Vortex F5+ Plus Red Precision Carver

F5+ Plus is Higher Power. Perfect for wood carving and wood piercing.
List price: $595.00
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Vortex F5+ Ultra High Speed Precision Carver

500,000 RPM!  There is no other carver like it!
World's Fastest Precision Carver!

Exclusively designed for carving!

Vortex F5 and optional Essential Accessories

So what goes into the best precision ultra high speed carver?
Lets find out by taking it apart to get a good look at the guts:

Vortex F5 Parts
  1. Autochuck spindle with a roundness of 0.00004"
  2. 24 Vane Balanced Turbine Impeller
  3. ABEC-9 Ceramic Bearings Lube-Free & Shielded
  4. Preload Bearing Wave Washer and Pressure Plate
  5. Fluted Brass Nosecone with 10 Seated exhaust ports
  6. Fluted Cap: Twist to Release Burs 4 Barb Air Hose Fitting
  7. Two feet of very flexible Tygon connection hose
  8. Quick disconnect hose coupling
  9. User Guide/Instructions
  10. Lifetime Warranty, 1 year turbine

Here is what you get with the Essential Accessories Kit:

Essential Accessories Kit
  1. Variable Speed Air Valve (Speed Control)
  2.  12 feet of high quality 1/4" OD, 1/8" ID air supply hose
  3. Brass 1/4" NPT to 1/8" Hose Barb
  4. Brass 1/4" Quick Connect Air Hose Plug
  5. Bur Sampler Kit:
    • 3 Carbide Burs:
      • FG8 Round 2.3mm
      • FG33.5 Inverted Cone 0.6mm
      • FG699 Tapered Fissure 2.1mm x 4.8mm)
    • 3 Diamonds:
      • DR12C Round 1.2mm Coarse Grit
      • DFB23C Football 2.3mm Coarse Grit
      • DFL14C Flame 1.4mm Coarse Grit
  6. Magnetic Polished Stainless Steel Bur Tray
  7. Bur Cleaning Stone, cleans burs fast without chemicals
  8. Safety Glasses and Dust Mask

High Speed or Ultra High Speed?

The Vortex F5 family of carving tools are known as an "Ultra High Speed Carvers". This means the speed or Revolutions Per Minute (abbreviated RPM) is faster than 400,000 RPM. At these speeds, only turbines powered by air are capable spinning this fast. Electric carvers with motors like the well known Dremel rotory tool is know as a "High Speed Carver". Electric carvers are not capable of speeds much above 50,000 RPM. The Vortex F5 spins more than 13 times faster than most electric carvers. For massive torque and and reducing material quickly (bulk reduction), use an electric carver High Speed Carver. For high precision and fine details, use

No Chatter or Vibration

A common problem with electric carvers is "Chatter", otherwise known as Vibration. When carving, the cutter, known as a "Bur", must not move around on its own. If it does, it is impossible to cut any details in the carving. So what causes chatter? Usually it is the quality of the bearings and the straightness of the spindle. Also, how the spindle/bearings are attached to the housing. Most electric carvers use low quality bearings of ABEC of 1. The ABEC scale is an industry accepted standard for the tolerances of a ball bearing. It was developed by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee. An ABEC of 1 is the lowest the bottom end for tolerance or roundness. With ABEC 9 being the highest quality.

The Vortex F5 only uses ABEC 9 bearings attached to a spindle with a roundness tolerances of 0.001mm (0.00004”), the smaller the better turnout and runout are minimized. The Vortex F5 exceeds the ISO standard by more 50% for concentricity. This is how the Vortex F5 overcomes chatter and vibration. We even laser serialize our spindles for quality tracking should one ever fail.

Ultra Precise Details

In order to get extremely fine carvings requires a cutter known as a "bur" to cut your design. A bur must be precision manufactured and designed for detail cutting at 400,000 RPM or higher. These type of burs are only found from a few suppliers in the dental industry . They are called "friction grip" (FG) burs with a shank diameter of 1.6mm (1/16"). The most common bur materials are diamond and carbide. Since the Vortex F5 supplies rotational power with no chatter or vibration due its smoothness, roundness straightness bearings spindle, the FG burs must have same concentric quality as the carver. The actual cutting heads available starts at 0.03mm (0.001") about half human hair up 3.2mm (0.125"). The Vortex F5 and FG burs form an integral system to produce superior carving control, zero vibration, durability and optimal cutting efficiency. This is only way get your precise talent to flow from your hand to the Vortex F5 down into the bur and onto carving.

