However, don’t overlook the improvements of cutting
accessories, such as drill bits, saw blades and hole saws, that
are available for specialty applications and manufactured to cut
more efficiently and last longer.
Advances in power-tool design drive continuous increases
in power and speed. Cutting accessories need to withstand
those forces for maximum productivity.
Brad Urban, product manager, Milwaukee Tool, Brookfield,
Wis., said the need for greater productivity and cost savings has
fueled advances in cutting accessories.
“Productivity is achieved by greater overall accessory performance of life, speed and durability or through specialization
around key applications,” Urban said. “Major advancements
have been made by optimizing cutting-tooth geometry for
specific applications. This shift from one-size-fits-all designs
to application-optimized designs has a profound impact on
the overall user experience. Design attributes are engineered
to achieve the best balance of cutting speed, life and durability
tailored around targeted applications for the user. The more
specialized the product is, the greater the overall performance.”
Advances in materials and material treatments extend
life and speed. Metals used for producing cutting accessories
evolve to meet the need to get more done faster and for less.
High-speed steel (HSS) also has evolved as a cost-effective
material for cutting accessories, and carbide applications have
grown considerably due to its durability and speed benefits.
Alloy upgrades, cutting-edge refinement, heat-treat optimiza-
tion and special high-heat coatings are used to refine HSS.
“For extreme cutting applications and versatility in a wide
range of materials, carbide is a technology that can deliver lon-
ger life,” Urban said. “While carbide cutting accessories have
been around for a while, not all are equal. Some feature car-
bide grade that is too soft, leading to teeth that will round over
and fail prematurely. Some are too hard, resulting in teeth that
chip and fracture with no protection. This has a major effect
The growth of cordless power tools has benefitted manufac-
turers that make both the tool and the accessory.
“Milwaukee’s approach to developing accessories is to find
ways to make the accessory more efficient in cutting to improve
the run time of the tool,” Urban said.
Matt Lacroix, director of product marketing, Lenox, East
Longmeadow, Mass., said the cutting accessories most used by
electricians are wood-drilling accessories (auger bits, hybrids,
spade bits, self-feed bits), reciprocating saw blades, hole saws
(bimetal and carbide hole cutters) and metal drilling bits (step
and twist drills).
“Most cordless power tools can use standard cutting acces-
sories and be very successful,” he said. “In recent years, there
have been a number of power-tool-accessory manufacturers
that have offered accessories that seek to maximize battery life.
There are design changes that can be fine-tuned to work better
with a given tool.”
The application and usage can significantly affect perfor-
mance and productivity.
“For tradesmen that cut a variety of materials throughout the
day, a general purpose product could work,” Lacroix said. “
Commercial construction or industrial applications that require a
number of cuts in the same material could benefit greatly from a
specialty product. Raw materials, blade profile, tooth design and
secondary processing techniques play a huge role in the accessories’ ability to thrive in difficult applications. Using the wrong
blade or bit in an application can lead to a number of problems
including premature breaks, stripped teeth, slow cutting, poor
DRIVEN BY LITHIUM-ION BATTERY POWER, the cordless
tool revolution has focused on advances in tool designs and
broadening the selection of cordless tools available.
COOLTOOLS BY JEFF GRIFFIN
Lenox’s thick metal Lazer
C T carbine tip saw blade
AX reciprocating saw
blade with carbide teeth