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Foredom or Dremel?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Will52100, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Will52100

    Will52100 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 4, 2001
    Which is a better shop tool? I've used a dremel for several years and mine finaly craped out. The flex shaft would never engage unless held a certain way. The foredom looks a lot more heavy duty and more powerfull. The down side is that the foredom doesn't have the RPM that the dremel does. The foredom is between 15 and 18 thou RPM, the dremel up to 35 thousand RPM. I've never been convinced that the dremel Needs that high a speed, but what is everybodies experiance?

    I normaly use a dremel and cut off wheels to skelitonize full tanges, maybe a little grinding on linner locks, and inletting some handles.

    What's your opions?

  2. James_Terrio


    Oct 6, 2008
    I haven't tried a foredom but they do look pretty nice. I almost never run my Dremel wide open; it just makes more noise and tears up disposables quicker. I don't think it really cuts that much faster. So I don't think the speed would be a problem.
  3. Phil Dwyer

    Phil Dwyer KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 28, 2006
    Hi Will,

    I've used both a fair bit. Coming from a jewelry making background, I'd opt for the flexible shaft machine with a foot pedal. But then, a rotary machine that fits in the palm of your hand and can be flicked on and off with your thumb can be pretty handy too. It can especially be useful if you want to do something standing up or in a location away from a foot pedal. Anyway, I don't know as I used a Dremel wide open at full speed much anyway.

    You might want to check eBay. There are lots of folks selling all kinds, makes and models of small rotary machines.

    Good luck, Phil
  4. Redrummd

    Redrummd Moderator Moderator

    May 21, 2007
    I have two foot pedal Foredom units and two lithium battery powered dremel units. If I had to pick just one I would opt for the lithium dremel. Better yet two lithium dremels and save the extra money for beer....

    You can take the lithium powered dremels anywhere in the shop or out in the yard or in the house for any small project.

    I just use the Foredom's for heavy work or if I want to have four different tools set up for use at the same time on my main work bench.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  5. Bruce Bump

    Bruce Bump KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 1999
    I have two Foredoms and two dremels. I use my 1/4 hp foredom daily to hog off material and contour grips mostly. It is so powerful it has never seen top speed. The 1/10 hp foredom never gets used but makes a good backup. Both dremels get a work out. One is ready for replacement after only 6 years. The newer lithium dremel is smooth as glass but not as comfy to use due to the heavy battery on the end.

    I would stay away from the cheap knockoffs of the foredom and dremel. Name brand really is best on these two items. I shopped around and found that Rio Grande had the best prices on Foredoms at the time.
  6. blindhogg


    Feb 21, 2001
    I have two foredoms that I purchased after my dremel stopped working two years ago. Go Foredom if you can you will not regret it.
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I have 9 foredom and two dremel units. Both dremels have dead batteries from never being used. I have dremel's units up to 1/3 HP, and handpieces that run 35K. IMHO, you can't beat a good flexshaft. Buy a name brand unit, though. The cheapies on ebay are short life units.
  8. David Wesner

    David Wesner

    Jan 5, 2005

    A Foredom flex shaft unit is an indispensable bench tool IMHO, along with a good selection of hand pieces. There are a bunch available and each one has its purpose and works great for it !! Everything from rotary, to impact, to reciprocating polishing tools, each and every one is a well made, long life tool.

    Something I've been considering, and you might want to check out are the micro-motor grinders that are available now. Kind of a cross between the dremel and a flex shaft. Foredom makes them as does NSK ( nice units ! ) and a few others. Very, very nice tools !! A bit more pricey but man are they sweet !!! Most of the micro-motor grinders have the screaming RPM's plus the torque, that is usually missing when you move to a high RPM unit.

    Dayum Stacy :eek: 9 foredom flex shafts ??? I can only wish for such a bench :grumpy: ;)

  9. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I have a very old Foredom that I've used for many years after buying it at a local Jewelry supply. Great piece of shop equipment and probably still one of the most used items out there in my shop. I bought another unit about a year and half ago from the same Jeweler here in town that sold me the Foredom years ago only now he carries a brand called Pro-Craft by Grobet USA http://www.fdjtool.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=MO310

    The Pro-Craft units are much the same in how they are built and even the same color as the Foredom only the Pro-Craft was like half the price of the Foredom and a bigger more powerful unit. He no longer carries the Foredom line so it was either buy one of his or mail order. He let me come in back and play with his own since his shop is set up with several of them for the workers. It was quite nice and very quiet. I bought one on the spot. Both have been excellent machines. I do like the very precise and sensitive foot control of the new on though. Its digital or something and much more infinitely controllable than the old one. I'm sure the new Foredom units are just as advanced as the new Pro-Craft but you'll pay a lot more for it.

