So, as the story goes, a sales rep out west who had spent decades selling a competitor’s plumbing products is hired by General Pipe Cleaners. After initial training, he returned to his territory with a smattering of cables, cutters and drain cleaning machines to get him started. The first time he demonstrated the Flexicore Cable Read more
So, as the story goes, a sales rep out west who had spent decades selling a competitor’s plumbing products is hired by General Pipe Cleaners. After initial training, he returned to his territory with a smattering of cables, cutters and drain cleaning machines to get him started.
The first time he demonstrated the Flexicore Cable, he called the company to complain that the pipe snake, “just didn’t feel right!” It felt “limp”, not “springy.”
As Dave Dunbar, National Sales Manager with General Pipe Cleaners explained, “the Flexicore engineering process has the effect of making the cable feel less springy than hollow cables.”
It took a few phone calls to get things straightened out with the rep, but then six months later, he was complaining that the cables lasted so much longer than his former brand’s that he was only selling a fraction of his previous replacement snakes. A small fraction.
It was this story that interested a few of our contractor friends. Why would it be springy? Is it really that stiff and is that a good thing? Would it really last longer?
Knowing General Pipe Cleaners would be at the WWETT Show this past spring, I introduced the General’s team to a few drain cleaning contractors that we are big fans of and have worked with in the past. It was my hope that we could create some valuable and interesting content based on the original story and the contractors having never used Flexicore.
It was soon after the show that we asked for them to send a few of their Flexicore cables to a few of our ProStaff team members to get their thoughts on the cable. They obliged and three drain cleaning pros were sent the cables to use on their existing cable machines, which for transparency, were all competitor drum machines.
As you may know, the Flexicore cable is the result of a process, where instead of coiling a hollow cable, they tightly wrap spring steel around a 49 strand aircraft quality wire rope. This provides the cable additional strength when it is under torque.
Each member of our team received a variety of Flexicore cables based on their typical daily drain cleaning challenges with the request to use them over a couple of months and provide feedback. The team of contractors included Felix Delgadillo, DrainGuys (Chicago), Terence Chan, Impetus Plumbing (Vancouver) and Jeff Keller, Bulldog Contractors (Texas), all are longtime drain cleaning professionals in their area of the country.
As expected, those daily challenges included providing both residential and commercial services, addressing clogged kitchen drains, clogged bathroom drains, clogged outdoor drains, and clogged sewer lines using today’s best technology to unclog lines to keep the water flowing.
While Keller, Chan and Delgadillo confirmed that this was the first time using the cable, Chan stated what all three mentioned, “I’ve never used the product but very excited to see what it can do.”
Chan went on to say, “Initially seeing the product, I was a bit leery how it may hold on to the heads, but it did, really well. In fact, I’ve had trouble with heads from a competitor and the Flexicore held.”
“The screws to hold on the head versus a snap lock is a nice addition,” said Keller.
One of the unique byproducts of the Flexicore process is that the cable stiffens and gets stronger under torque, which Delgadillo agreed, “the cable feels less springy and it does get quite stiff when the operator needs it the most.”
Keller continued, “it caught me off guard and took some getting used to. Most if not all drain cleaners/plumbers are used to listening to their machines and the feel of the strain on the cable to evaluate the blockage, so this was a bit different, but did a solid job.”
As discussed in the WWETT video, when a drain cleaning machine rotates a pipe snake down the drain and it hits a clog or stoppage, tension or torque builds up in the cable. Because of the direction the drum is turning, the reaction of the outer coil of spring steel is that it wants to contract due to the tension. However, because the wire rope is in the way, the only thing that it can do is tighten, which makes it stiffer and stronger and the cable much less likely to kink or break when in use.
Chan concluded, “I would recommend this to peers in the field as it got the job done. I’m curious to see the long-term difference versus some of the cables we typically use and recommend everyone make sure they have the cable sizes they need for their machines.”
We second that Terence! Be sure to size your cables correctly so it all works perfectly.
While the contractors are still using the cables in the field, it was a unanimous decision that more time in the field was needed to truly understand the value of Flexicore cables and how it holds up long term versus other options.
We will continue to check in with the team to provide updates later in the year.
Felix Delgadillo – He has been in the plumbing trades for over 15 years. Most of his experience has been in remodels & new construction for both commercial and residential. He is passionate about new construction and wanted to expand professionally to the service side. In 2019 he started his second company, Drain Guys, LLC. Drain Guys specializes in commercial and residential sewer cleaning, camera inspections & locating.
