Do you cringe when you realize a job requires soldering fittings? Does getting the copper tubing hot enough without turning it into a crispy black mess plague your efforts, then the Antex Pipemaster is for you. The Pipemaster heats the copper pipe using electricity instead of propane and is ideal for soldering where working with a torch is impractical or dangerous. With the heating elements mounted onto the end of a plier-like device, the user simply squeezes the handles to close the jaws to the correct setting. The jaws surround the pipe or tubing, which should heat the entire circumference of the pipe equally. Equal heat, equals even distribution of the solder into the joint and thus a better leak free connection.
There are currently two models, one for the homeowner and one for the professional. The DIY model handles 1/2 ” and 3/4″, and the pro model handles up to 1″. We will be testing the professional model in the coming weeks and report back on how well the Pipemaster performs in the field. We are hoping that the Pipemaster helps us make our solder joints look like those of experienced fitters and no more black carbon surrounding our fittings or big chunks of solder hanging like stalactites from our fittings.
What we are hoping the Pipemaster addresses from a safety perspective, is that if it works like we think it will, then close quarter soldering next to inflammable material, such as joist will be made safer and more convenient.
For more information check out, http://www.antexpipemaster.com/
(Editor’s Note) I had a chance to use the Pipemaster this weekend. The Pipemaster took about 25 seconds to heat up the first 1/2 inch joint, and the second fitting located 14 inches away took about 12 seconds to reach the point where solder melts. Word of caution though, make sure the included tool rest is located nearby as the tool will still be hot when you finish your solder joints and need to lay it down. One thing we would like to see is a power switch located on the tool that would facilitate its ease of use. Having to unplug a tool to turn it off when the soldering tips are still nearly a 1000 degrees Fahrenheit is a little touchy if you get my drift. Other than that, the Pipemaster is a nice addition for a plumber or a homeowner who is more comfortable working with soldering irons instead of torches. Something I would like to see is a heat proof tip cover that encloses the tips when not in use. This would make a nice accessory and further provide additional safety. I can see this tool being mandatory in certain environments, hospitals, underground mines, etc.