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Dremel tool question


Hello, I’ve just started using an older dremel-type rotary tool that
I inherited. It has a “hanging” motor and foot pedal operation, and
is marked “Foredom Model 206” on the motor. I can see how it will
be very useful in jewelrymaking, but I have a pretty critical

The spin direction of the head is counterclockwise, so when I hold
it in my right hand to work on a piece (I’m right handed), it kicks
the dust directly at my face. I am, of course, wearing a dust mask
and eye protection, but it’s bad enough that my lenses are coated
very quickly. I can see how this could be a health hazard!

Does anyone know of a way to change the rotational direction on this
tool? It seems that if it were rotating clockwise, I wouldn’t be
having a problem. I’m not coordinated enough to hold it in my left
hand, either ;-).

Unfortunately, the previous owner is deceased, and I have no clue as
to where the operating manual might be. The Foredom web site doesn’t
contain any operation manuals for download (they only supply them if
you buy the maintenance kit to repair the motor, which I really don’t
need at this point).

Karen Goeller


Hi Karen, When I’m not making jewelry, which is not as often as I’d
like, I’m an electrical engineer. So much for my credentials, for
what it’s worth, here’s my spin on your Dremel question.

I’m pretty sure that the motor direction can be reversed, however,
it’s a bit hard to tell without actually looking inside. It depends
on if it has a speed control and how that speed control is built.
What I would suggest is bring it to a local motor rewinding/repair
place. they should be able to do this for you. If it’s got a
rectifier before the speed control, it’s simply a matter of swapping
a couple of wires around.

I hope this helps.
Dave Nitschke

    The spin direction of the head is counterclockwise, so when I
hold it in my right hand to work on a piece (I'm right handed), it
kicks the dust directly at my face.  Does anyone know of a way to
change the rotational direction on this tool? It seems that if it
were rotating clockwise, I wouldn't be having a problem. 

Greetings:Karen I could be wrong but I believe your foredom is
running in a clockwise direction. I believe you are looking at the
hand piece with the cable end facing away from you, in this view the
direction of rotation appears to be counterclockwise. Try this
experiment, place a small drill in the chuck of the handpiece.
Slowly start drilling a hole in say a piece of wood while observing
the direction the drill is rotating. If the drill appears to be
rotating in a clockwise direction and is penetrating the wood then
your foredom is operating as it should. However, if the drill is not
going into the wood and appears to be rotating in a counter-clockwise
rotation than I have at least one foot in my mouth and your foredom
has been modified. It is a pain in the neck but you can remedy your
problem with the dust and debris with the purchase of a small
portable, enclosed dust collector made especially for dremels and
foredom tools. Rio Grande sells these items, I can’t remember what
the exact name is but I am sure others will know. A home made dust
collector could be made as well. But to answer your question about
changing the direction of rotation,I don’t know of a way but then
you may have a bigger problem. If your was rotating correctly, it
would be almost impossible to find burrs, drills and other such items
that would actually cut in a counterclockwise rotation.

  The spin direction of the head is counterclockwise, so when I
hold it in my right hand to work on a piece (I'm right handed), it
kicks the dust directly at my face. 

Hi Karen, Unless there is a switch for changing the rotation, there’s
probably not a practical way to do this. Some higher-end tools have
this as a feature, but it tends to add to the price of the tool.
While not ideal, a more feasible approach might be to use a blower of
some sort, or vacuum to handle the debris thrown off from the tool.

Another possibility is to mount the tool in the left handed position
in a stationary holder, like a vise, and handle your work piece with
both hands.

Food for thought?

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)


Karen, My “uneducated” guess would be that the previous owner worked
on the motor and reversed some wires. If you’re not adept at working
on motors, I would suggest taking it to a small motor repair shop and
they will have a tester they can use to find which wires are

Good luck,
Susie Morgan
Elegant Metal Creations


Karen Goeller: The flexible shaft machine you describe - and all non
reversible ones - are made to rotate in a counter-clockwise
direction for a good reason. All standard ground cutting tools
(drills, mounted circular saws, burs etc.) are designed to cut when
rotated counter-clockwise. They will not cut in the reverse
direction. Abrasives (Mizzy wheels, separating disks, abrasive
cloth/paper etc.) on the other hand will cut equally well in either
direction. If you simply reverse the motor you will severely limit
the machine’s utility.

If you want to use it in reverse mode for abrasives, I’d suggest you
either ask Foredom if they will install a reversing switch for you or
check your local Yellow Pages under “Electric Motors - Dealers &
Repairing”. Tell them you have a 110V brush motor on which you would
like to have a reversing switch installed.

It should not be a big deal.

Ray Grossman, Ray Grossman Inc., Manufacturers of Jump Ringer

   Karen, My "uneducated" guess would be that the previous owner
worked on the motor and reversed some wires. 

