Festool Vecturo Oscillating Multi-Tool

A premium quality tool with power to spare, quick tool-free blade-changing, and excellent depth stop and plunge cutting attachments.

Festool Vecturo Oscillating Multi-Tool

Festool Vecturo Oscillating Multi-Tool



Most power tools employ either a circular, rotating motion (such as hand drills and circ saws) or a reciprocating, up-and-down or forwards and backwards motion (such as jig saws and recip saws). Oscillating tools operate differently, in that they employ a side-to-side, arced motion, like a clock pendulum. 

Typically the range of motion is only a few degrees, but the oscillation is very fast, upwards of 18,000 times per minute. This narrow and fast angle of movement enables a fairly high degree of user control. The other distinguishing characteristic of oscillating tools is their 'multi-functional' capability – you can select from a wide range of accessories (i.e. the 'blades') for cutting, sanding, scraping, and grinding tasks.

Most of renovators that I know have an oscillating multi-tool in their kit, and those that don't usually plan on buying one after they've had a chance to try out the tool. And it's not just renovators who love these tools. Plumbers, electricians, cabinet and flooring installers, and carpenters of all ilk find them indispensable for a host of tough jobs –  undercutting door casings and jambs; making plunge or pocket cuts into drywall, paneling or flooring; cutting mortises for hinges and door knob striker plates; cutting out sections of molding or trim work; cutting nails so that trim work can be quickly removed; flush trimming copper or plastic piping, screws, and nails; scraping away paint, grout, caulking, and adhesives; sanding into tight corners; and a bevy of other tasks.

The brand that has become almost synonymous with 'oscillating multi-tool' is the Fein Multi-Master, which has been on the market for almost 30 years. However, ever since Fein's oscillating patent expired in 2008, a number of companies have brought oscillating tools to market. Some of them are quite good, but none has really matched the versatility, precision, and quality of the ground breaking MultiMaster – until now that is. 

The Festool Vecturo 400 EQ looks to be the top contender when it comes to a professional quality oscillating multi-tool.

The Vecturo is available in two formats – the SET (#563007) version comes with the 400 EQ, plus all the accessories (Plug-It cord, Depth Stop, Plunge Base, Systainer) and 3 sample blades; while the BASIC version (#563006) comes with the 400 EQ, the Plug-It cord, and a Systainer, along with a single blade. It's the accessories that significantly enhance the functionality of the Vecturo, which is why I highly recommend the SET version. The price difference between the two versions is about $180, and well worth the investment. 

The Vecturo Kit

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Comes packaged in an attic lid Systainer

As with all Festool power tools, the Vecturo comes packed in a Systainer. However, this is a newer version of the SYS 2 (#496153) that has a see-through 'attic lid'. You can configure the storage compartment with the supplied plastic dividers to make up to eleven 1" deep separate nooks to hold various accessories and supplies. Very convenient – it's something I'd love to see this on all Systainers.
 
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Also includes internal blade storage

Inside the SYS 2 you get even more storage - a split compartment large enough to hold a dozen or so round blades, and at least six dozen standard blades. The replaceable cover is made of clear plastic and has a simple press-fit closure. Hopefully the cover will hold up over time. Still, it's nice to have all that extra storage.

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What you get with the SET version

The photo above shows you the components in the SET version. With the BASIC version you only get items A and B. The standard 13' Plug-It power cord (A) is great because, in most situations, I can use the tool without having to hunt around for an extension power cord. The 400 EQ (B) comes with the Adapter (C) pre-mounted (I've show it unmounted in the photo above). The Adapter is required to mount the the Depth Stop Holder (D) as well as the Positioning Plunge-Cut Tool (G). The two depth stop attachments – the Sliding Shoe (E) and the Rotating Rod (F) snap onto the Depth Stop Holder.

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A set of blades to try out

The Vecturo SET comes with four sample blades, L to R in the photo above:

  • 32mm/1.3" bi-metal multi-purpose blade (#500129);
  • 42mm/1.6" bi-metal multi-purpose blade (#500133);
  • 35mm/1.4" Japanese style blade (#500128)
  • 98mm/3-7/8" circular blade (#500139)
Bi-metal blades are probably the most commonly used. These general purpose blades are suitable for plunge cutting in solid wood and sheet goods, as well as cutting nails and non-ferrous metals. When you want to make the cleanest cuts in wood you can use either the Japanese style blade or the circular blade. The circ blade is especially handy for making long rip cuts or crosscuts. 

Festool has a range of blades to choose from (in single, 5, and 25 packs) as well as a couple of scraper blades. However, as of yet, they do not have any tile and grout blades or a sanding accessory.
 
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Mounting configurations: L to R: Fein 8-star , Fein SuperCut 12-point, Vecturo 12-point

Festool has chosen a blade mounting style that is identical to the Fein SuperCut – which means you can use SuperCut blades (or blades from any manufacturer that have the 12-point star pattern) on the Vecturo. You won't be able to use Fein 8-star blades, which are used on the Fein MultiMaster.

The advantage of Festool's choice of a 12-point mounting system is that users can select from the large assortment of SuperCut blades, including scrapers, cutters, diamond blades, and a sanding pad that uses hook and loop sanding sheets from about 40 to 220-grit.

While I've only been using the Vecturo for about a month, my initial impression is that Festool blades provide the same quality and performance as the leading oscillating blades on the market. They also appear to be competitively priced.

Vecturo and MultiMaster

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Festool Vecturo 400EQ and Fein FMM 350Q MultiMaster

For anyone thinking about purchasing a Vecturo, the inevitable comparison will likely be with the Fein multi-tool – either the MultiMaster or SuperCut. I'll briefly compare the Vecturo to the MultiMaster, which I've used frequently over the past decade.

