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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The MOST Useful Power Tool I Have Found - No Kidding!

And So It Begins!
    I've gone and done it. I've begun the removal and installation of newer/better/more efficient solar panels to replace my last batch of prototypes. As that project gets finished and fully tested I will be writing one or more articles on the process. Suffice to say they are completely different than my last batch and should be WAY better. We shall see. That being said the first thing that had to be done is removal of the old panels from the roof. These are thin and flexible and are attached to the roof using a special paralastic adhesive (that just means it's strong like a construction adhesive, but elastic like a silicone.) I did the largest front panel first. Removing it with a putty knife and pulling it up a bit at a time. Once the panel was removed, I had LOTS of leftover adhesive stuck to my fiberglass roof. I began scraping it off with the putty knife, a bit at a time. Backbreaking and hand torturing labor. All done on the roof, in the sun. There HAD to be a better way! There was!

Not To Be Used In Autopsies!
I had told a friend of mine who works in construction the story about removing the first panel and how I have two more to go. He was surprised I used a putty knife and wanted to know why I hadn't just used an Oscillating Multi-Tool. A What? Oscillating Multi-Tool. Yep, I got the name right. Seems these things are quite popular now and can be had for under $20.00. What are they? If any of you remember a TV Show called "Quincy, M.E." back in the 80's there was a section of the opening scene where he holds up a surgical power tool that was designed to cut into a cadaver during an autopsy. We never see him use it, but the rookie cops watching all have various bad reactions! This tool is called a Stryker Autopsy Saw and is a very effective tool. The Multi-tools I am writing about are the great, great grandchildren of that stainless steel monster. They both work by moving the blade back and forth a tiny bit at a VERY high rate of speed (on mine that's adjustable) this has the effect of slicing through whatever you are trying to cut. Or in my case, scrape away.

Lots Of Blades!
There are MANY blade attachments for various jobs. The one I used was a wide scraper. It had a sharp edge without any serrations so it scraped the adhesive away smoothly in long strips. The jagged edged varieties are great for cutting (plunge cutting is a specialty.) Grinding blades are available as well as metal cutting.You can also attach a sanding block that takes all kinds of sandpaper triangles. You can cut or abrade or slice just about any material that you come across. Sometimes a little TOO easily. When scraping off the remaining adhesive, I had to be especially careful not to raise the tool too high. If I did, I risked cutting a slot into the roof fiberglass. It wasn't hard to control, but working carefully is always a good idea. Lots more attachments seem to pop up all the time. I am really liking the multiple use nature of this tool!

The best part? It was only $18.68 at Wally world! This is a 2.1 Amp/120V version. I prefer the plug in  variety to the battery powered ones. I don't think a single battery would have lasted through all my adhesive removal. The price included; a sanding block and triangular pads, a scraping tool and a cutting tool. Extra tools are available almost everywhere tools are sold and they are very inexpensive! I bought a 4 pack of scraping blades for $4.89. It's not all that large...maybe a tiny bit bigger than a standard Dremel. I keep both on-board my RV. That's most jobs done! Add a Drill/Driver (battery or AC) a good tool kit and there is almost nothing you can't accomplish!

Every so often I come across something that earns a permanent place on-board my RV. This one was a shoe-in!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

8 comments:

  1. Rich
    Nice write up. I am facing/dreading/delaying the removal of a panel on my MH to service/upgrade the sensors on my tanks. The panel is screwed on, but also has adhesive caulk. It is a pain to remove the panel without bending and a still bigger pain to get all the caulk off so the panel fits tight on reattachment. This little guy looks like just the ticket. I'll check it out at WMT next time.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Monte

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    Replies
    1. Monte,
      Thanks :) I still wish I knew about this little gem BEFORE I removed the first (and largest!) panel!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. Harbor Freight has them and all the attachments, That's where I got mine

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    Replies
    1. Chili Bob,
      I like the Walmart one better it had 9 variable speeds. :) Besides, Harbor freight is about 45 minutes away.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. I had been considering one of these since my 1988 29' Fireball fifth wheel needs lots of work. Using one of these to remove various bolts (that go to nothing), old mounting rings and a broken antennae from the roof as well as the old, rusted mounting ring to the original toilet is gonna make my life much easier. Thank you so much for the article and information.

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    Replies
    1. Tina,
      You are very welcome! My life was made so much easier on so many jobs with this tool. I keep finding more uses for it!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. I found one last summer. It made a number of jobs go from impossible to done.

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    Replies
    1. Bob,
      I couldn't agree more! This tool has made jobs I have thought about and dismissed...feasible!

      Thanks,

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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