The Weekly Fix: Antique Dentist Drill

by Greg Kono

Emsco Tabletop Dental Drill Restoration

I’ve had this dental drill sitting on a shelf, collecting dust for years. The belt had disintegrated long ago and I always assumed the switch was broken since it wouldn’t shut off when I plugged it in. After doing a little internet research, though, I quickly discovered that the switch was fine; It’s suppose to control the motor’s forward and reverse. The part that was actually missing was the foot controller that turns the motor on/off and regulates the speed of the drill.  Armed with that realization, I was able to easily find a replacement for it.  By some stroke of luck, I was even able to find the exact size belt from a dental supply company.

After some disassembling, cleaning, lubricating, reassembling, and a little polishing, the drill looks and runs as good as new. With its dentistry days behind it, it now performs well in precision engraving or grinding and is surprisingly more comfortable to use than a Dremel tool.  I strongly recommend, however, that you still refrain from using it for DIY dental work!

If you’re even slightly interested in exploring the innards of all sorts of gadgets, gizmos, and tools or investigating why they break and how to (sometimes) easily fix them, you should definitely stop by The Fixers’ Collective.  We’ve fixed everything from blenders to blow torches and happily accept all challenges.  If you have something in your house or garage that needs a little attention and you’d rather not throw it away, or even if you’re just curious to see how easy it is to fix some of these things, we hope to see you at the next meetup on October 6th, 6-9pm!  Everyone is welcome is attend, whether or not you bring your broken stuff with you!

The Fixers’ Collective meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month in The West Seattle Tool Library’s Fixerspace.



One thought on “The Weekly Fix: Antique Dentist Drill

  1. Do you know where I could find the belts that run thru the pullies on an antique dentist drill simalure to the one above?

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