Bosch Power Tools and Accessories released its PS50 Multi-X oscillating tool in October; a small cordless unit designed for cutting, sawing and sanding tasks, powered by a 12-volt Max Litheon battery, Bosch’s proprietary battery system. The combination tool is suited for cutting softwood, hardwood, drywall, plastic and metals; sanding; scraping; sawing; buffing or polishing a variety of other materials. Bosch designed the tool specifically for the professional market.
“We’re looking at cabinet installers, general contractors, remodelers, that kind of thing,” says Edwin Bender, group product manager for Bosch cordless tools. “For hobbyists, if they want to get into it, they can. But that is not our target audience with the performance that we deliver with this tool.”
It took Bosch about two years to develop the PS50. The company concentrated on several areas during the tool’s design and manufacturing.
“The No. 1 thing was performance, making sure we were able to achieve adequate performance. And the second thing, which is unique to this tool, is to hit acceptable vibration levels,” Bender says. “The oscillating motion causes vibration, and we wanted to minimize that when we’re also pushing to make these PS tools very compact.”
The PS50 Multi-X has a variable speed range of 5,000 to 20,000 opm (oscillations per minute) for optimal operation of cutting, sawing and sanding applications by adjusting operating speed and swapping out accessories. Bosch accessories include blades for plunge-cutting in wood or metal, wheels for flush cuts or grout removal, and pads for sanding or polishing applications. Changing from one accessory to another takes less than a minute, and the tool is compatible with accessories from competitors such as Dremel (owned by Bosch), Fein or Proxxon.
The tool, built around Bosch’s ultra-compact lithium-ion battery platform, has a 30-minute charge time, weighs only 2.2 lbs. and has a 6.88" grip circumference, which includes the battery. There is a fuel gauge to indicate the charge of the battery. The Bosch 12-volt Max Litheon batteries are compatible with all other Bosch ultra-compact tools (models PS10, PS20, PS40, FL11 and new PS30 drill/driver).
“Woodworking uses can be classified into two sections — fitting and sanding,” explains Bender. “Fitting is mostly the cutting applications. There are a lot of irregularities where you have to make plunge cuts, fits for electrical outlets or maybe a conduit or plumbing line, something where you have to make a small fix. That’s the primary use that we designed this tool around, to make those accurate, precise cuts. But of course it has the ability to do the sanding applications such as finishing when remodeling, taking off paint before putting on a new coat; it has the ability to do the light sanding work that these guys might also need for renovation or remodeling.”
Cutting capabilities include sawing flush with surfaces such as door frames near a floor, fine detail sawing, cutoff of small non-ferrous profiles, plunge cuts in solid wood, flush cutting of wood materials such as overlapping tenon, trimming PVC tubing, plunge cuts in drywall for switches and sockets, and cutouts in furniture for sockets or wiring.
Possible sanding applications, besides removing paint from wood, include sanding window or door frames, finish removal from metal or putty planning, corner sanding, and fine wood sanding for finish preparation.
“The greatest thing about this tool is you are able to get performance similar to a corded tool in terms of cutting and even faster in sanding, all in a pocket-size tool. It has other system tools with it that makes it very convenient and easy to use. Because when you are doing installations, getting into tight situations, dragging a cord around is bothersome. It’s a similar situation to cordless drill/drivers where we’re now able to deliver great performance, great run time in a very compact tool.”
The Bosch PS50-2A Multi-X Cutting kit is priced at $199 and contains a hard case, two Litheon 12-volt Max Batteries, 30-minute charger, one accessory adapter, one sanding plate, one sanding paper pad, and a 1-5/8" x 1-1/2" plunge cut blade. The tool also has laser-edge lettering on the blades, which indicates depth of cut.
The PS50-2B Multi-X Carpenter kit sells for $229 and includes all of the above plus three 3/8" x 1-1/4" plunge cut blades, and a 3-1/2" x 7/8" bi-metal (BIM) segment blade.
Contact Bosch Power Tools and Accessories. Tel: 877-267-2499. www.boschtools.com
This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue.