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Old February 26, 2021, 08:44 AM   #1
chris downs
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The Best Dremel

Which type of Dremel tool is the best for the gun bench?
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Old February 26, 2021, 08:54 AM   #2
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Best is a Foredom tool.
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Old February 26, 2021, 09:32 AM   #3
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I had a rechargeable for many years, but the battery always seemed to be run-down rather than charged, when I wanted to use it.
I've had the 3000 model for a while, and I do miss being able to take the cordless model anywhere, I'm usually working in the garage, or somewhere else there's an outlet, so it's not a big deal.
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Old February 26, 2021, 10:02 AM   #4
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I've got a corded Dremel, but then also wanted a cordless. So I went to Walmart and got their red cordless one for $20. It's light duty. If you try to cut thick metal with cutting discs and it bogs down, it will shut itself off to protect itself from the either the increased electrical demand or overheating - I forget which. But it can cut through locks, sheet aluminum, a surprising amount as long as you have a light touch and patience.

So for serious fixes I get engrossed in, I have the corded.

I would start with a corded if you have nothing else. If money isn't an object, I've also heard that Foredom is good. There are aftermarket extensions for Dremel that give you a slimmer grip at the end that are supposedly a great upgrade.

Funny thing is, I rarely use my Dremel for actual firearm stuff, although I think I also got it originally for gun related things. I end up using Mother's Mag, sand paper, stones, hollow ground screwdrivers, punches, and paper towels way more.
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Old February 26, 2021, 11:17 AM   #5
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Have been using a corded model along with the long cable attachment for 50+ years.
Everything from shaping 1911 grip safeties to cleaning primer pockets to handgun grips, etc.
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Old February 26, 2021, 12:06 PM   #6
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IMO,the plastic housing that holds the bearing on a Dremel is not precise and rigid enough so that when you dress a mounted stone it will vibrate and dance in use. The lack of rigidity also contributes to a stome or burr wanting to bite,jump,and run across the workpiece.

I'll give the dremel its inexpensive and serves pretty well.

Its also nice to not have the motor size weight vibration,and in some cases heat in the hand.

I have a small 1/8 collet 65,000 rpm air pencil grinder.It is high quality,excellent bearings. I can put a diamond dental point in it and write in small cursive with it smoothly,without losing control.I really like this tool. IIRC,ts Dotco brand.Air tools run cool.

I have a Fordom. These are good tools.They only go about 14,000 rpm.Thats a little slow for small stones and points,but they are workhorses. Good bearings.
A variable foot pedal is good. Id call it a great basic bench tool. I'd suggest it would be a great choice.You can get a speeder handpiece to up the RPMs.but they are not cheap.IIRC,they also sell a 5000 rpm model for special applications.

For larger felts,brushes and stones I have a machine like a fordom,but 1/2 hp,10,000 rpm,and 1/4 in handpiece with reducer collets.It works good with 2 to 3 in hard felt wheels and 1 in tampico end brushes. I have a good foot control for that one. It depends on what you are doing. It was one of my main mold polishing tools.

With all that,i really don't use them on guns all that much.I tend to use stones by hand,or a stone with a sear jig.

I want to keep the original shape and definition. A flat stone holds a flat form.I can knock the high spots off a feed ramp tool finish with a stone without altering geometry.

Last edited by HiBC; February 26, 2021 at 12:23 PM.
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Old February 26, 2021, 02:06 PM   #7
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Even the sub-$100 Chinese flexible shaft machines are better than Dremels. Foredoms are even better.
I have a half-dozen Dremels in my shop and seldom use any of them.When I do, they are used with a foot rheostat, like the flex-shaft tools.
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Old February 26, 2021, 06:14 PM   #8
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For some projects you can use a drill and polishing points that are available separately. I have an old sears dremel that I've used more than 20 years for random gunsmith work. A dremel has a lot of torque in the handle and it takes practice to control them.
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Old February 26, 2021, 09:28 PM   #9
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The Foredom is higher quality than the Dremel, as the others have indicated. I also have air and electric die grinders, but admit the untethered battery-powered Dremel is occasionally the more convenient thing to use. I've had different versions, but would recommend only the full-size lithium battery-powered unit.
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Old February 27, 2021, 06:59 AM   #10
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Nick brings up a good point, If buying a battery powered rig it is a good idea to get the full powered lithium battery models . I have found this to be very true, a rotary tool not running at full power is a frustrating experience especially when doing fine detail work .
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Old February 27, 2021, 09:34 AM   #11
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I've had a model 800 for about 10 years. Despite the fact that I use it a lot, battery lasts forever, and I only have to charge it every few weeks. I used to be heavy into RC modeling and used it even more back then.Still on original battery. It's as powerful as the corded models, which I relegated to a "work station" (their mini drill press). Speed control is very granular and you can run it at very low speed for detail work.

