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question-tm.jpgWe’re putting together some upcoming groups of test tools, and we’d like your input.  Last year we saw the widespread acceptance of lithium-ion as well as some crazy new hand tool designs.  What’s on the docket for 2007 in your opinion?

More specifically, we know that a lot of your are pros in one or more tool-related fields.  What do you imagine will be the next big thing in your field this year?

We’ve got some of our own ideas, but we can’t wait to hear yours.


6 Responses to Reader Question: What’s the next big thing?

  1. James B says:

    I think we will see competition to the craftsman almost-CNC compu-carve. If the compu-carve takes off, we may see more dedicated woodcarving CNC devices. The market would be well served by a less ‘closed system’. A system that is controlled by a standard PC would move the cost of the computer away from the cost of the tool. A low cost carving tool that accepts generic g-code, and is bundled with software that has a library of carvings for drag, drop, resize, merge, etc would sell. The only advantage I see to the craftsman compu-carve is, based on what I read in their product literature, the simplicity of use. If other companies can get the simple factor down it would really expand what an average woodworker can do.

  2. Eli says:

    apple will have an offering in the compucarve category called, ‘iWood’.
    I think more LED’s, less cowbell. We’re using them to light film scenes now. very cool in temp. adjustable color gradient. you can have a very small shallow fixture that spreads even light with little heat. throw leaves something to be desired, but they can be focused with a lens.

  3. Roscoe says:

    1. I’m looking for more innovative designs of computer-engineered ladders and work platforms, akin to the fold-up chairs in a bag from Wal-Mart for $10. The market is ripe for innovation there as most ladders are unchanged in design for centuries.

    2. High-end fabrics in affordable work wear. Critical mass is finally there and we can all expect to begin enjoying polar-fleece lined leather gloves and work pants. Gore-tex and its derivatives will also begin to find their way onto regular Joe outerwear. If you work outside and haven’t already invested in a few pair of “smart wool” socks, there finally cheap enough to make a regular part of your work dress.

    3. JIGS. Rockler and a few others have long made a jig for everything, I expect to see more and more jigs in the mainstream. Sears is poised to make a killing selling kits of Craftsman branded jigs to woodworkers. While I’m not interested in a Craftsman miter saw to cut my crown-molding, I’d sure take a look at a slick Craftsman jig to to cut it with.

    4. Aggressive marketing of smaller-voltage cordless drills. Makita, with their impact drivers, and Black and Decker, with their palm-sized models, have both shown that their is room for smaller-voltage tools, particularly with Lithium-Ion technology. I’m already thinking that it’s time to go back to a smaller, lighter 12 or 9.6V drill for woodworking in the shop. The 18V models I’ve been using are nice, but I’d trade the extra torque for a lighter model with more finesse.

  4. I’m hoping we’ll see an interchangeable battery standard for the little drills. I think the Bosch Litheon have removable packs, but the Ixo and others are all built-in, right? I’d love to see a flashlight based around that pack.

    LEDs will be big if Color Kinetics has anything to say about it. I picked up some of their Sauce fixtures recently and, aside from smoking one when I tried to run it from an inverter, I’m impressed.

  5. willbone says:

    Tapco has made the power pole, it is a alum-a-pole that uses a drill to raise and lower your scaffodling. the Power pole is avaiable threw all your industral ladder supplys.

  6. jdog says:

    The PowerPole system was engineered and manufactured by ReechCraft (http://www.reechcraft.com/powerpole.htm) and was originally marketed through Tapco. The system is now marketed by ReechCraft and available for about $2000 bucks at tool houses across the nation.

    The cool thing is that since last year, a bunch of accessories were added like fall protection to keep OSHA happy, an outrigger systems that lets you quickly lean the system up against a wall (like a ladder), and a universal quick attach system to gives you many attachment options and also allows the system to break down and be put in the back of pickup.

    A set can lift close to 2000lbs so it’s really more like a man and material lift than a scaffolding system. I see this thing going head-to-head with telehandlers and scissor lifts and with its optional 5 ft wide platform, it should replace or work along side traditional scaffolding.

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