Craftsman Rotary Tool Instructions

Rotary tools are some of the most versatile tools on the market. This is because there are so many different accessories that can be used with a rotary tool. With the simple change of a rotary tool accessory, the operator can go from finish sanding wood to grinding metal to sharpening a chainsaw chain to carving a nice wood project. Craftsman rotary tools are no exception. Knowing how to operate a rotary tool is the key to its successful utilization.

The Basics


Rotary tool accessories spin at very high rates of speed 5,000 to 35,000 revolutions per minute (RPM)]. Because of the sheer speed of the accessory, rotary tools handle unlike any other tool in the garage. You have to “get the feel” for how a rotary tool handles.

There are two ways to handle a rotary tool: golf club style and pen style. While using the golf club style, you hold the rotary tool so your palm faces up against the tool and your thumb points towards the business end of the tool. This is the most common hold style and is used for anything for grind in to cutting. The pen hold style involves holding the rotary tool like a writing utensil. This hold style is used for fine, precision work, like carving or detail sanding. An important part of each hold style is that the vents have to remain open so the motor can breathe and stay cool, so do not cover the air vents while using the rotary tool. Also, allow the Craftsman rotary tool to complete the work at its own pace. Do not force the tool. Forcing the tool may damage the tool beyond repair.

Recommended Operating Speeds

The operating speed at which a given accessory is supposed to spin depends on three variables: the material being worked on, the task that needs to be accomplished and the type of accessory used in the rotary tool. Slow operating speeds (up to 15,000 RPM) is good for polishing and brushing while cutting carving, routing, shaping and drilling are done using high speeds (over 15,000 RPM).

Because there are so many variables in recommending a specific speed setting for a given material and a given accessory type, Craftsman has created a table that includes the speed settings they recommend for a given accessory type and material. For example, using a high speed cutter on hardwoods, the speed setting should be set to 6; for soft woods, the speed setting should be set to 10. Craftsman has broken their speed setting recommendations down into fifteen different tables—one for each type of accessory.

Before beginning a project, find the recommended speed setting for the accessory you will use to complete the project. Doing so will increase your personal safety and will extend the usable life of the accessory you are using.