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Dremel etc.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tim Barber, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. Hey all, my I-don't-remember-when-I-bought-it-years-old Dremel tool is singing the song of impending bearing death. Time for a replacement, but on searching the web I find a larger than expected variety of new models and brand options. Thought I would appeal to the hive mind for experience with currently-available kit before I pull the trigger. Mine gets used mostly for inlay work, light shaping with those little sanding drums, and routing nut slots. Needs to be compatible with the StewMac router base. Thanks in advance!
    Spidey2112 and MYLOWFREQ like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    Bump, I'm also interested to hear..
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  3. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    I have a love-hate relationship. NONE of the Dremels are of any quality, and a few others that I like better have come and gone. I've been through several, and pretty much consider them to be throw-away tools. Buy one and expect to replace it in a year or two. The bearings and how they are mounted in the nose piece are the weak link with these tools.

    IMHO just buy an inexpensive one with only a few speed selections. Simple on-off is OK, but I like a few speeds to choose between when doing things like sanding or using cut off wheels.

    Dremel 200 is a "good" two speed option, 3000 series if you absolutely feel the need for fully variable speed.

    All the other options like battery power are expensive options and aren't worth considering when the tool has been designed to extract your hard-earned dollars while ensuring you'll be back for a return visit next year.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
    FunkyD, JRA, BurnOut and 1 other person like this.
  4. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    I've had my [same] Dremel for over 20 years and have used it for a multitude of jobs. I'm always amazed how many times its come in handy. It still works but showing it's age.

    Also interested in what others have to say about the current crop of tools as well.
    rllefebv and Spidey2112 like this.
  5. pasmithy


    Jul 7, 2011
    SE PA
    I don't know if they are applicable to what you guys are doing. But I've been using a Milwaukee M12 (straight) 1'4 inch die grinder for a lot of stuff I used to use a dremel for. If you are looking for super light duty, it probably doesn't apply. But if your needs are leaning towards more power they are great. 3 speeds and a light on the end...
    mikewalker and Max Bogosity like this.
  6. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I got the Dremel 3000, and I’m pretty happy with it. I bought a Dremel router base, it’s kind of... meh.The plastic construction has too much give in it. Look on EBay, a while back I saw a direct copy of the Stewmac metal router base for about 1/2 the price, probably Chinese made, but if I see it again I may buy it. I had a Craftsman rotary tool for years, still works, but it’s not compatible with Dremel accessories.
    Tim Barber likes this.
  7. BurnOut

    BurnOut It's The Billy Baloney Show

    Feb 1, 2015
    The Natti
    I got an off brand at Menards with a bunch of bits for around $20, works great
    Tim Barber likes this.
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Not that this helps, but I've got an ancient Craftsman knock-off (...complete w/ flex cable and handset) that I can't kill. I could do dental work if pressed into service.

  9. I already have the StewMac base, hence the need for compatibility. And yeah, the plastic router base makes a good pencil holder, that's about it.
    Plain Old Barry and deff like this.
  10. Bloomfield


    Jan 21, 2020
    Nova Scotia
    Those old Craftsmans were real Dremels made by Emerson Electric in the same factory, they were really good. I had one that lasted me many years and I replaced the bearings and brushes a few times on it which was easy and cheap at the time. I'm not sure what the parts situation is with the newer ones.
  11. Topic swerve, but dental bits can be useful for fine inlay work. A few years ago I asked my dentist if he had any used ones and he gave me several.
    pipaberg and Zooberwerx like this.
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Good call! I use the micro burrs to slot abused truss rod nuts (DA) so they'll accept a FH screwdriver. Used the same configuration to re-grout the tub surround...that and my MultiMax. Is this a great country or what?!?

    Tim Barber likes this.
  13. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    Foredom Flex-shaft tool for serious workhorse, cry-once at the initial cost, use for the rest of your life.

    But I doubt any of the handpieces are Dremel-base-compatible.
    westrock, 59jazz, REV and 2 others like this.
  14. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    honestly sense I don't use it much mine is a cheap mini one I got for $10.00 for ebay.. just don't need anything fancy..
  15. Allegrus


    Mar 13, 2019
    Ottawa, ON
    I would suggest if you want a lifetime-quality tool to do similar tasks, Foredom power carving tools is the next step up. I don't really do much with the dremel in woodworking though, so that would be a pretty luxurious spend for me.
    westrock likes this.
  16. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    I have a Foredom hanging up in the shop with collets and a few sintered carbide carving burrs but don't end up ever using it. There are bases made to fit the handpieces, but my StewMac base is what I choose to use.

    StewMac used to sell just the top bar of their router base but they quit offering it. I bought one and used it for making up a specialty base for doing body bindings with. It was the best $10 item in their catalog.

    This one has an older single speed Dremel permanently assigned to it so I don't have to mess with the setup. That's probably the best thing about the Dremels; you know when they're getting ready to throw in the towel so you can put them out to pasture by relegating them to specific things that you have only occasional need of.

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  17. shodan


    Mar 23, 2005
    Central Midwest
    I got in a bind and went to the local True Value hardware store. Bought one of these (Rotary Tool Kit, Variable Speeds, 40-Pc. | True Value) to get by for $30. Screw Dremel. This thing works as good as my old top of the line variable Dremel and takes Dremel parts. Never go back.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
    pipaberg, Tim Barber and HardNHeavy like this.
  18. BobKos

    BobKos Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    If you have a tool you like that needs bearings, just replace the bearings. They are cheap and are not required to be bought from the tool maker. Get the number off the bearing and search eBay.
    Spidey2112 and fhm555 like this.
  19. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    Many times with Dremels it's the plastic housing part of that holds the front bearing that gets loose and sloppy fitting. New bearings won't do anything for that.

    There's a positive to some brands when they fail catastrophically, though. I've had 2 Black and Decker RTX tools and salvaged the front chuck and stub shaft from the first one that died. It's the coolest holder for tiny drill bits, and lets you chuck them up to use with a larger drill.


    I still have and use the second one with a semi-permanent 1/2" 80 grit sanding drum, which is a favorite shop tool of mine.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
    S-Bigbottom, pipaberg and Tim Barber like this.
  20. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    My Dremel said the same, of me.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 14, 2021

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