Today we have the Stahlwille 2017 Advent Calendar. This is actually the first year that Stahlwille has done an Advent Calendar, probably seeing how popular Wera’s Advent Calendar has been in the last couple of years.
The calendar itself is enclosed in a cardboard sleeve to protect the doors from opening during transport.
Just like the other calendars, the Stahlwille version has cardboard tabs on the back that can be folded out to make a stand for use on a tabletop. However, there are no holes in the back of the unit to hang it on a wall.
There is one distinctive feature of this Calendar over all of the others I have seen, and that is the augmented reality application that can be installed on any IOS or Android device.
The application itself makes use of the device’s camera and uses computer vision to recognize the calendar and superimposes a Stahlwille tool cabinet over it on the screen. You can then open each of the drawers which provides a link of a video on that particular product line.
There is even an Easter egg within the application. If you can find Bert it will take you to a page on the Stahlwille website with instructions on how to get your free Bert plush.
The doors on the calendar are perforated on all four sides with a small inward tab to show you where to open each one. The Calendar itself is a little bit smaller than the Wera one. The numbers were a bit hard to read in some instances, but this may have been by design to make you hunt a little harder to find each day.
On the first day of the Calendar you will get the plastic case that is used to store the remainder of the tools in the Calendar.
Stahlwille took a little different approach on how they stored the items in each of the compartments. Instead of using a formed plastic insert like we saw in the Wera Calendar, they designed cardboard holders for each of the tools.
I’m guessing this was to minimize movement of the items during shipping and to prevent any chance that small pieces could slip into adjacent compartments. Seem a bit more labor intensive but I have no problems with this design. A couple of items did slip out of their holder at some point before the door was opened though.
If you don’t want to open any of the doors or want to just get at the tools, you can of course just open one end and slide out the cardboard divider structure.
Something to note about this set is that it is limited in edition, meaning that you cannot purchase the exact set separately at this time. The closet set I could find in the Stahlwille catalog was the 40/20/4 SCI set which only comes in a soft case, has couple extra ¼” bits and does not include the bottle opener. Just to give you an idea on the value that you get with this Calendar set, that particular set has a list price of around $375, which makes the $150 Calendar set quite a bargain.
ABS Tool Set Case
Now it’s time to review the tool set that you will construct once all of the doors have been opened. The set comes in one of Stahlwille’s ABS cases. I was originally disappointed when I heard that they were going away from the steel cases they would typically use for these sets, but after seeing the quality of these plastic cases I’m not as upset as they were really well done.
The case is a very thick ABS plastic with stainless steel pins on the rear hinges. I’m thinking that they were concerned about corrosion, which is why they went with stainless steel instead of a cheaper zinc-plated steel pin.
There is a Stahlwille logo on both the top and bottom of the case, but the one on top one is painted silver to show which side is up. This would hopefully prevent one from opening the case upside-down and possibly having all of the tools fall out.
The front latch is also branded with the Stahlwille logo.
On the upper lid of the case there is a foam insert that contains an etched illustration of each of the items in the set. I also like how they put the part numbers in there as well so you know what to order if you ever lose a piece.
The foam used is a fairly dense multi-layer foam that looks to be CNC cut. It was cut out very well with very clean edges. Sometimes with this type of foam cutting you will see sporadic rough edges which would indicate a duller router bit, but no evidence of that here.
1/4″ Anti-FOD Ratchet
Now looking at the 80-tooth ratchet included with the set, you will first notice that there are no screws holding everything together.
That is because this type of ratchet is known as an anti-FOD or (foreign object debris) ratchet. These ratchets are designed without traditional fasteners such as screws to prevent any possibility of a screw falling out while you are using it and ending up somewhere that could eventually cause catastrophic damage. You would hear the term FOD using mainly in the aviation and military industry where dropping a screw could cause major issues to the equipment.
One interesting thing about this particular anti-FOD ratchet is that is has a push-button release for the socket, which is something that is not typically seen in this ratchet style. I do see there are some clips on the ratchet which I’m not entirely sure of their purpose or if the ratchet is even serviceable. That might be something to look at in the future.
Another thing to note about the ratchet is that it is probably has the quietest ratcheting mechanism I’ve heard. Even next to a microphone with high gain you can just barely hear the mechanism. Compare this to the Wera speed ratchet, which I previously thought was exceptionally quiet. I have the feeling part of this has to do with the sealed aspect of the ratcheting with it being anti-FOD that provides some additional sound deadening. I do have a similar 3/8” Stahlwille ratchet set which I have yet to review, but I do remember observing that the ratchet was exceptionally quiet in that set so I don’t think it limited to just the ¼” model.
The grip on the ratchet is a two-component design with the black portions being a hard rubber material and the green part being a hard plastic.
The set comes with two ¼” extensions of 2 and 6 inches in length. These both contain the quick release feature that has a locking mechanism for the socket on the end of the extension.
This is another feature that is targeted toward the aerospace industry to ensure that the socket doesn’t fall off the end of the extension that could possibly happen with non-locking extensions.
One downside I see with this design is that the button protrudes quite a bit that could cause issues when using very small sizes such as the 5mm socket.
Whereas it looks like the locking mechanism that Wera came up with solves this issue by recessing the button within the shaft of the extension.
Now onto the sockets, these are all from their 40 series product line.
The sizes included with the set are 5 to 13mm inclusive. The Stahlwille sockets contain a couple of advertised features such as the AS drive and HPQ features that stand for “anti-slip” and “high performance quality” respectively. The AS profile is used to maximize transmission force on the fastener.
Sockets marked with the HPQ tag are supposed to me much thinner than standard sockets due to the particular alloy used. Investigating those features may be something to look at in the future, but are really not in the scope of this review. However, doing an initial survey of several socket brands it does look like the Stahlwille sockets are about 5% thinner than other brands.
The chrome finish on Stahlwille products is worth mentioning. It is actually quite unique in that it is not polished nor matte, it would be somewhere in the middle.
I would surmise that it would take quite a lot of quality control to ensure that all of their chromed products come out with this identical finish.
Next, there are also a couple of ¼” bits included with set:
- Torx: T10, T15, T20, T25
- Hex: 3mm, 5mm
- Philips: #1, #2
Inside of the cases there was space to add four more bits to the kit. It would have been nice to see some slotted and 4mm hex bits in the kit. I suppose you could always drill out some additional holes in the foam and add your own.
412 1/4″ Bit Holder
Also included is the 412 ¼” bit holder.
An interesting design of this holder is that it appears to use an embedded spring within a grove of the holder that acts to hold the bit in place.
It was definitely very difficult to insert the bits into this holder. I believe this is because you need to have the bit lined up pretty well before inserting it due to the design of the holder.
With what little time I have had to use the set it has worked out great. I did notice that the ratchet does have really good clearance around the drive and due to it being a fine-tooth ratchet it is good for areas with tight clearance.
Overall you get a great value for the set considering what would be the cost to acquire each of these tools separately. If you are interested in getting some Stahlwille tools this would be a good opportunity with this Calendar set.
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