Thinking about a Bosch PMF 180 E Multitool / All Rounder?

Or you might be wondering: multitool or separates?

I’ll be honest, I always said “get seperates” and viewed multitools and allrounders with a wary eye…..that is until I was virtually forced to buy a Bosch Multitool PMF 180 E, making me eat my words!

PMF 180 E Multitool or allrounder from Bosch

Introducing the PMF 180 Multitool

I am a pro builder and I am using the PMF 180 E to restore our ‘new’ house in Asker, Norway. I bought it because my detail sander packed up at a most inconvenient moment! There wasn’t much choice locally (lots of brands I hadn’t heard of!) and to be honest I bought the PMF 180 because I trusted the Bosch name (I use the ‘blue’ range at work), it turned out to be a great choice as this multitool is so much more than just a sander!

This is because the PMF 180 opens up a new way of working, enabling you to cut out stuff that is near impossible to do any other way. Those awkward trims that used to have to be butchered out, often ruining tools in the process and cutting all sorts of materials in awkward to reach places. Sometimes I have to remember that I now am able to cut out awkward bits easily, rather than put it off as a “pain in the bum job”!!

I have lost count of how many good chisels I have ruined trying to cut a trim off on a masonry wall or trying to cut a skirting board back that is fixed to a wall.

So, what can it do for you?  Well, the PMF 180 has two basic functions, it will sand things and it will saw things!

  1. For sanding there is a 93mm triangular shaped backing pad, which takes the “velcro” type sanding sheets in all grades.
  2. For cutting you will get two basic blades as standard (unless you get the Multi Set Kit with accessories), firstly you get the segment blade which cuts wood and metal and you also get the plunge wood blade.

Incidentally, I’ve just looked and you’ll be able to get a blade to get in anywhere you want, as there are a huge selection for the PMF180, follow PMF 180 E Blades and attachments, to jump down to the blade bit in the resources at the end of this article.

Using the Bosch PMF 180 E multitool is a little strange as it doesn’t ‘mechanize’ a job that you used to do by hand;  but rather it allows you to do the job in a different way. What once had to be chiseled out can now be sawn out. That subtle switch makes a big difference. Because previously, there was no tool that could do what a multi tool can do!

It’s probably easier to explain what this Bosch all rounder can do, if I jot down a few of the jobs that I have done with mine:-

Example jobs ideal for the PMF 180 E…..

  • Chopping out a rotten bottom section in an old window used to be a terrible job involving drilling some holes and then carefullt cutting out the rotten wood with a sharp chisel. Things went wrong with this method. Chisels slipped and caught the brickwork or worse still a nail or staple in the frame (sharpening kit out again!). Banging away at an old window frame with a hammer and chisel can cause other damage to fragile frames, esp on restoration work. Using a PMF 180 type multitool enables you to carefully cut away the bad sections easily and controlably, leaving a much better repair.
  • The PMF180 is popular with people installing wooden flooring, so that they can fit it under architraves or door frames. Laminate or engineered flooring for example, looks so much better if fitted properly, tucked under the door frames and trims. Trust me; nothing looks more amaturish than seeing small sections of bead running around door frames or worse still, coloured silicone!
  • The junction between the wall and the skirtingboard can be lightly cut so that they can be removed without tearing up the wallpaper or pulling off the plasterwork.
  • Cutting out for electrical boxes, in plasterboards, kitchen cupboards and in the T&G panelling in my wooden house as been easy.
  • Removing the grout from around some “feature” tiles to break them out without damaging surrounding tiles was a cinch.
  • Sanding, sanding and more sanding! Jeeze, this house’s decorating was rough. Everything had to be sanded half down to the wood. The PMF is quick and powerful.
  • Cutting pipes in-situ. I wanted to re-route some pipes and access was really tight. I just don’t know how I could have done it otherwise.
  • Cutting a wide letterbox shape hole in a door. We needed a vent in the bathroom door and the PMF 180 was much less agressive than a jigsaw and chipped much less too.
  • Flush cutting off some old rawlbolts that had rusted in place was way less messy than using my mini grinder. Safer, no sparks, hardly any dust and nearly as quick.
  • More to come as I find ever more jobs to do with this tool!

How does it work?

PMF 180 E from Bosch explaining the oscillation principle

Wiggle it, just a little bit, oh yeah...

Oscillation! Lots of small tools use a rotary motion to work but the PMF180 uses an oscillation principle. Basically the blade moves backwards and forwards in a ‘fan’ type motion at an angle of plus and minus 1.4 degrees (2.8 degrees of movement in total).

So, basically, it ‘wiggles’………..yup :-)

Helpful resources

Where to find the PMF 180E

I researched a lot before buying and found the best supplier of the PMF 180 E was amazon.co.uk . Although its not much more at Tooled Up if you prefer to deal with them.

A blade for every occasion………

Video Resources

I have started a collection of video’s of the PMF 180 in action, (my own is first obviously!)

For a quick look at how to cut down trims and architraves prior to fitting wooden or laminate flooring check out this short vid.

Bosch have made various videos to promote the versitility of the allrounder:-

PMF 180 E from Bosch Australia I think.

End note

Like all my reviews, they are a work in progress and I’ll add more to this review as I use my multitool over time. Thanks for making it down this far :-)

2 Responses to Thinking about a Bosch PMF 180 E Multitool / All Rounder?

  1. Ian says:

    Hi John,
    Well, the PMF is basically a DIY version of the reciprocating blade machine made famous by the Pro Fein versions. Essentially the same design of cutting action. I hear quite often that the blades are interchangeable (maybe ask your dealer first?) so I understand so in theory it is possible to buy a cheap PMF 180 and use a specific blade from Fein. I don’t believe that there is a Bosch blade for putty removal, but things change so check with a dealer.

    I should point out that I don’t have experience of taking out putty with one though, (I am a careful old chisel man!).

    I see that Fein do a special glaziers set (FEIN SUPERCUT FSC 2.0Q Professional set glaziers / window installers) but it is pricey. It looks like none of the kits come with the putty segmented cropped putty removing blade anyway, so you might want to source the blade if possible and couple it with the machine of your choice.

    If money is not to tight, I would always go for the Fein over the PMF for extended use (quieter, less vibration and no doubt longer lasting). Tooled Up have both machines in stock but not the special blades, maybe try these guys to find the blade?

    Sorry not to have been more help John, let me know what you manage to find, and thanks for calling in!
    Stay well
    Ian

  2. john Dennett says:

    Many thanks for sharing information on the PMF 180. I am due to renovate some sash windows
    and I was thinking of purchasing a Fein 2000 tool because it has a glazing putty removal facility. Now that I have read your comments I would consider the PMF 180 if it has that facility? It would be appreciated if you could let me know if it does.

    Kind regards
    John

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