Appearance wise, the Vecturo and MultiMaster are more alike than different. They match up in both overall size and weight. Placement of the tool clamping lever (A), on/off switch (B), air venting holes (C) and variable speed dial (D) are pretty consistent. The clamping levers and clamping elements are very similar, and both function in an identical manner. Where I found the most noticeable difference in how the tool feels in the hand. The handle on the Vecturo, just behind the air vent holes and on/off switch, is contoured, making the tool more ergonomic, and noticeably more comfortable to hold than the Fein, particularly over long periods of time. However, they both feel reasonably well balanced, and the flat resting clamping levers don't interfere with your grip. I don't find any real advantage in the different locations of the on/off and variable speed switches– there is very little risk that you'll inadvertently change their settings by brushing against them while using the tool.

Functionally, they don't appear to be all that different either. Both feature soft start and electronic speed control. The Vecturo has a more powerful motor (400 watts) than the MultiMaster (350 watts), and a wider oscillating range – 4.0 degrees compared to the 3.4 degrees for the MultiMaster. On the other hand, the MultiMaster has a slightly faster top speed (19,500 oscillations per minute) than the Vecturo (18,500 opm). 

In use, I found that the Fein runs marginally quieter – though I don't have a noise meter to verify my impression – and it vibrates noticeably less than the Vecturo. Both tools expel a lot of hot air from the vent holes on the bottom of the handles, and are very loud in use (especially when run at top speed), so you'll want to wear hearing protectors and work gloves, particularly when using either tool for extended periods of time.

Both the MultiMaster and the Vecturo have a depth stop system that enables you to limit the blade depth of cut, and also helps control the tool while making cuts. The MultiMaster has an accessory that enables you to mount the tool onto a drill stand for making controlled plunge cuts, while the Vecturo has a stand alone plunge cut base.

The Depth Stop System

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(L) Sliding shoe and (R) rotary stop, both mounted on the depth stop holder

The Vecturo depth stop system consists of three components – a depth stop holder and two 'stops'. The sliding shoe stop is used with the round blade, and a rotary stop is used with straight blades. By pressing the green button on the holder you can set a blades depth-of-cut. The head of the rotary stop rotates a full 360-degrees, so you can easily position it. While you can use the sliding shoe with straight blades, you can't use the rotary stop with circular blades.

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Attaches quickly and easily to the adapter

After mounting either the sliding shoe or rotary stop onto the depth stop holder, you attach the holder to the adapter by 'snapping' the two parts together. Triangular alignment marks on both parts make it easy to align them properly. A green locking button (top right photo) enables you to quickly position and lock the holder at one of seven detent positions in 30-degree increments.

Once positioned, I found that the depth stop holder stayed firmly locked in place.

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Sliding shoe used with circular blade

The sliding shoe, at 1/2" by 4", is fairly narrow, though I found it was easy enough to stabilize the Vecturo when making rip and cross cuts. The shoe glides smoothly across most work surfaces. The maximum depth of cut is 3/4", which will just clear solid wood flooring.

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Rotary stop used with the straight blade
 
The short blade has a maximum 1-5/8" depth of cut. With the rotary stop installed you get 1-3/16". The long blade has a 2-11/16" depth of cut, and a 2-3/16" depth of cut when used with the rotary stop. Switching to the sliding shoe will enable you to use the full depth of either blade.

Plunge Cutting

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The Plunge Base

The depth stops are handy accessories, though I wouldn't get overly upset if I didn't have either of them. Not so with the plunge base. It's a fabulous accessory that enables you to quickly make precise plunge cuts.

The large 2-7/8 by 3-1/4" base provides a lot of stability, and the rubberized grip keeps it from slipping around on smooth surfaces. It mounts on the Vecturo in the same manner as the depth stop holder – align the triangular marks on both parts and snap them together. You can rotate the plunge base in 30-degree increments just as you do the depth stops. 

Note that you can only use the long straight blades with the plunge base.

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A magnet keeps the blade aligned with the base

A very neat feature on the plunge base is the integrated magnet, that helps to keep the blade flush to shoe. This results in a much cleaner cut.

The maximum depth of cut with the plunge base installed is 2-3/16" – which I've found is more than adequate for any kind of reno work.

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Quick and easy, remarkably precise, plunge cutting

The plunge base is very smooth in use, though it entails a two hand operation – hold the base with one hand and press down on the Vecturo with the other hand. My only pet peeve is the lack of a depth stop, which would be convenient when you only want to cut down to a specified depth. 

So far, the Vecturo has proven itself to be a worth competitor to the Fein. It's durably made and should have no problem standing up to rigorous job site use; it has ample power for any cutting, sanding, scraping, or grinding tasks you care to use it for; it's reasonably comfortable to hold (for such a large tool); changing blades and attachments can be done in seconds; and it's depth stop and plunge cutting features are second to none.

This is a tool that renovators, carpenters, and other tradespeople will definately want to consider.

KEY FEATURES

  • Motor: 400 watts (3.3 amps)
  • Oscillations: 10,000 to 18,500 per minute
  • Amplitude: 2-degrees right and left
  • Quick release FastFix blade change
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Includes: 13' Plug-It Cord, Depth Stop with sliding shoe and rotary stop (#500160), Plunge Base (#500161), Systainer SYS 2, and one each of Round Wood Blade (#500139), Universal Blade (#500129), and Wood Blade (#500128)
 
COMPANY:Festool
MODEL:OS 400 EQ SET (#563007)
OS 400 EQ Basic (#563006)
PRICE:$696.00 (SET)
$514.00 (Basic)
MADE IN:Germany
SOURCE:Where to Buy
February 2015

Author: 
Carl Duguay
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