Picture of Refurb a dead "Roto-Matic"
Hi everyone, this is officially my first instructable!

In this instructable i will show you how to turn a useless piece of junk, with rotten batteries into a handy tool.

If you happen to still own a "roto-matic" then this is made just for you

Ok what is a "roto-matic"?

a roto-matic is a piece of junk, plain and simple, beyond that its a dremel wanna be, that was sold on infomercials in the early 2000's

it touted special features like

--10,000 RPM !!!!

while visiting my aunt and uncle in Lake Mary, Florida, I took my niece to the mall (a few times), and they had an "AS SEEN ON TV" store. I ended up with a assortment of stuff, some awesome and some not so much, the roto-matic with its "featuers" and 40 bits for a sale price of 15 bucks seemed like a steal

And it was a steal! From my wallet!

A little back history

growing up i lived (basically) in a fully functional wood shop, dad had everything, including a old 1970's dremel and all the attachments, which he still owns today and is in perfect working order

and let me tell you, that is a man's tool, if you don't plug it into the vintage speed control (steel box with a knob) when you flip it on, it will jerk your wrist 25% clockwise!

steel meh! just like butta!

so when i moved away, i wanted a tool that i had become dependent on, and when i saw the roto-matic i jumped on it, got it home and tried to cut a rivet head off and learned my awful mistake

heres the crap factor of the roto-matic

10,000RPM, 0 Torque, i could equip this thing with a cutting disk and touch my finger on it and stop the motor

battery's, 3.6v, and after spending nearly 30 min i had barley made a dent in the rivet, and the battery's were dead, 1/16th of an inch in and i needed an 8 hour recharge

Bits, while most (like 3/5ths) were the same size of a dremel, the rest were not, which you were required to keep track of 5! collars, wanted to grind and buff? Well you had to remove the chuck screw, replace the collar, refit the chuck, fit the bit and go on. Im sorry, thats stupid

I think it lasted a week before i threw away all the non "standard" size bits and collars, it maybe lasted about 2 months before i just threw it in a box to forget, since at the time i only lived 10min away from my parents house, and access to real tools

fast forward 6-7 years, and i live across town, im married (which sometimes prevents me from just up and leaving the house) and i want a dremel darnit!

i looked at the 26$ battery operated one at walmart, with 0 bits, and remembering my dislike for a "dremel on a cell".

Also the "engraving" model which is 120v powered, down at Lowes, again with no bits, and the real dremels, which, honestly the 20$ model + bits is not really in my budget atm, let alone a 60-100$ kit.

Darn, all i want to do is cut, sand, and drill some pcb's or abs project enclosures ...

enter mom, who was cleaning out the garage and presented me with a box of "my crap", that i had forgotten i was storing there. Digging tru the box of crap, i found a hot knife (sweet) a glue gun (sweeeeet) and my roto-matic (ugh, well maybe not?)

Welcome to my instructable! (gah finally, you friggin windbag!!!)

thaCrab2 years ago
has any one found out the MIN / MAX, Volt & Amp this little motor can handle ?
I just got given one without a charger , would an old cell ph charger (5v 800mA) be any good ?
any advice appreciated
nvargas4 years ago
hi i found my roto matic along with the recharging cable! you said you used a 5v switching model with a 2.5 amp the charging cable says OUT: 6v DC 0.3A

so my question is can i use the charging cable to do the same thing as you did to the roto matinc?
twocvbloke5 years ago
That's confusing, I have a Roto-matic, but, it's not a screwdriver, it's a Eureka vacuum power nozzle,a completely different tool and purpose altogether... :P
curbowman5 years ago
Can you post a picture of the Radio Shack Resistor Cheat Card? I haven't seen anything like that anywhere!
pfred26 years ago
This roto-matic looks like a sex toy that is trying to get a second job!
osgeld (author)  pfred26 years ago
it doesn't have enough torque
pfred2 osgeld6 years ago
Here is a picture of some of my Roto-Matics (I have more). The silver one in the lower right, a CP-860, is one horsepower. A regular wrist wrapper if one is not too careful!
jtobako6 years ago
Do we get an example of it throwing sparks now?
osgeld (author)  jtobako6 years ago
heh, thats funny i was just reading your drill on a wall wart instructable and probally no sparks, but i guess i could show some sawdust or melty plastic
jtobako osgeld6 years ago
How well is the collet holder centered on the motor? I had one of these-possibly even cheaper-and the bits were just enough off center to mess things up.
osgeld (author)  jtobako6 years ago
its pretty close to center, your not going to be able to do any fine engraving, but sanding and cutting function fine (course i cant really tell if its the motor or just wobbly bits, i probably will get a dremel bit just to see)
pfred2 osgeld6 years ago
Can any rotary action tool do fine engraving? I have an engraver and it vibrates. I've also done some engraving with among other things a Swiss ultra high speed rotary tool and well it just isn't as nice. What I am trying to say here is the quality of the rotary tools I use is not an issue. The die grinders I have are like what Dremels dream of being. CP, ITC, Foredom. I've had lots of Dremels too, so I know what they're like. Usually dead and smoking by the time I'm done with one of them.
osgeld (author)  pfred26 years ago
short answer no
jtobako pfred26 years ago
Not with a hand piece that vibrates (sounds like you threw a bearing).

Not with a heavy hand (if you are blowing Dremels, you are pushing way to hard).

Most engravers using power use some form of hammer handpiece, air or rotary driven. Some use a rotary to do the roughing in, then use gravers to final details and burnishing.

But, since you don't believe me, do your own search.

http://handengravingforum.com/ (requires registering to see more than a page or two, tends to be product specific)
www.thecarvingpath.net (more than engraving)
Maniacy6 years ago
I bought EXACTLY that same thing for 2,50 Euro (about 3 Bucks). And you are absolutely right about the quality. It's rubbish. I use it from time to time though. btw. I bought FOUR of them. Two for me, two as gifts... Nonetheless, three bucks is about exactly the price I would recommend paying for this thing.
I bought a pile of hobby stuff yesterday and this was one of the things thrown in. What a POC. I will check what surplus wall warts I have around the house or maybe go to the thrift store and see what I can find. Or simply convert it to 12V with a lighter plug and carry it in my camper. Either way, the thing has led to to the instructables site so it can't be a complete waste! Thanks for posting this osgeld!
osgeld (author)  the old galoot6 years ago
yea this thing is a real piece of , ... um work 12v might work with the motor (again i dont know its specs) it seems quite happy on 5v and im glad you found this site, its a really cool place to hang, welcome
jeoncs6 years ago
This would be sweet to do to the cheapy 20$ walmart battery dremel too
osgeld (author)  jeoncs6 years ago
maybe, but i would use a much stronger power supply, because the dremel probably has a much stronger motor even this cheap thing can send the wall wart into overload protection if you stop the motor (another bonus of the switching model vs an iron core one) which is around 3.2 amps, or enough where I am thinking about adding a fuse before going crazy with it (ill update the instructable if I do)