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Dremel rotary tool - which one?


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Hi Folks, 

I am itching to buy a rotary tool, most probably Dremel. So the question is, which one? Money isn't that much of an object; the question is more about the power and the bulkiness. I played with a few of those in the shop, and the more powerful ones are a fair bit chunkier, although not totally unwieldy. Any experience with them, any impressions? The primary application I can think of would be sanding; I've lived without one for everything else so far. 

 

Feedback about them in general  (including usefulness) is also more than welcome. Reviews on Amazon are a bit mixed - most are very positive, but there's 5-10% that say they're complete rubbish that fails after 5 nanoseconds of use. 

 

Thanks, 

Pavel

 

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Hi Pavel,I'm not knocking Dremel but I bought a model 398 which came with kit of accessories 10 years ago. I found it very noisy and also having too much vibration and bulky. I have hardly used it at all. All my power tools except my bandsaw are Proxxon,quiet with no vibration. Maybe I bought a bad one,who knows,but once bitten twice shy so to say. BTW,I've no connection to the Proxxon company.

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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I have a Dremel 3000 with the flexible shaft. I mainly use it for drilling holes, rarely cutting wood and metal and milling/sanding. It is a very solid piece of kit but I suspect the Proxon would be equally good. Can'y go wrong with either.

I went with a corded one and never felt the cord was a problem.

 

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I have a Dremel but for the scale I work at 1/64 I find it just too powerful despite having flexible shaft and speed adjuster.

 

I still use my old old Minicraft and adjust the speed by putting my finger on the collet !!

Ideal for most purposes  mainly for shaping bulk heads etc

and otherwise I just have a hand spiral drill  for making holes

Edited by SpyGlass
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Building and adapting tools, cutting off steel, a powerful and high speed unit can be useful.

For working wood, drilling for trunnels,  my main model is the 8050.  The mega rotary tool sets

are mostly things that you will not really need or use - probably.  But the 8050 needs a full range

of collets as an additional purchase. 

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Dremel 8050 is very nice, I use it almost exclusively, unless more power is necessary. Very good balance and no wires. The battery lasts for a while. Would definitely recommend it!

Proxxon also released some battery tool, but it is much bigger and bulkier. 

Frankly, can't remember last time I needed a lot of power from the tool when modelling, the bigger non-battery dremel just collects dust for now. It might be useful for all-round housework, gardening and other heavy duty tasks.

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Have a series of Dremel's up to 4000, flex shaft, all have different uses and I find I am not swapping accessories all the time.

But my go to is the 8050 have abused the devil out of mine, the charge only failed me once after heavy sanding on high speed for a long period of time.

 

For those of you that are old enough to remember its like a Timex watch it takes a licking and keeps on ticking (according to John Cameron Swayze nightly news reporter 1940s to 1950s):dancetl6:

 

 

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I was just reviewing Bill Short's book on ornamental carving this AM and his preface regarding tools was not as positive on Demel tools compared to others. From memory I recall that he advises one purchase the foot switch for better speed control and use of the flex shaft attachment. Other comments align with what has been said. Again his comments are related to ornamental carving.

Joe 

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7 hours ago, John Allen said:

But my go to is the 8050

    I would have to agree on that.  All of my accessories like the drill press and router attachments use the corded versions as the chord isn't such a hassle, but for everything else, the 8050 is the way to go for me.  (Chords and wheelchairs don't go well together!) ;)  Also, I remember all of those  Timex commercials on our Black and White TV!  Makes you feel old doesn't it?

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Lessee... Rotary tools: I've got two of the old Dremel variable speed black stand-bys, one of the new grey ergonomic (7000 series?) ones mounted in a Vanda-Lay drill press, two of the rechargeable battery ones, and a Sears and a Horror Fright knock-off. I've also got a Foredom with collet and Phillips chuck hand pieces.  One of the old corded Dremels and one of the rechargeable battery Dremels with sanding drums are used by my wife for manicuring her show dogs' nails. The Sears knock-off (my first many years ago) is half dead. The Horror Freight knock-off is too long and heavy to really do any fine work, but is entirely serviceable. It's my "loaner" on those rare occasions when I can't avoid loaning one to somebody I know well. The Dremels are well-made and reasonably priced, but they have their limitations for fine work. The rechargeable battery ones, while smaller and better for detail work, have limited power and, importantly, are no good for long running. If they are run too long, the battery contacts heat up and melt, so the battery is toast. If you are going to buy one anyway, make sure it's from somewhere that will take the burned out battery back with no questions asked.

