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Thread: Rotary Tool

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts

    Rotary Tool

    I believe I could benefit from a decent rotary tool.

    The Dremel is a bit small and under powered - though some people could build a grand armior with it.

    The Die Grinder it I think a bit too big and powerful.

    If you saw in the video of the state seal - Melissa was using a tool to carve the Carolina State seal sign. I am looking for something like that.

    I have used Die grinders at work plenty - and they are great in steel grinding - but that is not my need.

    I will be more than 80% wood and other sign materials.

    I want something about 2-3 time more powerful than my low end Craftsmen "dremel" tool and about 50% as powerful as a die grinder.

    Being a little larger than a Dremel is OK - but an angle head grinder is WAY WAY too big.

    It's gotta be Variable speed

    Am I looking for the impossible.

    Ohhhh - and I don't want to pay a lot for a top quality tool - I don't

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Foredom Rotary Tool.

    But quality tools come with a price tag.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Carol - looks good.

    I would pop on the price, but that looks smaller than I am thinking.

    I also want a 1/4 shaft diameter.

    One thing that may work is a Colt or something like that.

    I will be using sanding disks too - so I will need some lower RPM's

    I am thinking polishing and buffing too.

    Maybe - I should invent something and market it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Which foredom did you look at, they have a handful of different models in different sizes?

    I've been eyeballing the 1/3 HP TX which has 3/32", 1/8" and 1/4" collets and has variable speed from ~0 (I think 50 or 60 is actually where it doesn't stall) to 15000 rpm - not sure on actual shaft size. I'm personally not that hung up on the actual shaft size - imho how flexible and strong it is are more important (the dremel seriously lacks flexibility - I've heard that if you use a dremel to get the proxon shaft but haven't tried it..). My main concern actually with the 1/3 hp is that it might be to big and maybe I should look at the 1/4 or 1/6 HP unit,.

    There's also the Wecheer - they also come in 1/4, 1/3 and 1/2 hp units. Unless you're really hogging material though I can't see needing the 1/2 (and am not sure about the 1/3).

    And mastercarver: or - apparently a lot (most? all?) of the parts are supposed to be compatible with the fordom which is nice for getting accessories.

    For fine detail work a lot of folks seem like the higher rpm micro units like:

    If you really need to hog material off something like the proxon mini grinder (or a full sized angle gringer) with the carbide wheels takes the material off in a hurry (and the top of your finger to )

    I don't have the smaller grinder but I have a kutzall wheel for my angle grinder and it really makes the shreds fly for coarser work.

    Even coarser is of coarse something like the chainsaw wheels - - what I'd like to know is what the heck is he using in the third picture there?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    I have a Rotozip made by Bosch. My son trid it once and scaled it Dremel tool on steroids. It has plenty of power and has trosizes of chucks so you can use 1/4" router bits or the optional smaller ones. PLenty of accessories.
    "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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Look at Dremel again.

    My son has one that has very low power, that I would not use for more than trimming dog toenails, which is his primary use.

    I have an old fashioned plug in unit that works great from sanding (slow) to engraving (very fast). It came with a flex shaft that does not work great - saps too much of the power, and is more awkward than holding the motor unit which is light and small enough to be convenient.

    Mine came with the optional chuck but I still use 1/8 inch shafts - seems fine when I am spinning small bits at very high RPMs. A huge variety of cutters is available in that shaft size under the Dremel brand. I even use their small cut-off wheels which make a wonderfully thin cuts.

    If I have heavier grinding to do, I have a cheap air driven die grinder, but I can't remember using that since getting the Dremel.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    I've got the Foredom 1/3 hp version, and it's a real workhorse. The shaft is about 3/16 diameter, and flexes quite well. Even hogging stock off and stalling the motor (very hard to do, btw) hasn't damaged the shaft, so it's planty sturdy enough. I have the foot control, but there's also a tabletop VS controller that you can dial in a more-or-less constant speed with.

    Foredom (and others) have a number of handpieces. The main one has collets, and will accept up to ¼" shanks. There's also one with a small Jacobs chuck - about 5/32" capacity, I think - and a reciprocating handpiece for carving knives, and a mini one that'll accept the same bits your dentist uses.

    A word about Wecheer: I had one. It died. I tried to get replacement parts for it, and couldn't find anyone who had them. Actually, I never did like that tool much, so its loss wasn't that big a deal. The Foredoms (any of them) are orders of magnitude better.
    Jim D.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Right - I did NOT look close enough at the Foredom tool - yes I notice that they do have a 1/4 shank.

    I am going to need to find a place where I can get a closer look.

    Price is an issue there for sure.

    It does look good though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Foredom is probably the most commonly-used rotary tool among the pro carvers. Very highly regarded. As Carol said, the quality comes at a price, but it's one of those "buy it once" kind of tools.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    WOW - I just got a response from a VERY VERY successful carver that I have known for years. He has shown some fantastic work over the years.

    I have DO DOUBT that the Foredom is a fantastic tool - do doubt at all. It may be in my future.

    No matter what the tool is - the work is ALL skill, and skill is something that needs to be developed.

    My friend used

    B&D RTX & a very small variety of Harbor Freight rotary tools along with a couple of HF $10 die grinders.
    If total he has about a dozen carving tool hanging on his carving bench.

    His work is proven and shown more that many times over.

    Another case of ---

    It's not the arrows that get the buffalo.

    I tried the Die grinder I got at Lowes but it is too fast on the slowest setting. I will try it again.
    I just might get one of the B&D RTX's and give that a go

    More that anything - I need to get the skill level up.

    It's nice to talk about tools - but - really - the best tools do not give the skills. Yeah - of course they help - but 80% is skill.

    Cool - I DID learn about the Foredom tool.

    At this time - I just cannot afford the price for the amount of work I would do with it.
    Maybe on a different day - but not on this day.

    So - that goes on my skills development list.

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