Check this out before you throw away that power tool

No parts are available.

Don’t you hate to hear those words when you are trying to repair your power tool? Many times, this means the end to your tool that you have trusted on for many years, but for certain types of repairs, it doesn’t have to be.

power tool parts

The type of repairs that you can possibly fix

The parts that you see above are parts that most of the time can be fixed.

  • Armatures- the top left part is an armature, the rotating part of a power tool. As long as the spindle is in good shape and not stripped (the end gear), then this can be rewound by a motor rewind shop. There Eurton Electric in California does these type of repairs. They can rewind your armature for you. Make sure that this tool is worth this repair though.
  • Power Cords- many times, there is a special connector that fits into the tool, a pre-molded boot that may be NLA, but usually you can find a suitable cord with a similar pre-molded boot that will fit. We have those here.
  • Switches- These are also available from Eurton Electric.   If you can’t find the exact switch, many of these can be modified to fit your tool as long as you check the amperage of the switch to be sure it is strong enough.
  • Brushes- These are the easiest to find. Many local real hardware stores will have these. Don’t bother going to Home Depot as I don’t remember seeing them there. If they do not fit exactly, you can always sand them down to fit.

Other fixes that do not require parts

Today I had a customer bring in an old Craftsman Multi-Tool. It was about 15 years old so I wanted to make sure that there were parts available. I went on-line to Sears website and there were no parts available, there wasn’t even a part breakdown. If this guy needed parts then all he had would be a door stop, not a multi-tool.

craftsman multi tool image

He said, “I was using it, and it just quit.” Well when a tool does that, usually it means that the circuit is not complete in the tool. I told him I would open it up to see what was wrong. First, it was full of dust. I blew it out with compressed air. Still didn’t work. Next I tested the power cord to see if there was an open circuit. Power cord was ok. Now it is time to break into the tool. I removed the cover over the switch, power cord and motor assembly. That is when I noticed that one brush was not making contact with the commutator of the armature. The spring had snapped. This was an easy fix. I simply took one of the coils of the spring and bent it so that it was putting tension on the brush assembly. I plugged it in. Still nothing! Next I pulled the field out. This is where I noticed that the field wire from the brush had lost it’s terminal. The terminal probably flew out and broke the brush spring. I was able to simply solder the wire onto the field connector and voila, his tool sprung back to life.

6 things that are easy to repair in your power tool

  • Brushes- go find something close at your local power tool repair company or a good old hardware store.
  • Broken wires- replace the broken wire or solder the wire permanently to the part that it fits on.
  • O-rings- If the original o-ring is not available, any o-ring supply house will have a suitable replacement o-ring.
  • Bearings- Any decent bearing house will have your bearing you need.
  • Pumps- If we are talking belt driven pumps for a stand alone pump, then you can simply replace the pump with one of comparable cfm.
  • Motors- Stand alone motors for air compressors, pressure washers, table saws and the like can be swapped out with a motor of the same or greater HP, voltage and rpm’s.

If we are talking about very specific parts like gears and shafts, unless you are a machinist and absolutely love this tool, it’s time to say goodbye to this old friend.

Don’t buy that power tool until you read this first.

What do you look for when you are buying a new power tool?

Do you buy it because of the brand name? How about the color or that all of your power tools are Acme tools? Do you buy it because it is the cheapest? Many people buy it based on the advertisements they have seen, but no one manufacturer hits it out of the park on every tool they make and if you believe that, well their advertising has paid off!Power Tools in a grid
You see, every manufacturer feels the need to capture the entire power tool market. Instead of focusing on what they make best, they just keep pumping out tools of all sorts. Don’t get me wrong, many of their tools are good, but do you want a “good” tool or the best tool for the job?

I have been repairing power tools and selling replacement parts for them for over 20 years. I see what works and I see what breaks on a regular basis. The worst thing is to have a power tool break in the middle of a job or that weekend project, only to find out that there are no replacement parts for the tool. You’ve got yourself a nice boat anchor.

