How do Oscillating Tools work?
An oscillating tool, or multi-tool, is a compact, versatile power tool that is designed to tackle a wide variety of projects. With a resemblance to an orbital sander, multi-tools can be used to smooth wood, hard finishes, and wood fillers—and can perform this task exceptionally well. But while a sander can only be used for sanding, these versatile tools can tackle just about anything. These handy tools can be used for sanding, flush and plunge cutting, rasping, scraping, grinding, polishing, removing grout, and trimming door casings.
Accessories Compatible with Oscillating Tools
What makes these tools so versatile is the number of accessories that they are compatible with, opening up their range of use to a wide variety of home improvement and renovation projects. These tools are built with an attachment post in the arbor. This clamping mechanism is capable of holding an assortment of accessories, allowing for its impressive versatility.
There are tools available for just about any application such as wood and metal cutting blades of different shapes and sizes, grinders, grout removal blades, scrapers, sanding pads, sand paper, polishing pads, and more. Depending on the design of the tool, it might be compatible with virtually any accessory, from any brand, on the market thanks to a universal system.
Gripping an Attachment
Other brands design their arbor with proprietary mechanisms meaning that they’re only capable of accepting attachments offered by that particular brand. While some oscillating tools require an Allen key or hex wrench for both loosening and tightening the grip on an attachment, others feature tool-free replacement systems that allow you to exchange accessories with a click or a press of a lever.
Once the tool is turned on, its tool post will rotate a very slight amount, normally between 3-4 degrees, but at a very high speed, often up to 21,000 oscillations per minute, delivering exceptional control and power. This action is what drives the attachments. For instance, a grout removing blade will rapidly sway back and forth in a range that can be measured in millimeters, but is capable of quickly grinding away at the intended cutting surface.
Uses of an Oscillating Tool
With the right attachment, an oscillating multi-tool can handle a variety of uses. With its specific movement, it can make clean plunge cuts into wood or sheet rock, without causing damage to the rest of the material’s surface. It’s also ideal for projects such as cutting flush with a surface when you need to trim a door casing in order to install new flooring, cutting pipes and wood in tight, hard-to-reach spaces, removing old grout from floor or wall tiles, sanding wood, and a variety of other applications.
Simple to use and compatible with a huge selection of useful accessories, an oscillating tool is guaranteed to be one of the most used and relied on power tools in any professional or DIYer’s workshop.