Construction tools have come a very long way. Modern breakthroughs in technology have not only given us powerful, motor-driven tools and implements able to tackle laborious and painstaking jobs (such as cutting through thick lumber, or slicing through granite tile), but they’ve also made those same exact tools portable and easier to use—downscaling them in size, but not in function. This allows them to be used for smaller-scale DIY projects without losing any of the indispensable, construction-level functionality of their bigger and bulkier predecessors.
Micro Motors for Power Hand Tools
One particular breakthrough that warrants a special mention is the incorporation of the much more durable and efficient brushless DC motors in today’s line of power tools, replacing the standard brushed motor setup. Brushes in a typical motor setup facilitates the conduction of the electric charge to the motor’s commutator and rotor through physical contact, thus fueling the rotary action necessary for the power tools’ actual function.
While this conventional setup allows for a more direct transfer of the electric current to the components that need it, it also creates a lot of friction, especially between the brushes and the commutator. This obviously results not in just frictional wear and tear, but also a slight loss in operational efficiency due to how the brushes and the commutator are grinding against each other during the tool’s entire operation.
Brushless DC motors remove the brushes and the commutator, replacing them with an electronic switch and a circuit board to coordinate the current and facilitate the motor’s rotary action. With this contact-free approach, the resultant energy loss due to the drag created by the friction is eliminated, along with the gradual degradation of parts grinding together usually causes.
This enables the power tool to perform much more efficiently as well as be used for longer periods of time. The elimination of friction also means that the brushless motors can perform much more quietly than regular brushed motors, and be built to generate much more torque due to the space freed up by the removal of the brushes/commutator.
Examples of Power Hand Tools
With this said, let’s explore some common power hand tools that the modern man has at his disposal today, thanks to the breakthroughs that have made motors smaller but no less powerful.
- The Battery-Powered (or Cordless) Drill. One of the most essential tools in any home or construction site, this handy implement not only can bore through the hardest materials (e.g. wood, rock, and steel) but also handle the act of screwing in fasteners as fast and as easy as a simple button press. This is also one of the many power hand tools that benefit from brushless DC motors, as the increased efficiency and lessened friction-caused energy loss allows for the drill to operate longer on a single charge.
- The Palm/Power/Belt Sander. Gone are the days when smoothing out rough, freshly-cut wood meant having to spend hours sanding it down with nothing more than sandpaper and good old-fashioned elbow grease. Power sanding tools make this painstaking process much easier, even if there’s a lot of material to sand away. Just remember to always wear a dust mask, as using a power sander will almost always create a lot of sawdust in a very short amount of time.
- The Air Compressor. An air compressor has many uses in a garage or a construction site, besides inflating flat tires. With its ability to pump out bursts of compressed air on demand, even a small version of this power tool can blow sawdust from tight spaces, power pneumatic tools (nail guns, staple guns, wrenches), and even help you give your DIY project a delicate paintjob through airbrushing.
- The Power Saw. Another essential tool in the modern man’s toolbox, the power saw lets the modern man cut raw material into any shape he desires—softwood, hardwood, concrete and even steel . Much like the power sander, the trusty and reliable power saw comes in many different models, with each one designed to suit a specific task or need.
While there’s always a time and place for old-fashioned tools—especially when it comes to artistic and artisanal craftsmanship, where a more delicate and deliberate hand is required—power tools can drastically reduce the turnaround time of any construction or DIY project, no matter the scale, and thus deserves their rightful place in any modern man’s toolbox.