Choice of rotary tools

I have not picked out a rotary tool yet & thought I would start a thread to see what different rotary tools people are using with this cool CNC machine and how they are attaching them. I started to buy the harbor freight that was mentioned on thingiverse since their was a 20% off an item this weekend, but with the comments on it overheating I decided to pass. Maybe all these types of tools will have some heat buildup running continuously. I saw the designer of this project was using the Foredom flex shaft which is quite a bit more expensive, but if it is a lot more durable it may be worth it in the long run. This place is about the best price I have found for a Foredom so far.
I am not sure if that is the model that Allted is using.

Anyway, I would like to hear what other people are using & how they are hooking them up to this CNC machine. I would really like to spend somewhere in the $100 or less range for this.


I have the harbor freight spindle set, but used a Foredom hand piece, I would not buy it again, bearings wore out fast and still has some play after replacing the bearings. The one that comes with the harbor freight works fine but it does not use 1/4 bits. I have run the motor 6 hours straight without issues, and have about 50 hours on it so far.

I bought a generic flex shaft rotary tool from amazon, for $60. I didn’t like the hand piece that came with it because the chuck fell off during use, it was press fit. So I bought a foredom 43t hand piece from ebay for $40. It has been perfect, 3 size collets, barely even gets warm. It all depends what you want to cut. I wanted the extra power for occasional aluminum. If you aren’t doing metal, just get the harbor freight faux dremel, I have one and it’s pretty nice.

I tried to find a link, I was sure it was the same as the harbor freight one.

Remember to lube the flex shaft with white lithium often.

I am starting to like the idea of getting mini bench grinder that has a flex shaft attachment. I currently do not have a grinder, so it might serve double duty for me. I wonder if it will be more noisy though. There are quite a variety of these out there. Here is one link on Amazon.

Harbor freight has one of these also.

The flex shaft length is 42" for that one on Amazon & the harbor freight one is only 31". Seems like I will loose at least 12" in length with the bends of cable with the grinder at the side middle.

Here are some links I have found on router options to use that other people might be interested in taking a look at. I am mostly going to cut wood to begin with, but eventually would like to be able to cut or drill 6061 T6 Aluminum in order to make a new build plate for my 3d printer.

I like the idea of using the Dewalt DW660 ($52) which gives you a 1/4" collet. It is single speed but can be used with a router speed control ($32 from Amazon, $20 from harbor Freight) with some success. It is a bit heavier (3.2lbs) than some of these other options. Is that too heavy for this design?

How well do you think the Proxxon 28512 12-Volt Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool would work with this design? It is $53 & you also have to buy the $30 power supply to run it.

I already have one of these Mastergrip tools listed below, so I was thinking about trying this to start with since the only cost would be in designing a tool holder to fit it. This weighs 18.6oz.

Here is another inexpensive option that has a flex shaft for it. This is rated at 1amp, so it is probably about the same power rating as the Mastergrip I have.

Speed Control options

Hi all,

I have not finish printing my parts yet but wondering if anyone have tried and use Proxxon’s rotary tool? I have their pro rotary IBS/E model and was thinking about testing it when I get everything built.

50 watts is that enough grunt to cut what you want? Or is the flex shaft the weak point anyway?

Anyone seen these:

Is there a downside that I’m missing? Should have less run-out than a cheap dremel (for a similar price).

They say 0.01 to 0.03mm accuracy, that’s got to be way better than a dremel (my dremel has 0.5 to 1mm, admittedly it’s a cheapo but…)

You still need a power supply and a speed controller. That brings the price up. 400W is about the smallest you should do. I think they are really nice just a bit expensive. I’m trying to work a bulk order price…

Do you mean 400watts of cutting power should be the minimum spindle we should aim at?

Inventables have a 300W speed controller for 35 bucks. I agree a bulk ordering to get the price down would be great, mark me down for one.

Do you think speed control is needed for this application? Couldn’t we just run it flat out the whole time?

Spindle ~$80, speed controller (Necessary) ~$35, power supply ~$70.

I keep trying spindles, I haven’t cut with the dw660 yet but it seems great for ~$55 plus $5.99 for a dimmer. Don’t remember off the top of my head but it’s around 600 watts. I have it mounted and everything but I can’t find any spare time yet. Another user has used his twice and says it is good and is running cool so far. I’ll post a video ASAP.

Depends on what you are cutting but I’d say anything under 300W is going to take a really long time to do anything but foam, or maybe PCB’s.

I am not an expert in this stuff, I just keep buying and trying, so you don’t have too.

I can’t get the DW660 in AUS, apparently it’s 110V only. Shame.

I can get these though: which look to fit the requirements. They are 1.8KG though - is that too heavy?

Also concerns me how bulky they are.

I use the makita on my shapeoko

Have you built a Mostly Printed yet?

Wondering whether the Shapeoko is more rigid? Don’t really want to spend the 200 for nothing.

Waiting on bearings and still printing.


It is fairly heavy.

I am still trying to figure out which rotary tool to eventually buy, but still going to try the rotary tool I have to start with since I only have to buy end mills. I found this End Mill Starter set for 1/8" shank that looks like a good 5 piece set to start with for $20.

They also have a quiet cut 300watt spindle for $80, but you still have to get the power supply & speed controller.

I would shop around a bit.

Definitely use your rotary tool, it might just do what you want. If you choose to upgrade go bigger than the 300W.

Okay I finally tested the new setup.

I had a bad file so the part didn’t come out but I’m uploading a few quick snippets of video.

So I have no idea why it is cutting so much better but it could be that I finally screwed it down (it was double sided taped before), the new better middle z part, or the dw660 spindle but this thing was killing it! When the file screwed up I had it at 120% feed rate and it was cutting at least 3mm at a pass in red oak and it wasn’t having any issues I could have went deeper or faster!

Setting were .6 DOC, 25mm/s +120% no problems

PS I need to make a new forum for hardware, this is getting jumbled.