Dremel replacement

I have had this Harbor Freight version of a Dremel tool for the past 8 years and for the $10 I paid for it I think that I got pretty good use for my money. Well, the chuck lock hole has 'stretched' making it hard to remove tools from the collet because the pin can't get enough of a bite. I got to a HF over the weekend and they no longer carry the variable speed control. The choices are constant speed (12v) or four pre-sets (120v). I've looked into Dremel but have noted a surprising number of posts on forums which say that Dremel has lost it's quality and not in line with the price tag. Do any of you know of an off-brand with fully variable speeds? If I find a used Dremel how would I know/ suspect some issues - the smell of burned electronics - the ability to stall the motor with hand power or using a cutting tool that I commonly use and try it out? Anything else?
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I bought a Dremel Advantage several years ago and was very disappointed in its performance with the few times that I actually used it. I bought a reconditioned RotoZip at Amazon last fall and was impressed from day one. I got one with the adjustable chuck. Much easier and quicker to switch bits in the middle of a job than using the collets.
Try Ebay for the Dremel or look for reconditioned RotoZips.
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John Grabowski wrote:

Dremel, the quality has gone way down. I have had a Dremel tool since the early 70s. The best tool was one with ball bearings and a rotary speed control. When that tool finally broke, I called Dremel and they, for a small fee, sent me a brand spankin new style (probably reconditioned) tool. At full speed it vibrated big time ... so much so, that the slide speed control would walk to a different speed. Plus, the torque was very low compared the to old unit. I complained so much, that my son bought me a birthday present of a Ryobi unit. It had a very good feel and balance. The torque was better than the older Dremel. The top speed was not as good, though. So, for torque, I use the Ryobi. Where high speed is needed, I go to the Dremel even though it has the balance problem. Recently I bought a the new cordless Dremel with the lithium ion battery .... pretty impressive. Of course, because it is battery operated, the torque is not that great, but works great for most things. The one problem is the chuck. It stuck one time so bad, that I had to send it to Dremel. It's happened twice since, however, I was finally able to free it. As for the Roto-Zip I have one also (I'm a tool junkie!). While it's a pretty good tool, for the things I use the Dremel, it's far too large. It depends on use.
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Black and Decker RTX. Great quality ises all dremel stuff. (Amazon.com product link shortened)

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Big Jim wrote:

get one to add to my collection of Dremels and Ryobi. It is only 3 speeds, but that would probably be more than sufficient.
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I guess I'll hang onto my old Dremel 270 single speed unit. 8-) I use a lamp dimmer as a speed controller.
Sad to hear Dremel's quality has tanked.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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wrote:

I bought an old Dremel in a garage sale for a buck that was broke. I went to the web site and found out they still sell all the parts for the old one and 10 bucks later I was good to go. Fix your old one, don't get a new chinese junker.
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I agree with John that the RotoZip is a superior tool as a router or spiral saw. IMO, it is not a replacement for a dremel style tool.
The two are designed for very different work. I own and use both tools. Just like I own a spade, a flat nose and round point shovel. Match your tool to the job you need to do.
On mine the 5 speeds are fairly spread out. I have not tried the HF model.
Colbyt
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I'm surprised the HF is not available. I have one and so far (after a few years) seems to be somewhat better than my 30-year-old Dremel ever was. My Dremel had a lot of use but overall I was not real thrilled with the quality.
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I'm pretty satisfied with the Dremel kit that I walked out of Lowes with for $15.
Dremel 400-3/55 400 Series 55 Piece XPR Rotary Tool Kit
http://www.toolsforless.com/product/30586
$90 on sale for $75, a $50 gift card and a $10 Lowes merchandise card. It even came with a free engraving tool. Quite a deal.
My only issue is how hot it gets at high speed. I have to hold it just so or I think I would literally burn my hand. Other than that, it has worked for many, many projects over the last year and a half.
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Foredom
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