Key points when looking for a new power tool

There are several factors to consider when buying a power tool and I list what I feel are the most important below.

  • What have other people said about the tool? Are 80% of the reviews good. As you know, you can’t please everyone, so look for a tool that gets good reviews from most people.
  • Will you be using this tool every now and then or is this tool going to help you earn a living? If so, then you need something that is built well enough to stand the rigors of the jobsite. Think about what would happen if it fell off of a sawhorse. Will it withstand some rough handling?
  • Does the tool feel good in your hands? If you are a lefty, then they do actually make left handed circular saws and a few others, so look into these.
  • Look online at tool repair part companies such as ours, www.mastertoolrepair.com and look at the older models of the brand and type of tool that you are looking to get. Are most of the parts still available or are most of them NLA (no longer available). If not, then when it breaks, you will have to buy a new one.
  • Normal wear an tear items like brushes, belts, nose guards for trim nailers and blade clamps for reciprocating saws have to be easy to get to and replace.
    Four Power Tool Parts

Air Compressors and Pressure Washers

For other tools like air compressors and pressure washers, you really need to know how often you intend to use these. There are basically two types. Homeowner grade and pro grade. No which one you are getting. Are your workers going to check the oil in an air compressor or should you buy an oil free air compressor because you know they will never check the oil? Don’t buy an air compressor based upon the highest pressure it produces, this is a marketing scam. Look for the cfm it produces at a certain psi. Something like 5.4 cfm @90psi is how you want to compare them. Oil bath units last longer. Again, look for replacement parts to make sure that the company has a history of providing parts.

Pressure washers start at around $225 for a homeowner unit to well over $1,000 for a day in, day out unit. There are basically 3 types of pressure washer pumps. Wobble, Axial Cam and Triplex. Wobble pumps are entry level and usually if they go bad, you just replace the entire pump. Axial Cam pumps are better and Triplex pumps are the best. Of course, you know that you get what you pay for. The psi rating is important as well. All of them require a gas engine or electric motor to power them so make sure that this part of the pressure washer is reliable.

Well, this should get you going. Don’t buy a tool just because of the color or the brand. Do a little research first and you will end up making a great purchase that will get the job done and last for years to come.

Have you lost the art of daydreaming?

A child is daydreaming in a classroom.I read somewhere that if you were in the midst of trying to discover where you wanted to go in life, then you should look retrospectively on your imagined life. Sounds kind of strange doesn’t it? So many times, when we try and think of what we want to become or do in life, we subconsciously place all kinds of limitations on it. We don’t realize many times that we are doing this. We somehow use the successes and the failures of our past to place mental leashes on our dreams. Since we live in the real world, that play world that we lived in as kids slowly disappears as life slaps us in the face. Bit by bit, we stop dreaming during the day; sure we dream at night, but daydreaming  just stops. My teachers used to write to my parents on my report card that I daydreamed too much in class.

I will admit that I did daydream in class. I had so many things that I wanted to become and had quite a vivid imagination. Imagination is very underrated. It is necessary for the advancement of almost any discipline or task we put our hands to. If it wasn’t for imagination, the wheel would never had been invented, much less self driving cars.

After thinking of the challenge put before me, I knew that it was going to take some effort since I hadn’t done this in quite awhile. Most of my daydreaming of late had taken on a very pragmatic nature. Dreaming like I did when I was a kid was going to be a task.

Ground rules for daydreaming

First off, there are some rules you have to keep in mind or rather non-rules. Keep these in mind as you start daydreaming.

  • If money were not an object
  • If there were no time constraints
  • Throw every pragmatic or logical assumption out the window
  • Let your dream have absolutely no boundaries
  • Nothing is silly or stupid
  • Don’t judge your dream even before you get started
  • To hell with thoughts like “it’ll never happen so why dream it”
  • Don’t be afraid to even include friends and associates that you have enjoyed working with in the past in your dream
  • Once you have come up with your dream, write it down amping it up even more

To get you started, I am going to share my wild, no holds barred dream. As I said, this is a retrospective dream, looking back on my imaginary life. Here we go, don’t judge me!

