Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: Master Mechanic Rotary Tool

Master Mechanic Rotary ToolThe last rotary tool I had was cordless, and after a couple years of light use, the battery was shot. Since I'm really only likely to be using it at my desk or workbench, I decided to get a corded rotary tool. After a couple years of light use, it will still be going strong. I looked at a couple local stores and didn't see the one I wanted, so I went on the Internet for this one. The Master Mechanic brand I believe is owned by Ace Hardware, which I'm also a big fan of, so this looked like a great deal at 30 bucks.

My review sample was purchased from Amazon using our Prime account. Note that this model appears to be identical to the Genesis rotary tool. Sometimes Chinese factories will use better quality parts for an OEM like True Value so your mileage may vary. But it's probably the same tool. Since I bought mine, I've seen the Master Mechanic version on sale for under 15 bucks!

UPDATE: This version has been discontinued, and a new version is being sold.

Product Description


This is a 3 speed, corded rotary tool, loosely based on the original Dremel tool. Some people still call them 'Dremels' either way. It's basically just a really high speed drill. This one will do 10k to 30k RPM adjustable by a little wheel on the bottom of the unit. It comes with the usual attachments for engraving, cutting, milling, grinding, etc.

Official Specs (From Genesis Version)


Part NumberGRT2103-40
Item Weight2 pounds
Product Dimensions12.1 x 5.7 x 2.6 inches
OriginImported
Item model numberGRT2103-40
ColorGrey
Power SourceCorded-Electric
Voltage120 volts
Amperage Capacity1 A
Item Package Quantity1
Capacity Description8000-30000 RPM, 1.0A, 1/8" collet
Cord Length6.5 Feet
Speed30000 RPM
Switch StyleToggle switch
Special FeaturesVariable speed, 40 piece accessory set included

Initial Impressions


I've owned the original Dremel, and opening this one up gave me the same impression of quality. Ok, well maybe not the bits. The bits are passable, but nothing to write home about. But the unit itself really gave me a good first impression.

Build Quality


The build quality on my review sample is better than I expected for the price. I bought it for light duty, but this looks like it's built really well. I'm expecting this one to last a long time. The areas like the buttons that see the most abuse look like they are made to stand up to it. The On/Off rocker switch is the old-fashioned, 1950's style. I had my fingers crossed that I wouldn't get burned paying half of what the name brand cost, especially since it only had one review at Amazon. The cord looks to be good quality and has about 2 inches of reinforced rubber where it comes out of the tool. The hanging hook feels sturdy, but it also feels a little on the cheap side.

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Closeup Of Switch

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Closeup Of Speed Selector Wheel

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Closeup Of Spindle Lock Button

Variable Speed


There's a little red wheel that selects the drill speed of 10k to 30k RPM. The wheel has a good tactile feel to it, with numbers labeled 1-5 and "max" with a detent that locks it on the highest setting. The feel of the wheel adds to the overall impression that this is a well made tool. The corded tools are higher RPM, so it's nice to get the full 30,000.

Usability


I use a rotary tool just for basic homeowner stuff, usually so I can use something that goes against its intended purpose. Doesn't fit? Grind it down with the rotary tool! Lately I've been using my rotary tool to smooth out rough edges on the ends of 18650 Lithium-ion batteries that I've been harvesting from used laptop batteries. It works really well on the high speed setting for this.

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Closeup With Some Harvested Sony 18650 Batteries

Conclusions


This is a great value rotary tool for the money. Everything about it is solid except for the clip, and I took that off. I welcome this rotary tool to my arsenal. I've since seen it on sale for less than half of what I paid for it, making it an even better deal.

However, if you are a power user who uses it daily, you probably want to either buy a tool which comes with better accessories, or buy all your accessories separately.

Gallery


Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - In Box

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Box

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Open Box

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Box 2

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Open Box 3

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Out Of Box

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Closeup Of Accessories
 Master Mechanic Rotary Tool - Closeup Of Buffers and Sanders

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