 

You really do get what you pay for. I'd suggest:

 

1. Don't waste money on "kits" with a bunch of bits, wheels, and accessories, eighty percent of which you'll never use. Just get the bare bones tool and buy the bits and such that you need. Get a range of collet sizes. You'll find those handy.

 

2. As a rotary tool, the Dremel corded models are all fine for general work, but the flex cables and other attachments (often over-priced IMHO) aren't at all what they are cracked up to be.

 

3. Save up and buy a Foredom with a collet and a chuck hand piece. They aren't cheap, but they are readily marketable if you decide to sell it after a while. Better yet, find a decent used one. The foot pedal speed control and the Foredom flexible shaft, as well as its superior torque and top speed, put it light years ahead of the Dremels and their knock-offs.  The Dremel is a "Magic Marker," while the Foredom is a fine-point Cross pen. I find many uses for my Dremels, particularly as cut-off tools, but if I knew then what I know now, I'd have spent the bucks for a Foredom from the git-go and been bucks ahead.

 

4. If you aren't sure you really need a rotary tool at this point, consider grabbing one of the Harbor Freight ones. They sell them for less than ten bucks or so and they are pretty much bulletproof unless you drop them and crack the body!  Just remember to keep the receipt if you have to return it. That happens a lot with HF products, especially any of the ones with moving parts! Once you get one that passes your DIY "quality control" standards, they are decent enough to give you an idea of what use you might have for a rotary tool.

 

Also, American Science and Surplus has a Dremel clone and a Foredom clone for sale at a low price.  https://www.sciplus.com/Tools-c/Rotary-Dremel-Tools-s  Unlabeled, but I'd expect they are made by the Revolutionary People's Democratic Rotary Tool Collective, so I can't vouch for their quality or performance, though.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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An addition to Bob's Harbor Freight $10 drill = a variable power supply can get more work from the drill than the single voltage supply that comes with it.

Just shop around: what American Science and Surplus sells for $30 - Marlin P Jones & Assoc sells something similar for $15.

Edited by Jaager
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  • 2 weeks later...

I just picked up a Dremel Stylo+ the other day and so far I love it.  I have been using a Dremel 300 with the flex shaft for quite a while but there has been something wrong with the speed control so i decided to break down and get a new one. The regular dremel tool always feels too bulky so the flex shaft is a nice addition, but even then I felt like I was always repositioning it so it didn't knock something off the workbench. I decided since I mainly use it for drilling angled holes and light sanding I wouldn't need a ton of torque. So far it has fit the bill perfectly. My favorite part it it feels even more nimble than the flex shaft handle and it weighs nothing so it's really easy to move around with it. It has variable speeds and juuust enough torque for sanding. I'm pretty sure if I pushed hard enough I could bog it down easily, but it has forced me to sand a little bit less agressively which is a good thing. I don't think it would be useful for anything outside hobby work, but then again that's exactly what it's designed for!

 

Chad

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  • 1 month later...

Just to reaffirm what others have said on this topic - I recently replaced my flex shaft dremel with the dremel 8050 N/18 micro and a 4486 keyless chuck on Amazon. Far better, smoother and more controllable than the awkward flex shaft and other older corded unit I have. The 4486 is a really useful add on to me as it holds anything from micro drills to all the other tool bits.

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If you have an air compressor, have you considered an air pencil grinder?

 

I have a related question. How are the flexible shafts lubricated?  Are they permanently sealed or do they require maintenance?

 

https://www.amazon.com/Astro-218-8-Inch-Pencil-Grinder/dp/B000RH36WU

Edited by Bob Blarney
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/1/2018 at 6:50 AM, ChadB said:

I just picked up a Dremel Stylo+ the other day and so far I love it.  I have been using a Dremel 300 with the flex shaft for quite a while but there has been something wrong with the speed control so i decided to break down and get a new one. The regular dremel tool always feels too bulky so the flex shaft is a nice addition, but even then I felt like I was always repositioning it so it didn't knock something off the workbench. I decided since I mainly use it for drilling angled holes and light sanding I wouldn't need a ton of torque. So far it has fit the bill perfectly. My favorite part it it feels even more nimble than the flex shaft handle and it weighs nothing so it's really easy to move around with it. It has variable speeds and juuust enough torque for sanding. I'm pretty sure if I pushed hard enough I could bog it down easily, but it has forced me to sand a little bit less agressively which is a good thing. I don't think it would be useful for anything outside hobby work, but then again that's exactly what it's designed for!

 

Chad

Absolutely. The Dremel Stylo Plus is perfect for modelling - far more so than the bulkier 8050 micro.

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