My daydream – an example

“I can’t believe where I am today. At one time, I felt as though God had forgotten why He created me, but now I see that it was to prepare me for where I am today.

It started long ago. All of my life’s experiences created skills that were necessary to prepare me for this. I thought that I was only created to do one thing, but God showed me He created me to do many things, not just one thing. I was always interested in Rocketry. Little did I know that I would discover anti-gravity. This allowed man to escape earth’s gravitational pull without the use of millions of pounds of thrust. We were able to lift more payloads to space using the space that once was used for propellant to hold mission critical payload. After we escaped earth’s gravity, my team, using photon power, propelled the spacecraft to light speed, enabling man to explore new worlds that were once impossible to reach.

photon rocket in outer space.

Anti-gravity also has commercial success as hover boards, passenger planes and other gravity bound products that suddenly “took off”. Tires on cars are a thing of the past. With my profits from anti-gravity, I was able to finally create Walt Disney’s Epcot. It is a place where the most creative minds live and work to create things that benefit mankind. It is not an amusement park, it is what the original plan for Epcot was supposed to be.

The friendships that I created came out of retirement to pull together to make the vision a reality. Steve Story is our corporate attorney who oversees our legal department. Phillip Shucet has found civil engineers like Gary Mackey to create the structure and thoroughfares in Epcot. Jim Tomlinson heads up the hospital. Mike Padden heads up our architectural department. Laurie, my wife makes sure that my creative thinking time is undisturbed. She heads up the ice rink as well as the culinary school.

We now have hologram vision, another invention of mine that beams the picture from your TV into your living room. Fortunately the FCC keeps bad content from jumping into people’s living rooms!

I have a weekly TV show called “Don’t Stop Dreaming”. I found out in my 60’s that acquiring stuff wasn’t important, acquiring dreams was more important. I had stopped asking “What if…” but one day I decided to rekindle my imagination and let it go wild. It had been so long that the rusty gears took awhile to get going, but once they did, they started spinning like a top. Something in my life had jammed the gears, but now they were making up for lost time. I couldn’t stop the ideas from flowing. It was as if God was birthing new ideas in me every day. I said that I wanted to be used and was I ever! There were a lot of obstacles along the way, but with God’s help and a faithful team of dreamers, doors kept opening. A half century ago, I felt as if God had whispered in my ear that He was going to use me for something extraordinary, and let’s just say, it has been far more extraordinary than I could have dreamed.”

Ok, that was my dream. What is yours? You may have no idea. First you have to learn to daydream again. Learning to daydream, using your imagination is not as easy as it once was when we were younger. It’s going to take a little bit of practice. I do this best when I am in a quiet place with paper and pen.

Now, go start daydreaming!

How to beat Amazon

Does Amazon or eBay impact your business?

If you own a small business like I do, you know the dent that Amazon and Ebay are putting into your sales. I have been racking my brain, trying to figure a way to keep my piece of the pie. I’m experimenting with this idea, not a new one, but may work to keep those people that use all of my work and effort putting together page after page of helpful information to assist them in buying machinery on my site as well as my brick and mortar store; only to have them take the model or part number and leave my site or store and search for the lowest price on their phone.
Amazon LogoIn my business, people aren’t buying apples or eggplants without part numbers, they are buying products that have a specific product number, model number or part number. This makes it VERY easy to compare my prices against everyone elses. Now some of you may be saying, so what, the lowest price wins. My reply to you is, if Amazon always wins, then EVERY single store other than Amazon will go out of business because NOBODY can compete on price like Amazon. Jeff Bezos and his crew don’t care if they have to buy the market and lose a few billion dollars to own an industry. They have deep pockets. If it isn’t Amazon, it’s an Ebayer who has somehow managed to distribute one of our same lines that is living in a doublewide trailer selling things at 5% over cost because he has no overhead. (and no possible way of growing either) There is an old adage in business. “If you live by price, you die by price.”

