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Portable Powered Hand Tools

Portable powered hand tools are becoming more and more popular for everyday use. There is a wide variety of these tools available for use in the workshop and on site and for home use. These tools are powered by: Mains electricity at 240V (usually for home use as this voltage is not recommended for site use, as an electric shock from this tool can prove fatal). Mains electricity stepped down by using a transformer which reduces the voltage to 110V. Electricity supplied at 110V (used on all sites and in workshops). Electricity supplied by battery to cordless power tools (915V) which can be recharged. NOTE: It should be remembered that power tools are potentially more dangerous to use than hand tools. However, these tools do speed up manual work and production, making it easier for the craftsperson. Before any power tool is used, the person who will use it will require training and practice in its safe use.



Specification and Data Plates

These are metal plates fixed to each power tool on which certain information is stamped. Below is such a plate with the following information: The manufactures name. Identification number, model and serial number. Capacity of chuck and spindle speed in revs/per min (RPM). Electrical information (voltage V, Amps A, Watts W, Hertz Hz). Insulation symbol to show whether the tool is double insulated. British standard kite mark to show if it is manufactured to British standards specifi cation.



Mains Electricity Supply and Earthing Systems

Any electrical appliance which is not double insulated, must be earthed by an earth wire which allows the electricity to fl ow to earth without passing through the operator or user should anything go wrong with the supply or the appliance. The appliance is also protected by a fuse fi xed to the live input wire. This wire is brown in colour and is connected to the three-pin supply pin by means of a connecting block and clips for easy removal. The rating or size of the fuse must be appropriate for the rating of the appliance. A tool rated at 4.5A should not have a fuse greater than 5A. If for some reason, there is a fault and the tool or appliance and the casing becomes live, the earth cable (coloured green and yellow) provides a path to carry the electric current safely to earth. An increase in size of the electrical current across the fuse will cause the fuse wire to burn out and break thereby disconnecting the live wire from the appliance. For the earthing system to work, the earth conductor must have continuity from the appliance, and the fuse must be an appropriate rating for the appliance being used. The earthing system will not provide any protection if the earth wire has: Not been connected correctly to the plug or has been disconnected. The lead or cable has been damaged. The earth has become disconnected from the casing of the appliance.



Three Pin Plug System



Double Insulated Power Tools

All electrical driven power tools are now manufactured with a double insulation system. The main difference with this system is that an insulation barrier is formed round all the components in the tool that carries an electric current. The double insulation is achieved by constructing the body of the tool from non-conductive material preventing any electrical current passing through the casing of the tool. These tools carry a double insulation symbol on the specification plate, as well as the British Standard kite symbol.

Joist Hanger Joist hanger built into wall to accommodate the joist.

NOTE: Although double insulation power tools are safer to use than single insulated earthed tools, there is still a danger to the operator if the cable caries a 240V supply and it becomes faulty or damaged.


12 PORTABLE POWER TOOLS Residual Current Device RCD or Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker ELCB When installed, these devices sense a current fl=ow to earth, or an imbalance in the current in the circuit. This device will then disconnect the supply before a person can receive a potentially lethal shock. They also protect equipment and prevent it from catching fire. These devices must be fi tted by a competent electrician and should be regularly tested. These devices do not give 100% guarantee of safety. It is possible for a worker to get an electric shock even though an RDC is fi tted to the circuit and is operating correctly. To reduce the risk of shock further, a reduced voltage system is used for portable and hand held electric tools. This system is virtually safe and will eliminate the risk of death from a live to earth shock in the majority of situations. The maximum recommended voltage supply on site for portable electric tools is: 110 volts standard colour supply YELLOW. 110 volt power tools To reduce further danger from electric shock from tools or cables, the recommended voltage is 110V. The usual way to provide this voltage is to have: A fixed supply within a workshop. Reduce the electrical output by means of a transformer (240V to 110V).



Plugs, sockets and outlets and couplers

To avoid plugs designed for one voltage being connected to the sockets of another, there are different positions for the key-way in plugs and sockets. The examples below are to BS 4343.



