Modern Dremel tools

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by someonesdad, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    I bought my beloved Dremel tool 30+ years ago and happily used it for many years. Then, a few years back, it accidentally got left out on our (covered) patio, and rusted. I've never replaced it.

    My questions:

    1. If I were to replace mine, are the modern ones not junk? This, of course, is a subjective opinion, but I'm interested in tapping the collective experience of whether they are still worth having or not. Litmus test: if I were to use one for 15 minutes each day and it failed in a year, I consider the thing junk. Obviously, they're not built for continuous duty, but with occasional use, mine ran for a long time (I also didn't abuse it).
    2. If the answer to the previous question is "yes", what model would you recommend? I lean towards the fixed speed ball bearing model, as that has fewest things to break. If you recommend the variable speed, can you explain what uses the variable speed is useful for? Please ignore the case of running wire and synthetic brushes.
    3. Can you recommend where one can be purchased in the US without all the crud they want to sell with it (i.e., the "kit", which I find about 90% of the stuff in it worthless)?
    4. If they are considered junk, can you recommend a replacement from a different manufacturer that is not junk? Cost is not terribly important, but staying cool in the hand, light weight, and good reliability are important.
  2. KL7AJ

    Senior Member

    Nov 4, 2008

    The new Dremels are fabulous. (I still have my Dad's old Dremel from the 1940s he used in making HO trains). But the newer ones are variable speed with a STAGGERING number of new attachments...flexible drives, right angle drives, foot controls, etc. My favorite attachment is a circular saw (not cheap, around $25) that is FANTASTIC for cutting holes in the middle of panelling for outlets and switches. Just great for whittling, too!

  3. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    Thanks, KL7AJ. I don't need any attachments right now, but I'm really interested in knowing whether they stand up to average use or show any problems after a while. Also, if you take it apart, does it look reasonably well constructed?
  4. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    A lot more plastic than they used to have, and since the bodies have changed it is a bit harder to get things like drill presses (I still have my old ones). Overall, I still like em. My newest unit needs to have a spare battery, so I can charge the old one while I use the other battery. I love the battery though, makes it much more flexable.
  5. DC_Kid

    Distinguished Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    i believe they still make the hefty unit that hangs and has the flexible driveshaft. i think it also has a foot pedal. this unit is good for continuous use. the others you find at HD and the like are ok, but certainly not for hefty use, etc...
  6. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    For the flexible driveshaft one, you're probably talking about the ones made by Foredom. I have one of those and they're OK, but I like the portability of the Dremel. Besides, the Dremel can clamp in my lathe and make a great toolpost grinder.

    I thought this question would get a lot more feedback from the experienced DIY-ers on this board... :)
  7. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    I think they are still good, but I don't use them 15 min per day on average. My modern one has lasted years, but I only use it a few hours per year.

    I doubt they last like the old ones though. I'm amazed at how long the old stuff lasts. I still have a working old Dremel like tool from my grandfather. I don't know if it's a Dremel because he was a dentist and this was just an old style drill they used back them, perhaps for work outside the mouth(?), I'm guessing. But I watched him use this for years for crafts after he retired, and now I have it since he has passed. I also have an old metal fan from his office. Both of these things are about 60 years old and still work perfectly. Then there are the two Electrolux vaccuums that worked for 50 years and only needed the switches replaces. And, the refridgerator from the 1950s that never broke. Unfortunately, the vacuums and the refridgerator met their end in a fire when my Grandfather's lakehouse burned down in 1996. That's what it takes to kill the old stuff. :)
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2009
  8. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    I hear you. We have and use appliances that my parents had in the 1940's. Only the waffle iron ever broke and that was a broken piece of Nichrome wire. I bought another piece and fixed it 15-20 years ago and it has worked fine ever since.