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Air powered handpiece


#1

Does anyone use an air powered handpiece? Is there such a thing in
the world of jewelry? My old Craftsman has served me well for 20
years now and is ready to be retired. My husband has been suggesting
using air power for years. The air compressor is a behemoth that
stands over five feet tall so air power is accessible and plentiful.
I’ve looked at dental systems online but the burs are thinner (FG?)
and it strikes me it won’t accommodate regular diamond setting burs
with 3/32" shafts.

I like the idea of the air powered handpiece and would like to
explore that before buying the conventional Foredom that looks like
an IV next to the bench. (Mental vision of having it on an IV pole
and rolling it around! Uh-oh.)

(BTW, on another topic…after reading the thread over that last
few weeks on getting a sales tax cert, I did it! Man, they wasted no
time in getting it to me. Three days! I guess they figured anyone who
is WILLING to pay taxes!)

Nel

It’s warm today, about 70 with a slight breeze. Heading out to an art
fair in Safety Harbor, FL.


#2

Hi Nel,

I bought one that spins at 300,000 rpm. I would not recommend it as
a replacement drill. FG stands for friction grip. They are nice
drills to have, but you are more limited in choice. There are systems
that work on a lower rpm, but I am not sure they have enough torque.
When I was looking for a pneumatic drill I was constantly told to
just buy a micromoter. I have 5 drills. I use the micromoter for most
tasks, and I ocassionally use the pendant motors. The pneumatic
drill is just used for engraving at the moment. I’d like to use it
more then I do. I have bought every usefull size and shape of burr
available (no twist drills) but I think you only need a few round
burrs, some cones and inverted cones because at that speed and with
tungston heads it treats jewellery metals like butter. The fussier
shapes are hard to use effectivly - more for dentists, I’d say.

I’d like to hear more on this, because I am sure there are things I
can do with it that I can’t do with a normal drill.

Hope this helps,
Phillip


#3
Does anyone use an air powered handpiece? Is there such a thing in
the world of jewelry? 

Yes, Nel, there is such a toy. Check out GRS for the Gravernax or new
Gravermach. These are pricey, but well worth the investment. Either
one will accept a rotary handpiece as well as a hammering type of
handpiece. I use mine for engraving and bead-raising since I don’t
have their rotary handpiece. You can easily adapt a hammer-type bit
to fit the quick change chucks, and have a built in hammer handpiece.
Much easier than changing handpieces on a Fordom–just flip a switch!

Melissa Veres, engraver


#4

Stuller carries a pneumatic hammer handpc. It allows you to do
hammer pcs and put on different textures.

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791


#5

I use air powered handpieces all of the time. I am a dentist, but I
also have my fingers in full sized CNC machinery and flex shaft
machines.

In the dental world there are basically 2 types of air handpieces:

the high speed (400,000 RPM) using friction grip (FG) burs. There is
a wide variety of bur types available, but there is a limit to their
diameter.

The low speed handpiece that may go up to 40,000 RPM and uses 3/32
diameter burs. There are adapters available to take the FG burs.

In dentistry we try to minimize the weight of the handpiece and we
live with the torque that we can get. There are new brushless
electric handpieces that are variable speed and range from almost
zero to 200,000 RPM but they are larger, heavier and very costly
(probably around $3,500: how many NSK 50K RPM handpieces will that
buy?). I also have a NSK electric, not used in the office: it is a
dental lab value item (price when mine was acquired was about
$1,000).

There are turbocarvers out there with control packages for probably
under $400. Look for something that does not require lubrication: you
do not want to breathe in the mist. The air supply is probably
something like 3 CFM at 35 PSI but this varies with the type of tool.
Make sure the air is dry.

High speed is good for carving egg shells and other items, the
dental high speed ones offer water and air cooling. There is a
learning curve. Do not bear down hard, gentle caressing strokes will
get you where you want to go.

One major difference is the amount of noise generated. The electric
handpieces of all types are usually much quieter.

Sorry for the long rant.
Charles Friedman DDS
Ventura by the Sea
Blue sky and 65 today at the shore!


#6

Depending on what you want to use it for the air turbines generally
run at 30,000 to 100,000s rpm.

If you want to try a 1/8’’ AIR MICRO DIE GRINDER out harbor freight
has one that is on sale at their web site right now. ITEM 47869-2VGA
$14.99. To check out a real air carver the turbo carver has a site
that is complete with the manuals ect and the prices are with in
reason. I’m thinking of getting one after the holidays.
turbocarver.com is the site It turns at 400,000 rpm and has an
optional water spray misting attachment. And they use a real small
compressor about a cubic foot of air a minute. so it is quite than a
full size one.

