Rotary Tools

November 22, 2010

Dremel EZ Lock System

dremel_ez.jpgThe Dremel EZ Lock is a nice quick change system for their line of grinding wheels. We started using it when one came with our sample of the Dremel 4000 and it's great. Their older system was based around a screw that was so small it looked like it fell out of a watch, so this is a big improvement and one that we really appreciate. The EZ lock system won't rattle the tool world like the Senco Fusion, but it will make Dremel users smile.

We'd try to explain how it works, but why bother when there's a video...

It looks like you can pick up the stem for less than $4 and the wheels have a range in pricing. And as always with Dremel, there are infinite mix and match kits available. See what's out there at Amazon.com.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

protool_innovation_award_2013.jpg

September 16, 2010

Dremel 6800-01 Trio - Review

dremel_trio_1.jpgDremel recently released a funky looking tool called the Trio (and were nice enough to send us one to review). In the great Venn diagram of power tool abilities, it seems to overlap with 'rotary tool,' 'router,' and 'RotoZip (aka spiral saw).' We're generally wary of tools that try to do too much (seems like they usually end up doing not too much of anything) but because of our very high regard for Dremel, we had hope and were looking forward to digging into the Trio.

As it turns out we found some good and some bad. Unfortunately, more of the latter than the former...

Update:
we heard from Dremel and as it turns out, we were using the Trio in an incorrect manner. We've updated the review with some clarifications. Amazing, eh? We write a post about tool safety and then rip this thing out of the box and start using it without reading the instructions...."

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

July 16, 2010

Dremel 6800 Trio

dremel_trio.jpgIt's amazing what a handle can do.

When you boil the Dremel Trio down to it's mechanics, it's a rotary tool, just like the million-and-a half other rotary tools that Dremel has released over the years. But when you get creative with the handle (and in this case we would say, 'very creative'), all of a sudden you have not only a standard rotary tool but a mini-router as well, and sort of a jig saw, and kind of a RotoZip and maybe this and a bit of that. It's kind of tricky to wrap the head around this little item with it's pivoting handle and its plunge-cutting ability.

dremel_trio2_jpgWell, actually it's not that little. At least not as little as we thought. We played around with one at Home Depot and the body is actually 'softball-sized' where, from the picture, we were thinking more along the lines of 'baseball.' This size has allowed Dremel to stuff in a 2 amp motor, which makes the Trio more powerful than any of their rotary tools to date (the Dremel 4000 has a 1.6 amp motor).

We see the Trio being useful to the woodworker and hobbyist, particularly with the plunge-cutting ability. We have our reservations on bit-life though. If you've ever used a Roto-Zip, you know that embedding a spiral blade in wood and scrolling around with it equals a severely short bit life. Dremel may have addressed this, as we noticed a disclaimer on the Dremel site saying that the Trio is not compatible with standard rotary tool accessories. Sounds like they've made a more durable set with the Trio in mind.

The Trio is currently available at Home Depot and Amazon.com (only pre-order at Amazon though, with a release date of Sept 15th...wonder what it took for HD to get first dibs?)

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 2, 2010

Dremel 8200 Cordless Rotary Tool - Review

demel_8200_hand.jpg

It's funny, but each time Dremel releases a new rotary tool, we think to ourselves, "man, this is the best Dremel evah!" Then they release another one and we think, "Whoa, now this is the best Dremel the world has ever seen!" And on and on. Last year they released their new corded 4000 series tool and we loved it for it's strength and all around 'Dremely vibe.' Well, now they've released the cordless 8200 which seems to be a companion to the 4000. We were happy that they let us check out a pre-release sample. Oddly enough, we got it in our hands, played around with it for a bit and thought, "Hot damn! Now this might be the greatest Dremel we've ever used!"

dremel_8200_battery.jpgThe 8200 operates in a range of 5,000 to 30,000 rpm with the adjustment made with a slider on the back of the tool. Above the slider is a battery fuel gauge so you can keep an eye on how much juice you've got left. It's a feature that we think should be standard in li-Ion tools and it's nice to see Dremel getting on board with it.

Because we're carpenters and not hobbyists, we would have liked to see this tool come with two batteries instead of just one. Were that the case, the 8200 would be fully jobsite ready, but the extra battery would also tack on at least $50 to the price and it would be something that isn't used by a lot of the people who buy Dremels and use them sporadically in the garage workspace and won't mind the 1-hour charger.