  10. Will52100

    Will52100 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 4, 2001
    Thanks, I think I'll get the foredom, I normaly used the dremel like a foredom, flex shaft and hung up.
  11. The main difference is that the foredom has more torque than the dremel. I have 2 dremels, when those crap out I will be upgrading to this-


    POWER/HAND® 2X Marathon System
    The affordable do-it-all rotary micromotor system! Great for polishing and texturing jewelry surfaces, sizing, drilling, stone setting, making beautiful bright-cuts and much more. Helps increase production, saving you time and money. Allows quick tool changes to keep work flowing. Provides finer control and better range of motion than a traditional flex shaft to handle especially delicate jobs.

    Includes compact 110/220V controller with dial speed control and forward/reverse direction switch, 35,000rpm lightweight rotary handpiece with quick-change collet and flexible curl cord, variable-speed foot rheostat, handpiece cradle rest and safety glasses. Controller also accommodates our full line of Power Hand 2X Handpieces. Collets not interchangeable.

  12. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    Tnx, Chuck! Perfect timing---My Dremel is losing it.
  13. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008
    I have a Foredom which is an awesome tool. Also, if I want to use larger bits and sanding drums for contouring handles, I bought myself a flexible shaft that attaches to my drill press. Those are really handy as well.
  14. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    If I turned on all the motors in all my shops at one time, I would black out the state.

    I have nine benches set up in the three shops, plus the grinding shop.Some benches are dedicated to gemology, watches, or faceting, but most have from one to three flex shafts at each bench. I have two Power Gravers set up, a Graver max,and a Graver Meister. On the wood carving bench there are two flex shafts,a 1/4HP hand held woodhog grinder, an automach , an Excalibre', and several other powered hand tools. Now that I count, I have 12 flex shaft units set up ( and several spares in boxes). I have dozens of hand pieces with specific bits in them and change hand pieces during repetitive operations.H Other indispensable tools are, hammer hand pieces, diamond tipped stipplers, reciprocating carvers, etc.
    I have used the pneumatic power grinders at 400,000RPM, and several micro motors. I still like the flex shaft for torque and control.I haven't used a micromoter or Dremel in a good while.
  15. Raymond Richard

    Raymond Richard

    Jun 17, 2001
    I have never had much luck with Dremel's. I sure like my Foredom. I would suggest getting an extra flex shaft as a spare. They will break when you get the bit tangled up with your britches.
  16. Bruce Bump

    Bruce Bump KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 1999
    That would make a good Utube video Papa. :D
  17. sunshadow


    Oct 2, 2006
    I use Foredom every day, love it!
    I have a lithium portable dremel for use at shows when I am miles from power, it is useful for lightweight low precision stuff, I would never dream of serious cutting or stonesetting with it. The last time I worked at a high end jewelry store I had a foredom and a micromotor on my bench, I used the micromotor for stuff that needed absolute precision since the manager was too cheap to provide new handpieces for the foredom when the collets and bearings were shot, and any good tools I brought in from home would get vandalized by the polisher (drunken a%% stoner with no respect for tools!)
    Dremels must be useful for something or they wouldn't make so darn many of them, but they wear out really quickly, have no torque, and they wobble too much for my tastes.

  18. Phil Dwyer

    Phil Dwyer KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 28, 2006
    :eek: I hope that's ALL it gets tangled up in! :eek:
  19. Kunklec


    Aug 21, 2006
    I have a WECHEER, made in China. It looks, acts and interchanges handpieces with the Foredom, but cheaper. Been using it a lot in the last 3 years with no problems. They even have a recip piecs for it if you like to do carving. Got it from some wood worker site.
    Chip Kunkle
  20. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Does the Foredom spin away from a right handed user, or does it throw debris in your face the same as the dremmel?

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