Safe Use of Power Tools

The Health and Safety at Work Act dictates: Who is allowed to operate equipment and tools. Your employers responsibility to make sure that you are competent to use the hand tools you use in your job. When your employer should provide training. Safe use Before using a power tool, the operator must be certain that all necessary precautions have been taken to ensure their own safety and the safety of others working close by. The following safety list should be applied: You must have had training in the use of the tool you are using. You should be familiar with the tools working characteristics and competent in its use. Check whether the power hand tool is safe to use. Be aware what you should do if your equipment is defective. Check that they operate off a safe voltage. Check that the tool has been correctly fitted to a suitable undamaged plug. Check the cable for damage, and report any faults. Are the necessary guards correctly fitted? Are all the drills and cutters in good working order? Do you have the necessary protective equipment to use the tool? Avoid all loose clothing. Disconnect the tool before making adjustments or changing cutters or drills. If any injury occurs during use, no matter how slight, seek first aid, and report it to the person responsible for health and safety.



Range of Power Tools

Power tools, if used correctly, can speed up building work across a wide range of different operations. Power tools are manufactured for two distinct markets, although the tools will carry out the same operations. The two distinct markets are: Do it yourself where occasional use is expected. Industrial where they are constantly in use. The tools produced for this market are more robust and have a more powerful motor to withstand heavy and constant use. There is a wide range of power tools available, each manufactured to carry out a specifi c task. Some of the more well known manufactures include: Black and Decker. Makita. De Walt. Bosch. Elu. Stanley. The range includes: Drills. Screwdrivers. Sanders orbital and belt. Circular saws, jig saws, reciprocating saws. Routers. Planers.



There are two main types of drills available: Mains driven the motor is driven by electricity obtained from a mains power source. These drills are usually rated at 240 volts although 110 volts tools can be used if a transformer is plugged into the mains circuit. Battery driven (Often referred to as cordless drills) the motor is driven by a rechargeable battery. These batteries range from 12 volts to 18 volts. In addition, to these two main types there are variations of each type: Rotary drills. Rotary and impact (percussion) drills. Hammer drills. All of these types are available with key operated drill chucks or keyless operated drill chucks. Safe Use of Drills If you require both hands to hold a power drill, the workpiece must be securely held in place, either in a vice or with clamps, so that it does not rotate under the force of the drilling action. If drilling background material such as brick, concrete or hollow plasterboard walls, care must be taken to ensure that the position of all hidden electrical wires and cables is known. When using the drill suffi cient force must be applied to enable the bit to cut into the material. Applying too much pressure may result in the drill bit snapping. To help to ensure that this does not happen, the drill is withdrawn from the hole to clear all waste material created by the drill during the cutting action. If the drill point is blunt or insuffi cient force is applied, the drill point will rub rather than cut into the material, resulting in frictional heat being generated. This can also lead to the drill bit snapping. When choosing a drill, consider the following points: The amount of use the drill will be subjected to. The largest diameter drill that will be used and the depth of the holes required. The types of material that the drill will be required to drill.





Some manufactures make power operated screwdrivers which provide the operator with a fast effortless way to insert or remove screws. These tools are available with a range of bits in all different sizes and types to engage all types of screw head shapes and slots. The tools usually have a drive cover which, when in contact with the surface of the timber, engages a clutch mechanism which disengages the drive mechanism. This allows the head of the screw to be driven fl ush with the surface. Most modern drills can be adapted to perform as a screwdriver. There are countless types of bits to accommodate all types of screws and fixings. These bits can be easily changed using a key or keyless chuck. There is also an angle drill/driver which can be used in situations where space is limited.



There are four types of portable sanding machine used for bench and site work: Random orbital sanders or palm sanders. Orbital sanders. Belt sanders. Heavy duty belt and disk floor sanders. Random orbital sander or palm sander Random orbital sanders works with an elliptical off-centre rotary action. The base of the sander can be circular or rectangular with a fl exible perforated sanding pad which allows the dust to be extracted into a collection bag. The sanding disks are self-adhesive and can be applied by peeling off the backing sheet of the disk and attaching it to the pad. There is an alternative type of disk which has a Velcro backing for easy fixing and removal. Palm grip sanders are similar but do not have a handle grip.



Orbital Sander
This type of sander is sometimes referred to as a finishing sander. This power tool takes its name from the orbital path the machine traces when in use. The tool consists of a main body containing a drive motor, and a rear pistol grip which incorporates the trigger. Most tools also have a front handle for extra pressure, and most models have a dust collection bag attached. The abrasive or sanding sheet is kept in place by means of spring clips at the front and rear. The sanding pad is faced with rubber or felt to cushion the vibration. The orbital motion is approximately 5mm in diameter, and the revolutions of the pad range from 12-14,000 RPM.



