Our Milwaukee sales rep stopped by yesterday to talk to me about their new V18 tools. He brought in his demo unit of the V18 cordless hammer-drill/driver. It looks like September 1st will see the release of their V18 hammer drill kit (0824-24) and their 4 piece cordless tool kit (0920-29). These will be up for pre-order in the next few days, but I’ll go ahead and give you a little preview here.
First off, I’ll talk about the battery system since it applies to the entire V18 line. The most exciting feature found in the new V18 lithium ion battery is that it will work with existing Milwaukee 18 volt cordless tools. That’s right, it slides right on the same way as the existing 18 volt nicad batteries do. This also means that your existing 18 volt Milwauke power-plus batteries will work on the new V18 tools (they won’t last nearly as long, however). The V18 charger will charge either type of battery, but the old charger cannot charge the V18 battery for safety reasons (as well as the fact that they weren’t designed to do that). Those of you who have read my blog for a while might remember that I mentioned plans for backwards compatibility for older Milwaukee tools, well this was also the battery I was writing about when I mentioned an adapter to use lithium-ion batteries with other brands of power tools. Stay tuned, as I will post more on that when I can.
The battery will provide up to 50% longer run time compared to the 18 volt ni-cad batteries, consistent power from start to end with no fade, and the battery packs in the power of an 18 volt battery at the weight of a 14.4 volt battery. It also features a LED fuel gauge like the V28 battery and Milwaukee is warranting the battery for 2000 charges or 5 years. On most of their tools, the battery pack is also reversible which is nice for balance reasons as well as clearance issues when working at awkward angles or confined spaces.
It looks like the hammer driver / drill is very similar in design to their V28 model. The main difference being that the V18 is an 18 volt tool, as opposed to their 28 volt V28 line (I know that seems a bit obvious, but better to give too much than too little info). The hammer drill has the following mechanical specifications: a 1/2″ chuck, two speed operation (0-450 or 0-1,700 RPM and 0-675 or 0-25,500 BPM), 550 inch-pounds of torque and over 20 clutch settings.
For those who don’t know what those specifications mean, I’ll explain them a little better. The clutch settings determine how hard the drill will turn before disengaging the drive mechanism. This is really useful when you are driving screws or driving another fastener, to be sure you don’t go through the material or drive it too deep. With the 20+ settings, you should be able to find one with just about the right amount of torque. To adjust the clutch setting or to switch to drill only or hammer + drilling mode you simply twist the numbered ring right behind the chuck of the drill.
The two-speeds are important for two reasons. When you are driving a fastener you want higher torque so you can drive it to the depth that you need. When you are drilling you want the bit spinning as faster so the hole is bored quickly with a minimum of work. Speed and torque are inversely tied to each other. As you raise speed you lower torque and as you lower speed you raise torque. That being said, there is a sweet spot for each application. The 450 and the 1700 RPM numbers are generally recognized to be in the range of the sweet spot. There are some tools that offer 3 or even 4 speed settings, which would allow for a more specialized task where you might need an even lower maximum speed but more torque or a top speed more in the middle for drilling through some particularly hard materials. That being said, most people will never miss the 1 or 2 additional speed settings.
I didn’t get much information on the four tool combo kit other than the model number is 0920-29 and it will include the above hammer drill, a Sawzall reciprocating saw, a circular saw and the often overlooked flashlight. I will assume that these will also be styled after their larger brothers in the V28 line.
I will post more as I can, thanks for reading!