Treadle Powered Dremel – World’s First

In this post I am gonna show you how I made treadle (foot) powered Dremel Station First, I inspected the sewing machine desk and then designed the three alternatives. I chose one and started converting the sewing machine desk into treadle powered Dremel station.

About The Sewing Machine Desk

Sewing machine desk before dismantling.
Sewing machine desk before dismantling.

This is an old sewing machine desk designed for Excelsior 81 sewing machine. I think it is from the 1980s and it is in decent condition. All parts are here, even the key for the top board which always end up lost. The desk is made out of wood and plywood which separates this one from all other desks out there. It is fairly small in size and lightweight. So, it is perfect to move around in the shop if there is a need for that. 

In the video below you can enjoy watching how I made this treadle powered dremel station!

The Build/Restoration Process

I started by dismantling partially the desk and removing the sewing machine. This gave me enough room to insert all necessary parts for this build. I kept the big wheel and foot pad on the desk and decided to use a hand crank grinder in the upper part as a connection between the Dremel extension cable and big wheel attached to the desk. 

Dismantling the sewing machine desk.
Dismantling the sewing machine desk.

Choosing a hand crank grinder gives me a lot of advantages and the biggest one is definitely high RPM output for the Dremel itself. I also will have less parts to worry about during installation. I started with a blue one, but later in the project I found out that that one spins a bit difficult even though I inspected it and greased up. Instead of that one I took a smaller red one which spins much smoother. 

Checking the hand crank grinder.
Checking the hand crank grinder.

I made a wooden stand to hold the hand crank grinder and tension pulley. After marking, drilling, screwing and adjusting I was finally happy and could proceed with the project. I added the leather belt and did a first successful test.

First successful test.
First successful test.

Now I disassemble everything and change the wobble parts with tight fit ones. This gave me better control over spinning and lower noise level.

Back to square one

Disassembling again to fine adjust all wobbly parts.
Disassembling again to fine adjust all wobbly parts.

So far so good. The next step was to partially restore the sewing machine desk by light sanding, removing surface rust and applying black paint on hinges and oil mixture to the wood.

Repairing the water damage on the treadle powered dremel.
Repairing the water damage on the sewing machine desk.
Applying mixture of paraffin oil and teak oil to the treadle powered dremel.
Applying mixture of paraffin oil and teak oil.

After that I start to put everything back together and to test out the Dremel on wood, brass and rust.

Almost there, I put everything back.
Almost there, I put everything back.
Treadle powered dremel in action.
Treadle powered dremel in action.

The final look is discrete and modest

I was surprised with the power and how it works well. The only thing that I don’t like is the noise. It is not too bad but it is a bit louder than I anticipated. 

Treadle powered dremel drawer.
Treadle powered dremel drawer.
Finished treadle powered dremel station.
Finished treadle powered dremel station.

Please subscribe if you want to see more of my upcoming restoration projects where I am using this treadle powered Dremel station! And DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT Remove Nasty Sound of Your Woodworking Bench with Soap Video: https://youtu.be/FbmjU1X2EE8

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31 Comments

  1. I had a great idea for a tensioner…then I saw your version was much better. I enjoy your videos very much! Keep up the good work.

  2. Boris, the time and effort that you put into this channel really shows. And you’re a pretty good engineer to boot! Great video!

  3. Very creative! Nice video and nice to see your face more! Cheers from Canada ????

  4. What a lovely build, very detailed and well executed ?? I appreciate that you showed the mishaps as well. Can’t beat the dedication at 22:17 ?? Also your filming style is evolving rapidly, really impressive??

  5. That was a nice job, Boris! Really enjoyed it. Nice adaptation into something new. I like the detail and it turned out really nicely.
    Thanks for the video. Looking forward to another one ??

  6. You are brilliant idea and the video great restoration job First Class project

  7. Very nicely done! I look forward to seeing you use this in future videos. Take care ??????

  8. Boris you are a genuine genius!! Who else would look at antique sewing machine and say ” hey I think I can turn that into a dremmel station without electricity.” I can see the frustrations you encountered im sure lots were not on camera but you did such an amazing job! This is probably your best video yet your music your personality your work your inspiration your uniqueness and your talent just overtook this video!! Amazing job Boris amazing job!!

  9. That was a lot of fun to watch. You showed us a few of your struggles, and how you figured out how to overcome them. I’m glad you stuck with it. Now you have built something very unique, and no one can ever take that from you. Things like that are worth more than money in my opinion.

  10. Great job! Perhaps you could adapt to use it both for the drehmel head and the hand grinder / polisher (free both hands)?

  11. Wow Boris you have really outdone yourself! Your commitment to only using hand/foot powered tools is commendable. And that trick with the rocks to remove rust was very cool. Thanks for taking along the journey of you making this ????

  12. Truly outstanding job! You never cease to do very impressive work. And as a hand tool/human powered tool fan myself, I truly appreciate your approach. Thanks for sharing this project.

  13. The singer sawing machine was an icon in Germany and I guess still is… A real history piece.
    Used by a unknown number of many many households and built at a time where planned obsolescence wasn’t a concept.
    Great idea and execution!

  14. outstanding work! I doubt there is any other project on youtube similar to this. Its a totally unique concept! Thank you for the education.

  15. Awesome engineering my friend I’ve been waiting for this video since you first talked about it and you did a marvelous job you should get a degree in engineering because that was very impressive and if I saw that at a flea market I would pay the price no matter the cost cuz that’s so unique and awesome

  16. Yeah well nice video and great adaptation of that sewing machine to that Dremel hand accessory power device and working station… Nevertheless I thing that some bits works with high speed…so… using the Dremer electric power device would be helpfull…

  17. I just found your channel a couple weeks ago,so i’m late to the party what is the reason for no electric tools,have enjoyed so far,all the best to you and your family

  18. Hello there are we gonna see that manuel dremel working on your next projects ?

Comments are closed.