I don't see any with this style of battery online so I guess they changed it at some point. I'd be very disappointed if I needed to replace it and a new one wasn't as good.

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Old February 27, 2021, 09:51 AM   #12
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I have 5 I think. A large Makita corded, two actual corded Dremels (one in each shop), a cordless like the one pictured above, and one that is a hanging motor with a shaft drive and foot pedal. I used them for different things based on how long the project is going to take, how much material I am going to remove or cut off, etc. I guess if I could only have one, it would be one of the corded ones. I tried to use the cordless to polish a loading port on a shotgun and it lacks the torque, so a lot slower, than the corded ones.
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Old February 27, 2021, 03:36 PM   #13
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I've had a corded Dremel with a flex shaft for maybe 25 years. I don't use it much but occasionally it's the best tool for the job. Don't think I've ever used it on a firearm though.
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Old February 28, 2021, 08:16 PM   #14
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The Foredom is the professionals tool.

I got mine in watchmakers school in the late 60's and it's still running strong.
All I've had to do is grease the shaft, replace the shaft cover once, and clean it occasionally.
Until I retired it was in almost daily use, and now I use it every few weeks for hobby gun work.

You can get models that run up to 18,000 rpm and high torque versions for high load-low speed work.
Since they can be bought with a foot or hand rheostat control, you don't have to hold a button down.
With a foot rheostat you can vary the speed quickly on the run.

The best hand piece is the #30 chuck type model.
This hand piece is much smaller then any Dremel.

For stippling they sell a hammer hand piece.

The Foredom is a "buy once, cry once" top quality tool that will last a career, and doesn't die at a bad time or run out of battery.
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Old March 1, 2021, 03:03 PM   #15
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None. It's far too easy to go too far with any rotary tool if you use it on firearm parts. "Dremel" being just a brand name, like Kleenex, that doubles the price. Worse for the assorted bits/tools.
My Chinese rotary tool I paid $40 for eons ago does exactly the same thing a $100 plus Dremel does.
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Old March 5, 2021, 09:40 AM   #16
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I'm not going to comment on using a rotatory tool on gun parts since I've never done it and I'm not knowledgeable enough to try. That said, I've used several of them on motorcycle parts and I think I have a useful opinion to offer.

The first 3 rotatory tools (Dremel knock offs) I bought didn't go very long before the bearings got loose and the tool would vibrate way more than was comfortable to use. The amount of wobble in the tool head was also a bit problematic after awhile so I'd replace it with a like tool. This last time, a couple years ago I bought a top of the line Dremel. I've used the hell out of it over the past 2 years and it still functions like new. for me at least it was well worth what it cost.

Sears used to sell a rotary tool they called an electric die grinder. it was like a Dremel on steroids... Anyway a shop I used to work at had one and it took a beating and kept on going. I tried to find one before Sears went out and they didn't make them any more. I bought a Harbor Freight knock off of that tool and I haven't used it much because after using it a couple times it vibrates like hell and sounds like the bearings are going out. It has plenty of power and one of these days I'm going to take it apart and see if I can replace the bearings with US or German made ones....

So there's my 2 cents for what it's worth.

