How to choose a wall chaser: professional recommendations

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Cutting grooves has become a mandatory step in almost any repair, so professional teams have an economic justification for buying a groove cutter. What is this tool? What work is done with it? What are the criteria for choosing a furrow maker? We will try to answer these and a number of other questions in our article..

What is a wall chaser? What work is done with it? What are the criteria for choosing such a unit? We will answer these and a number of other questions today..

According to modern building standards, all engineering communications of residential premises should not be laid outside the wall structures, as was previously the case, but in special internal channels-recesses, the so-called grooves. Now power and low-current electric cables have found their new place; pipes for water supply, gas supply, heating and sewerage; air conditioning system routes. The only exception is that the external laying of electrical wiring in wooden houses, and gas workers in some cases may prohibit hiding their pipelines in the “furrows”. It is quite obvious that the idea of ​​concealed installation is due not only to issues of aesthetics (wires and pipes do not spoil the appearance), but also from the point of view of practical and safe operation of networks..

How to choose a wall chaser: professional recommendations

Cutting grooves has become a mandatory step in almost any renovation or construction. This unpleasant, time-consuming work not only captured the minds of installers (many already dream about it), but also firmly registered in their prices. Each specialist solves the problem in his own way. There are those who, at the slightest opportunity, reduce the footage of the produced grooves by building optional boxes, unjustified construction of frames and suspension systems, even by non-standard ways and methods of laying. There are many craftsmen who prefer to install communications after rough finishing layers (pouring screeds, plaster, device partitions), when the floor levels are clearly clear, the exact configuration and direction of the wall planes are known, when there is no danger that communications will be cut, broken, clamped. The fact remains, one way or another – everyone has to do the strobes.

How to choose a wall chaser: professional recommendations

In some universal crews, when overhauling apartments, they manage to get by with a set of different grinders and a large assortment of respirators. Usually you have to appoint a volunteer who, in a couple of days (in dense clouds of dust), cuts all the furrows, while the rest of the team are forced to do household chores. There are “kulibins” that modify the angle grinder in a special way: lengthen the spindle, install the second disc, rework the casing, integrate the dust extraction … Needless to say, such units are unsafe, even if a serial grinder requires special care in handling. The installers of communications chase more often, therefore they have an economic justification for buying a special tool – a furrow maker, often complete with an industrial vacuum cleaner. For non-professionals who dared to make repairs on their own, renting a wall chaser would be a good solution..

How a wall chaser works

It seems that we figured out about the strobes, now about the chasers. This is a highly specialized electrical tool designed for the manufacture of relatively wide and deep grooves in mineral substrates (concrete, brick, artificial and natural stone, gypsum, foam concrete …).

By design, the chaser-furrow cutter is in many ways very similar to an ordinary grinder, most of the inhabitants consider them to be just a kind of familiar cutting units: an angled engine, gearbox, spindle, protective casing, a set of handles, the same control and safety systems, the same controls, the same discs. However, unlike an angle grinder, the groove cutter allows you to cut grooves of the required size at least twice as fast (among other things, they are smoother, their edges are cleaner). Using a wall chaser instead of an angle grinder, you can significantly reduce the level of dustiness in the room, and this even without using a vacuum cleaner. Making strobes becomes much safer. What is so special about them?

Firstly, most wall chasers have two saw blades, which, depending on the design furrow width, are set at a given distance from each other. It turns out that in one pass we have two absolutely parallel cuts, knocking out the material between them, in fact, and getting a groove. But the grinder would have to saw in two approaches, as a result of which it is simply unrealistic to achieve precise geometric shapes and neat edges for a number of reasons..

How to choose a wall chaser: professional recommendations

Secondly, the chasers have a slide, a platform with support guide rollers (there are usually 2 to 4 of them), which can be installed in various positions relative to the spindle rotation axis. This sets a specific cutting depth, ensures good stability and stability of the tool – a luxury unattainable for Bulgarians, isn’t it. We simply press the car with the rollers against the wall and drive it along the pre-marked lines. In some models, the depth is set in a different way, but the principle is the same – we shift the support relative to the axis of the disc. The guide rails of the chaser can be spring loaded, so as soon as we remove the tool from the groove, they lower and lock, protecting the surface and the operator from inadvertent contact with the disc. This is called immersion protection..

How to choose a wall chaser: professional recommendations

Thirdly, in fact, this is an even more serious option, the furrower is distinguished by the presence of various systems designed to combat dust, and it is formed during diamond cutting of mineral materials – more than enough. This is not only a dust removal system, which consists of a large (it covers the equipment on both sides) casing with a pipe for connecting a vacuum cleaner, a bag or a container with a filter. The casing itself can have a labyrinth structure to trap dust.