Terence Chan – He is a plumbing, heating and gas contractor out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. His company is Impetus Plumbing and Heating. Impetus stands for a force that makes something happen, which stands for everything their name defines them to be. We make everything happen and will never say no to any job. This company wants to be seen as the next up and coming generation that will make a difference and disturb the status quo in the current trade.
Jeff Keller – Bulldog Contractors allows him to work alongside his father Carl and other Bulldog team members. For over 35 years, Bulldog Contractors have brought areas of Northeast Texas first class plumbing and septic service, experience, and quality work with exceptional results. They are committed to exceed the expectations of our customers with quality service and expertise on every project we do. With a lot of repeat business, they have built long-term & trusting relationships over the years.
Hilti’s newest laser entry into the cordless layout and measurement category comes with proven tech in a robust package. There is no shortage of line lasers on the market today. The PM 30-MG cordless multi-line laser from Hilti is 360 degree green beam laser powered by their Li-Ion B 12/2.6 battery. I have been working Read more
Hilti’s newest laser entry into the cordless layout and measurement category comes with proven tech in a robust package.
There is no shortage of line lasers on the market today. The PM 30-MG cordless multi-line laser from Hilti is 360 degree green beam laser powered by their Li-Ion B 12/2.6 battery.
I have been working with the PM 30 Hilti laser for a couple months, primarily using it for simple layout and leveling in different tasks like panel radiator installs or boiler piping layouts. I’ve used both the included wall mount bracket and magnetic base. The PM 30-MG has a very useful fine adjustment dial at the base that makes for quick alignment when rotated either direction.
The Hilti PM 30-MG is intended for indoor use
Hilti has other laser models intended for outdoor use but as stated in the manual the PM 30-MG can be used outside if conditions are dry (manual pg 5, sec 3.2). Its intended use is to allow a single person to transfer right angles, level horizontally, carry out alignment work and plumb accurately.
The product has three green 360° laser lines, a reference point directed downward on the right-hand front of the measuring device, as well as four beam intersection points (front, back, left, right and above) with a range of approx. 65ft/20 m. Range depends on the brightness of ambient light.
How long will the battery last?
Runtime will vary based on laser projection. The ability to select plumb, level or cross-line (both plumb & level) beams depending on the job at hand will determine the battery life. Max operating time is published at 12 hours, I have used the PM 30-MG enough for one battery recharge but the bulk of my use has been in the cross-line mode. The selection of beam projection is easily done with a single button on the side of the laser housing.
Self-leveling or Locked
The Hilti PM 30-MG can be set to auto-level or locked for use of setting slope. This is done with the sliding power button on the side of the unit. In the locked position the leveling pendulum is fixed allowing for grade or slope projection on a horizontal plane. Moreover, the unlocked (most used mode) will allow the pendulum to self-level. If the laser is not able to self level the projected beam(s) will blink rapidly until corrected.
The tool complies with Laser Class 2 in accordance with IEC / EN 60825-1: 2014 and in accordance with CFR 21 Sec. 1040 (FDA). These devices can be used without further protective measures. Nevertheless, as with the sun, do not look directly into the light source. If you do inadvertently look into the laser beam, immediately close your eyes and move your head clear of the laser beam. Do not aim the laser beam at persons.
Finally, the Hilti PM 30-MG is backed by Hilti’s 20 year materials and workmanship, 2 year wear & tear coverage and 1 day turnaround in the repair center warranty. The Hilti PM 30-MG laser was shared with mechanical-hub.com ProStaff member Eric Aune via Hilti’s tool lease program free of charge and will be returned after use required for full tool review. You can find more info for this and other Hilti products and tools on their website: hilti.com
Job site pics of the Hilti PM 30-MG
Ah, the age-old question: is it duct tape or duck tape? Although often mispronounced, it’s actually duct tape (Duck is a brand of the tape) and covers a class of pressure-sensitive tapes that consists of three layers: polyethylene (plastic), scrim (mesh fabric) and rubberized adhesive. Yet, even with that clarification, the term “duct tape” can Read more
Ah, the age-old question: is it duct tape or duck tape? Although often mispronounced, it’s actually duct tape (Duck is a brand of the tape) and covers a class of pressure-sensitive tapes that consists of three layers: polyethylene (plastic), scrim (mesh fabric) and rubberized adhesive. Yet, even with that clarification, the term “duct tape” can still be a bit misleading – although it’s considered a fix-all that got its name from early-on usage in HVAC work, duct tape is, today, actually not recommended for use on ducts (though there are some versions that are approved for HVAC applications).
