This Dremel rotary tool clone is a great deal at $21


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/14/this-dremel-rotary-tool-clone-2.html


#2

One of the problems I had with my own Dremel was that, although it came with the flexible shaft, the speed control was still on the motor. I would have had to kludge together some type of auxiliary speed control, like a foot pedal. Does this Dremel knockoff address this in some way?


#3

I really like the flexible shaft, because it gives me more control than I have holding the relatively heavy tool itself.

Must… not… make… joke…


#4

I have an almost identical model which may have been discontinued by Northern Tool. It has a neat adjustable stand with a hook on which to hang the main unit. This makes it easily put in reach to adjust the speed. That was a great deal as it came with a second, smaller rotary tool. The stand parts can be seen as the bottom right, and the adjustable pole on the far left of this pic:

However, the motor more closely matches Mark’s clone.

I have a bunch of extra Spanish roof tiles from when a neighbor retiled, and have been wanting to carve out our street address on one and hang it out front with a solar light behind it.

If you already have the bits, I found another model for about the same price with that stand and maybe fewer bid accessories. The photo looks weak but read the description of the included parts.

These kits do feel as cheap as they cost, really for light duty crafts/hobbies…and, on the other hand, I think Mark really knows what he’s doing, which bits to apply for the purpose at hand and the patience to hand craft a wooden spoon etc., and the negative reviews on these are from people who needed a rotary drill. I haven’t used the real Dremel but I’m guessing the plug in Dremel is sturdier.


#5

You shouldn’t have to kludge a foot pedal control for your Dremel drill motor; such controls are readily available online. I have such a setup at home and it works very nicely.


#6

I started nosing about Amazon and did in fact find such foot controllers. I also stumbled across a grinder, pole mounted with the flexible shaft, that more closely resembles what I used during my abortive jewelrymaking days. I think I had the wrong idea about what Dremels were good for; mine seems quite underpowered.


#7

High speeds are for the tiny diameter bits that resemble dental tools. I, being a manly man, have a Foredom flexible shaft tool and I have never turned it above half speed in my spoon making efforts. I use a one inch diameter ball shaped carbide burr. My experience using gouges lead me to get the bigger diameter tool and it works wonderfully. My favorite gouge, which I use all the time, is a shallow and wide one. So I thought a big diameter would be more useful and, well, quicker. It is! It is also easier to create pleasing spoon bowls. The individual cuts blend together more easily. (I am not really a manly man, but I do play one in my own shop.)


#8

i would say that this is a ‘good’ deal at $21… and just like the other times you’ve shilled this thing they’ve only been ‘good’ deals except for the time i bought one at $14. that was a ‘great’ deal


#9

I’m pretty sure a rotary tool for $21 isn’t a good deal; it’s a waste of resources made to be sold rather than used.

I bought a cheap rotary tool once, it was a mistake. The thing was a joke. I have an actual Dremel now.

If you want something that does what it says on the tin, you have to pay a price that isn’t too good to be true.


#10

I wonder how tricky it would be to permanently hook a flex shaft assembly up to the base of a decent secondhand, variable speed blender.


#11

I love me cheap tools, but the Harbor Freight Dremel clone I bought has crappy bearings, using a 1.25" disk it set up a wobble so bad it snapped off the 1/8 shaft. That said, the speed control on the Dremel is crapping out. I’ve disassembled it and used 400 grit on the contact board, but it only lasted a little while. I use a Dremel with a rough carbide grit coated disk to cope moldings. Works great, especially with MDF.


#12

True fact. My Dremel was bought in the eighties and is still running, and I use it regularly. I’ve had to replace the coupling inside it once.


#13

The only reason to buy one of these is if you’re not sure you’ll use it much.

But you know the saying about everything looking like a nail to a man with a hammer? If you’re a handy type, you’ll wonder how you ever did without one. So don’t buy junk.


#14

I’ve had a Dremel since 2005. Every time I run into a task that was seemingly purposefully constructed by a vengeful tool god for the Dremel, I dig it out … only to find that said god was f*cking with me. To this day I’ve never accomplished anything with it. Drills, full-size routers, water jet cutters, CNC machines, chisels, yes, but never the Dremel. Just the other day I stripped a screw on the battery compartment of a music stand light. I thought, yes, Dremel time. 30 minutes later I had given up and resorted to a drill. Maybe I am, as the Kama Sutra implies, “just doing it wrong” …


#15

I have a VERY similar one (essentially the same, only with an orange body and a different brand), and use it with a foot pedal meant for a sewing machine. I rewired it to control a common pass-through power socket, but I am sure some exist already configured this way.


#16

This looks like a job for Ford’s steering wheel bolt designer.


#17

I’ve burnt out three of them in that time. (Also a Sears clone, and two of the Black & Decker clones I buy now instead of Dremels.) But I’m hard on tools.

The B&D models are far cheaper, have a far better chuck lock design, and last about as long as the Dremel branded ones. Having torn both apart, I can say the build quality looks the same to me.


#18

Okay, the invitation still stands, but now I won’t let you near my microwave and my power tools.


#19

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