July 20, 2017

Dremel US40 Ultra Saw first impressions

by dwm — Categories: Power ToolsLeave a comment

On July 19, 2017 I bought a Dremel US40 Ultra Saw kit from Home Depot for $99 (marked down from $129). It came with 4 blades, the handle, the Allen wrench for blade changes and a carrying bag.

I bought it mainly for trimming off hardwood flooring at the wall after installation. I don’t normally need to do this, but occasionally I’ll cut a board a tad too long. Since my sliding compound miter saw is in the garage, it can be a hassle to run back and forth from the second floor (where I’m installing flooring right now) just to trim 1/8″ off of a board. It ruins my mojo.

I’d love to own a Festool TS55 or TS75, but the reality is that it’s a lot of money for a tool I don’t desperately need at the moment. I own a table saw, a sliding compound miter saw, a circular saw, a Bosch handheld jigsaw, a reciprocating saw (which I’m misplaced!), an oscillating tool, a 5″ variable speed grinder, a tile wetsaw, a metal chop saw, etc. A TS55 or TS75 is the king of accurate breakdown of sheet goods, but all I needed today was a means of trimming off hardwood flooring post-installation.

The Dremel US40 works well for this task. The main drawback is that it creates a tremendous amount of dust due to the blade design. The dust port adapter is nearly impossible to find in a store or online, and the reviews are not favorable because it falls out too easily. And it looks like an afterthought to me; the dust port on the saw is tiny and on the opposite side of the saw body from the blade, at a 90 degree angle. And when using the flush-cut blade, I suspect it does nothing at all since the flush cut blade is outside of the blade guard.

The second drawback: the blades are pricey and I suspect they don’t last very long. This has been one of my complaints about Dremel for a long time. They’re like the Gillette of tool companies: the tools aren’t terribly expensive, but they gouge you for blades, grinding wheels, etc.

But the tool itself is not bad. I think it’s more versatile than the Rockwell Versacut and similar, mainly because it can make an almost flush cut. I can’t speak to the longevity yet, but for $99 I’m not expecting the worm drive to last forever. But for special uses, I think it’s a good tool. For heavy, rough work I have better, more robust tools.

One thing that would make it a better tool: variable speed control. 17,000 rpm is fine for cutting wood, but I can imagine wanting a slower speed when cutting metal. Not to mention using the surface prep wheel.

A foot attachment that allowed miter cuts would also be nice, though I realize it would be limited since the depth of cut at 90 is already shallow at 3/4″.

The bag is definitely not something to write home about. No padding, no pockets, etc. I’ll wind up putting everything in a Systainer 2 at some point.

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