How to choose a wall chaser: professional recommendations

With what characteristics of the motor is the wall chaser better

It should be said that, in comparison with similar-sized grinders, furrow-makers are usually equipped with more powerful motors. The reason for this is the presence of double rigging and high loads in often very viscous substrates. The range of indicators here is quite impressive, as in other categories of construction power tools. The lightweight compact models are powered by 1400W motors. High-performance heavy-duty machines consume 2,500 or more watts, they are slower, but they have impressive torque and can easily handle large discs in the hardest and most viscous materials. Depending on the performance of the motor, the developers offer a special arrangement of the product – they can constructively limit the diameter of the saw blade, the width of the arrangement of the equipment (width of the groove), the depth of cut.

In the catalogs of leading manufacturers, you can find several types of furrowers, which differ in many parameters, including the motor power. For example, Bosch boasts GNF models (20CA / 35CA / 65A), which consume 900, 1400 and 2400 watts, respectively. And Makita has its own big three: SG1250, SG150, SG180, the first of which is 1400 W, the other two are 1800 W.

Makita SG1250 Makita SG1250

Interestingly, the numbers in the markings for the Japanese indicate the size of the circle, for the Germans – the maximum depth of grooving (which directly depends on the diameter of the rig). The relationship is obvious: a large circle cutting deeply – a large strong motor.

Now take a look at the mass – the 900 watt GNF 20CA has 3.4 kg, but they cannot make a strobe, for example, for many plumbing communications. But the brutally powerful GNF 65A weighs 8.4 kg and can do a lot, but, let’s say, you can’t work with such equipment on the ceiling for a long time. Obviously, all these models have their own purpose, and it is not worth making a choice only “by the motor”, although, other things being equal, a stronger model will give more opportunities.

BOSCH GNF 20 CA BOSCH GNF 20 CA

Does it make sense to choose a furrow maker according to the parameters of the groove

Choosing a wall chaser depending on the maximum permissible width and depth of the future furrow would be the most intelligent decision. It all depends on your needs. For laying single electric cables in a protective corrugation, a groove 20 mm wide will be enough, but for installing pipes, an aggregate capable of piercing 45-60 mm is more suitable. More serious grooves can be used by single-disc groovers, there is no limit here (Hilti DCH 230). The minimum groove width is limited to 3 millimeters for Bosch (the thickness of the circle), 6–9 mm for different models by Makita. The width of the groove is set automatically in some models (Milwaukee WCE 30), in most cases – by manual step selection of spacers. It is necessary to fix the spindle, unscrew the nut, remove the front disc, install a certain number of shims and assemble everything in the reverse order.

Milwaukee WCE 30 Milwaukee WCE 30

The cutting depth mainly depends on the diameter of the blade for which the tool is designed. Naturally, the 230th rig, which is installed on the most powerful models (Hilti DCH 230 – 85 mm), provides the greatest depth. A depth of 60–65 mm is considered decent. Most machines give a maximum depth of 20–45 mm (AEG MF 1900). The situation is more interesting with the minimum salary: small disks can start from the zero mark, but circles 180 and 230 stick out behind the plane of the support platform – it will not be possible to make a furrow smaller than 15–20 mm.

Hilti DCH 230 Hilti DCH 230

As we said earlier, on most models, the cutting depth is changed using a movable segment of the casing (guide rollers are fixed on it), which is fixed with a wing nut on a graduated scale (Sparky FK 65).

How to choose a wall chaser: professional recommendations

What auxiliary systems have wall chasers

In this regard, furrowers can give odds to any other tool, especially units of the middle and higher price range. It is not surprising, because the loads when cutting strobes are very serious, this tool is quite powerful.

Almost all chasers have constant electronics – a speed control system. During peak loads, the spindle speed decreases, then the tool automatically adds power, productivity is maintained at the same level.

An overload protection system shuts down the unit if a certain threshold is exceeded. This makes it possible to avoid overheating and damage to expensive tools. An interesting option was offered by the developers of the Makita company, their SG150 model has two built-in indicators, green and red, which show at what optimal speed the wall chaser should be guided along the “route”. It’s simple, red lights up – you need to slow down, green – you can continue.

Makita SG150 Makita SG150

Some models have a brush wear monitoring system. It is impossible to damage the motor with exhausted carbon brushes in such furrow makers..

Anti-jamming protection. In general, the jamming of the rig in the groove is a serious problem, therefore the use of protective sleeves in the construction of furrow makers has already developed traditionally. It is they who, in difficult situations, transfer the tool to idle. In addition, for such cases, disconnect electronics are installed..

