Sunday, October 1, 2023

What are Multipurpose Power Tools?

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If we ever think about the possibility of doing some work of DIY with a single portable power tool, capable of cutting nails, screws or pipes / tubes, removing paint or pieces of upholstery, carpet or concrete, scraping oily residue, scale or rust, sanding and polishing sections of wood, plastic or metal, making deep or flush cuts in ceramic , wood, floors or drywall … and a long etcetera, then the multipurpose power tool is the answer we seek. It represents a fairly recent addition to common power tools on the market and is incredibly versatile.

Often times multipurpose power tools are called Oscillating saws because its mechanical principle is based on very slight oscillating movements (about 3 degrees) and very fast (around 20,000 strokes per minute), so they are perceived more like a vibration. The tool uses these vibrations to cut, sand, polish or scrape a wide variety of materials. This principle of operation differs from that of the rotary tools, such as a drill or rotary hammer, which use a rotary motion in a fixed position.

Many professionals and amateurs prefer multipurpose power tools because they are a practical solution, type all in one, which performs the functions of several separate tools, such as a jigsaw, orbital sander, polisher or angle grinder and can be used in many tasks, for example remodeling, finishing, construction, tile, carpentry, flooring, etc.

For the most part, multipurpose tools are available in electric modelsAlthough some manufacturers also offer the wireless version at a reasonable price. The wireless models are less powerful than their electrical pairs and require periodic charging of the battery, but they are lightweight machines and offer exceptional portability.

The electric and wireless models are very similar in appearance and consist of the main components that we see in the following figure.

Oscillating Saw

1 – Power cable: it is, obviously, the one that provides electricity to the tool and connects to the outlet. Wireless models have the battery compartment in this area.

2 – Speed ​​control dial: it is a small wheel numbered, for example, from 1 to 6, which allows setting a selection of speed, measured in oscillations per minute or OPM, which can vary between 10,000 and 20,000 or more OPM. The speed should be selected according to the intended use of the tool. Generally, low speeds (1-3) are used for cutting metal and PVC or other plastic materials, and high speeds (4-6) are used for sanding, removal and wood cutting applications. For removing paint, varnish or other finishes, the slowest speed (1) is recommended to prolong the life of the sanding sheet.

3 – Engine: It is the main component of the tool and the one that converts electrical energy into movement. The power that motors produce is measured in watts. The motors used in corded tools are AC with an input power between 180W and 250W, and they weigh about 1.2 kg.

4 – On / off switch: Allows electricity from the power source to flow through the tool. After selecting the speed with dial 2, the switch should slide forward to turn the tool on and back to its initial position to turn the tool off.

5 – Handle: It is the component by which the user holds the tool with one or both hands, and is what is used to guide the tool through the cut. It is ergonomic for a secure and comfortable grip.

6 – Accessory fastening system: On most multipurpose tools, the accessory clamping piece consists of a circular row of notches and a hex bolt. The fixture fits into the notches at any given angle and the bolt is tightened with the supplied Allen wrench.

7 – Accessories: They are the elements that allow the tool to perform the different functions for which it was designed. Most of the multipurpose tools They are supplied in a briefcase with a set of accessories whose quantity and composition varies according to the manufacturer and the model, but in general the accessories consist of:

Saw blades (cut and grind)

Saw blades for multipurpose tools They can cut plastics, fiberglass, plasterboard, wood, putty, laminate, parquet, aluminum, felt, leather, linoleum, rubber, cardboard, copper and sheet metal up to 1mm thick. These capacities depend on the type of steel of the blade (high speed steel, carbon steel or bi-metal) and the pattern of the teeth of the same. Some saw blades have tips made up of diamond or carbide shards, which allow them to remove grout and mortar and sometimes cut materials such as soft ceramics. The multipurpose tools Equipped with a diamond saw blade they create much less dust than an angle grinder.


They are smooth, thin, angled metal pieces that can be used to remove silicone, stickers, acrylic, lacquer, adhesives (including tile adhesives), and carpets.

Sanding / Polishing Sheets

For coarse sanding of wood, adhesives, fillers, concrete and stone, carbide sandpaper is available, both triangular and pointed. Velcro-type delta sanding pads can also be used for wood and metals, as well as polishing pads for chrome, stainless steel, aluminum and copper.

Models multipurpose tool more expensive include:

  • Dust extraction port: Allows connection of a dust extraction system (or a vacuum cleaner) to control the removal of waste material.
  • Side handles: They offer greater maneuverability and better control of the tool.
  • Accessory Keyless Clamping System: As with keyless chuck drills, this system allows for accessory changes in seconds.

Accessory Applications

Each manufacturer offers a great diversity of accessories for the different operations of cutting, sanding, removing material and polishing, which are adapted to the needs of the user. In the following table we detail the accessories that should not be missing for a complete performance of our multipurpose tool or oscillating saw, as well as the recommended applications of each accessory.

Main accessories for multi-purpose power toolsMain accessories for multi-purpose power toolsMain accessories for multi-purpose power tools

Finally, this video will show us a multi-purpose power tool or oscillating saw in action.

User Review

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