Power tools are tools that are driven by an external source such as electricity or air pressure. What many think of as power tools are drills, impact wrenches, and pneumatic hammers. Power tools are, however, much older than that. The first true power tool was the lathe invented in Ancient Egypt.
However, what we think of as power tools only came to exist around the industrial revolution. In early industrial-age factories, some tools were driven by overhead shafts. Usually, a water wheel and some body of moving water, like a river or stream, drove the water wheel. The water wheel turned a shaft and the shaft drove the tool. Though convoluted and bulky, these were technically power tools. Later in the industrial age, steam engines became popular energy sources for tools. Windmills were also a popular source of energy in places where straight line winds could power the devices.
Some museums still maintain and use these bulkier old machines for nostalgic and education purposes. Similarly, certain crafters use period authentic devices to create work that mimics very old styles. For example, certain blacksmiths still use water powered cutting tools to create their pieces. These tend to be high-end artisan products that are closer to art than craft.
In the 1880s, the electric motor was invented, making it possible to produce the self-powered tools we know of today.
Power tools are incredibly efficient for completing work. Certain projects, big and small, are nearly impossible without power tools. However, these implements can also be very dangerous. Many of them produce large amounts of noise and vibration. Using power tools for years without hearing protection can result in hearing damage for the user. This is a serious danger for automotive mechanics and construction workers.
Also, power tools make so much work easier due to their sheer power. This power makes many jobs possible, but it is also a source of danger. Cutting tools such as chainsaws, band saws, and reciprocating saws work by moving a blade very quickly to cut. The power of these devices can be too much for some to handle and the cutting implement can seriously injure or kill the user. Safety precautions should be taken whenever using power tools. These precautions can include gloves, hearing protection, and goggles, among others.
Unlike hand tools, power tools have many moving parts. These parts are subject to wear and tear that can degrade the performance or even render the implement unusable. Around the world, spare parts can be ordered to repair your machines. Due to the far reaching influence of the internet, a crafter in the United States can even search all the tool parts Melbourne, Australia has to offer. Or vice versa, a crafter in Australia can search for spare parts from Bangkok, Thailand. A crafter is no longer limited by his or her geographical location.
Neither is a crafter limited by his or her financial means. The ability to search for parts all around the world means that you can find the best possible deals.