Here’s a rundown of tape types.
- General Purpose Duct Tapes: Typical Thickness: 6-9 mils, handy for DIY home projects or light duty patching and bundling for pros on the jobsite.
- Heavy Duty Duct Tapes: Typical Thickness: 10-17 mils, every tradesperson should keep at least one roll of heavy duty duct tape in the toolbox — and multiple widths or colors won’t hurt.
- Clear Repair Tapes: Typical Thickness: Approx. 7 mils, your go-to tape for airtight, waterproof repairs on any surface that needs to be seen.
- Structural Grade Duct Tapes: Typical Thickness: Approx. 17 mils, the most robust option for extreme jobs, including those that require a rope or chain.
Duct tape is undoubtedly one of those versatile items that’s earned a place in just about any toolbox. It’s flexible, resists tearing, and sticks to just about anything. As contractors know, when it comes to jobsite efficiency, having the right tools for the job at-hand makes all the difference—and saving time means saving money.
The Mechanical Hub ProStaff team recently took on the challenge of trying out a new tape to see if it was the one to grab to ensure the fix doesn’t fail and can save time, money and a lot of space in the toolbox.
Traditionally, ropes or chains have been the only option for contractors and installers when they encounter jobsite tasks that require intense strength and durability. Until now as one 36-inch loop of new T-Rex® Brute Force® can hold more than 700 pounds of weight and offers superior adhesion, so you can quickly secure, fasten and hold loads that you wouldn’t dare attempt with other tapes.
The high-bond, double-thick adhesive allows the tape to stick to rougher, dirtier surfaces and offers a durable, waterproof backing suitable for all-weather performance. Brute Force® represents the next generation of high-performance duct tapes with patent-pending Forge-Link™ Technology.
ProStaffer Andy Mickelson of Mickelson Plumbing and Heating, Missoula, Montana, was impressed with the strength and said, “T-Rex Brute Force tape has an incredible tear-resistant design, so much so that you’ll require a blade to cut it. The adhesive layer is much thicker than any other tape I’ve used previously. The tape seems to hold well when bonded to itself and smooth surfaces alike, even when the surface is not completely dry. It will make a great addition to any travel box or tool box.”
“We have found a number of uses for T-Rex Brute Force! Someone didn’t judge the width of the truck while backing up and managed to rip off a side mirror. The mirror was put back into place and held there with the tape until we were able to get it into the dealership,” said Shay Shepston of Reimagined Renovations, Champaign, Illinois.
Shay added, “It’s been used to hold a foam base cove to metal before installing a pool liner, to hold PVC pipes in place while we work, and many other odd jobs. It has been added to all our trucks and toolboxes!”
According to our ProStaff team, the only drawback—and one they all mentioned—was that you cannot tear it; it must be cut. Contractors are so accustomed to just tearing tape, it required remembering to have a utility knife handy to cut it.
ProStaff member John Thompson with Thompson Family Plumbing & Rooter, with shops in California and Arizona, put it to work with his team and shared, “T-Rex Brute Force tape was fantastic to have on our work trucks. On multiple occasions it was used to build confinement areas with plastic, plus a last-minute repair to hold the casing together on my jackhammer because I broke it during a project. You never know when you might need something of this strength to get out of a jam.”
He joked, “I have never seen anything this durable. It’s truly remarkable to see the strength this tape has. I wish I could say that I’m putting together a zombie bunker, because I would seriously use it. It’s ‘Ferocious!’”
In addition to needing a utility knife to cut the tape, our ProStaff team suggested they would like to see the tape in more solid and neon construction colors such as red, white, green and possibly even reflective, as well as different roll size options.
T-Rex® Brute Force® is sold in 25-yard rolls and is available at national mass and hardware retailers. For more information, visit www.trextape.com/contractors.
Hot & cold frost proof hydrants are not new but the TrueTemp by PRIER is a totally different faucet compared to any I’ve ever worked with in the past. The TrueTemp is a single handle frost proof with the styling of an indoor fixture available in two finished, Satin Nickel Plated & Oil Rubbed Bronze Read more
Hot & cold frost proof hydrants are not new but the TrueTemp by PRIER is a totally different faucet compared to any I’ve ever worked with in the past. The TrueTemp is a single handle frost proof with the styling of an indoor fixture available in two finished, Satin Nickel Plated & Oil Rubbed Bronze.
Focus: True Temp Installation
As part of a larger review process, ProStaff’er Andy Mickelson, owner of Mickelson Plumbing in Missoula, MT and I are each installing one. Andy has a spot for it at his own home, I’ve got it going in at the #duluthbuild project for my little sister’s new home.
