Power tools normally are actuated by an additional power source like electricity and technology other than the manual mechanism of using wheels, pulleys, etc. The most common types of power tools use electric motors, steam engines, compressed air, and internal combustion engines.
Some examples of power tools are used in household and industrial activities for drilling, shaping, cutting, grinding, sanding, juice-making, leveling, routing, polishing, shredding, painting, powdering, heating, cooling, etc.
There are two types of power tools available for us to use- portable and stationery. The heavy machinery used in factories for cutting, grinding, polishing metals, stones, textiles, etc. are examples of stationary power tools. We regularly use portable power tools in form of drill machines, mixer-grinders, washing machines, steam irons, and many other household gadgets.
History of power tools
From prehistoric times, man has been using tools and weapons to hunt animals, remove the skin of the animals, make pots and pans using the potter’s wheel, etc. However, they were not power tools as they used only manual labor.
Steam engines and water turbines were probably the most important inventions in the world of power tools which changed a lot of things. Railways and many types of machines were possible due to the steam engine. Water turbines became an important mechanism to generate electricity.
With the birth of the industrial revolution in Europe in the 17th century onwards, physicists, mathematicians, scientists, engineers, etc. started working towards developing tools that will reduce manual labor.
Today we are in the third decade of the 21st century and we have moved towards electronically propelled devices. However to date we use power tools that combine basic manual labor along with other sources of energy primarily electricity, steam, and water.
Examples of power tools: list of names
Let’s look at a list of some of the power tools which we use on a regular basis-
1. Angle grinder-
This handheld power tool is used for grinding and polishing. Excess material from granite, marble, wood, timber, and such materials are removed using angle grinders. An angle grinder uses a lot of side forces, unlike a power drill which uses axial force. Auto-body repair shops too use angle grinders for a myriad of reasons.
While choosing the right angle grinder for a job, the workman needs to select the right disc size and motor power.
2. Drilling machine
Think of a home where you could not use a drilling machine. How will you erect that bookshelf, or how will the carpenter install the kitchen cabinets? If you needed to hang a picture, using a hammer and nail to dig a hole on the wall would have needed so much of hard work. However, the power tool of the drilling machine makes our lives so easy.
This electro-mechanical tool combines a hammer with a chisel and helps the workman immensely. This tool is used by construction workers and sculptors on a regular basis. This tool uses electricity or compressed air to function. The bigger jackhammers which are used for larger works in a construction site are hydraulically powered. They break rocks and concrete effortlessly.
4. Heat gun
Heat guns are used in myriad types of works. They emit hot air and the technicians use different nozzle types to accomplish different types of tasks. They are also known as hot air guns and are used to strip paint and shrink heat shrink tubing. They are extensively used to shrink films and shrink wrap packaging.
Sometimes they are used to dry out damp timber and wood. Plastic industries use them to bend and weld plastic. Homeowners use them for their DIY projects when they need to soften adhesives from wood panels and sheets. In winters they help in thawing frozen pipes too.
There are many other power tools like electric chainsaws, air compressors, pressure washers, impact wrenches, electric grinders, hairdryers, electric jigsaw, bat caddies, electric lawnmowers, etc. used every day in millions of industries and households across the globe. We cannot think of life without them in today’s world.
Safety aspects while using power tools
People using power tools are aware of the safety aspects while using them. There are many accidents caused due to power tools in industries and homes.
- Most of the power tools produce a lot of noise and hence it is a good idea to wear good quality ear protectors or earmuffs to safeguard the ears. Prolonged exposure to power tools may impact the hearing capabilities of a person and if not checked on time, someone might even become deaf.
- Most of the power tools heat up when used for long durations. The workmen using them need to wear protective gloves and clothes so that accidentally if it touches any body part, it should not burn it. If someone gets burnt with a power tool, he/she should immediately immerse the hand in lukewarm water and apply an antiseptic lotion or cream. If there are blisters, one can use an ice pack too.
- Some power tools which are used for cutting metals, shaping metal wires, or polishing diamonds produce sparks. The workmen working with such power tools should wear protective eye gears. Else the spark might even make them blind forever.
How to store (cordless) power tools: wet and cold areas
There are multiple ways to safely and effectively store power tools. Here are a few considerations.
Make sure to clean them before you store them away. This can include using a cloth to wipe them clean.
Power tools should be stored in a dry area as the electric motors can break in damp areas. You can consider getting a moisture meter and humidifier if needed. This ensures that your tools don’t get wet and break this way.
You should also avoid areas that are too cold as the batteries might stop functioning below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It might also be impossible to charge the batteries at these temperatures. You can consider a space heater if your tools are stored in a shed or garage.
As a maximum temperature, 113 degrees Fahrenheit is often seen as a temperature that is too high for batteries. Some types of batteries might be able to deal with higher temperatures but most Lithium Ion batteries tend to cap out at these temperatures.
When is the best time to buy power tools?
The best way to keep track of prices is to use websites such as CamelCamelCamel. These track the prices of products over time. This allows you to compare the current prices with the cost a few months ago.
Simply enter the name of the product in the search box. You can then select the product and see a graph of how the prices have evolved recently.
During the winter months, there is often less demand for power tools. You can leverage this to negotiate a deal.
If you see a promotion, it is important to check what you will get. For example, some packs might not contain essential tools. You might have to buy these later on.
Stores tend to increase prices before big sales events (such as Black Friday) and drop them during this specific period. At the end of the day, you might pay as much as you would normally would while it should be a sales event!
For this reason, the mentioned price trackers are often the best way to find a great deal.
It is best to stick to reputable brands such as Dewalt or Makita.
How to check power tool batteries and how long do they last?
Most manufacturers expect that their batteries last about 3 years or 1000 charging cycles. There are a lot of factors that affect this, from how you store the tools to how often they are used. In some instances, the batteries can also break if you drop the power tool from a height.
You can test the battery by turning on the tool. Does it work at full power or not?
It is also possible to use a multimeter or electrical tester to check the state of the batteries of your power tools. A fully charged battery should at least be 1 volt higher than what is listed on the battery. Check the manual of your power tool to confirm this.
Most brands offer replacement batteries. This makes it easy to swap out an old one and get a new one. In this way, you don’t have to throw away the power tool when the battery is breaking.
It takes less than 5 minutes to check if a battery is still working properly.
If you are a workman, you will know the importance of various power tools. Electricians, plumbers, factory workers, construction workers, carpenters, marble workers, etc. use power tools on a regular basis. They make the lives of these technicians easy and reduce manual labor. A lot of time is saved when the power tools are used to complete a job.
Let’s take an example of a simple task. If one needed to ground pepper, chilies, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and other spices in a stone grinder, one needed to use a lot of physical power. The process would have been extremely time-consuming too.
However, if we use a household mixer-grinder to do the job, it just takes a few minutes to complete the task. Hence we must thank the innovators and scientists who developed and invented these tools and made our lives easy in modern times.