The worst thing about working with handheld power tools is the constant and intense vibrations from oscillating parts that leave your hands and arms shaking, and make it harder to do detailed precision work. So researchers developed a handheld oscillator with 70 percent less vibration and half the noise.
When it comes to power tools an oscillator is a worst-case scenario because its business end moves back and forth almost 20,000 times every minute. And all that motion is transferred to the user while they're trying to cut, sand, polish, or grind, making the job at hand particularly unpleasant.
To dampen those vibrations, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF teamed up with power tool manufacturer Fein and Fein added elastomer insulation that decouples the motor from the rest of the tool and absorbs a lot of the jarring back and forth motion.
But to ensure that anyone using the new tool can still feel exactly how hard they're pressing into a material they're working with—which is important when doing precision work—the new Fein oscillator doesn't eliminate vibrations altogether. After running simulations the researchers decided that a 70 percent reduction in vibration was enough to make the tool comfortable to use for longer periods of time, while still providing enough tactile response to be used effectively. And the side benefit of the tool being half as loud makes for another great selling feature for those who often need to wear uncomfortable hearing protection all day long.