60,000 RPM Vacuum Powered Rotary Tool Was 3D Printed


The whining of the turbines in the 3D printed pneumatic rotary tool might make your teeth hurt. When [Axodus] tipped us off about it he mentioned it sounded like a 747 taking off. But we hear a dentist’s drill when watching the demo video.

[Richard Macfarlane] published his design if you want to try building one for yourself. But you will need to do some machining in addition to printing the enclosure and the pair of turbines. The shaft of the tool needs to fit the bearings precisely. It accepts a center blue spacer with a red turbine on either side. This assembly is encapsulated in the two-part threaded blue body which has a flange to friction fit with the shop vacuum hose. The business end of the machined shaft was designed and threaded to accept the collet from a Dremel or similar rotary tool.

We wonder how much work it would be to re-engineer this to act as a PCB drill press?


61 thoughts on “60,000 RPM Vacuum Powered Rotary Tool Was 3D Printed

    1. Worst happens, it explodes, the bits fly up the hoover. If a bit snaps off that goes up the hoover too and probably it stops spinning til you make a new one. Use PLA and it’ll fuse into your flesh harmlessly.

      1. You should ask the question “Why?” about everything. However, you should practice trying to answer that question yourself and only when you cannot think of any reason at all (and I mean ANY reason) then maybe you should ask others. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like someone who is incapable of actually thinking.

        1. Get off the pedestal before you fall down and hurt yourself!

          Knowing why someone might want to put a bearing on this device has nothing to do with the ability to think. It has everything to do with one’s knowledge of the technology and it’s typical use.

          Stop confusing the two with your clear and obvious ignorance.

      1. The air flow caused by the vacuum would have a cooling affect. There are internal combustion engines that are air cooled, but they do not operate at these speeds so there could be melting despite the air flow of the vac.

    1. That would be a definite problem if this were a typical pneumatic device which operates on air pressure being pushed toward the turbine and out the air vents. Because this device is operated on vacuum rather than air pressure, it is likely that should the turbine shatter, the vacuum will suck up the broken pieces.

  1. hm, it doesnt seem quite safe to actually suck glowing metal sparks into the dustbag…
    iven if they will be 99%ly cooled when they arive down there…
    but hey, its cool anyway :)

      1. Either some sort of Halon fire-suppression system needs fixing in there, or he could just put fires out when and if they happen.

        Actually I wonder if some sort of water-trap would affect the pressure much? Like you’d use in, uh, a bong, or brewing or somesuch. Have a part-full jar of water spliced into the hose, with the sucker hose at the top and the working-end hose bubbling through. You know what I mean?

        Probably more trouble than it’s worth, unless sparks became a regular problem, then it might be a good idea.

        I wonder if they make them already for people who have to vacuum up a lot of fire?

      1. I don’t have a CNC router yet but I have plenty of the hand operated kinds. They have some torque but I would say that routers rely more on high RPM than torque to do their work. I wouldn’t run a router on much more than wood as far as hard materials go either. If I need to cut harder materials, metal say, then I use my milling machine. It operates at lower RPM than routers do, and has a larger motor too. All of that translates into high, or perhaps even insane torque. As an example one of the tools I use on my mill is called a 2″ shell cutter, it resembles a large end mill. I run it at 220 RPM to cut through steel. That is still 115 surface feet per minute peripheral cutter speed, but some high spindle torque to make chips with such a large tool.

  2. Indeed this is awesome in many ways! (by the way it’s been on thingiverse for a while and when I first saw this I also said it’s genious ;) ).
    1. it’s the cheapest dremel you can find!
    2. It’s indeed perfect for a cnc router-> normally you’d add an extra tube connected to a vacuum next to your spindle to suck away debree. Now you get a lightweight high rpm spindle and vacuum in one go.
    3. Yes it’s just one of the really practical things to do with a 3d printer. I’m not gonna make advertising here but their going down in price (my own 3d printer webshop sells em for 500 euro).

