As the calendar rolls from December to January, the world of concrete is on our minds. As the largest show we attend each year, it gives us the opportunity to use many of the tools that we will be conducting a full review of later this year. Narrowing down our list to the top 10 best tools for World of Concrete was like picking the top 10 fans who don't want to see the Patriots win another Super Bowl. Fortunately, we are up to the task.
Skilsaw 48V True HVL 10-1/4” Worm Drive
After their strong entry into the cordless market with their 7-1/4” worm drives, Skilsaw showed off their 10-1/4” model. It is a true worm drive, not the worm drive style saws that other manufacturers have.
Similar to the Sawsquatch but without the cord, this saw is capable of cutting 4×4 in a single pass. There is absolutely no lack of power, and it is surprisingly easy to use for such a large diameter saw.
Look for it in October for around $799 with two 48V, 5.0Ah batteries.
Makita 18V X2 LXT 9” Electric Cutter
Makita's cordless electric cutter has similar features to other cordless models, but this model has electronic clutch controls instead of mechanical controls. It also includes automatic feedback technology and uses the same 80mm brushless motor as Makita's 1-9/16" 18V X2 rotary hammer.
We had a chance to do some cutting and it was a very smooth cutting experience. The chatter we expected was simply not there. Just like Makita's circular saws, its premium design is something you can feel while using it.
Pricing for the kit is between $899 and $934.
Hilti Tracefast Smart Concrete Fasteners
Hilti showed us several new innovations including their first cordless circuit breaker. What impressed us even more was the release of the Smart Fastener System.
Hilti's Connect app reads the unique numeric matrix code on the end of each fastener so you know where it's installed. You can call up the specs to see exactly how much torque to apply and be sure the report is correct.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As we go forward, imagine a system where you specify everything in BIM, fasten with a tool that can input torque, and that tool communicates with the system through your phone to complete the report and Track your progress as you go. Thanks to this new smart fastening system, we're getting closer to making it happen.
SkyMul Rebar Binding Drone
The SkyMul Rebar Binding Drone does exactly what its name suggests – it flies around a concrete structure and ties rebar point by point. You lay out the perimeter with a computer and let a single or multiple drones do the work. You just need someone to manage battery charging and wire filling.
This is a prototype-stage product, and we expect it to retail for around $35,000 when it's ready to hit the market.
Bosch 18V Cordless Track Saw
We're fans of Bosch's corded track saws, and now they're getting ready to launch a cordless model. The overall shape and controls are the same, but there are some notable improvements.
An important feature in the electronic speed select system that helps you match the blade speed to the material being cut. When you're cutting soft or thin materials, you can go into Eco mode and get an extra 30% more run time from the battery.
In addition to this model, Bosch showed off some new cordless circular saws, one of which is track-ready and has a super-simple depth control on the handle.
Keep an eye out for prices and availability.
DeWalt 60V Max FlexVolt 1-3/4” SDS-Max Combination Hammer
Between DeWalt's smaller FlexVolt rotary hammer and its cordless 2” SDS-Max powerhouse is the new FlexVolt 1-3/4” SDS-Max combination hammer. With an impact energy of 10.5 Joules (7.7 ft-lbs), the perfect combination of size and power make it an excellent choice for your preferred cordless SDS-Max model.
Part of DeWalt's Perform and Protect series, it features reliable vibration control, an electronic clutch for stopping the tool in the bind, and integrated wireless tool control to start the vacuum without a remote.
Look for it in March, retailing for $599 bare or $899 with two 9.0/3.0Ah FlexVolt batteries.
Fraco passive exoskeleton
We've already glimpsed some exoskeleton systems to help lift weights, now we'll see it face to face! The concept revolves around getting contractors to work longer hours and reduce injuries to help bridge the skilled labor gap. This hybrid system combines passive and quasi-passive actuation to support and assist the mason's arm – reducing stress on the body.
The Fraco exoskeleton can support up to 15 lbs per arm (extended) and up to 26 lbs per arm at the elbow. There's a lot you can check out for yourself, but the video tells a lot of the story.
You can contact Fraco directly for more details. You can preorder the upper body configuration for around $6,650. Ultimately, the full-body version sold for around $10,000.
KATO-CES VXB Lithium Electric Mini Excavator
Compact Excavator Sales (CES) in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, exhibited its 9VXB lithium-ion powered mini excavator. Firmly on my Christmas wish list, it has a digging force of 2360 lbs with its 12" bucket.
It is capable of working for up to 8 hours (about 5-1/2 hours of continuous digging). One hour of charging during lunch time, about 3 hours of working time, only need 110V power supply to charge.
This model is priced at $48,000, and its big brother is priced at $57,000. Get more details from the KATO-CES website.
RedArt Technologies CNC Routing Concrete Art
There were a lot of decorative concrete concepts in the world of concrete this year, but none quite like what we saw here at Red Art Technologies. Designed using a Makita router and CNC, it creates images and text on its concrete slab that stand out compared to other methods.
The CNC Pro system costs approximately $15,000 to run. Find out more here.
Rattle Stick Float and Screed Systems
The Rattle Stick attaches between your float and the handle, giving it extra vibration. The benefit is that it gives you a smooth finish and more consistent results in just one stroke instead of three or four.
It saves time, keeps your crew more productive, and runs off DeWalt, Makita, or Milwaukee 18V/20V Max batteries and more. The Rattle Stick EX Modern Finishing System is $1570 direct from www.rattlestick.net.
Here are our top 10 best tools in the concrete world. Did you see something from the show that we should have included? Tell us in the comments below!