Silver Master
Debbi's Dream Carver

I have been carving for well over 50 years, 35+ years of that with pneumatic high speed carving tools. Working with my hands for so many years sculpting and tooling on bronzes, I developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome leading me to invest in vibrationless pneumatic tools as the only way to continue carving without having my hands going numb. I have sold several repurposed dental high speed carvers over the past 16 years and never quite found all of the right qualities in one tool. The photo to the left is me carving the .084" bas relief Master for my .999 One Troy Ounce Fine Silver Round edition for The Year of the Horse. I was using a prototype Vortex. Below is me with my Toy Red Poodle, Dillon's Trouble in Paradise (DJ for Dillon Jr.) and photobomb resident deer on my 5 acre farm.

Carving horse with prototype Vortex XJ7The Vortex F5+ has many of the great features of the original XJ7 prototype, but it also has some new features which simplify its production, making it more comfortable to handle and giving it more durability to withstand higher speeds and temperatures. Since we are building the turbines, we elected to go with sealed, lube-free ceramic bearings, able to withstand 500,000+ RPM without the fuss or expense of messy lubrication! The new F5+ body is slightly smaller than the XJ7 weighs about the same but since the air tubing goes out the end of the tool, there's no more hose barb rubbing on your hand. There's no more plunger either since the internal cam system twists to remove and replace the burs. No more pushing down on hard surfaces which eventually wears out the spindle and the burs! The new Vortex F5+ also utilizes radial instead of angular bearings giving it more stability with lateral pressure from carving on the bur sides.

The new Vortex F5+ has been a long time in the making but it will probably be the last carver you ever buy! We have designed it to last and give artists and carvers many years of carving pleasure!

Is the Vortex F5+ Right for you? Let's see!

Debbi LerMondRead over this information and see if the Vortex F5+ is right for you. The Vortex F5+ goes way beyond electric powered tools like Dremel or plastic turbine carvers. Isn't it time you consider using a professional carving tool to get the best results possible for your artistic talent? Yes, it costs more than the cheaper made electric rotary tools, but the Vortex F5+ is a well built, high speed engraver designed for professional use. You will discover the second you place it into your hand that this is quality built tool. Debbi LerMond, professional equine sculptor, has designed the Vortex F5+ for creating her equine art that can be seen at www.HorseModels.com. Want to know more about what can be done with a Vortex F5+? Sure you do. Give Debbi a call in the SculptingStudio at 1-888-643-9423 and tell her you "want more information about the Vortex F5+". Also, ask her about the burs best to use for your work. She can help you sort it all out. So give Debbi a call. She's an artist, not a pitchman! You will not get an earful of high pressure sales pitch mumbo-jumbo.

Compare the Vortex F5+ to other carvers

Compare Six 400,000 RPM Carvers *SCM is known to rebrand the Shofu Lab Air-Z as the "Power Carver 400xs"
So what is the Vortex F5+ Plus?

The Vortex F5+ is an Ultra High Speed 500,000 RPM Carver, 4 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter. It is the smallest and lightest weight all metal precision air powered carver in the world.

