Here is the new cordless Ryobi 18V One+ flex-shaft rotary tool station (P460), which was mentioned or asked about by numerous readers after receiving an email newsletter Ryobi’s outlet store.
I have not seen the Ryobi cordless rotary tool before – and yes I’m calling it cordless because despite there being a flex-shaft for mechanical power transmission, it’s battery powered.
The outlet store is selling “factory blemished” inventory, presumably from an early production run, as it’s not yet available anywhere else.
It’s actually technically inaccurate to describe this as a rotary tool, since it is essentially a flex-shaft tool. The motor itself is in the base station, and a handpiece as attached via flex-shaft. This allows for the handpiece to be substantially slimmer and more controllable and comfortable to use than a traditional rotary tool which puts the motor in your hand.
The Ryobi rotary tool base station can be mounted to a wall (or pegboard as shown here) to save some bench space. Or, you can rest it flat on a table or workbench. There are numerous screw keyhole slots on the back, which could allow for other mounting methods.
- Variable speed
- Up to 34,000 RPM
- 36″ flex-shaft
- 1/8″ collet size
- Includes 33 cutting, grinding, sanding, polishing accessories
- “On-board accessory collet accepts most accessories”
- Rubber feet on base to reduce slipping
- Integrated keyholes for mounting or storage
There’s even a built-in accessory storage area on the base station, with holes that could fit burs or other shafted bits.
Price: $89 for the kit
Buy Now(Kit via Home Depot)
Ryobi 18V One+ battery and charger are sold separately.
What’s the runtime?
Is the handpiece detachable, and if so, can you use Foredom or other brands’ handpieces?
Will replacement flex-shafts be available? Collet nuts? (It looks to use Dremel-sized collets.)
There are separate on/off and variable speed controls, which is nice. However, there are typically two types of flex-shaft tool controls – dial-controlled, and foot pedal-controlled, with both having their own advantages. This Ryobi rotary tool looks to bring a lot of flex-shaft tool features and benefits to users, except for the option to use a foot pedal, and that’s a big one.
Flex-shaft tools are typically mounted next to the work area, by a hanger of some kind. I bought a base for mine so that I could use it on a benchtop, and find that it’s more awkward than hanging it, due to how the flex-shaft moves as hand positioning shifts while working.
The Ryobi flex-shaft tool has several keyhole mounts, two in the vertical direction and two in each horizontal direction, and so a user could potentially rig a bench accessory that can allow the motor base unit to be suspended wherever they want.
I think that this is going to be a hobbyist must-have, especially if the retail price isn’t too much higher than outlet store pricing for factory-blemished units.
While I have tons of questions, and I don’t think it’ll hold up to popular flex-shaft tools in regard to features, performance, or breadth of available accessories, it looks amazing.
Does it have to be cordless? Personally, I’d like to see Ryobi develop a renewed interest in corded benchtop power tools.
Lastly, I can’t help but wonder how a product like this gets brought into being. Do Ryobi or TTI North America have a running wishlist of products they wish existed for personal use? Because that sure seems like it. I can imagine the brainstorming session – “hey guys, wouldn’t it be great if we made a cordless flex-shaft rotary tool so that I could more easily work on carving, jewelry, hobbyist, or small fabrication products in my one-outlet garage?” *Thumbs up* Ryobi, whatever process you have for deciding what cordless power tools to come up and out with next, keep it up.