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Old March 5, 2021, 12:10 PM   #17
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I have a corded and a battery powered. the battery is only good for light duty work, I bought it to polish with, fine for that.
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Old March 5, 2021, 12:39 PM   #18
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Geezer,I don't think Sears made much of anything. They rebranded the products of other manufacturers. Often,very good ones.
Of the potential "Dremel on steroids" tools,off the top of my head,I can think of three.
The Makita 1/4 in die grinder,the Milwaukee,and the DuMore. I'm sure Bosch and who knows else have offerings.
I have a Makita because at the time it was less than 1/4 the price of a DuMore.
I don't use it a lot,but its still good.Its about like a big Dremel.

IMO,the dividing line is a two piece clam shell plastic injection molded body.

Whatever bearing behind the chuck is loaded in a molded pocket in the housing and the two halves are screwed together. Not my favorite system.

A metal tube handpiece with a bearing at each end and a spindle through the middle works in applications from truck axles to surface grinders to a Bridgeport to a Foredom handpiece, It can be rigid and run true. Years ago the DuMore was around $400. Probably more,now It was the standard back when "Head Shop" meant porting and polishing ,valve jobs,and a flow bench.

Here is the thing about rigidity and bearings. You put in a mounted grindstone. Dress it on a diamond or carbourundum. Its running true.

Touch the workpiece,it stays in full ,smooth contact. If your spindle is not rigid,that tool vibrates. Goes eccentric. It does not stay in full contact. It wheel hops.One part of the wheel contacts the workpiece,then it jumps off. Its like dribbling a basketball.Any motor vibration aggravates everything. The part of the wheel impacting the workpiece breaks down.Now its an out of balance cam. Results are bad.

DuMore is old tech. They made tool post grinders for lathes..They knew how. t cost money.

The motor in your a bit clumsy,adds heat,but worst it adds some vibation. Air motors can be light,have good bearings and run true and cool.
And make a lot of noise
Flex shaft tools isolate the motor vibration and weigt. Flex shafts have RPM limitations and you are tethered to a bench.

Another option is the Olde School dental engine..picolo arm,long cord "belt" driving the handpiece. Those are actually nice to work with.

My mold polishing mentor sold me a tool he put together. Is a Foredom type flex shaft tool. A 1/2 Horse 10,000 rpm motor drives it . That connects to a flex shaft..a heavy duty one bigger than Foredom The handpiece is like a Foredom,but a fixd 1/4 in Collet. Reducer collets work with that.I can put in a 1/8 in reducer. But more likely,I'd set that tool down and pick up the Foredom.

The big tool was mostly used with 1 inch diameter Tampico end brushes and diamond compound.

Also felt buffs. In the 1990's,a square yard of rock hard 1 in thick felt was about $900. We'd hole saw out a 2 in or 3 in or 4 in buff as needed.We'd mount those on a mandrel and use them with diamond compound,also.

I also had a tool called a "DME Profiler" or "jigger" Flex shaft . It was a variable stroke,pistol grippedreciprocating tool . 0-14.000 strokes per minute,used with stones,or laps.

These tools hung from a post,or "tree" mounted at the right,front corner of the bench. The active tool was selected via a bench mounted switch,and all were controlled by a big,yellow,industrial grade foot variable speed controller
on the floor.

A big,illuminated magnifier arm could be swung into play as needed

As working hunched over can cause great pain from the shoulder blades through the neck, I made a "podium" like stage of ply for the bench to rest my workpiece on. I could work sitting up straight.

With that I had a 6 in round magnetic chuck and a drill press vise to fixture my work.

I fitted a bread loaf pan with a lift off lid and a 1/4 in mesh screen false bottom,maybe 1/4 up,to be my stone pan. It was kept about 1/2 full of kerosene. Thats where my used polishing stones lived.

Just thought I'd share some ideas about a workstation where these tools were used.
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Old March 12, 2021, 05:40 AM   #19
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Back when I was porting 2 stroke cycle engines, I had access to some pretty nice equipment like you mention. That was a long time ago and I never could afford to buy stuff like that for my own use.

The rotary tools I use now are use for much less precise work but it's something I do often and I've been happy with how the Dremel is holding up so far.

I might sill take that Harbor Fright 1/4" die grinder apart and replace the bearings. It makes the sounds of skipping bearings and since I'm not thrilled with it as is, I have little to loose. I'll look into a Makita die grinder. I have other Makita tools that I'm very happy with.

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