  • Ultra High Speed Precision Carver: The Vortex F5+ is a lightweight! At only 1.8 ounce, this carver uses FG type burs with the ability to make cuts at less than the width of a human hair. Carving at one thousandth of an inch (.001) or less you may need a microscope.
  • High Air Flow Turbine: 7 port manifold drives a 24 vane turbine rotor extracting rotational energy from compressed air. The Port/Vane ratio equals high torque.
  • 500,000+ RPM High Speed Carver: Recommended pressure is 30 psi, with 40 psi maximum. Going higher produces more RPM but doing so can shorten bearing life.
  • Ceramic Lube-Free Sealed Bearings: Longer life, higher RPM, no oil or cleaner required, withstands greater temperatures, handles dirty and moist air better.
  • No Plunger or Air Tube: Eliminating the plunger allows the air tube to be removed from the side as well. No more plunger or air tube rubbing your hand while carving.
  • Focused Nosecone Exhaust Jets: Exhaust air is put to work blowing carving dust away from your work. The 10 seated ports help to focus the exhaust directly forward.
  • Fluted Nosecone and Rear Cap: Fluting provides a better grip purchase for better control when carving and changing burs and is more comfortable than old fashioned knurling (which can cause callouses).
  • Anodized 6061-T6 Housing: The housing material is a T6 temper to give a tensile strength of 45,000 PSI. Anodized per military specification MIL-A-8625 inside and out to provide a durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish and harder surface not affected by moisture. 6061-T6 is commonly used in aerospace for fuselages, wings and spacecraft.
  • Light Weight: Weighing in at less than 1.8 ounces makes the Vortex F5+ an ideal tool for users with CTS or RA. Since this is an ultralight weight tool, it resists breakage if you accidentally drop it.

Vortex F5

Ceramic BearingCeramic Bearings
The Vortex F5+ incorporates ABEC 9 rated radial ceramic bearings which are lube free and sealed with phenolic retainers. Semi-Radial bearings used in the front bearing are designed for carving and not drilling. This means the bur is predominantly cutting on the side when you hold the Vortex F5+ like a writing pen. This is the correct way to hold the Vortex F5+, since the burs are designed for cutting on the side, instead of pressing straight down to drill holes. With sealed bearings, debris is less likely to make its way inside to the actual ball bearings. You never need to add oil or cleaner. In fact, adding oil or cleaner can cause damage to these bearings.

Ceramic Bearings are ideal for the Vortex F5+. They are superior to common steel bearings in many ways. Ceramic is the perfect material for obtaining higher RPM (faster speed).

Ceramic balls require less lubricant and have a greater hardness than steel balls which will contribute to increased bearing life. Thermal properties of ceramic ball bearings are better than steel resulting in less heat generation at higher speeds.

Ceramic bearing assemblies use ceramic balls but they are constructed with steel inner and outer rings. Ceramic balls weigh up to 40% less than steel balls. This reduces centrifugal loading thus ceramic bearings can operate up to 50% faster than conventional bearings. This means that the outer race groove exerts less force against the ball as the bearing spins, reducing the friction and rolling resistance. The lighter ball allows the bearing to spin faster, and uses less energy to maintain the speed.

By not having to insert burs by pressing them down on a hard surface like other carving tools on the market, radial bearings can be utilized instead of angular bearings. Radial bearings are better suited for carving on the sides, unlike angular bearings which are primarily used for drilling.

Permanently Lubed for Life Turbine Bearings
Within the internal makings of the Vortex F5+, there are turbine bearing assemblies which are permanently lubed and never need oiling. Warning: using an in-line mist fog oiler or placing drops of oil or cleaner into the hose may cause damage to the carver and void the warranty.

Radial Bearing Preload
The purpose of preload is to eliminate clearance that is designed into ball bearings. Radial ball bearings are made with a clearance or space between their components to allow for free movement. This space, if not taken up by a preload can allow the rolling elements to slide rather than roll, or even allow for races to misalign.

Preload Bearings

Once the preload is applied per specification, the bearings will yield a long life and precision runout (eccentricity).

  1. 1. A bearing with no play, or an interference fit has all rolling elements loaded, wears and heats up excessively.
  2. 2. A bearing with standard play in the free state has low rigidity, and rolling elements can slide or skid instead of rotating.
  3. 3. A standard bearing with proper preload applied will provide rigidity, reduced vibration, and optimal bearing life.

Fluted Nosecone and Seated Exhaust JetsFluted Nosecone and Seated Exhaust Jets

The nosecone has been improved to provide a better purchase by using a dozen flutes instead of circular grooves. By placing these smooth flutes on the nosecone instead of on the housing, you get much more enhanced carving control. Other carvers have an hourglass shape that compromises your true tactile feedback and prevents your finger grip from obtaining tight detail work. The closer your grip is to the bur, the better.

The 10 exhaust ports are seated into the nosecone with indented flutes, channeling the air flow forward towards the carving surface blowing debris away from your carver and hand. This eliminates dust and air being blown back into your face. Instead, exhaust air keeps your carver and your work clean.

