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Quick change handpiece advice


#1

I have been considering buying a quick change handpiece for my
Foredom flex shaft. My #30 has worked well, but I thought a quick
change would save time. One model I’m considering is a “Swiss made
technique quick change handpiece” from Otto Frei Company. It’s
supposed to be comparable to the Techno-x handpiece. Does anyone
have experience with this model or other similar models? I’m
concerned about the long term ability to hold burs etc. I think this
could be a real time saver. But I would like to hear from someone
who has worked with one.

James S. Cantrell CMBJ


#2
One model I'm considering is a "Swiss made technique quick change
handpiece" from Otto Frei Company.  It's supposed to be comparable
to the Techno-x handpiece.  Does anyone have experience with this
model or other similar models?  I'm concerned about the long term
ability to hold burs etc 

I loved the original Techno-X. There are two replacements out that
I’m aware of. One is the swiss model you mention, another is an
american made somewhat similar copy of the techno-X, made in the
U.S.A., and available from Contenti. Costs less too.

I’ve got both the swiss one and the U.S. made one. Frankly, though
they’re both nice, neither one is quite the equal of the original,
despite the fact that both say they’ve made improvements. It’s true
that both have good ideas added to improve, such as the fact that the
USA one uses a hex socket head screw inside the chuck to tighten and
loosen, rather than the original slotted screw driver head. the hex
key version is easier to use, and keys are easily available, instead
of needing the teensy little driver supplied only with the
handpiece.

The big problem I have with both replacements is in the chuck
itself. In both cases, the diameter of the basic bore of the chuck is
a tad tight. Thus, though the jaws themselves open up wide enough,
some of my burs jam into the inside of the chuck instead of sliding
all the way down to be held just by the jaws as they should. this is
quite annoying. One of these days I’ll get annoyed enough to mount
the chuck in something to allow me to ream it out a tad larger
inside, perhaps with a diamond bit or something.

In all these types, as with several other quick change types, the
chucks are adjustable for tightness and to allow you to adjust it as
the chuck wears down. And they’re replaceable when they wear down too
much for the adjustment to still take up the slack. So the long
term stuff isn’t much of a concern, as you can deal with that. More
of a concern is the fact that with these, as well as some other quick
change handpieces, sometimes the range of diameter that supposedly
3/32 shank bits come in is a good deal wider than one would expect.
With a #30 handpiece, it doesn’t matter of course, since you can grip
anything. With the quick change types, some occasional burs and
attachments will be too far out of spec to be held in the chuck. If
you use mostly the busch or similar types of burs, you’ll never have
a problem, as these are very uniform and precise. But some of the
various attachments like made in india plated brass shank bristle
brushes, for example, can vary enough to be a problem sometimes.
And oddly, many Spearhead brand high speed setting burrs are also
sometimes a problem. I don’t buy spearhead burs any more in any
case. their quality has gone right down the tubes, with new burs
often having quite incompletely cut teeth. But a few other brands of
otherwise good HSS burs also sometimes are a tight fit in my quick
change handpieces. Some of the Dedeco goldies, for example…

I’d still recommend the Techno style handpiece, as it’s comfortable,
and the ball bearings in the lever, which mean that loosening the
chuck while the thing is still turning won’t do damage, outweighs the
occasional annoyance of a bur not fitting (for which I’ve still got
the #30). If you don’t like this problem, then the other handpiece
I’d recommend is the Faro type. Now also sold by 46ordom, though I
forget the number… While the Faro isn’t perhaps as sturdy over the
long term, it’s also fairly easy to repair/rebuild, and so long as
you make a habit of not using the lever as a brake for the handpiece,
it will last a very long time.

There’s another out there, also now sold by Fordom, which uses a
lever that you push in towards the body of the handpiece. Forget the
name. But bought one on ebay as part of a larger lot. it’s a piece
of junk. Not recommended. At least, not if the other stock versions
are anything like this thing I got… Uncomfortable, and the push in
lever is harsh and grating feeling, and hard to use. And the
bearings aren’t as quiet as they should be either.

