RIDGID Innovation - TC-40 Turbo Cordless Pipecutter
Posted by Mark Hunter - February 15, 2011
We enjoy innovation here at the Toolstop hub. Understanding the reasons behind the innovation is also fun.
For example, seeing a job done the "traditional way" then seeing it done the "innovative way" is an excellent process to understand the thinking behind new tools on the market.
One such innovation is the RIDGID TC-40 turbo cordless pipe cutter.
Enver and the RIDGID guys were very keen to show us this during our recent visit to their Leuven base. Neil and I have to hold our hands up and state that we don't have a lot of experience cutting pipes. That's why it's helpful to be around the people innovating these tools; they can show you why and how their new product addresses a need in the market and on the job site.
At first the TC-40 looks like any other power tool; it has a lithium-ion battery slotted into the handle. It has a two-way switch. It has an LED job light.
And these are exactly the sort of obvious features we expect on our power tools these days, especially our power drills, cordless jigsaws and impact drivers.
However we're not talking about those sort of power tools; we're talking about a pipe cutter, for goodness' sake. LED job lights? Lithium-ion batteries? On a pipe cutter?
These features all seem to be part of what RIDGID are attempting to innovate; the humble art of pipe cutting.
John admitted afterwards that he took it easy on Mike and his RC-1625. To be fair, the RC-1625 is more than qualified as an expert's pipe cutter. It does the job efficiently and beautifully.
But, as is evident from the video, it doesn't have turbo.
And the TC-40 does.
The whole innovative concept behind the TC-40 is to take the pressure and wrist fatigue out of having to do, say, 200 cuts. Not only will the TC-40 give you roughly that many cuts per battery charge, it's going to allow you to do them quickly and with absolutely no physical effort on your part.
Hence the innovation.
We asked John to gives us a thorough demo of the TC-40.
You'll notice John highlighting the rubber insert that can be fitted into the cutting mechanism. That helps you keep the shape of the pipe you're cutting. While traditional RIDGID cutters will cut through, say, multi-layered pipes, the pipes may need a bit of reshaping afterwards.
With this insert you're going to be able to cut quickly while retaining the shape of the pipe.
What puts some of us off switching to cordless versions of our trusted hand tools is the fact that batteries run out of juice. While we can recharge our energy levels with a quick cuppa and a digestive biscuit on the job site and get back to our ratchet pipe cutter, our cordless tools tend to need a bit of an extra lie down, so to speak.
So, could a tradesperson used to operating a ratchet cutter that runs purely on elbow grease switch to a TC-40 cordless cutter with confidence?
I'd suggest yes, and for two reasons.
Firstly, the TC-40 will only start a cut that it has enough battery power to finish.
The rear of the device has an LED display that lets you know the sort of state the battery's in; not enough juice to keep on cutting? The LED will let you know it's time to plug in the charger. You'll be able to cut pipe right up to the moment where the TC-40 will refuse to do anymore.
That means you're not going to be halfway through cutting a 42mm piece of pipe only for the TC-40 to faint with battery exhaustion and leave you with a useless hunk of turbo cutter embedded in a thick piece of plastic.
And that leads us to my second reason; unlike many other power tools, you can actually continue to run the TC-40 while it charges.
Again, this is an innovation from RIDGID that speaks directly to any concerns we have about making the switch to cordless.
On top of this, it has an X-CEL™ quick-change blade and pin, quick-release blade action (watch the video) and a kill switch on the head of the cutter, which we reckon is fairly important as a safety device given the fact you're using a turbo cutter!
RIDGID are of the opinion the that TC-40 is a game changer in the pipe cutter market, but we want to know what you think. Let us know in the comments.
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