’t think it would do the job.
Anyone who’s used a jigsaw without pendulum will know that it can be hard work, and not ideal for deep stock especially.
But giving: it a go on sterling board proved to be well within its capabilities, and it cut quickly, but it’s never going to beat a saw with a pendulum, so while it’s useful to ball you out, I wouldn’t put it top of my list of add-on heads should it become available.
The driving force complements the heads with good build quality and a large and responsive variable-speed trigger switch while a single LED directly in front of the trigger is also useful.
Swapping heads is pretty simple: two spring-loaded buttons locate in openings in each head, each of which has four openings so the heads can be rotated.
It works well when you are in a tight area and need easier access to the trigger or you have a preferred way of operating the tool.
I found the buttons for the head a little tricky to depress as they are recessed below the bodyline, but you get used to it and after a few attempts it gets easier.
There’s also a safety micro switch on the tool, locking the trigger if a head isn’t fitted.
Two batteries are supplied along with a diagnostic charger as well as an overload function on the batteries that shuts the too! down if it is pushed beyond its design limits.
This protects the too! and the battery, and that’s a great feature for any battery tool as they can easily burn out if pushed too far.
I had visions of a couple of heads working well, with others there to make the numbers up, but they alt do their job pleasingly.
The currently available heads of impact driver, nail driver, right-angle drill and the sander/saw configuration of standard multi-tools does give this tool a lot of scope and will save you a bob or two if you are in need of a too! to get you out of a few scrapes without having to buy individual versions.
Of course, battery stamina will be an issue as is the case with other tools that use similar batteries, but this is a definitely a ‘get out of jail free card’ type tool and a useful one for the kit for those occasions when your preferred option won’t gain access or you need the flexibility that the system affords.