A special system can be responsible for the smooth running, stabilization of the rig (lateral runout), reduction of noise and vibration. Alternatively, a high-tech clutch can be used – a sliding clutch, for example, SJS technology (Makita SG1250).

Powerful models of wall chasers have a soft start system (starting current limitation). Thanks to this option, disks spin up without jerking, there is no starting load on the internal electrical networks (Hitachi CM7MRU).

Hitachi CM7MRU Hitachi CM7MRU

It is quite predictable that furrow makers have protection against restarting, as well as against accidental activation.

We have already talked about the protection against immersion – these are spring-loaded sleds, which, after the rig leaves the cut, return to the extreme position, closing the disc.

The instrument itself must be protected from a large amount of aggressive dust. In honor of the manufacturers all kinds of protective coatings for motor windings, labyrinth seals, insulated switches (Metabo MFE 65).

Metabo MFE 65 Metabo MFE 65

What are the options for accessories for a wall chaser

The working body of the chaser is a diamond-coated steel disc designed for dry cutting. In reality, it is for a certain size of discs (from 115 to 230 mm in diameter) that the developers arrange their tool – they equip a motor of a certain power, speed and torque, endow a number of systems and options, choose one or another design scheme.

Diamond blades for chasing

Diamond tooling has never been cheap, but it’s a consumable. Sooner or later, you will need to replace the disk, and then re-grading is not the best option. The desire to save money usually does not bring results – low-quality circles (even if they were able to be installed) “walk” several times less. In addition, they can differ in weight and spray pattern, and have an inappropriate direction of rotation. We have: drop in performance, imbalance and uneven wear, regular overload of the tool.

The conclusion suggests itself: change the equipment only for the one that comes with the chasing cutter in the kit – it will be cheaper. Therefore, when choosing a unit, ask about the availability of consumables, both in terms of price and availability..

What other points should you pay attention to

Convenience of handles.The technical characteristics of the furrower are decisive, but not everything. Even the most advanced and reliable unit will turn out to be a bad buy if its ergonomics are not right for you. A wall chaser is a heavy two-handed tool that can have a wide variety of additional handles: straight, U-shaped, staples, arcs (like on a chain saw) … The main handles with controls located on them are also of different designs, some of them resemble a grinder in grip, and some with a drill or circular saw. In any case, the presence of corrugations or rubber inserts on them is welcome.

HILTI DC-SE 20 HILTI DC-SE 20

Pull or push?When choosing a product for ergonomics, pay attention to the direction in which the working movement is made. There are furrowers that need to be pushed while cutting, there are those that need to be pulled. This circumstance is determined by the direction of rotation of the disk. Both models are equally productive, but the question of convenience depends on the operator’s habits. Several manufacturers have proposed a pivoting arrangement of the motor relative to the sled, as a result of which it became possible to either pull or push the tool (Flex MS 1706 FR-Set, Kress 1400 MSF). The Sparky FK 65 model was initially produced as a push-pull model, then it was redesigned for movement “towards yourself” – be careful, there are two versions in nature.

Flex MS 1706 FR-Set Flex MS 1706 FR-Set

Dimensions, branch pipe, cord.Be sure to evaluate the overall dimensions of the product, they largely determine how close you can work near a perpendicular vertical and horizontal plane, what size are the dead zones in the inner corners. If possible, even in the store, connect the hose of your own vacuum cleaner, see how much it restricts the movement and view of the working area. Pay attention to the cord, its length, the longer the better. Carrying underfoot has never added comfort.

Equipment.The standard package may include not only the required items (keys, spacer washers, circles), but also options – options for handles, tools for a recess (chisel), a hose for connecting a vacuum cleaner. If all this is packed into a convenient functional case, probably no one will mind. Sometimes even metal crates are offered (Metabo MFE 30).

Metabo MFE 30 Metabo MFE 30

Backlash, noise, vibration.Check the spindle for backlash, the smaller the better. Be sure to “work” with the settings for the width and depth of cut, make sure that they are easy and secure to fix. At least at idle, listen to the car, believe me, the level of noise and vibration in some models can be, to put it mildly, above average.

Professional model, or “hobby”.The wall chaser is that rare case when the tool has no domestic counterparts, just like there are no amateur jackhammers. It’s all about its narrow specialization and relatively high price. The most that can be gained for the generalist team is to buy a tool of a lower price class (not “china”) from $ 150 to $ 300 per unit. He, of course, is a little noisy and not so rich in electronics, but he will cope with his duties. Here you can pay attention to the firms Sparky, O “Interskol”, “Fiolent”. Installers will most likely need something branded – Makita, Kress, Bosch, Hilti, Hitachi, Metabo, AEG. The average price tag of such devices is in the range of $ 300-800, but this is not the limit. Is it worth it or not, the construction site will tell.

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