I think I fixed it!
After I made the last video on this tool, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was really puzzled.
Gunshow – A Comic by KC Green
Why would Dremel make such a terrible tool? How did it make business sense to design, produce and market this thing? It’s pretty cheap even off sale and the 4.8V Dremel MiniMite was already occupying the shelf and price space. They’re competing with themselves to sell people a vastly inferior product.
After I couldn’t stop thinking about it I decided I would take it apart and just see if I could come up with any way to make use of the thing. My initial thought was reversing the turbine and then using compressed air to run it in reverse. AvE did a video sort of showing that, though he didn’t reverse the turbine.
The strange thing is NOT that it’s full of drywall dust because this is post fix!
Once I took it apart, I noticed something very strange about it. With a very simple fix, the thing was zipping along! I ran it through all the same tests as in my first video and all of them had very noticeable differences in performance with the same tool, and the same Shop-Vac.
No trick photography needed this time!
What was the fix? Well I noticed that while I was trying to spin the turbine by hand it had a lot of drag. As soon as you stopped pushing it, it stopped dead. Even though it had bearings on both ends of the turbine it was acting like it was riding on a fine layer of molasses.
The twin culprits.
All I did to fix it was really soak those two bearings down with a PTFE lubricant. Once I had sufficiently soaked them, I gave the turbine a flick and it kept spinning for a good 10-15 seconds!
After reassembling it and hooking it up to the vacuum I heard the familiar Dremel whine telling me it was spinning a lot faster than before. Once I touched the sanding drum to the wood I knew that a new vigor had been awoken in this once corpse-esque tool.
Sadly it did not fix the vacuum function. This is still a tool with a 4 year-old’s mindset. It’s happy to fling crap everywhere but will throw a fit and refuse to clean any of it up.
Look it’s making a mess, and that’s a good thing in this case.
It can now sand! You really could use it for making a pinewood derby car. Probably… Though you could also use a lot of other cheap tools that would work better.
No longer gang affiliated!
It can still engrave! It already could do it pre-fix, but it is a lot better at it now. I actually went in too hot and deep not expecting it to be able to bite in so hard and it took a pretty big chunk out of the vicegrip. The engraving was deep enough that I could feel it through the glove.
It sounds like you’re slowly letting the air out of a balloon in front of a megaphone but it’s the lesser of some evils.
It can now cut drywall in a really slow squeaky fashion. I won’t lie and say it’s GOOD at cutting drywall, but it CAN do it. I would much prefer the squeaky crappy performance of this tool to using a drywall saw. They are just awful to use.
Just say no…
I believe that with this newfound gutsballsness, that this tool is on the same level as a 4.8V rotary tool. I would say that it decently matches its marketing claims. It’s still a huge whimpy babby compared to my Dremel 300, but it was never going to compete with that. It’s trying to compete with the MiniMite and the crappy rotary tool / engraver HF sells.
Do not take this at all to mean that Dremel gets a pass on this tool. There’s clearly something wrong with it from delivery. It seems like everyone I’ve seen test this tool has had the same horrible performance right out of the box. Are these units that have been sitting for a long time in a warehouse and the lubricant degraded in the bearings? Are these the result of a manufacturing/supply chain screw up and Dremel doesn’t know that they are being sold with garbage bearings in them?
I have no idea, but what I do know is I want to hear from more people if this fixes their issue. If you’ve got one of these things, take it apart and blast the heck outta the bearings with a good spray lubricant. See if you can tell a difference in performance, and post about it either in the comments on this post or over on the YouTube video. Maybe if this fix gets some visibility then people out there could really get some good use out of these 9$ rotary tools. 9$ is pretty cheap for almost any tool that works. Now I can happily say that this tool DOES sorta almost work at least for me.
Last I saw, these things are still 9$ at your local Lowes, or if you’d rather just sit at home and have this little experiment come to you, there’s always Amazon:
Once again, this IS an affiliate link, and I will know if you bought it. However you won’t be judged anymore! These are enlightened times where rotary tools can change. They are not forever branded with the Scarlett S is for Sucks.