Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending the Bosch Innovation Experience at the World of Concrete trade show.

Every year Bosch chooses a specific trade show at which to unveil and demonstrate all their latest portable power tool technology, innovations, and products. This year I was invited to attend, along with Ethan Abramson, another Woodworking Network contributor.

As an attendee to the AWFS woodworking show, the location - the Las Vegas Convention Center - was a familiar one. But that is where the similarities ended. The size of the World of Concrete 2015 was much larger than AWFS, or maybe it just felt so much larger since we were surrounded by jackhammers, backhoes, diesel engines, scaffolding, and metal and concrete crushing equipment. The Bosch booth was huge, framed all around by shipping containers stacked 3 high, and divided up into smaller sections, each showcasing a different product offering.

Ethan and I arrived in Las Vegas about the same time, and made our way to the WOC and the Bosch booth. We were able to make our way through the different areas and see a bunch of great tools.

I was particularly smitten with the “Layout” area, which includes laser levels and laser distance measurement tools. I have written about how much I love the DLR130, which is my go-to tool for job site measuring, but Bosch has upped the game by increasing the number of laser measuring devices offered (8), and the starting price point ($40 for the GLM15). There is absolutely no reason why any cabinetmaker should ever set foot on a job site without one of these tools.

Another group of tools that piqued my curiosity were the laser levels offered by Bosch. Their product offerings are much deeper than a woodworker would ever need, but the simple GLL2, or the slightly more robust GLL2-20, really caught my eye. We recently installed a U-shaped kitchen in a high rise apartment building with concrete floors.

Being a woodworker, I just assumed concrete was a self-leveling product. Well, guess what…I found out the hard way that it most certainly is not. One of the back corners was 3/4″ higher than the center of the floor, with all kinds of bumps and depressions throughout the rest of the floor.

Without a laser level, our only option was to connect all the toe kicks, cry when we realized how bad the floor was, and grind away parts of the toe kick until the results were acceptable. With a laser level mounted on a tripod in the middle of the kitchen, we could quickly determine where the dips and rises were in the floor and plan accordingly, before we ever laid down the first toe kick.

The main event on our itinerary was a press-only event that took place at the Bosch booth, after the show closed for the day. There were a few dozen journalists from a wide variety of industries taking part in the event. We were broken up into different groups and rotated throughout the the booth, visiting six distinct tooling areas in total (Measure & Layout, Cordless, Woodworking Specific Tools, Benchtop, Concrete, and Drill Bits & Blades).

The two areas that piqued my interest the most were the aforementioned, Measuring & Layout, and the Cordless tooling display. In the latter section, Bosch displayed every cordless tool they offer, which is a pretty expansive selection between the 12V, 18V, and 36V offerings. But it wasn’t the depth of tooling offered that piqued my interest, but the new cordless charging technology that Bosch has unveiled. The new battery and charger use inductive technology, just like you find on new stovetops. The base of the battery rests on the charging pad, and without the battery ever having to be removed from the tool, it begins charging.

It took me quite a while of pondering to see the benefit of inductive charging over a traditional set-up. What I decided upon, was that, if the user is willing to change their habits just a bit, the cordless charging system could save them both time and money. Time is saved, because when the tool is not being used it would be placed on the charging pad, which would ensure that the battery would always be charged and ready for use. Never again would the battery die part way through an operation, leaving the user stranded. It would save money, because rather than having to purchase extra batteries in order to ensure one is always charged, the user would only have to have one battery for each tool.

Overall, the event was great fun. It was quite amazing to see all the latest technology and features that Bosch has engineered into their tools, and it really opened my eyes to how much blood, sweat, and tears (figuratively, and probably literally) go into the design and execution of the tools we use everyday. Oh yeah, and if the trip wasn’t enjoyable enough, I won a city tour of Las Vegas in a Rolls Royce, which I later learned was a $350K vehicle!

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