Once the air exited the impeller, the air needed to be vented from the tool. While it could be simple to just have a hole in the housing to let the air vent, there was a huge side effect -- noise! The noise from the tool needed to be reduced before venting. While some tools did nothing but just vent the air, other tools stuffed felt inside the housing to act as a muffler and absorb cleaner and/or oil lubrication. This might work for a while, but over long term, the felt became saturated with oil and leaked out Like its predecessor, the XJ7, the Vortex F5+ extracts most of the energy from the air, the turbine whine is reduced considerably. The nosecone acts like a muffler, without felt, and is vented out the front of the tool via the 10 seated exhaust ports. This also blows carving dust away from your work.

Vortex F5 Hose Barb4 Barb Air Fitting

The air input goes straight into the end of the Vortex F5+ stainless steel cap so as not to create any discomfort from an angled hose barb against your skin. We asked the F5+ design team to place more barbs on the air tube to get a better bite on the air hose. The reason we did this was for the few users who like running their tools at higher pressure to reach insane RPM without blowing their hoses off their carvers. We also made the cap and hose barb out of 303 stainless steel. if you drop your carver, you will not snap off this hose barb!


Vortex F5 X-RayNo plunger! Easy Twist to Release Bur

We eliminated the plunger found on most carvers in favor of an internal cam design. Inside the Vortex F5+ housing, there is a stainless steel cam to actuate the internal push button collet. By not having a plunger, we simplified the mechanical design and made the F5+ more reliable. Even people who suffer from CTS, AR or other hand and wrist ailments will find it easy to use the twist cap to release the bur. The secret to its "easy twist" is mechanical advantage provided by the internal cam system. The X-Ray view to the left shows this unique cam system.

Vortex F5 Cap

To see how the many functions of the stainless steel rear cap performs, look at the photo above. As can be seen, the cap does not hold the bur and it is not screwed on to the carver housing. Instead, it is a single machined part serving many functions, hose barb, fluted grip, upper cam assembly, collet hold open, tactile snap collet close and air port interface. When the cap is twisted, the tube inside the carver moves down and depresses the push button on the spindle and opens the collet allowing removal or insertion of the bur, all of this from a shiny rear cap.

Vortex F5 Turbine and Manifold

Ultra High Speed Turbine

The turbine assembly is contained in a brass nosecone made of C360 brass. Inside the nosecone are the major components comprised of the bearings, spindle, impeller and manifold. The images to the left is an X-Ray view of the nosecone. At the center of the turbine is the spindle which is the shaft that spins. Inside the spindle, is the chuck which is a hollow tube which squeezes against the inserted bur and securely holds the bur in place. The outside of the spindle contain three parts, two of which are the bearings. The last part is the 24 vane impeller which is sometimes referred to as a rotor. These parts make up the turbine assembly and is usually just referred to as a turbine. The brass nosecone and turbine assembly moves the center of gravity towards the bur. This not only provides greater control, it reduces fatigue on the artist's wrist.

Two for one! We eliminated the need for a heavy brass counter balance on the spindle. By moving the impeller between the ceramic bearings, we were able to balance the turbine assembly during the CNC machining process. This also provides more momentum due to higher velocity, resulting in more torque.

Vortex F5 Internal Manifold Jets and Impeller

Internal Manifold Jets and Impeller

High speed carving tools are powered by directing a jet of high pressure air against the vanes on a circular disc called an impeller. Most carving tools use a single air jet. We found this type of design required more air at higher pressure. In addition, a single jet only exposed the impeller vanes to air only once per revolution, rendering them inefficient.

We decided to utilize 7 air jet port injectors, meaning that every time the impeller has spun one complete revolution, each vane received a "boost". This maximized the available energy extracted from the compressed air supply. By increasing the number of vanes to 24, we were able to provide a boost of 168 for every revolution of the impeller. This provided more power while using less air consumption making the Vortex F5+ a much quieter tool than the other high speed carving tools on the market.

High Power

Manifold porting increases the diameter of the 7 jet port injectors to about 20 thousandth of an inch. This allows more high pressure air to impinge upon the impeller thus increasing the F5's power. Porting the manifold increases the power, but it will increase the air consumption from your air compressor. This means your air compressor will run a little longer when when powering the carver.