Belt Sander
These sanders are designed for bench work. The machine consists of a body which houses a motor, a drive mechanism and a means of extracting dust. The sanding belt is an endless belt, driven by the motor, and it runs around a heel and toe roller. The front or toe roller can be adjusted to exert tension to the belt. The belt runs over a steel base plate faced with a rubber pad. It is this area of the belt that makes contact with and sands the timber. The dust is extracted by means of suction and is discharged into a canvas collection bag attached to the body of the sander. Method of use These tools can be used for in-situ work or bench work. When using the sander for bench work, the sander must be clear of the working surface before it is switched on, and the belt must be allowed to reach its full working speed before applying it to the surface of the timber. When the full working speed is reached, the tool is gently lowered down onto the work piece. When full contact is made, the frictional grip of the abrasive belt will force the sander to move forward in the direction of the belt rotation. For that reason, the work piece should be secured in place or placed against a stop. The sander will need to be held with a firm grip to control this forward movement. The finished surface will depend upon the skill of the operator in moving the sander across the entire surface of the work piece, and the grade of sanding paper used.



Electric Powered Circular Saw

Portable circular saws are available with blade diameters ranging from 175mm to 250mm. The depth of vertical cut can range from 65mm to 90mm. The design of the saw allows angle cuts as well as vertical cuts to be made. However the depth of angle cut will be reduced because of the cutting angle. Below is a typical powered circular saw with the names of the various parts identified.

This type of saw can be used to cut: Solid softwood timber. Solid hardwood timber. A range of wood-based sheet materials. Plastic laminate sheets. There is a range of different saw blades that can fitted to this type of saw, each with different teeth characteristics. The quality, ease of cutting, and safe use of the saw often relies on the type of blade being used. The type of blade being used should reflect upon the material being cut. Manufactures make recommendations as to which type of blade should be used to cut which material (see blade profiles). NOTE: The blade in a portable circular saw cuts in an anti-clockwise rotation and cuts in an upwards direction. Most saws have the direction of the saw blade indicated by an arrow on the top guard. This cutting action can often lead to serious accidents caused by unsafe methods of use.



Mitre Saws and Portable Bench Saws

This type of electrical saw can be secured to a table or bench to offer a more stable base from which to work. The whole assembly of the saw can be rotated through a right hand and left hand arc of 45. It can also be adjusted to carry out the following operations: Square crosscutting. Mitring. Compound bevelled crosscutting. There are a variety of saw blades available for different uses, all of which give a fi ne fi nish. When mitring with this saw, the timber can be joined together without further need for sanding or planning.



Jig saws
A powered jig saw drives a small narrow blade with teeth cut along its leading edge using an up and down cutting action. Cutting only occurs on the upward stoke of the blade. Modern types of this saw incorporate an orbital cutting motion that allows the blade to move away from the cutting edge on the downward non-cutting stroke. This action helps clear away the waste material from the saw cut reducing friction and prolonging the life of the saw blade. There are various types and sizes of these machines ranging from the DIY type up to industrial jig saws. The rating of these saws range from 500-800 watts and the more powerful types can cut timber up to 60mm in thickness and metals of various hardnesses of 2-12mm thick. There are also various types of saw blades available which can be easily inserted into the tool, thus making it a very versatile power tool.



Powered planers
This type of planer has a rotary block with has two or three cutters attached. The cutter block is belt driven by an electric motor housed within the machine. The cutters are kept in place by means of a metal wedge fi xed to the block by means of machine screws. These blades can easily be replaced when blunt. Older machines have blades that can be re-sharpened but newer models use disposable blades. The width of the cutting block can range from 60mm-80mm. The depth of the cut can be adjusted to as much as 3mm in one pass. With the larger type of machine, rebates can be formed by using a fence attachment and passing the planer a number of times through the timber until the required depth is achieved. It is very important that the blades are fitted correctly and parallel to the block; if not, the blades will scar the surface of the material. As the cutting action of this machine is rotary, wood chips rather than shavings will be formed. Most models are fitted with a dust and chip collection bag.



These machines consist of a drive motor held vertically in a metal frame and supported on a metal base. The motor shaft protrudes from the bottom of the machine housing. The shaft is machined to take a tapered collet. It is into this collet that the cutter is placed and secured.