the back of your drill. Iif you keep the bubble in
the center of your hole when drilling into a piece
of wood, it will be nice and straight. Really!
I have seen these at woodworking centers and
in a few home centers.
Portable Jig Saw
The next tool that you will find very useful is
the jig saw. While in the past I have always used
wired jig saws, I have found the newer cordless
saws like the Ryobi shown in Figure 5 to be
almost as powerful as a wired model. I can’t tell
you how many times I have pulled the plug out
of the wall while cutting a piece of plywood.
With this beauty, that won’t happen again.
Things to look for when purchasing a jig saw
(portable or wired) are:
• Adjustable orbital setting
• Variable speed setting
• Toolless blade clamp
• 3/4” blade stroke
• Laser guide
Most of the features above are self-explanatory, but I feel it’s important to point out
the value of the variable orbital setting. We all
know that the blade in the jig saw goes up and
down. The amount it moves up or down is called
the stroke. The more stroke, the more efficient the cut and
the less wear on the blade. In an orbital saw, the blade also
moves forward during the upstroke and back during the
down stroke. This allows the blade to make a more
aggressive cut. So, why would you want an adjustable
orbit? Because the more aggressive the cut, the rougher
the cut. With the orbit set to maximum, it makes for a very
splintered cut. When cutting finer materials, you will get a
better cut with the orbital option turned off. When cutting
metal, I use the minimum or non-orbital option.
If you plan on using your jig saw on metals and plastic,
it’s also important that you get a variable speed saw.
will do the job you need in robotics. It basically boils down
to cost and how it feels in your hand.
I chose the Ryobi models for this project because they
use an 18V Li-Ion battery that I plan to use to power one of
my robots. The battery is the most expensive part of the
Ryobi system so once purchased, the tools themselves are
very inexpensive. The jig saw costs around $49.95 from
Home Depot. Li-Ion batteries aren’t cheap. The one shown
in Figure 6 will cost you $89.95. It’s better to get them as
part of a tool kit.
I will look into the Ryobi battery in more detail next
month, as we will put one to use in our bot.
I own several very expensive portable drills and most
You will need a small set of screwdrivers like the ones
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