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Thread: Rotary Tools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
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    Rotary Tools

    Hello!

    I'd like to get a little oscillating/rotary tool, not for any special reason, just because I WANT ONE. So I have some questions:

    1) The only brand I know is Dremel. Is one brand better than another?

    2) Are the ones that work by air better/different than the ones that are electric?

    3) Are the attachements/accessories brand specific? Or can you buy one brand and use them on another brand tool?

    Thanks Tool Experts,
    cynthia
    Last edited by Cynthia White; 11-29-2010 at 11:25 PM. Reason: rotary not oscillating
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I don't have one, but I believe that Fein is considered the best and the originator. I believe their patents expired and many are now copying it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Central NY State
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    Cynthia, I am a tool pig, and I have to admit, I don't know what an oscillating tool is.

    I mean, my jigsaw oscillates, but I don't think that's what you mean.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    I have a dremel, and a Harbor Freight.

    The accessories are not interchangeable.

    I've got the variable speed HF.

    For a harbor freight tool, I'm shocked at how substantial and smoothly it works.

    The dremel works fine too.

    They are really handy tools.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken werner View Post
    Cynthia, I am a tool pig, and I have to admit, I don't know what an oscillating tool is.

    I mean, my jigsaw oscillates, but I don't think that's what you mean.
    I beg your pardon, Ken, I meant "rotary tool" like this.

    And you are not a pig, by any definition. Perhaps you have a tool "addiction" but you are not a pig.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  6. #6
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    Ahhh, Well that's a completely different story....

    As far as I know the bits come in just a couple of different shank sizes and you get get different sized collets to hold them. Pretty much interchangeable, but the only one I know of is dremel.

    I have a corded version and a cordless. I really like the cordless one. Handy to be able to take places where you might not have a cord...

    You can even get little mini router bases for them to do things like routing for inlays...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
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    I have an older model rotary tool from Craftsman that hangs from a hook on my work bench. It uses all the tools from Dremel and has a flexable attachment that lets me work without hanging onto the big body of the tool. Janet just reminded me that we also have a dremel as well and a oscilating carver from ryobi.
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    North Central Texas - DFW
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    89
    Cynthia,

    About a year ago, I was in the market for a rotary tool to replace a 20+ year old rotary tool that had finally worn out. I purchased a Dremel tool at one of the big box stores as a replacement. Took it home and it vibrated so bad that it was unusable. It appeared that there was too much give in either the bushings or the bearings (I really believe that Dremel tools like the ones shown in your link are only bushings and not bearings). I took it back to the store and exchanged it for a replacement. That one worked better, and I was able to finish up the project that I was in the middle of when the old one died. But the replacement also vibrated quite a bit more than the one that I had used for 20+ years. I may have used that new Dremel for a total of 30 minutes. A few months go by and I have a need for for the rotary tool again. Started using the new Dremel, and after about 20 minutes of use, it got hot, sparks flew, and the smoke escaped. Now we all know that once the smoke escapes, the electric tool will never work again.

    At that point, I was not interested in spending the time and energy required to get the unit fixed under warranty.

    I started looking for a higher quality replacement. My search lead me to the Proxxon 38481 IB/E Professional Rotary Tool (here). I have been very happy with this unit. I have used it quite a few times since I purchased it and it is very smooth and when free running is almost vibration free.

    I also have several air powered rotary tools. I have 2 large ones (Similar to these straight and 90) that will accept 1/4" shank tools. They are very heavy consumers of compressed air. It does not take long for a single tool to pull down the pressure in the tank (60 gallon tank, 11 CFM compressor). They are also very noisy when in operation. Add the noise they produce to the noise that the compressor makes and it can get really loud in the shop. To the point of needing hearing protection (to keep what hearing I have left). I tend to use these when I'm doing heavy duty metal shaping or really heavy wood cutting.

    I also have a 1/8" shank air powered rotary tool. It is similar to the one shown here. It does not use nearly as much air as its larger cousins and it is not as loud either. I found the sound of it running reminded me of being at the dentist office. It is louder than the Proxxon when it is running. The 1/8" shank air unit also does not have much torque and would tend to stall very easy. Another reason that I purchased the Proxxon.

    You will need to be careful if you are going to use air powered rotary tools around wood projects. Almost all air powered rotary tools that I know of require oil lubrication in the air supply. This oil is carried through the air supply and exhausts out the front or back of the tool. While it will not be that heavy, you might want check before you start to finish to ensure that the oil has not contaminated the wood surface.

    And yes, the air tools are from harbor freight. I have had good luck so far with their air tools and they are not at all expensive. I just can't see spending a lot of money on something that I don't use that often. I deceided to spend more on the Proxxon since I always tended to go back to the electric rotary tool due to the convenience, and noise from the tool and compressor.

    There are other options such as flex drive units and I don't have any experience with one of those. If I was going to look at doing carving with a rotary tool, I might look into one of the flex drive units.

    So, I believe that what is best for you is largely dependent upon what you intend to do with it and how much you intend to use it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    8,529
    I got a Roto Zip, you can change the collect (it comes with 3 sizes and use any of the dremel bit but also use the put a 1/4" collect for small router bits. Plenty of power, My 32 year old son is scared. Call it a Dremel on steroids.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    Foredom makes pretty good flex shaft rotary tools.

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