Badeco also has a new handpiece out. Very pricey. Uses a chuck
that you twist to open and close. No lever. This is one slick
running handpiece. Cool, quite, no vibration, comfortable, runs
true, and runs like the proverbial swiss watch. But as near as I can
tell, it’s got the narrowest grip range of the lot, with more burs
being oversize or undersize for it’s jaws than with the techno. But
I’ve only seen one example (at Frei and Borel’s exhibit at the SNAG
show), so this may not be all of them. Still, of the several HSS
burs I tried it in, 2 didn’t fit in… if you use mostly the alloy
steel types like Busch or Maillot (sp) or the like, then you might
love this handpiece. Otherwise…

Hope that helps.
Peter


#3

I have worn out 2 of the Swedish Techno-x & using the 3rd. There is
nothing better out there that I know of! I sure hope that the Swiss
are as good, I will need one some day. Mark Chapman
Whitewolf Jewelry Arts


#4

Hi James, I haven’t used the Swiss model, but have used the Swedish
Tecno X. I love them. They’re pretty sturdy and you can adjust the
collet tighter as needed over time. When the collet wears beyond the
point of adjustment, you can always get replacement collets.

To maximize the life of the collet, don’t try to change burs while
the bur is still spinning. You’ll wear the collet out quickly. Keep
the collet clean by periodically removing and cleaning. Don’t put
dirty bur shafts in the collet and don’t pack debris down the collet
either. A friend of mine once packed his collet with so much debris
that he couldn’t locate the screw slot inside the collet.

While you may want to still use your basic #30 handpiece for heavy
grinding or sanding, the Tecno X type of handpiece is great for
almost anything else.

HTH,
Donna Shimazu


#5

Hi Peter,

 The big problem I have with both replacements is in the chuck
itself.  In both cases, the diameter of the basic bore of the
chuck is a tad tight.  Thus, though the jaws themselves open up
wide enough, some of my burs jam into the inside of the chuck
instead of sliding all the way down to be held just by the jaws as
they should.  this is quite annoying. 

Don’t be too quick to condemn the size of the chuck bore for the
problem you encounter occasionally. While it’s true the bore size
could be at fault the problem could also be with the tool you’re
inserting into it.

If the problem only seems to happen with a limited set of tools, I
bet on the tools being at fault. The diameter could be out of spec or
the shank damage in some way.

If the shank has a little bend or other deformation in it, that
would cause the same type of problem you’ve described. The chuck bore
has a hole of the same diameter end to end. A small bend in the shank
of tool has the effect of making the sides of the shank non parallel
from end to end. This explains why the tool goes in O.K. for a
distance then gets tight.

One way to check for bent shanks is to lay the tool on a flat
surface that’s inclined a little. Lay the tool on the incline so just
the shank is on the incline. The shank should be 90 deg. to the
direction of incline. Release the tool & watch it as it rolls to the
bottom of the incline. Depending on the severity of any deformation,
it may be possible to see one end of the tool raise higher than the
other or the tool may begin to bounce a little.

If the shank has a bend or other deformation it probably should be
discarded anyway because the deformation causes the working part of
the tool not to run true.

Dave


#6
 Don't be too quick to condemn the size of the chuck bore for the
problem you encounter occasionally. While it's true the bore  size
could be at fault the problem could also be with the tool you're
inserting into it. 

Good thought, Dave, but in this case, it’s the chuck bore. These
are standard HSS setting burs, which may be slightly oversize.
That’s why they jam in the chuck. With the lever open, the shank
slips easily into the jaws of the chuck, and the chuck is properly
adjusted to properly grip the normal range of 3/32 shanks. My old
Techno-X (any of the three I have had) never had a problem with such
burs, when the chuck was properly adjusted like this. If the bur
would go into the jaws at all, it could go all the way in. With
these new handpieces, apparently the manufacturers weren’t aware of
the possible variations in spec on burs and other points one might
use, and have apparently bored the inside of the shank appropriately
for really on spec tools. That means that though the jaws of the
chuck open enough for oversize burs, the bur won’t go into the
chuck. It’s very annoying. And these are not bent or damaged bur
shanks. Just made to slightly looser standards than I would have
hoped for companies like Dedeco and Spearhead (at least, the
spearhead that it used to be, years ago. now, they’re not worth
beands.)

