The new Starlock Technology from Fein, is set to change the way Oscillationg Tool users go about their work.
The Fein Company, based at Bargau, near Stuttgart, in Germany, is most famous for its MultiMaster range of oscillating tools. I use my Fein MultiMaster regularly and in my view it is the best “get out of trouble” tool around. So when talk of a new “Starlock” system gathered pace, I was intrigued – how could the development of the famous Fein “Multi” Machines be moved even further on?
Jointly developed by Fein and Bosch, the Starlock system will be fitted onto all Fein oscillating power tools in the coming months. Current Fein and other brand oscillating tool users need not fear - the new Starlock system is backwards compatible with older tools.
There are several areas in which the Starlock range is different. Engineering logic tells us that in order to achieve the most efficient cutting, scraping etc, the connection between the tool and the blade has to be made as tight as possible, so that any oscillating movement is translated straight to the edge of the cutting blade and not lost in slackness or free movement. The Starlock system has introduced a “dish” into the blade fitting that has corners similar to a socket or ring spanner. These engage with the head of the tool and enable the blade to be held securely without any play. Fein has put some figures on it: - in their tests the new system has proved to be up to 45% quicker for the new Supercut and 35% quicker with the new MultiTalent and MultiMaster.
Making a revolutionary new blade fitting system is not easy if you want to ensure full backwards compatibility with your own machines, as well as ensuring that the new system will fit other brands of oscillating machines. Accordingly, Fein has introduced three new classes of cutters, Starlock, StarlockPlus and StarlockMax.
Through the new coding into performance classes, FEIN ensures that only the accessory that matches the performance of the machine can be clamped on, thus preventing overloads. The Starlock covers the lower performance range and is compatible with all FEIN oscillators and common multi-function tools on the market. StarlockPlus works perfectly with all oscillating power tools from FEIN and all multi-function tools with a StarlockPlus mounting. StarlockMax is the right choice for very powerful oscillating power tools, such as the FEIN SuperCut Construction, and all multi-function tools with a StarlockMax mounting. Accessories for lower performance classes can also be used on tools with more power. Current SuperCut users will require an adaptor to fit Starlock blades, a minor compromise to allow access to larger, more readily available accessories.
Revolutionary Blade Mounting
For me, the technologies highlight definitely the new blade mounting system on the new range of Fein oscillating machines. Instead of using a mushroom-head pin that was pushed through the blade fitting and held securely by the QuickIN system, the user simply pulls a lever on top of the machine and a pair of spring-loaded clamps grab hold of the cutter and when the lever is returned these grip the Starlock cutter securely, without any play, onto the machine. The spanner-like recess helps guide the cutter into place and the whole thing works so smoothly that blade changes are possible in about three seconds. For a bit of fun I placed a row of blades on the demo bench and there is now a video of me out there somewhere, changing 3 blades in less than 10 seconds. I am definitely looking forward to giving this system a thorough testing when I get my hands on one of the new machines.
Innovation – The Key to the Future?
I am sure that many UK users will be just as impressed with the Starlock system and furthermore, how Fein operate as a company.
I am always pleased when I witness a way of doing business other than the inevitable “bottom-line” thinking of margin cutters and cheap and cheerful manufacturing that seems to be the most common way nowadays. Above all else, it is a sustainable method – and who wouldn’t want a quality, sustainable set of tools to work with?