Been there,done that, have the Harbor Fright micro die grinder and
like it! glen


#7

I too am looking to purchase a handpiece and was recommended a Ram
II Microtorque. It has a very small desktop footprint and a 35,000
rpm motor with fully variable speed to which you attach a flexible
handpiece that takes only 3/32 collets or shanks but its portable. I
am making pieces in silver and will soon move to gold and am also
studying lost wax casting. I can’t figure out if I should get a
Foredom flex shaft or a Ram II. I am curious to hear about an air
powered hand piece as well. I also just found my father’s Dremel
MultiPro with variable speeds of 7,500 15, 000 and 30,000. Couldn’t
the Dremel with a flex shaft be used like the Foredom or Ram II? If
anyone can shed some light on any of this equipment I’m all ears…I
mean ‘eyes’

Lucy Robin


#8

The pneumatic handpiece with tungsten burrs sound like just the
ticket for carving into mokume gane billets. Would there be any
problem with the burrs easily running out of control across the metal
or does it truly “cut like butter”? I found using the foredom and
technic handpieces difficult and it was unduly stressing the
handpieces (side-ways motion)


#9

As a PS to my earlier posting today, I forgot to mention my key
challenge: I have carpal tunnel in my right/working hand, so I need
the lightest handpiece configuration there is.

Lucy Robin
lucyrobin@optonine.net


#10

I use both a fordem with a #30 handpiece and a small air powered die
grinder from Home Depot. They sell for about $40.00. Higher speeds
for the diamonds, hand piece is slightly smaller diameter and a
little longer than the #30 fordem.The only problem I see is that it
only come with a collet system that is for 1/8". There should be
other collets available but I haven’t gone looking for them. For most
of the ways I use the tool I was able to find 1/8" mandrels, and
bits.I use the Fordem for things like my stone setting burs and other
shank size tools.I love working with it.

John (Jack) Sexton


#11
The pneumatic handpiece with tungsten burrs sound like just the
ticket for carving into mokume gane billets. Would there be any
problem with the burrs easily running out of control across the
metal or does it truly "cut like butter"? I found using the foredom
and technic handpieces difficult and it was unduly stressing the
handpieces (side-ways motion) 

I can’t say I can answer you with much experience, but I think you
have identified a problem I have had.

Yes it will cut like butter but at the speeds they get, eg inverted
cones will skip and make a mess if push the wrong way. I am not sure
I need to adjust the techniques I have for my micromotor. I haven’t
tested it much. As far as carving billets. If I understand right, I
played around with the burrs and coming in from an angle any rounded
bur will accurately carve away what you like. It is very easy to
keep steady and smooth. Not all the FG burrs work well on metal.

As far as micromotors are concerned I have a Ram and it is good. It
is a bit old, but I was lent a new one and offered a very good price
but I didn’t buy it because it was not much better. That is, they
are all about the same. Ram are very good to deal with and I
recommend them. If you can use your drammel then it should be right
for many basic tasks, and for the start you can spend the money on
other things.

Phillip


#12

There are the rotary air motor type (HF one is) one of these. Very
light weight – one of the “real” ones is sold for about $260-- I
have one. Dental types (may be ) lighter ??? There are also air
turbines that go faster -the medical dental type are small but not
inexpensive. There are some industrial types that are also bigger in
diameter that go very fast but not cheap. The HF ones are probably
the best buy for non industrial users. These all take a very light
touch more like using a sable brush.

For carpel tunnel problems they should be as OK as possible. If you
have problems with “skating” you are probably pushing too hard, have
dull cutters, use the wrong cutters, running too slow or any
combination or all of these. Grinding detail into bronze or steel is
easy if you work correctly. The pneumatic systems are not cheap with
a compressor and you need good clean air.

jesse


#13

Hello Nel,

for the handpiece you can check most tool houses. GRS has a good
selection. I use a Juneair air compressor. It’s so quiet I have it
under my bench.

Good luck,
Hans
http://www.hansallwicher.com

And have a merry Christmas everyone!