I took delivery of the Oil Rubbed Bronze finish 12″ model #P-118L12-ORB last week and took it out of the box minutes before the video to get it mounted.
One of the things that stands out immediately with this faucet is the lack of visible mounting hardware, I like that. As you’ll see in the video there is a stainless steel mounting plate/ring that when attached to the mounting surface is completely hidden. Furthermore, this gives the faucet a totally different look than other hot/cold models.
The faucet ships with Phillips head stainless screws and the mounting plate. There were no instructions in the box, although its pretty simple to figure out, I think it may have just been forgotten in packaging. Here’s a link to the install instructions.
Mounting Prep for the True Temp
I had a PRIER 12″ model frost proof faucet roughed-in already. This required me to enlarge the existing 1″ hole in the mounting block to accommodate the new TrueTemp. I simply traced the hole in the mounting plate and cut the mounting block with my M12 jig saw. The correct hole saw size would be 1-3/4″ if installing at a new location. Step two was to align the mounting plate hole with the newly cut hole and attach using the stainless screws. This step requires the installer to level the tabs on the mounting plate, the tabs are the connection point between the faucet and mounting plate and need to be level to ensure the faucet is plumb.
Finally, the TrueTemp body is inserted and a half-turn clockwise engages the tabs and body to securely position the faucet, the final step is to install the remaining stainless screw in the very bottom of the body.
Watch for more info, next time I’ll cover the piping connection options and hot I installed it on my job.
Hands-on look at the new Makita Tools XRT01 Rebar Tool This week we traveled to the World of Concrete event at the Las Vegas Convention Center to see what’s coming from some of the biggest tool manufacturers in the construction industry. If you’ve never been to the WOC show, like myself, its huge and full Read more
Hands-on look at the new Makita Tools XRT01 Rebar Tool
This week we traveled to the World of Concrete event at the Las Vegas Convention Center to see what’s coming from some of the biggest tool manufacturers in the construction industry. If you’ve never been to the WOC show, like myself, its huge and full of hand-on displays for tool lovers of all types. We got our hands on a lot of tools, the Makita rebar tying tool was just one that left an impression.
Back in October, 2018 Makita announced the addition of 40 new tools to be available immediately. This announcement was made during the annual STAFDA convention in Atlanta and on the list of 40 new tools was the new XRT01 18V LXT Brushless Rebar Tying Tool. Normally a tool like this might slip by us here at MH but considering the usefulness to contractors tying radiant tubing to welded mesh or rebar for new installations, we wanted to get our hands on it.
Makita pulled out all the stops in designing and building their booth at WOC, they had literally dozens of tools powered up and ready to use in simulated scenarios. For the rebar tool they had two different forms built. When I first saw this tool back in October I immediately wondered how it would do for tying PEX tubing so I asked if they had any tubing around the booth to give it a try, they didn’t.
Get in the Uber and head to The Depot
The only way I was going to get first hand experience on whether my ideas for this tool would work was if I brought my own PEX to the show and tried it myself. So that’s what I did.
When I walked up to the concrete forms of rebar in the booth I got a lot of inquisitive looks, it only took about two minutes for nearly every one of the Makita employees to gather around and watch me as I began to test the XRT01 out as a true plumbing/heating contractor would on the job.
It worked flawless. All I did was adjust the torque setting to its lowest level and let’er rip. No kinking, not too tight, not too loose. The capacity of the tool is capped at tying two #5 bars together so the combination of the #5 bar they had and my 1/2″ PEX was well within that range. Check out the video from my tests, all tool specs included at the end of this post.
Makita Tools Rebar Tying Tool features:
- Up to 5,300 ties of #3 x #3 diameter rebar using an 18V LXT® 5.0Ah Battery (battery not included)
- Multiple bar tying capability; ties up to two #5 diameter bars or four #4 diameter bars in under 1 second
- 2-mode operation provides single or continuous wire tie actuation for fast and efficient tying
- Fast and seamless wire reel easy-load design with automatic locking mechanism built into protective cover
- The BL™ Brushless Motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL™ Motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
- Digital adjustment of tying strength to match various tension strength requirements
- Delivers up to 120 ties of #3 x #3 rebar per wire reel allowing for maximum productivity
- Trigger power switch with lock-off feature requires two actions to power the tool
- Center load reel position provides added balance for more comfortable handling and less fatigue
- Transparent wire reel cover protects the feeding mechanism from harmful job site debris