Karen, if it is throwing in your face while it is in your right hand
it is spinning according to original specs,right hand rotation(can
use conventional drills and burrs), and counter-clockwise You can
change it to clockwise, but probably don’t want to. If you still
would like to, write back dp


As pointed out in previous post, it Ain’t broke, don’t try to fix

In additional to the cutting directions of the burs and drills used
with the Fordom or any other rotary tool, the mechanics of holding
the tools depends on clockwise rotation of the motor.

As far a reversing the motor, it is not a DC motor as such. All of
the Fordom motors run on AC current that is controlled either by a
solid-state speed control or a carbon pile speed control, IE a
sewing machine foot petal. To affect the change in rotation with an
AC source of power would require a rewiring of the motor. Not an
inexpensive job. My suggestion is to get a very good dust mask and
wear eye protection.



Karen, you would only be able to use it with stones, sandpaper,
diamond burrs,rubber wheels,polishing, if you changed the
rotation.-no steel burrs or right handed drills(standard). You’re
supposed to have a dust collector hose right down on your work, so
that the dust never makes it to your face. Also I wear glasses and
use a large secondary shield (made from some clear lexan,
etc.)between me and the flex dp


Hi Karen,

The spin direction of the head is counterclockwise, so when I hold
it in my right hand to work on a piece (I'm right handed), it
kicks the dust directly at my face. 

Another way to reduce the amount of ‘face dust’ by changing the
position the workpiece is held & by changing the area of the wheel
in contact with the work.

If the workpiece is angled down a little & the portion of the wheel
that contacts the work is changed to between 5 & 8 o’clock most of
the ‘dust’ will be directed down.

Just changing the direction of motor rotation won’t solve the
problem. Most tools used in flexshafts are designed to rotate in a
counter clockwise direction. Any of the shafts that have a screw or
nut holding a blade or other tool to the shaft, require the tool to
rotate in a cc direction. If they turned in a clockwise direction,
the screws/nuts would have a tendency to loosen & things would come

This holds true for all the parts in the tool, right up to the
motor. Everything is designed to work in a counter clockwise
direction. Reversable tools are available in some cases, but they
were designed to work that way from the start & special
considerarions are taken to prevent rotating parts from comming



Karen, The direction that your Foredom is turning, regardless of
whether we call it CW or CCW, is the way that you want it to go!
When it is turning this direction you have the very powerful muscles
of your thumb to control the burr as it cuts and tries to grab and
pull away from you. If it is trying to push toward you, there isn’t
much control at all You can control the direction in which the
swarf is thrown by changing the part of the workpiece that contacts
the burr. If the burr is working on the top of the piece the swarf
will be thrown at you. If the burr is working on the part of the
workpiece that is facing away from you the swarf will be thrown up
in the air. But what you want, if you are getting showered, is to
bring the burr more toward the part of the workpiece that is facing
you. This will throw the swarf down toward the bench. I would
suggest that you play with this idea by making sure that you have a
sharp burr in the tool and just grinding up a piece of soft wood or
carving wax. This is a question of developing a new skill and you
will need some practice to get the hang of it. And, if you pay
attention, you will get better and better over a period of months
and years and be able to do amazing things. Your handpiece will
become as easy and precise to control as your index finger.



Hi Karen Actually, it depends what you are doing with the
flexshaft, if you are sanding down through stages and you can see
what your doing good enough, or polishing, then it is no problem,
unless you need to drive the compound up(not down, reversed rotation)
into a groove or the end of a channel, or want to see exactly what’s
happening to your edge.

But to carve, and you need to see what you are working on, right in
front of your face, thus you get it in the face. And sometimes you
could use the advantage of the machine with a reverse switch,
because when you are climb milling, backing to an edge, the force of
and the tendancy for the burr to catch the edge and zip right over
the back of it is too great to control, for most people, especially
carving metal. In this case, sometimes a reverse switch is helpful,
except, of course, when you are using right hand cutting burs or
drills, or mandrels with screws on top(limited pressure usage). Try
doing it different ways, left and right handed. What you have left
handed, now, is what you would have, right handed, if you reversed
the spindle rotation and changed to left hand tooling Dust Collector
is the answer Set your bench up ambidextrously, and you don’t have to
change any machine, buy left hand burs or drills, get rid of your #30
handpiece, use collets, (i think the cable would unwind under heavy
pressure also), left hand flexshaft mandrels… Only you would have
to change,how simple!



I’m somewhat confused here! If the tool rotates the wrong way the
jaws will have torque applied to them by rotating against a fixed
surface and this will loosen the jaws that hold the tool.

If this is not happening then maybe you have hold of the fabled
"Left Handed Dremel" which, like the Roc, the Phoenix and the Dragon,
were known to our forefathers (and mothers) but have entered the
realm of folklore!

Tony Konrath