(Update: We're dopes. Dremel does indeed offer an 8200 with two batteries. It's the 8200 2/28 and it will be retailing for $140. It also includes a cutting guide, a right angle attachment and 28 accessories. Sounds ideal to us. A thank you to Dremel for pointing out our error.)

dremel_8200_w4000.jpg

In general, the cordless aspect of this tool is fantastic. It makes the use and set-up of it that much easier. And it's powerful too. According to Dremel, the 8200 has a speed of cut that is twice as fast as the leading cordless rotary tool. We didn't verify this, but we did use the tool to cut metal, plastic, and stone and thought it was right up there with the 4000.

dremel_8200_case.jpgThe one thing we're not fond of with the tool is the case. Because the tool we got was an advance copy, the case we got may or may not be the one that is being sold with the tool. We have no reason to think that the production case will be different, but you never know. As our friends at Milwaukee are aware, we can get really hung up on tool cases. The blow-molded jobbies that some companies use drive us crazy, and while the Dremel case does have plenty of room for accessories, there is also this panel piece that creates an odd space for loose accessories to hide behind. And getting them out is like getting a pick out of a guitar. Dremel accessories are very tiny and some of them break down into even tinier pieces, so why make a case like this? No comprende.

But that's just our hangup and all of you who read that last paragraph with glazed over eyes can just walk away knowing that Dremel has made yet another great rotary tool.

it's also worth noting the we received a marketing sample, so the 100% finished "in the store" product may (or may not) have a look that is slightly more polished.

The 8200 isn't available until April, but when it is, it will sell for $100 to $140 depending on the accessory package that comes with it. It's not there now, but it will likely be at Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

January 19, 2010

Dremel 8200 Cordless Rotary Tool

dremel_8200_Hero.jpgIt's amazing how much mileage Dremel has gotten out of the rotary tool. Each year seems to bring a new and improved version each with significant advancements over the previous models. The company would be deemed completely insane if it weren't for the fact that each tool really is that much better than the last. So it's not like these guys are coasting on a single tool (well, they sort of coasted on the Golf Cleaning Kit), instead they're seemingly on some sort of frenzied quest to create the perfect rotary tool.

Late last year they released the 4000 corded rotary tool (our review here), which suprised us with its jobsite-ready power (we used it yesterday, in fact). So if 2009 was the year of the corded upgrade, 2010 must be the year of the cordless. Which brings us to the new 8200.

It appears that the 8200 is the companion cordless to the 4000. The removable nose has the same look as the corded version and the new tool can handle all of the Dremel accessories, including the new detailer's grip and the sanding guide.

The 8200 is powered by a removable 12-volt li-ion battery that, according to Dremel, gives the tool a speed of cut that's twice as fast as any other cordless rotary tool out there. The battery recharges in 1-hour.

The 8200 will be available in April and will range from $100 to $140, depending on the kit.

At Amazon.com

The press release is after the jump.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 27, 2009

Dremel 4000 Rotary Tool - Review

dremel_4000_case.jpg"Man, this thing has some stones."

That's what our coworker said after borrowing the Dremel 4000 to fine tune a radius cut on a piece of 1/8" steel. The grinder bit was devastated after the five minute process, but the tool seemed like it was just getting warmed up.

The Dremel 4000 is simply the latest update to Dremel's omnipresent rotary tool. Over the years, we've tried a number of different rotary tools and we keep coming back to the fact that Dremel is where it's at in this category. In fact no one we know even uses the term 'rotary tool,' preferring to use 'Dremel' as the catch all, like 'Kleenex.' So with the release of this new installment in the ongoing Dremel saga, the company was nice enough to ship a unit our way for reviewing purposes. We immediately tossed it in the back of the truck and headed off to work to see what it was capable of.


dremel_4000_hand.jpgdremel_4000_speed.jpg

So what's new with the Dremel 4000? Quite a bit actually. And as an added bonus, the changes are pretty significant when it comes to the functionality of the tool.

First, the 4000 is more powerful than its predecessors, ticking in at 1.6 amps, as opposed to the 1.15 amps of earlier models. We understand that 0.45 amps might not sound like much, but here it makes a large difference. Compared head to head with an older Dremel, the 4000 has reached a strength level that really increases the uses of the rotary tool. Until now, we saw Dremels as items that are useful in many situations, but their 'hobbyist' vibe (read: low strength) prevented us from embracing them as a job site item. Since we're coming at things from a carpenter's perspective, the added strength is right up our alley and, like we said, it opens a lot of new doors for the tool.

dremel_4000_grip.jpgBut there's also a 'double-edge sword' thing going on here though. Yes, the tool is more powerful, but because of this added strength, the Dremel has outgrown some of its accessories. We used the 4000 to tinker around with the pre-cut lock set openings on a metal door and while the tool showed no signs of stress, we went through the grinder accessories like they were made of origami paper. They might be fine for someone sitting in their basement carving ducks, but on a job site, a more aggressive grinder wheel is necessary. If we were Dremel, we'd start considering a 'Pro Line' of accessories. If they're going to make a tool with this strength, morons like us are going to push it well beyond its limits on a regular basis. (For all of you non-carpenters out there reading this, you can probably ignore this paragraph and take comfort in the fact that the Dremel 4000 is powerful enough to do what you ask.)