  3. That is absolutely brilliant. Wear and tear doesn’t matter because you can just print a new one when it gets a bit worn out (using the old one to de-burr the new one!!). 60,000 rpm is bound to put some considerable tensile strain on the plastic blades themselves – I’d be interested in knowing how consistently a 3D printer delivers it’s molten plastic. Is one turbine as good as the next or do you have to print out 10 before you find a usable one?

    Very impressive and elegantly simple design. That is great engineering.

  4. Awesome!

    I, too, see this could be a perfect fit for a CNC head, but I wonder how the dust/debris being sucked into the vacuum and striking the rotary blades along the way would affect it, if at all. Isn’t it like stuff being sucked into a jet engine? Small stuff is OK, but a whole duck could be catastrophic.

  5. humm … 3D printed jet engine ?? yes it wouldn’t run for long but it would give you major street creed and the inevitable fire ball would make for a great vid.

  6. I have to agree with everyone that it’s a superb idea, but I can’t help thinking it’s going to use an extraordinary amount of electricity compared to conventional rotary tools.

  7. During the parts when it spins up and down, you can clearly hear the aliasing from it exceeding the Nyquist frequency of whatever recorded the audio. Must be producing an impressive spl at ultrasonic frequencies.

    1. I noticed this to but I believe that it is intermodulation between the turbine stator points and the vacuum supplies impeller. Quite impressive that this intermodulation can work through that length of tube. Obviously the resonant frequencies of the tube are providing some amplification.

  8. A typical dremel tool is 175W, a vacuum cleaner is most likely ten times that – Am I missing something ? Presumably the torque provided is also woeful when comparing to a pneumatic tool that works from a positive pressure feed i.e. 0.5bar (certainly less than one) pressure difference versus 6-10 bar pressure difference typically ?

    An interesting indulgence in novelty and design none the less …

  9. Does anyone know if this could be reversed to make a turbomolecular vacuum pump? I’ve always wanted one of those, but they’re so expensive. Just seeing this thing spin up to 60,000 RPM makes me think a 3D printed turbo pump might just be possible. Perhaps it could be powered by a Dremel?

    1. Maybe, if you really wanted to it could be adapted. But a TMP of this size is not going to do much at that kind of RPM. (A commercial unit of this size would probably run close to or even more than 500k rpm!)

      Also, because a TMP impeller of any decent size is quite a bit of material spinning at ludicrous speeds, they are DANGEROUS. I’ve seen the result of a medium size TMP impeller going kablewey. The results aren’t pretty. The impeller itself weighs no more than maybe 1/20th of the casing and drive unit, yet it managed to tear the casing almost clean off its mounting bolts (12x M10 bolts!).

      While I can understand the feeling of wanting a TMP to play with (So do I) I really don’t think it’s a safe thing to do at home if you don’t have access to a metal working shop and a big dose of experience handling ultra high speed equipment.

  10. Air bearings are often implemented in materials that appear to defy common sense principles. Designs using foil brush centered/flow managed bearings such as the Capstone Gennys come to mind as an example. This is a VERY worthy Hack for it’s proof-of-concept alone.

    Lest we forget one RP programs founding ethos of machines that can REPRODUCE?

    Additive Fabrication is a world changer. Using it to make Subtractive Fabrication machines is an evolving in progress scene. And there’s the aspects of no EMI/RFI nor needfully any metallic content as such. Ram Air Gyro? Geared as position motors for RF gear?
    This could be the core motor of damned many Hacks.

  11. There are definitely a lot of cool aspects to this hack, I say Bravo!
    I do have a question though.

    It makes sense that that any pieces coming off the internals is taken care off by the Vac itself, but what about the cutting/grinding tools (bits) themselves? Anyone one know what the max RPM rating on dremel is? The steel bits are probably fine, but what about some of the composites? I wear a full face shield as it is with their little cut-off wheels. Might get kinda hairy if one of those grinder wheels fractured at that speed, ya?


  12. You must just be sure you realize one thing in regards to a digital camera torque wrench before you head out and about and purchase a single. Getting a wrench needs that buyers realize one thing about the torque force electric power, features within the wrench plus more.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.