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Dental hand pieces and engines

Hi Folks,

When it comes to belt driven dental engines, I know a bit about
them. Foredom is considered just O.K. in the dental lab
business. The names to look for are Emesco, Buffalo, and Wells.
In my opinion, and I have used them all for 30 years, Emesco is
the top of the line. I’m not affiliated with any of them. I’ve
just used them. My choice, if you are looking, is to find an
Emesco engine with the 30,000 rpm pulley system, with a Wells
handpiece, and an electronic solid state foot control. DON’T
be seduced by the 45,000 rpm it is the same engine with larger
pulleys. They eat belts! Even though not run at anywhere near
45,000, belts last only 1/3 as long as on the 30,000 rpm machine
due to the configuration of the pulley system. There are also
18,000 rpm units out there that are just fine. The engine is
smaller hp but still has the power and torque. If you can stay
away from the short pulley system do it. You want the one that
takes the 9’6" or 9’8" belt. I’m not sure of the size.

Maintenance is easy. On the first work day of the new year put
2-3 drops of oil into the front and rear oil ports and forget
them. The pulleys need oil about quarterly. One drop in each
or the belt will get oily, decay, and fray. Belts are pretty
inexpensive but they always seem to go bad right after you
remembered that you forgot to order them last time you called
the supply house!

The Wells handpiece is expensive but the only one I have ever
seen repaired was one that some one had used with diamond bits
and the water he used as a coolant(dripped from a finger) was
not dried out before he went on a 3 week vacation. It rusted
shut, but Wells fixed it. Wells handpieces run very cool.
For this kind of set-up they are simply the best.

These set-ups were the standard of the industry for many, many
years. Micro motors and air turbine units seem to be the
standard today so there should be a ton of them out there. If
you are interested in finding one try calling dental labs out
there and asking if they have any for sale, or know of any for

If anyone wants any more info you can E-mail me.


Skip Meister
NRA Endowment and


Fascinating info on the dental handpieces, etc. The problem I
had with the unit I had is it hung from a pole and just didn’t
want to work in the orientations i wanted to use it in. I’m not
sure what I was doing wrong. I assembled it twice and it seemed
it worked OK either from above or from below, but not both.
Since it was a Foredom motor, as I said, it mated well with their
flexshaft and turned into a jeweler’s flexshaft. The units
you’re talking about — would they be as good as a standard
Foredoom for jewelry work? I hear they are great for stone


When using a dental engine and H.P. set the motor on the bench
and insert the arm into the bracket so that it is at the rear of
the motor. That is the proper orientation. May newbies try to
set it up with the bracket facing them and this won’t work. A
dental ‘set-up’ will do what it is made to do very well, and
that is to turn a 3/32" shaft burr at speeds from 20 to top
speed with torque, concentricity, and precision. Although there
may be a H.P. out there that takes 1/8" burrs I haven’t seen
one. I know that there is a H.P. that is a tripp-hammer. The
one that I know of is an Emesco. It has a quick disconect nose
on the H.P. and it goes from a regular H.P. to a tripp hammer
with ease. In dentistry the trip hammer is used to pack gold

These units are made to be used constantly and are very well
made. For everyday cutting, grinding, polishing, and finishing
they are super.



                                  Skip Meister
                                NRA Endowment and