#14

Direct metal sculpture with burs:

This is not exactly what I do as a dentist, but I can shed some
light on this. When cutting off an old crown I usually want to create
a slit in the gold or other metal running from cheek side over the
biting surface and down the tongue side. Sometimes this represents
the removal of a lot of metal. Usually I use a carbide tapered
crosscut fissure bur such as a 701. If I try to take a deep bite or
apply too much preasure, or the metal is very hard, I can get a lot
of chatter. This does not feel good for the patient, and is not good
for the handpiece bearings. This is done at 400,000 RPM with the
light strokes with a lot of lubrication. I have seen people carve
metal using flex shaft tools and large carbide cutters. I know that
this does work. I carve occlusal surfaces to make them function
properly, but usually the amount that I carve out is small (on the
order of.010 inch at the most over a 1 mm size spot). Carving metal
puts a huges strain on the high speed handpiece. In the flex shaft or
the NSK it works better.

Charles Friedman DDS
Again today blue sky 65 and no snow!


#15

Lucy (Also “m frison”)

Having used the CP (chicago pneumatic) “airscribe” handpiece for
about 18 months now, I wonder now, why I didn’t buy this earlier.
Stuller has a kit they sell for around $400. You can also check out
www.chicagoairpower.com. However, they do not include the foot
regulator with their kit. They carry ALL the accessories you could
possibly want for your airscribe. It is very comfortable &
lightweight. It moves the thickest bezel wall like nobody’s
business. You will need a small air compressor (Sears sells them for
around $170) the handpiece operates @ 110 psi. You will also need
hose (1/4" fittings).

I too had wrist & elbow problems. This will definately help out w/
those issues. Foredom is a good company. I have tons of their
equipment. The CP unit, however, just blows them away. I have seen
this in action on the History channel. Some archeologists were using
the airscribe to chisel out some bones from a very tight area.

Good luck!

Walt Teats
American Goldworks
Great Falls, MT


#16
The pneumatic handpiece with tungsten burrs sound like just the
ticket for carving into mokume gane billets. Would there be any
problem with the burrs easily running out of control across the
metal or does it truly "cut like butter"? I found using the foredom
and technic handpieces difficult and it was unduly stressing the
handpieces (side-ways motion) 

I wanted to add that I have been using two Gesswein QC 500 for about
fifteen years. They replaced a Foredom and I never looked back. The
last five years I have used them a lot on tool steel with diamond
burs and they are great. In the past two years one of them developed
a small air leak so I have to remember to turn off the air supply
when done and it needs a little assist to start turning so maybe
it’s time to replace.

Dan


#17

I do a LOT of metal carving in my mokume work with an air turbine
hand piece. I have tried the cheap chinese types sold by Harbor
Freight and was not satisfied with them. First issue they are very
noisy, Second there is too much run out, that is the spinning parts
are not concentric enough. This causes vibration and reduced bearing
life…

The best tools I have found are from Air Turbine Technology
http://www.airturbinetools.com/ These are quiet, relatively
inexpensive, powerful tools. I have one that I have been using for
more than 10 years that spins at 60,000 rpm. It is the 201SV It is
small, lightweight 6.4 oz and powerful at.22 Hp great for bench
use.It makes not much more noise than a flex shaft. My larger one is
the 525SV that one is the beast it runs at 40,000 rpm.45 Hp and uses
1/4" shank tools and is great for carving lots of metal.It is noisier
and requires a lot more hand strength to control due to its size and
power (it almost 1/2 horse power).

A word of warning, if you get these type of tools you must use burs,
points etc that are rated for the speed that these tools turn. If
you put a typical threaded mandrel with a rubber wheel on it in the
collet of my 60,000 rpm handpiece it will tear itself apart and may
throw pieces of itself around the room at high speed also the
mandrel may be bent over at a 90 degree angle. in the process causing
the tool to become very hard to hold on to due to the off center
rotation. Other tools may break or shatter. so always find out the
rated speed of the tool before placing it in a high speed air
turbine.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#18
The pneumatic handpiece with tungsten burrs sound like just the
ticket for carving into mokume gane billets. Would there be any
problem with the burrs easily running out of control across the
metal or does it truly "cut like butter"? I found using the foredom
and technic handpieces difficult and it was unduly stressing the
handpieces (side-ways motion) 

I’ve been carving mokume billets for over a decade with a Foredom
#30 handpiece. I use spiral-ground medium-cut round burs with lots of
lube and as of yet have not has any problems with my handpiece, and I
use it every day for all sorts of other things, too.

Matthew Crawford
www.MatthewDesigns.com


#19

You might be interested in the following link.
http://www.turbocarver.com/thetool/body_thetool.html

Ken Weston