Lowe's has the Dremel xpr400 for about $75 on sale. The Foredom is $239,
and is stated as being for woodworking.
I intend to use it on steel, but nothing really heavy. Just some fine
What do you use and like?
If I go with Foredom, do I have to use proprietary bits? I saw a ton of
these at a swap meet the other day, and if they can chuck up, they would be
I know Foredom is a much better unit, and it has a handpiece on a shaft
instead of you holding the motor. Do I really need to spend the extra for
the Foredom, or will the Dremel do most stuff?
I hae a Dremel and two Foredoms (actually, a Foredom and a Pfsing -- about
the same as a Foredom, with interchangeable handpieces).
Depends on the handpiece you get. You can get several different collet
chucks, or a jacobs chuck handpiece. Nothing is proprietary.
The Foredom will last you a lifetime and almost all components that wear out
are replaceable. You can use it for hours at a time, day after day, for
years and years. Don't think in those terms for the Dremel. It is a
hobbyist tool. The Foredom is a professional tool. You get what you pay
It should be against the law to sell motor tools that do not have a
flexible shaft and a foot pedal control. The job takes three hands: one to
hold the tool, one to hold the work, and one to control the speed. A
flexible shaft and foot pedal does that job. If you want to go the cheaper
route, by a Dremel and get the flexible shaft for it. Then go to a sewing
machine place and buy a cheap foot control. This will cost far less than a
Foredom. Then, as time goes by you'll luck in to additional Foredoms at
yard sales, etc. Eventually you'll end up with a half-dozen.
I have an old Foredom type 505 that was given to me by an old lady
who used to use it to make jewelry. i use it for similar type stuff.
This unit is smaller than the modern ones, and no snap on detachable
handpiece. It uses the same type collets as a Dremel. It has worked
fine up until recently, when the motor started to give off a small but
distinct ozone odor when running. I presume that the brushes are
failing. They are not as easy to check as the newer foredoms, gotta
take the motor apart to get at them. I have not gotten to that yet.
Knowing it was a real long-shot, I emailed some pictures of it to
Foredom to see if they might have parts! The woman who replied was
very helpful, and after several emails over a few days, and some
research on her part, she informed me that:
"Sorry, we do not have parts for that anymore",
"That machine is about 60 years old."
Oh well. I can't complain about that, I suppose. And i can't think of
a better product endorsement. I have wanted a "real" Foredom for some
years now. i even have a #30 handpiece I picked up someplace waiting
for the day I get it!
Maybe this is an excuse to start fishing around ebay.
Consider the Proxxon also. Costs somewhere between Dremel and Foredom.
Doesn't come with flex drive, but I don't find that a problem. Speed
control is built in. The main advantage is that it has a tiny Jacobs chuck,
which allows you to hold all the small drill sizes. The system that uses
changeable collets (Dremel) is a pain, 'cause it seems like you are always
wanting to use a bit with a diameter that's different than the set up you
happen to have.
Anything but the Dremel, IMHO. I use a vintage Foredom; It'll accept
any shaft a Dremel will and more, plus more "git er done" power.
There's other recommendations along the Foredom type line, good ideas.
No to Dremel
If you were looking only at units in a store, I'd suggest starting with the
Dremel and, then, if you find yourself stretching its limits, get the
If you can get the Foredom(s) at anywhere near (within $30-$50) what that
Dremel will cost and will be content with just the handgrip/flex-shaft then
go with the Foredom.
The only real "advantage" that the Dremel offers is in the area of
attachments: Drill Press/Tool Stand, Router (both fixed and plunge), Shaper
Table, etc., that enables someone with virtually zero storage/work space to
have a miniture shop to work on small projects. [Their flex-shaft works -
sorta - but is no competetion for Foredom's.]
Both will take standard 1/8"-shank burrs [HSS, Carbide, & Diamond] including
those made for other brands. Dremel also offers collet sets for even smaller
shanks. (I forget the exact sizes.)
I've used my Dremels to work with wood, glass, plastic, ceramic, copper,
brass, and steel using a wide variety of burrs and "attachments". [Yah - I
have several.] Most of the time, however, I end up using Diamond burrs that
can, now, be picked up rather cheaply.
FWIW, if you tend to work both metal AND wood you might want to check out
gave me at Valentines Day. (The circle cutter works *very* well. )
Both have their places - the "trick" is to use them each for what they each
I use Dremel tools mostly on electronic stuff - making holes in plastic, stuff
like that. For anything metal I use carbide burrs in a die grinder. I'm not sure
when I'd use a nice Foredom unit if I had one.
Most of the time I'm working on small stuff - knives, small parts, etc. -
and reserve the die grinder for "bigger" things and "bigger" jobs such as
roughing out a blade shape, knocking rust off larger surfaces, etc., that
either the Dremels are unsuited for or too weak for.
Since the prices have come down considerably, I tend to prefer diamond burrs
over carbides, especially when working with hardened/tempered steel.
Here's some you might like to "play" with:
another "sometimes useful" item is
The surprising thing about these is how well they've held up.
Die grinders are ten times the tool that a dremel is, generally have 1/4
inch shanks, I run carbide burrs and flap wheels in my die grinder.
I have a Dremel, but I use it very little. For small jobs, the 1/4 inch
die grinder is too big, which is when I pull out the Dremel.
Grant Erw> I use Dremel tools mostly on electronic stuff - making holes in plastic,