Woodart High-speed Rotary Handpiece Kit
Friday 02 March 2012
Patricia Spero puts this high-speed rotary handpiece kit from Woodart through its paces and is impressed with its performance and versatility
This high-speed micromotor, sold by Woodart, is a new power carving/piercing unit with a very attractively and conveniently styled handpiece, driven from mains electricity through a control box.
The control unit consists of the variable speed control, a forward/reverse switch, and an on/off switch with a green light which indicates that the unit is switched on. The handpiece is plugged into the control unit through a three pole 1800 DIN connector. However, if preferred, the handpiece motor can be switched on and off using a footswitch which plugs into the control unit through a two pole flat connector. The unit is supplied with a rest for the handpiece, a very brief manual and two cutters.
The handset is easy to use, functional, lighter than most similar tools and very comfortable to hold. It has a 3.2mm collet chuck for holding the cutters and discs. The collet locks and unlocks - opens and closes - with a simple twist. It locks very firmly, with a click. It will take all the standard 3.2mm bits, as used on Dremel, Foredom, Axminster and numerous other power carvers.
I found that the two cutters which come with the unit to be too thick for piercing, so for testing the handpiece I chose a 2mm proprietary bit. I used the cutter to add decoration to a bowl which already had a pyrographed flower design, and it was easy to accurately cut out the largish holes exactly to the desired shape.
The micro motor performed very quietly with practically no vibration. Vibration can be a serious source of problems on this type of handpiece; on coarse grained timber the vibration can cause the handpiece to skate and the cutter will follow the direction of the grains and not the desired route. I am pleased to say that the Woodart handpiece performed very well, both on the noise and vibration issues.
The unit is supposed to have a maximum speed of 35,000rpm. The very minimalist manual gives a range of suggested'allowable rotation speeds' for different diameter cutters and discs. These are displayed in a table from 35,000rpm down to 5,000rpm, corresponding to diameters between 2mm (5/64in) and 40mm (1 5/8in).
Setting the correct speed at best is only guesswork, since there is no way of knowing the actual running speed.
I used the divisions on the speed control knob, assuming that the relationship between the angular position and the actual speed is linear.
This unit is easy to control and is light enough to be used to draw an outline on the wood before cutting through. It does not vibrate and the foot pedal is very useful. Changing cutters is easy. The handpiece can be used with many different cutters and sanding attachments. Within its power range it seems to perform better than most other comparable units.