The added power is just one of the cool things about the 4000. There is also a new handle attachment called a 'detailer's grip,' that screws onto the chuck and allows a tremendous amount of control over the tool (not available in all kits). During use the handle would loosen some, but this was nothing more than a minor irritation compared to the level of added maneuverability. The kit we used also had a sanding guide and a multi-purpose cutting guide (not available in all kits).

dremel_4000_cut_guide.jpgDremel_4000_sand_guide.jpg

To wrap things up, this is a fantastic tool and by far the best rotary tool in Dremel's already stellar line up. The ergonomics are off the charts and like our pal so eloquently said, it does indeed have 'stones.' Lots of 'em.

It looks like there are three kits available, the differences being in the number of included accessories and chuck attachments. We tested out the 3/34 (3 attachments, 34 accessories), and after looking at the other kits, that's probably the one we'd recommend. There is also a 2/30 kit and a mega 6/50. We suggest checking out each kit to see which one suits your needs best.

Dremel 4000 2/30 at Amazon.com ($80)
Dremel 4000 3/34 at Amazon.com ($87)
Dremel 4000 6/50 at Amazon.com ($150)


Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

October 6, 2009

Dremel 4000

Dremel4000_horiz.jpg

Dremel has once again advanced and improved their rotary tool, this time with a model referred to as the 4000. It must be quite an item to warrant the jump from the 400 series. From the hundreds to the thousands? Ten times the series? What exactly can this thing do?

Dremel-4000-Final.jpg

First off, just the look of it is impressive. We've always thought that Dremel's rotary tools were some of the most ergonomically advanced tools in the world, but this one makes the older models look like cave tools. It's a sleek looking item and could be used as a prop in some glossy science fiction flick. It also has a new electronic feedback systems that maintains a constant speed under a tougher workload.

Also, the tool is compatible with all Dremel accessories, in addition to some new ones that the older models are unable to use. Two of these newer attachments are being released in conjunction with the 4000 and they are a pistol-grip handle and a sanding/grinding guide.

The changes made to the 4000 were done so based on user feedback, so they're likely all positive improvements. For the basic kit (30 attachments, 2 accessories), it looks like the 4000 is going to cost about $75. If you're buying a kit with more the attachments and accessories, the price is going to be higher, but will max out around the $150 range. It's a little higher than their older models, but not at all unreasonable for a new item with all the extra bling. For more information on what accessories come with which kit, check out the Dremel website here.

Dremel 4000 with two attachments and 30 attachments at Amazon.com ($75)
Dremel 4000 with 3 attachments and 34 accessories at Amazon.com ($85)
Dremel 4000 with 6 attachments and 50 accessories at Amazon.com ($140)

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 25, 2008

Who Runs Bartertown? Dremel Runs Bartertown.

dremel_pet.jpgBecause of the website, we're always checking out Amazon's bestseller list for the home improvement category. And today, for about the billionth day in a row, the number one spot is held by Dremel's Cordless Pet Nail Grooming Rotary Tool. It goes to show you what a little marketing can do. From the looks of it, it's simply a Dremel Rotary tool that comes with a few grinding drums. But it's packaged as a pet grooming tool, so it's bought as a pet grooming tool. They also have a pumpkin carving tool, which looks suspiciously similar.

We looked through the comments at Amazon (the majority of which were positive), hoping to find one of those choice negative ones that is completely irrational and written entirely in caps, but unfortunately, they were all pretty sane. It sounds like the major complaint is that the tool goes through batteries at a good clip. But, like we said, most of the comments are positive, so at the reasonable price of under $25, it might be worth checking out.

For more specifics on the tool, see what our pals at SuperCoolPets have to say.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 25, 2008

Dremel 220-01 Workstation

Dremel_workstation.jpgIt really is impressive how much mileage Dremel has gotten out of, essentially, one tool. This is because of two things; first, their rotary tool is just about the best out there, and second, because the company does little else, they are able to devote a boatload of resources to making new attachments and accessories. Since each of these attachments alters the use of the tool, Dremel is constantly reinventing their rotary tool and finding new things that it can do. The latest and most involved of these is the Dremel Workstation. Part drill press, part tool stand, and part bench grinder.

Once your Dremel is fit into the drill press, it can bore holes up to two inches at angles between 0 and 90, in 15 degree increments. Like a full-sized drill press there is a depth stop as well as four clamping points to keep the unit stable while you work.

