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Thread: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

  1. #1
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    So... looking back I see my proxxon rotary tool lasted around 4 years before dying - it had already gone up in smoke more than once and the bearings are pretty shot, but the electronics died and blew out the fuses yesterday which looks pretty terminal to me

    I use the thing almost every day, and it's died in the middle of routing out a neck pocket, so I really do need to replace ASAP. At present I'm torn between a straight replacement (which means I can continue to use Proxxon's router base attachment - not that I'm all that keen on the thing but it does the job well enough), or else I buy something else. But I'm not sure if the something else is any better

    What are people recommending these days? Seems like most of these tools have a habit of going up in smoke at some point?

    Do people ever use proper grown up routers for binding and inlay work? Seems like a sledgehammer to crack a mandolin?

    How about the ultra-cheap Dremel knock offs? Some of these are getting rave reviews but cost a fraction of a real Dremel: if they would last me a year they're strangely cost effective.

    Thanks! John.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    John, you more than most people should know that cheap knock off on tools is not a good use of your funds. You buy the best tool you can afford and it might live longer than you. I currently have two Dremels, a Proxxon, and a Foredom. The Foredom will eat the others. There is a base made for the Foredom. Somehow John Hamlett (sunburst) was involved. The bearings on the cheap stuff won't last a month doing anything serious.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    Interested also. I've used Dremels and several different types of clones and all have smoked on me. Can't count the number of ways I've used them on different operations and can't imagine not having one to turn to .. The worst was the little battery powered ones that lasted just a few moments till they died.....
    kterry

  4. #4

    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    I don't think any of them will stand up to hours and hours of professional use, but are sometimes the only logical tool for certain aspects of instrument repair -- certainly a time-saving tool. Like you, I reach for mine almost daily. I got in the habit of keeping a spare, and then I bought a spare for my spare, just in case. I even got my wife one for a gift, and after a couple years, she said she really didn't have a need for it, so I have hers, also

    As a cost savings and FWIW, I make daily rounds to the local pawn shops looking for used instruments and I always check out the tools. On a few occasions, I purchased like new Dremel outfits for as little as $5 -- one even had all the bits with it UNUSED! At that price, when it dies, I can throw it in the trash feeling I got my money's worth! (keeping the bits, of course, for use with my others!)

  5. #5
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    Don't laugh.
    I was just at my local Aldi, and I found a Dremel clone 1.4 amp rotary tool with 190 accessories for $30. Accessories include a flexible drive shaft,like a Foredom. Lots of cutting blades, buffing felts,carbide cutters,drills,wire brushes, abrasive wheels of many shapes etc. The accessories alone are worth more than $30. It looks and feels well made and runs smoothly and relatively quietly. Haven't actually used it yet. Looks like the collet nut and collets are Dremel compatible. For the price I don't see how you can go wrong. If you're interested go NOW. They often have things that,once they're gone, they're gone.Even if you don't use this for lutherie (I don't) it would be useful around the home and shop.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

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    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Busman View Post
    Don't laugh.
    I was just at my local Aldi, and I found a Dremel clone 1.4 amp rotary tool with 190 accessories for $30. Accessories include a flexible drive shaft,like a Foredom. Lots of cutting blades, buffing felts,carbide cutters,drills,wire brushes, abrasive wheels of many shapes etc. The accessories alone are worth more than $30. It looks and feels well made and runs smoothly and relatively quietly. Haven't actually used it yet. Looks like the collet nut and collets are Dremel compatible. For the price I don't see how you can go wrong. If you're interested go NOW. They often have things that,once they're gone, they're gone.Even if you don't use this for lutherie (I don't) it would be useful around the home and shop.
    The ALDI WorkZone brand tools generally get favorable reviews, and not always just "for the price." I bought a 20v cordless drill/driver last night to have as a backup based on Paul Sellers' review. He's also a big fan of their bench chisels, but I haven't seen those at my store.

  8. #7
    Registered User mandotool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    Dotco products ..used extensively in the Aereo-Plain + Aerospace industry ..are the business..
    The pencil grinder 1/8" chuck is variable up to 100,000 RPM .. runs on air.....vaporizes most anything needing to be vaporized ..
    Here's a good deal on ebay for the much coveted Dotco Pencil grinder..
    leave the competition in the dust..
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/DOTCO-10R90...EL1:rk:47:pf:0
    NFI..

  9. #8

    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    I killed a Proxxon rotory tool too! I promotly replaced it since I am pretty heavy into their setup. I really like the proxxon for small detail work but it obviously doesn't like being pushed hard.

    I have killed a few Dremels over the years. They work well enough, but also don't stand up.

    Foredom!

    I have the Foredom my mom used for wood carving in the 1970's. It is over 40 years old! I had to replace the outer flex shaft. It was still working, but torn in a few places. Not even from use, just storage and moving. The orignal handpiece is noisey but still works great.

    I bought a second Fordom at a yardsale (about the same year), collected a couple of used handpieces and an engraver. Then bought the Stewmac router for it.

    Hands down the foredom blows the others away. I keep thinking I might buy a new one, but these vintage versions are still going strong.

    in the USA, you can get the old Foredoms for $50-$100. The attachments get spendy though!
    Robert Fear
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    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    I like using the Milwaukee rotary tool.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    I'll use this thread to repeat a story I tell every year, for those who haven't heard it -- concerning rotary tools.....

    Years ago, I was using my Dremel to clean up a pickup route or something, can't remember, I had the cutting disc on it and it hit a knot in the wood which caused the tool to fly out of my hand skating the cutting disc across the tips of my four fingers on my left hand, drawing blood. Needless to say, my heart was racing, I unplugged the tool, then slowly looked at my fingers -- they were fine, but I got lucky. Just a friendly warning, FWIW, this tool, as well as any power tool has the ability to change your life in a few seconds, even if you are very careful.

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  13. #11
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    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    Yes, as Jeff Mando said, be careful. The most dangerous tool is the underpowered one which grabs the material rather than cut it. Then it spins and cuts you.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Just killed my rotary tool - what to replace with?

    For binding, I wouldn't use a rotary tool, they're underpowered for that application IMO. For binding I use a Bosch Colt in a floating jig I made out of plywood and drawer slides and rotate the body around underneath it. I only do A models and guitars though. I invested in a good carbide cutter and the appropriate guide bearings from Stewmac. I don't do much inlay, mostly my peghead logo, so I use a standard dremel and carbide cutters from Stewmac for that. If I was going to do more inlay I'd definitely invest in a good flex shaft tool.

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