New cordless tool idea - cordless body saw / mini recip saw

I had this thought a few weeks ago and I’ve been kicking it around since. I was curious to see what everyone thought. This would be a tool I’d get tons of use out of, I’m hoping others will agree, and maybe there’s some slim chance of inspiring one of the tool companies to pick it up? I think it could be very successful.

What is it? A cordless version of an auto body saw. Or another way to look at it would be a very small “sawzall” for tight spaces. The key features are:

  1. takes T-shank jigsaw blades. These are much more compact than standard recip blades and fit where recip blades cannot. Unlike auto body saw blades these are widely available everywhere and available in a huge variety of types for a wide variety of materials.
  2. has a very small nose and shoe; this enables the tool to get into very tight spots. The nose of the tool should be as narrow as possible, no bigger than an inch an a half diameter tops, ideally just one inch or so.
  3. it cannot have the big “hump” that tools like the Milwaukee Hackzall have where the motor is housed; that just gets in the way for the kind of work I envision this tool for. It is important that the nose of the tool, and several inches behind it, should be as slender as possible to reach into tight spots. The motor and gearbox can be located at the rear of the tool where it doesn’t get in the way.

Other than that it would have the standard features you see on most cordless tools these days: safety lock-out switch, LED lighting for the work area, variable speed control, tool-less blade change. There is no need for an oscillating function, in fact it would actually be counterproductive for the work this would be good for. Onboard storage for a few extra blades wouldn’t hurt either and seems easy enough to incorporate. I think it would be best suited for a 12v platform but 18v/20Vmax would be fine too so long as the mantra of slender and narrow is adhered to. The tool could be straight, have an angled handle, or perhaps a pistol grip. I don’t think that matters a whole lot so long as the big stuff (battery, grip, gearbox) is kept at the back of the tool so it doesn’t get in the way of the nose reaching into tight places.

Obviously such a tool would not be useful for the heavy demo work that full-size recip saws get used for, but I think this would be incredibly handy for anyone who needs to work in tight spaces. I could see it being handy for a number of trades as well as just general DIY work. Think about how many times you were under a car or pretzled inside a cabinet and you needed to cut a bracket or a pipe or a bit of wood and you just couldn’t reach a larger power saw where you needed it to go.

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Let me preface this with I know nothing about auto body work; if I’m envisioning this correctly you’re describing an inline sawzall that takes t-shank blades.

Sounds like a cool tool that could be adapted to a number of other applications. Perhaps light hobby work, under sink cutouts and other tight spaces.

How many speed settings would be ideal? How about stokes per minute and stoke length?

describing an inline sawzall that takes t-shank blades.

That’s exactly right. I don’t think it would need a gearbox with a high/lo range like many drills and drivers have. A simple variable speed knob or trigger like most jigsaws or sawzalls have would be fine. I think most jigsaws have about a 3/4" stroke, and the small cordless sawzalls like the Milwaukee Hackzall and its competitors are 5/8". Either of those would work fine.

what’s the blade type on an autobody saw? is that T-shank, I’m not that familiar with them. My thought is you could take the air drive tool end- and shove a brushless motor and battery controler there. Then you’d drive the same blade.

I would say however you would end up with a larger tool of for no other reason than the battery space, and handle weight.