 

Another business down the street selling similar products to mine was seeing a phenomenon that he didn’t know how to combat. A customer would come into his Lawn Equipment store and ask for a gear for his riding mower. The employee would look up the make, model, serial number of the mower. They would both pour over schematics (parts diagrams) and finally locate the broken part. After this 20 minute search, the customer would state, “Just give me the part number so I can think about it.” The employee would give out the part number only to never see the customer return. After awhile, his boss kept asking why these people never purchased anything. He said, “We had the part in stock and if we didn’t we could have ordered it for him. Why didn’t he buy it?” The employee replied, “Well, they just ask for the part number and then never come back.” His boss finally realized what was happening after searching for that part number on the web, only to find that Amazon was selling this part at a cost that made him spill his coffee all over his keyboard. “When did Amazon get into the Lawn Equipment business?” he said to his staff. His staff told him that they themselves were purchasing most anything for their personal use on Amazon. Sure enough, after a little searching under many different categories, he found that the top selling products from any category he could think of was being sold on Amazon.
“Geez, how are we ever going to sell anything if everyone
is doing this?” he lamented to his staff. That was the moment that he decided to never give out part numbers again. He was more than willing to help customers, but he starts everyone discussion at the parts counter with, “I’m more than glad to find the part for you, but I expect you to purchase this from me as I do not give out part numbers.” Ever since then, the customer either leaves or gladly supports his local business.

I have an online store. 99% of our business comes from our online store and only 1% comes from walk in customers nowadays. I have seen my profit margins slip every single year as more and more companies start an online store thinking only of profit and not of providing a service. They compete on price alone and figure they will win, only to realize that Amazon is going directly to the manufacturers and agreeing to purchase millions of dollars of product if they will give them the top 200 selling products to sell. Amazon is glad to sell at a loss with free shipping to boot! Amazon is stealing all of our lunch money so that we can only buy things at one place. Did you know that Wal-Mart is considering scaling down their retail business and going into health care due to Amazon and the other online companies starting to cut into their profits?

My Plan of Action

Ok, so here is my plan. From now on, we are not going to show part numbers on our site. We will of course have a list of all of the manufacturers and model numbers along with a plethora of information and parts diagrams. We will continue to have a customer service team that will answer your email questions and talk with you on the phone to help you find that part or unit to keep you going, but we will NOT provide part numbers so that you can search it again to find the cheapest price out there. The last time I checked, my employees don’t want to work for free, my landlord wants his rent check and the lights don’t stay on if I can’t pay the light bill. For those of you that know your part number, because you already used my site or one of my fellow online peers sites to research your part number, you won’t find the part number on our schematics. Yes, you can find the part by searching by part number, but we won’t hold out a billboard saying, “Hey, here is the part number and here is my price. Now, go shop me against everyone else in the world to get it cheaper.”

If every business would start to do this, maybe we could put a dent in Amazon and these crazy Ebayers. It’s worth a try. What do you have to lose?

Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X Sounds!

Have you ever heard a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X?

This is just an idea for Elon Musk and his Tesla team, but I digress. After 11 months, Tesla finally delivered my Model 3. This is the understudy to the Model S, but it is quick, even with the standard motor. It goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. This is the same speed as 1995 Chevrolet Corvette LT1. Not bad for a base Model 3.  Being this is my first electric car, I found myself going faster than I should have due to no engine sound.

Tesla Model 3

As I was accelerating with no audible sound at all,  I got this idea. Flipping through the 15″ dashboard screen noticing ALL of the controls and settings that are accessed through the screen, I said to myself, “Why not download all of the coolest car engine sounds there are out there, synchronize it with the accelerator pedal and send it through the speaker system?” You would be able to pick your engine sound and volume of course and as you accelerate, you get that familiar sound of the engine, and not just any engine, a Ferrari,  Dodge Hemi or any other engine! Can you imagine the first ride of a passenger? You simply turn it on before you leave the parking lot and they think you have some massive engine under the hood. After a few miles, you simply dial down the volume to 0 and they look over at you like, “Hey your engine just died.” All you say is, “Gotcha! This is a Tesla dude!”