Instructables
Picture of How To Tighten Up A Sloppy Second Hand Dremel
One problem with Dremel tools is that they don't always age gracefully, after a number of years of service they can develop a lot of lateral play in the spindle. Since the majority of uses for a Dremel place a side load on the spindle, it deforms the bearing mounts over time, I'll show you a quick trick to tighten them back up.

This Dremel I picked up at a garage sale had almost 1/16 of an inch of visible lateral play before.
 
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Step 3: The fix

First peel the rubber boot off the back bearing, now cut some narrow strips of paper tape (masking tape, painters tape, whatever). Wipe the grease off the outside of the bearings, and wrap two to three turns around the bearing, replace the rubber boot and reassemble.

After doing this my Dremel now has no visible play in the spindle.

ro0ter10 months ago
Well, go figure.. Bad plastics allover the place. I have some sort of dremel clone, made by Einhel Bavaria (orange one, 135 watt, ~$33), but I compared it to an original dremel and mine is made of better quality and thicker plastic. Yet, the plastic wore out very fast... I already have it for like 5 years, and it has an annoying play very noticeable when I try to drill pcbs for tht components...

What I did is to have the bearings surrounded by some narrow and thin strips of deer leather. The fact that the leather is so soft would definitely help the plastic, and leather is also good at protecting the plastic from future wear.

As if this wasn`t enough, I still experienced some rattle which told me that instance that I have faulty bearings... So I purchased two sets of 606zz and 698zz bearings. It worked so smooth!!! I just had to press and gently knock the bearings off the shaft with a set of pliers and a hammer against a wooden block. They are just press-fitted. WD40 helps a lot, but make sure to clean the shaft before so that you don`t have debris jamming your press-fitted bearing on its way out.

I have just seen this tutorial today (5th feb 2014), I really hope it will be better indexed so that it helps a lot more people. It took me quite some while to "engineer" the solution I applied, I almost bought a new dremel.

Regards!!
ro0ter ro0ter10 months ago

Just wanted to add something more:

If you are still unable to drill small holes like 0.5mm (drill breaks / hole turns out bigger) or if you are still unable to perform clean and narrow cuts (disk breaks / cut is wide), then it may also be a collet problem. It also happened to me, and I just remembered today: if you have "after-market" collets for your dremel`s chuck, these might have their body (the part that goes deep inside the chuck) narrower than you dremel`s inside pipe diameter. Just use some shrinking tube / painter`s tape and help it fit better.

Don`t worry, the collet alignment help won`t wear out as it only helps you guide the collet through the chuck`s pipe when you insert it. Once you tighten up the chuck, it would be almost impossible to move it inside (unless excessive force is applied to your dremel also resulting in damaging bearings / bearing housings / body / tool).

Drill well and be well!

James1862 years ago
Thanks so much TUA.
I've just done this to my dremel and it is now very smooth and sounds healthy.
(It was very noisy - in 1st speed it was noisier than it is now in full speed)
b0bb02 years ago
TUA,

I just bought a "good condition" used Dremel 395 online, and when I turned it on it sounded horrible. My wife, said, "That sounds terrible! You aren't going to keep it, are you?" I mumbled something to her and thought, bad bearings. I was pissed.

On my search for where to get bearings and how to replace them, I ran across your fix. Mine sure had more play than I could blame on bearings. Based on the "cost" of your fix, I gave it a shot on the front bearing only since the rear one seemed OK.

Five minutes later the thing sounds brand new! You saved me a WHOLE lot of trouble! Thanks!