With the tool attached and completely horizontal, the stand also functions as a rotary tool holder, turning it into something of a bench grinder. This stabilizes the tool and frees up both of your hands for the really delicate work.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 26, 2007

Dremel Duo (Stylus & Driver) - Review

dremel_duo1.jpgDremel has just released a new lithium-ion powered screwdriver, the Dremel Driver, and they've bundled it with their Dremel Stylus, which has been out since 2006. We were curious to see how Dremel was going to handle the whole lightweight lithium-ion screwdriver thing and we jumped at the chance to test out the little guy and as a bonus, we got our hands on the Stylus as well.

The Dremel Driver and Stylus come nicely packaged together, but are also available as stand alones (more on that later). They come with a stand/charger that fits both tools, charging one at a time. There is also a nice little compartmentalized case for your rotary bits and driver bits as well as an expansion piece for the stand that clicks onto the side and provides a space to store your bits for easy access. This last piece isn't pictured, as we lost it somewhere along the way during our test phase. We're pretty sure it's in the truck somewhere.

dremel_duo_box.jpg

The system has no removable battery to charge. Instead the entire unit clicks into the stand and it does its charging there. This situation presents no bench top space issues, seeing as both of these tools combined are hardly any bigger than the standard 18-volt battery and won't be taking up much space at all.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 4, 2007

Dremel Duo Arrives for Review

dremel_duo.jpg
Dremel has just released their first cordless screwdriver, and they were nice enough to send one over to us so that we can check it out. Like all Dremel tools, it's not only compact (about 5" in length), but it's also so ergonomically thought out that we think you could spend days using it and hardly even know that you had it in your hands. The tool can be purchased by itself or bundled with the cordless Dremel stylus in a package called the Dremel Duo. We've got the combo pack, so we'll be using both tools and letting you know how they are. Stay tuned.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 20, 2007

Dremel 75th Anniversary Rotary Tool Kit - Review

kit.jpgJust about everyone agrees that Dremel is the king of the rotary tool, but did you know that they've been at it since 1932? Way back then, they released an electric razor blade sharpener and soon after introduced the Moto-Tool, their first rotary tool. Since then, it's been one success after another and now they have decided to mark their 75th anniversary with a limited-edition commemorative tool kit. Needless to say, we were pretty thrilled when they kindly let us test one out.

The tool comes in a metal case with the commemorative Dremel logo imprinted on the lid. Although it's a bit impractical for throwing in the back of the truck and heading off to the jobsite, the case is very cool and fits the limited-edition nature of the kit. The tool itself also has a retro look and feel with a number of chrome accents, including the collet, brush caps, on/off/speed switch as well as a chrome version of Dremel's old-school logo printed on the side. The set comes with, you guessed it, 75 accessories. The accessories cover the basics of the rotary tool world; there are sanding bands, polishing wheels, cut-off wheels, steel brushes, grinding stones, and even a small container of polishing compound. It's a solid starter set, with just enough of everything to get you interested and wanting more.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 19, 2007

Dremel 75th Anniversary Rotary Tool Kit

75th-Anniversary-Tool-Kit.jpgIt's hard to believe, but Dremel was founded in 1932 and sold the world's first rotary tool way back in 1935. Now, seventy-five years later there is still no doubt that they are the kings of the rotary market. To celebrate this milestone, they're selling a commemorative Rotary Tool Kit. But if you want one, you'd better act fast, because it's only going to be available for a limited time.

The kit comes with a variable speed Dremel tool, stylized for this edition with chrome plated accents and a retro version of Dremel's logo. Also included are 75 accessories, capable of polishing, grinding, cutting, buffing and all the other tasks that rotary tools can do. If that wasn't good enough, Dremel has thrown in a 12-in-1 Multi-Tool (think Leatherman), free. The entire kit comes in a groovy, retro tin box and costs about $75 (get it....75?).

Although there's the whole commemorative, limited-edition thing going on here, it's still a Dremel rotary tool and, we assume, up to the same level of quality as their other models. So you can either keep it on the shelf as a collector's item next to your Millennium Falcon or you can put it to work. We suggest buying two, one for the work bench and one for ebay.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 10, 2007

Ryobi 229 Piece Rotary Tool Kit

ryobi_rotary.jpgIt looks to us like the rotary tool has finally caught on. We always thought that it was really only a matter of time before this tool got beyond wood carvers, engravers and other specialists. We use ours on almost a daily basis, for everything from drilling to sanding to cutting. It's so lightweight and compact that it can fit just about anywhere and because there are so many different bit options its versatility is off the charts.

Ryobi has recently gotten into the fray with what looks to be a very impressive set. Their 229 Piece Rotary Tool Kit has so many accessories and extra bits that it appears to be the pinnacle of one-stop shopping. It even comes with a telescoping stand and a 36" flex shaft. At 1.2 amps, it's up so some pretty heavy-duty work, and the case alone looks like a feat of organizational engineering.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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