Rockwell F50 Sonicrafter Oscillating Multi-tool Review

  • July 31, 2018

Review of Rockwell F50 Sonicrafter Oscillating Multi-tool

Editor Rating: 4.3/5

Build Quality
Power
Features
Price

Review Summary

There are sonic jewelry cleaners, sonic toothbrushes, and the Doctor has a sonic screwdriver, but what is an oscillating sonic multi-tool and why do I need one? This classification of tool originated in the medical field back in 1969 for use in cutting casts off patients. It soon was repurposed for the workshop as a tool for cutting and sanding in unusual and hard-to-reach situations.

The Rockwell F50 is a good representative of this type of tool. They are not sonic in the scientific sense, having inherited that name over the years. They are tools that cut and sand using a huge number of side-to-side oscillations, with the F50 using between 11,000 and 20,000 oscillations per minute (OPM) to complete its tasks.

These tools are an excellent choice for undercutting trim to accommodate new tilework or flooring, cutting precise openings in sheetrock, and making fine cuts to remove materials already in place. They will generally appeal to users with more experience who have projects requiring finesse and precision. The F50 can fill that role.

F50 Sonicrafter – a Quick Look

Pros
  • Variable speed control for precision work
  • Clamps cutting tools with 1-ton of pressure
Cons
  • Single oscillation angle of 5o

Specifications

Brand name: Rockwell Tools, Inc.

Model: F50 Sonicrafter Multi-tool, RK5142K

Motor (VAC, A): 120, 4.0

OPM: 11,000 – 20,000

Oscillation angle: Fixed, 5o

Weight: 3.3 pounds

Well-equipped and ready to work

The F50 comes with 33 accessories so the user can get right to work. These include a variety of blades for different materials and cutting situations, an assortment of sandpaper, a sanding pad attachment, and a contractor carry bag.

Features provide users with exceptional control

Rockwell equips this oscillating multi-tool with constant speed control and a variable speed dial. This may sound like the two features fight each other, but the user selects the speed needed for the job via the dial, and the constant speed control maintains that speed, so the tool never bogs down.

Covered by Rockwell’s 3-year, 30-day MBG warranty package

Rockwell’s 3-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee combination covers the F50 Sonicrafter, providing for peace of mind and giving the buyer 30 days to see if the F50 is the right tool.

FAQ

How do these saws work?

The F50 works by moving a blade back and forth over a 5o range at high speed. The blades are much thinner than typically used by power saws, so the kerf and cut are much finer, great for precision work.

Can this saw replace a circular saw?

No, you should consider this a complementary tool to the circular saw. Both have specific uses and applications the other cannot perform.

How hard is it to buy blades, more sandpaper, and so forth?

Many companies want to sell their accessories so may create a proprietary method of attaching them. Rockwell has a different approach. They designed the R50 so that it can accept other manufacturer’s blades and accessories. This system makes buying blades and replacements a snap.

What the Users Say

The family of tools that the F50 falls into is designed for very specific situations. They are not intended for general purpose cutting, and users shouldn’t buy one with that use in mind. They are perfect for tasks frequently encountered in remodeling and retrofitting spaces, especially where flooring, molding, and fine finish work are involved.

F50 users have been kind enough to state their likes and dislikes regarding their tool’s performance, so we did a bit of research to bring key opinions, good and bad, back to you.

What users like

Value for the money is the thing users report liking most often. Compared to brands costing much more, the F50 performs as well or better.

Surprising versatility is also a common compliment, especially from users without any previous experience with these tools. If the user experiences an unusual situation their conventional tools cannot handle such as cutting out fiberglass tub enclosures or removing material sandwiched between others, they express delight with how easy their F50 does the job.

Quality of the build is the third most common plaudit. Again, users with experience using other, more expensive brands, compare the build quality and operation very favorably. New users also find the build well-finished and rugged.

What they don’t like

For a specialty tool where many users will be first-timers, there are very few negative comments. One common issue is with the vibration of the tool in use. This seems an interesting contradiction because many positive reviews centered on low vibration.

More worrisome are reports of the blades falling off, or worse, flying off. The universal fit system uses plastic in certain areas, and if it fails, the blades fly off. The retention screw also seems to vibrate loose, letting blades fall off. Not a good feature in a tool that uses vibrations to perform its tasks.

Other more minor complaints include disliking with the vents for the motor being right under where they hold the tool is making it uncomfortable to handle and disappointment over the cost of blades.

Conclusion

The Rockwell F50 Sonicrafter oscillating multi-tool is a specialty tool that experienced users will find indispensable as a complement to their other tools. It is especially useful in remodeling projects where fine cuts in finished materials are important.

It is a mid-level tool and represents a good entry point for new users given its rich feature set, wide range of included accessories, and a price not much higher than entry-level alternatives. All users will appreciate the attention paid to reducing felt vibration and overall noise. More experienced users will be satisfied with the performance but may quickly outgrow it as they tackle more complex and demanding projects.

Overall, the F50 will serve any user well for a long time based on the quality of the tool and the capabilities it provides.

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!