Electricians often waste valuable manhours cleaning up drywall dust following a residential electrical installation. Stan Brannan, president and chairman of Wichita, Kan.-based Python Tools, says that electricians are too talented to serve as janitors. To increase electricians' productivity, he and inventor Greg Tillemans have introduced the Python Perfect Cutter, a tool that allows electricians to quickly and easily cut a clean, precise electrical hole without scattering dust into the air. A built-in vacuum holds one of the interchangeable electrical templates into place and then sucks up the dust as the hole is being cut.
Electricians often use standard Shop Vacs to clean up the drywall dust, but because the vacuums don't have a drywall filtration system, the dust will disappear off the floor and end up back in the air. For weeks after the electrician leaves, the homeowner will discover a white film of dust on picture frames, TV screens, and computer monitors. In addition to becoming an inconvenience for the homeowner, the drywall dust can also present a health hazard to the electrician.
Tillemans, a former vacuum cleaner salesman and veteran electrician, came up with the concept for the product a decade ago. As early as 1971, however, he was thinking about a more efficient way to cut electrical holes.
“My very first job assignment was to cut a hole in the wall,” Tillemans says. “I asked the journeyman if there was an easier way to do it. He said, ‘You're looking at it.’”
For many years, Tillemans, as well as the majority of other electricians in the industry, have cut holes with a Rotozip cutting tool or a keyhole saw. Using the traditional method, an electrician would cover the work area with a dropcloth, use a pencil to trace the outline of the box on the wall, and carefully cut around the outline. Oftentimes, however, the holes end up off center, too small, or too large for the box.
“If you look at the outlets on the walls in most homes, almost all of them are tilted a little bit,” Brannan says. “It's like trying to level a picture standing right next to it. An electrician may think it's level, but when a customer stands back 10 ft, they'll notice that it's crooked.”
With the Perfect Cutter, an electrician can cut a hole in drywall in less than a minute and even make multiple holes at exactly the same height. The tool's height rod kit often comes in handy in an office environment, when electricians need to install several Internet jacks in a row. Rather than using a sawing motion, the tool features a high-speed router, which produces precise holes in materials like lathe, plaster, tile, and paneling. Users simply place the template against the wall and then punch a button, which causes the vacuum to turn on by radio remote control. The vacuum creates a suction to hold the template in place, as well as collect the dust created by the cutting process. The electrician then has two hands free to run the router along the inside edge of the template and quickly and accurately cut a hole in the wall's surface. Tillemans says the tool makes professional electricians look more professional.
“There's no way that I could be consistent using a jab saw,” Tillemans says. “Once an electrician cuts a hole with the Perfect Cutter, they'll never go back.”
Visit www.pythontools.com for more information.
The cutting tool comes with four interchangeable templates that include single-gang, two-gang, 4.0 box for recessed lights, and non-box for voice, data, and video receptacles. Python also offers three optional commercial templates including a RACO single gang metal box, a 4.0 octagon metal fixture box, and a 4.375-in. round template for recessed can lights.
Custom router kit (27,000-rpm router; two custom bases for use with .125-in. and .25-inch bits; wrenches and collets) and router bit kit with nine bits.
Industrial strength vacuum — 1.7 hp motor; 104 in. of water lift; wireless remote control; 6-quart capacity; and bags with 99.4% filtration (optional 99.98% available). Weight: 9 lbs.