064 HPM 0517

HPM May 2017

64 TOOLS & EQUIPMENT Multi tools for multi tasking Nathan Ford, application specialist at FEIN, explains five of the most useful applications of oscillating multi tools for heating and plumbing engineers Oscillating multi tools (OMTs) have gained huge popularity over the last few years and for good reason – their unique function means that installers can carry fewer tools with them and complete their jobs quicker, easier and, in some cases, to a higher standard than before. However, as part of my job meeting tradesmen up and down the country, I’m surprised by how many people are unaware of the full capability of their tool and only use it for the most basic of tasks. Everyone knows how having the right tool for the job makes all the difference and there are so many applications OMTs are perfect for that many users seem to be unaware of. Taking OMT use to that next level is not difficult, all it takes is having the right accessory and a little bit of knowledge, so here are five OMT accessories that heating and plumbing engineers will find particularly useful. 1. Under floor heating (UFH) pipe routing. Often an awkward job when working in any room that’s not perfectly square and has multiple alcoves, fixtures and drainage points to route around, laying UFH pipework is a perfect example of where OMTs can offer amazing solutions. Pre-cut boards or panels are a great starting point but inevitably some bespoke work needs to be done. Many tradesmen struggle using a Stanley knife to cut new routes into rigid foam board/panels and not only is it a messy way of working it also poses unnecessary risks from cuts. The good news is that specialist cutting blades for OMTs are available to cut pipe routes for ½ and ¾” pipes. Working like a scoop, they simply lay flat and carve very neat routes wherever they’re guided – having a cordless OMT makes the job particularly easy. 2. Precise bi-metal cutting blade. The go-to accessory for most tradesmen, it’s ideal for wood, nails and metal. For heating and plumbing engineers they’re great for cutting notches into floorboards as if you hit a nail it’s not a problem. They’re also ideal for cutting plastic and copper pipe in situ on a rip out basis. What I’ve seen on site though is that some people simply place the blade against the work piece and push directly into it. OMTs will achieve a greater work progress if, as pressure is applied, they are moved side to side simultaneously, this gives the blade a chance to clear out the cut and will actually make blades last longer. It’s also worth carrying a selection of profiles – one of the most useful I’ve found is a 10mm wide blade, which is perfect for cutting out notches and getting into recesses. 3. Depth-stop. This is a fantastic additional attachment, especially when working with wood or bi-metal blades to cut floorboards as it enables tradesmen to accurately work at set depths. So, if you know you have services running just underneath or you’re not sure, the depth stop is a way of ensuring you don’t cut anything you shouldn’t’. It can also make long straight cuts much easier as it acts as a rest and guide to follow markings. 4. Carbide blades. For heating and plumbing engineers a carbide blade is perfectly suited for grout removal between tiles and when fitted to an OMT they can be extremely useful when say a single tile in the middle of a wall has to be removed or replaced. What few people know, however, is that carbide blades are also very good at cutting into plaster and porous concrete too – handy for neat cuts around services such as light switches. Carbide rasps are also very effective at sanding off fillers or tile adhesive on the back of tiles that need to be reused. 5. Dust extraction. For regular OMT users having an attachment to connect an OMT to a dust extractor is very useful for three main reasons. Firstly, it means there is less mess to clean up at the end of the job. Secondly, it can actually help users achieve neater cuts by clearing away waste material and allowing them to see markings more clearly. And thirdly, it offers greater protection from any harmful dusts created during work. OMTs have huge potential to make every tradesman’s job easier and safer that is just waiting to be unlocked. The secret is to match the correct accessory and method of using the tool with the job. www.hpmmag.com May 2017 enquiry number 140 Specialist cutting blades for OMTs are available to cut pipe routes Precise bi-metal cutting blades are the go-to accessory for most tradesmen A carbide blade is perfectly suited for grout removal between tiles


HPM May 2017
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