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Model-Builders guide to Moto Tools

November 08, 2007

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Posted:September 1st, 2009
10.32 PM
Another recommendation for Foredom, though even a Grobet flexshaft would be a step up. Folks in jewelry pretty much regard any rotary tool as a starter/travel item or just with complete snobbish scathing dismissal ;-). I'm in the former camp--while they're definitely not as good, the price difference isn't just the $50 vs. $220 machine, it's also the $30 drill press vs. the $250 drill press, etc. So I'll be running my "starter" Dremel into the ground, just doing my best to limit my purchase of accessories which won't transfer to the Foredom.

But, when you're ready to get the better goodies (and not building them yourself) the flexshaft ones are absolutely better grade. I'm sure this mini router table would not have been warped like the Dremel you looked at:

In addition to Otto Frei, Rio Grande also has a bunch of flexshaft packages and accessories--all you have to do to become a "customer" for access is register. Definitely scope out the handpieces, such as the hammer and chisel ones which might be big draws for some of what you do. There's also a belt sander made by Wolf which is quite popular.

Even if you stick with Dremel, Ryobi, or Proxxon for your machine, a burr is a burr and there's no need to buy from the device manufacturer's over-priced narrow selection when those two stores among others have an ever-growing mind-boggling assortment. I stopped looking at quick change mandrels when I found I could get a 6 pack of stainless ones with nice stable 8mm heads for $6.40 at Rio. And at Otto I have a choice of 15 cut-off/separating discs including 0.006" ultra-thins that rivals my jeweler's hand saw. (That's just the composite discs of course, not diamond or steel.)

BTW, one note on Proxxon. Their native units are metric--not so much an issue for the rotary tool as for their mills/lathes. Better for some folks (like me in jewelry) but not comfortable for everyone.
Posted:September 27th, 2008
11.50 PM
A Foredom is well worth the money. You will never buy another machine, they are also available through Wholesale Tools,, a little cheaper than MSC, and also a good source for burrs and things. Only buy American made from them, unless you like one time use tools.
 Visiting Luthier
Pennsylvania, USA
Posted:August 21st, 2008
3.37 PM
I too have suffered for years with minimal quality from the Dremel Moto-tools. I still own two but use them very sparingly because I don't want to replace all of the accessories I've collected for them until I absolutely have to.

The Proxxon moto-tool appears to be a high-quality unit. At some point in the future (when one of my Dremels dies) I'm going to get one. I'll write an evaluation after I've had hands-on experience with them.

I bought a Foredom machine as an alternative to the Dremel Moto-tool. It is more expensive to purchase but it is cheaper in the long run because of the increase in reliability (you have to maintain the flex shaft carefully). One advantage with the Foredom model I selected is that it can reverse direction. If the burr or cutter you select can work in the opposite direction then this makes some carving tasks a breeze. Guitar building supply companies such as Stewart-MacDonald or Luthier's Mercantile sell router bases to fit the Foredom tools.

McMaster-Carr is one of many places to buy high-quality burrs and cutters. MSC Industrial Supply is another one. Any large (national or local) industrial supply should have small-shank tools. I use two-flute slow-spiral "aluminum cut" carbide milling cutters to rout hardwoods such as ebony, and have no problem.

Another option is to use a smaller-size die grinder such as Makita's Model# GE0600 instead of a Moto-tool. It is larger than a Moto-Tool but smaller than most other die grinders. The GE0600 can use both 1/8" and 1/4" burrs, cutters and wheels. Just be sure they are rated for 25,000 RPM. An "Aluminum Cut" carbide burr goes through rock maple like a hot knife through butter.

I hope this information helps.

SG - "Visiting Luthier"

Posted:April 15th, 2006
6.14 AM
Take a good look at the Proxxon moto tools. They have two. The heavy duty one has an an all metal nosepiece and uses three slot collets. The hardened three slot collets are more expensive to make and are more like what's used in milling machines.

They have standard circular shoulders that fit into the vises, router bases, drill press etc. Very simple but it works unlike the cockamammy things Dremel keeps doing.

The ligher unit uses collets or keyless chuck.

Then there's the small 12volt units that weigh only 8 oz and use an external adapter and have optional foot control.

Prices are very reasonable - about the same as Dremel until they started dumping at the Depot. Heavy duty one is around $100 in kit, standard is about $70 in kit. The 12volt model is about $40 and the transformer is $40-60. Not bad for a quality product.

Whatever you do don't get the Ryobi. We attempted to try one. The first died literally within the first hour we used it. Sent it back and got another new one. That died within two days and it went out for repair. The tool came back with a 1/16" gap in the casing and didn't work. Back to the repair shop it went and when it came back it lasted maybe three days. We finally returned it for credit. What a waste of time...
Santa Barbara, Ca
Posted:June 15th, 2005
10.34 PM
I've found the Dremel high speed steel bits/burrs to be worthless. An excellent source for solid carbide burrs and grinding stones (they call them abrasive points) is McMaster-Carr ( The burrs are available in different shapes and cuts as well as extra long shanks for getting into recesses. Note however that this is a main-line industrial supply company, i.e. they're not interested in a $5-$10 order. Figure on buying enough "stuff" to total at least $50. They're also an excellent source for taps, screws, etc.
 Erik Jenssen
Posted:August 23rd, 2004
2.28 PM
Do you have any experience whith proxxon power tools?
 Gyro Sperry
Posted:June 17th, 2004
6.05 PM
I carve ducks when I'm not working on RC. Dremels get hot and the bushings wear out in no time when you're running them several hours a day. Most serious duck carvers use a Foredom moto tool to do their power carving. Problem is they're pretty expensive compared to Dremels (~$250). I found a substitute for half the price. Here is the ad I found on a duck carving site:

We now have an alternative to the Foredom and it's a good one. The best part is the price. If you are interested give us a call at 1-800-852-7352 or email us at Please put Rotary tool in the subject matter.
Here's the info:

WeCheer 330 - Heavy Duty Power Tool kit
1/4 HP Power rotary carver with 42" flex shaft and Vari- speed foot petal. 20000 rpm. Comes with Heavy duty handpiece with 3 collects 1/8"+3/32"+ 1/4". This unit will be featured shortly in Wood Carving Illustrated- by Power carving editor-Frank Russell- He highly recommendeds this unit for all carvers.
Price: $129.95

Hope this helps out.

Gyro Sperry

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