   If the problem only seems to happen with a limited set of
tools, I bet on the tools being at fault. The diameter could be out
of spec or the shank damage in some way. 

That’s just the point. Busch burs, and similar ones are accurate
and on spec. Most other types, including several brands of high speed
steel burs from several sellers, as well as the typical shanks on
various bristle brushes, mandrels, and various other wheels, are not
this accurate. Properly designed quick change handpieces for the
jewelery industry should take this into account. I’ve qot a bit of
a collection of various such handpieces from over the years, and
almost all of them work just fine with these out of spec burs, other
than a few that are so very under sized that the chuck can’t tighten
down on them enough when properly adjusted for the average burs.
I’ve seen a few of the bristle brushes do this now and then, but it’s
not common. The problem with the QC handpieces seems isolated to
the badeco I recently tried (and a visually similar one, not marked
badeco, that I bought on ebay a couple years back, and returned,
which I was told was made in the U.S. for the dental tech crowd), as
well as these two new versions of the techno. Never had this problem
with the old technos, nor with any of the Faro types.

Yes, the problem is that some burs are over sized. But the
handpieces should take this into account. Oversized shanks on burs
and points, other than the busch type, are common.

       If the shank has a little bend or other deformation in it,
that would cause the same type of problem you've described. The
chuck bore has a hole of the same diameter end to end. A small bend
in the shank of tool has the effect of making the sides of the
shank non parallel from end to end. This explains why the tool goes
in O.K. for a distance then gets tight. 

Yeah. i know about bends. Remember my mentioning that very
occasionally I find a bristle brush that’s undersize, and won’t quite
go tight in a QC chuck? A slight bend in the thing is my fix for
those. Doesn’t work for actual burs, since with a bend, it doesn’t
turn quite true, but for a brush, that’s not a problem. The burs
that I’m having trouble with now, are normally made high speed steel,
as well as some of the other types of brushes and mandrels. if the
chuck is adjusted so it properly grips an on spec bur, the jaws
will open enough to allow an oversize one to begine to enter, but
then jam. This simply means that the bor is too close to the
specified shank diameter. That just isn’t the right way to build
such a chuck. It needs a bit more internal clearance. The bur is
only held tight at the chuck jaws, so having only too little
clearance, versus a bit more, makes no difference to the security of
the bur, or the trueness with which it turns.

Peter


#7
    I haven't used the Swiss model, but have used the Swedish Tecno
X.  I love them.  They're pretty sturdy and you can adjust the
collet tighter as needed over time.  When the collet wears beyond
the point of adjustment, you can always get replacement collets. 

Trouble is, the original Swedish manufacturer is now closed and out
of business. That’s why we now have a couple copycat versions
available. Some tool dealers might have one of the old ones
available, but it would be prudent to note that since the original
manufacturer is out of business, a concern might now be whether
replacement parts (collet chucks especially, but also bearings and
other parts) will in future be available for the old Techno X
handpieces. Once various repair shops run out of their existing
stock of parts, then it’s possibly a problem, since it seems both
versions of the copycat that I’ve seen have made some at least slight
design changes. It’s not guaranteed that the parts for the new
handpieces will fit the old Techno X.

Peter


#8

I have a Techno from when they were first introduced to the American
market. I have had a few collets break over the years, but I still
have it and use it occasionally. The handpiece I use most now is a
Ney T-flex, and it is the hands down best handpiece I have ever
used. I have never had an off-sized burr shank not work. It has
excellent concentricity and is smooth and quiet. It must be stopped
before you can open it, though.

Spike Cornelius
Portland, Or.
RC ArtMetal