BTW, the bearings seem to be in great shape. I wonder how many of these things got thrown out over the years for lack of a piece of masking tape.

b0bb0
I use a flex shaft to carve a lot of stone and wood materials. I've already gone through two of them this year. Do you know where I can get bearings for them or how to replace them? the flex shaft is a little expensive, and I'm sick of replacing the whole thing.
By far the best selection of power tool replacement parts on the web.

http://www.ereplacementparts.com/

I order from them all the time.
This is great !!!! thanks for shareing the link I live one block from a recycling center and the aways have things ti sale real cheap thanks to you I got a place to get parts thank you,,,
Tool Using Animal (author)  morbius420766 years ago
I've no idea how to remove them, but if you can get them out and measure with calipers mcmasters carr is a great source for almost any sized bearing
sharlston5 years ago
add  a bit of grease the bearings when u put it toether
eric m5 years ago
Always wanted to know what the insides looke like of the dremel. couldn't find anything on google images. ignore below. Inside Dremel. Inside a dremel. Repair dremel. Repair a dremel. Disassembled Dremel. Disassembled Dremel. Disassembled Dremel.
bobbyrae5 years ago
I have a Dremel 395 that looks identical to yours and was just today thinking about checking it for runout before getting into doing PCBs. What luck that I ran across your Instructable! It is so simple that I didn't think it could help, but grabbed the thing, checked the end play, pulled it apart, did just what you said and the end play was gone! Turned out that the front bearing was REALLY loose in the housing. The bad news: I think the shaft is slightly bent since I still have some runout. Some? Maybe I should say tons! The longer the bit the worse it gets; maybe .020". Probably happened from all those years of just using it with the loose bearing! So now maybe I will buy a Proxxon for the PCB work...
galaxyman75 years ago
Awesome instructable. I use a Black and Decker RTX dremel tool, and even brand new it had a lot of spindle play. I use it for a CNC machine, so the dremel play really makes a lot of difference. If you want to make a new housing for the bearing, you should check out my instructable on sulpho-plastic. It is a very hard, metallic plastic that is super easy to mold and very cheap. It would probably work great for this.
Mario16 years ago
hahaha in bulgaria you can buy 1'st hand dremel for 15$
Tool Using Animal (author)  Mario16 years ago
I've fail to understand why someone who's response is for "$X you can buy Y" would post at a DIY site.
No kidding. Lets through away a perfectly good tool so we can buy a new one.
Derin Mario16 years ago
ohh man
dsandds20036 years ago
The best Dremels I ever owned said made in Racine Wisconsin. They went downhill after that.
dbarak6 years ago
Interesting timing. Although I didn't have this particular problem with my Dremel, I had to disassemble it just today. I'm still not sure what the problem was, but it ran fine once I put it back together.
You likely had dirty brushes. A good connection was made because you disturbed a faulty electrical connection. If your dremel won't start for any reason, try giving the shaft a spin and see what happens. half the time it is an overly-oxidized commutator segment. Be sure to, when using these tools, to give it some no-load time often. Never start a dremel tool under load, and let it run full speed without a load every so often to cool the motor. A Dremel was meant as a "grazing" tool, not a "burrowing" tool. Keep it cool and it will last you a long time. Don't treat it like a portable drill, treat the motor more like a band-saw or a radial saw.
Prometheus6 years ago
As an owner of a clone (after Dremel was bought out by Sears), this does work quite well. My tool is over 6 years old with over 17,000 hours of use, and due to lack of precision balance of the rotor, the bearings do rotate in the case. Using this method is best even before you have this problem, to mitigate the wear on the case itself from migration of the bearings. I might add that making a dust-seal between the annulus and the tool is an adviseable modification. I made one to keep the metallic dust I tended to create with this tool out of the bearings, and it works. The material I used was some HDPE plastic I cut from my stock of "soda-bottle plastic". A future instructable project is coming that may help you keep that tool running for another two decades more, by me. Look for it as it will be relevant to almost all power tools and domestic/commercial vacuums.
john917v6 years ago
Nice, good Instr! What I like most about this, is the low-$ approach! I can't get enough of that!
Great job, could help a lot of people, thanks for adding it into Tool Tips.
I wish I had a Dremel/ Rotary tool.
Maybe I have one?
Made one?

Instructable coming soon.
berserk6 years ago
That's a neat thing to keep in mind. I bought a Dremel instead of a knock-off because they have bearings rather than bushings. Interesting to see that the bearings aren't what is wearing out, but the case.
huh. basicly realign it. Mine is a really good conditioned one, so its really in good shape. but if i need to later in its lifetime i will realign it lol.