Vortex F5 Spindle Types

Turbine Spindle - Collet

The turbine contains a spindle, sometimes known as a "collet chuck", is a specialized type of clamp used to hold a 1/16" cutting bur. Inside the spindle is a collet with flexible sleeves or coil that squeeze firmly against the bur. Other carvers on the market use a "Friction Grip" spindle with internal leaf spring to press against the bur. This requires the bur to be pressed in to seat it and a plunger to press the bur out to release it from the carver. The Vortex F5+ uses an auto chuck to insert and remove the bur. By using an auto chuck, the spindle will last much longer with repeated bur changes than a friction grip type spindle. The Vortex F5+ spindle is design for optimum performance at ultra high RPM, even after thousands of bur changes.


Tygon Spaghetti Hose

Tygon Spaghetti Hose

Over the years of using many different carving tools, Debbi found that all of the air hoses connected to the tools used stiff 1/4 inch diameter vinyl or polyurethane tubing. The stiffness and weight of the hose put a disproportionate amount of pressure on the end of the tool causing the tool to become unbalanced and dragged the end of the tool down more than the front of the tool. The Vortex F5+ housing air supply was connected by using an 1/8" inside diameter hose using extremely flexible tubing made by Tygon. Debbi found the Tygon hose so flexible, that it reminded her of spaghetti.

Speed Control Foot PedalSpeed Control Foot Pedal (Included with TURNKEY)

Vary the speed of your carver hands-free! This variable speed foot control pedal is a must have! It allows you to change the speed seamlessly with an easy to press foot pedal, leaving your hands free to hold the tool and your work simultaneously without interruptions from fumbling with hand controls. From off to full speed and everything in between, you'll be amazed how often you change your carving speed from moment to moment. With just a little change in foot pressure, you can change the speed to carve critically fine details or press down for fast carving. This foot pedal connects into your air hose to control the speed of your carver and comes with two brass hose barbs for easy hook-up. Just push your air hose onto the barbs and you have instant speed control. Your carving tool is off until you apply foot pressure to the pedal. The more you push the pedal, the faster your carver turns. The foot pedal uses an actual control valve connected to a long throw pedal to vary the air flow, unlike other foot controls that pinch the air hose and can cause leaks and foot fatigue. Once you use a foot pedal like this, you'll wonder how you ever carved without it. This foot pedal is industrial grade and will last a lifetime. Best of all, it is discounted when you purchase it with the Vortex F5+. We will even install the brass hose barbs and if you get the Essential Accessories Kit, we will give you a little extra hose and connect it all together for you.

Materials of Construction:
  • Variable Flow design
  • Internal Valve is constructed of a Non-Ferrous body, Stainless steel plunger and Teflon coated buna-N O-rings
  • Air flows when plunger is depressed, stops flowing when plunger is released and exhausts back pressure on output side
  • Versatility And Good Looks
  • Cast Aluminum Housing
Features & Benefits:
  • Nonskid Base Pad
  • Designed for long life operation
  • Back pressure is exhausted for faster carver spin-down
  • Plunger can be depressed flush with valve body without damage to valve
  • Standard 1/8-27 N.P.T. input and output ports (brass hose barbs included)
  • Line pressure up to 150 PSI

Feel The Control - Smooth and Simple

Vortex F5

Higher Precision! The Vortex F5+ is a step up in quality and precision from re-purposed dental lab tools. Debbi and artists like her do insanely detailed work. These artists work with high strength magnifying glasses, even microscopes. To obtain this level of detail for these artists, it requires a truly amazing tool! Debbi gathered all of the popular tools used for carving and set out to build a carver from the ground up. Bur runout must be next to zero, the tolerances unbelievably tight on the turbine assembly and nosecone to insure insane detail on a microscopic level. The Vortex F5+ turbines are machined to such tight tolerances that the assembly requires a microscope to build the final turbine assembly and preload it into the nosecone! The results are worth it because nothing else can match it short of ion beam milling at the atomic level.

The hourglass shape of other carvers compromises true tactile feedback, so the Vortex F5+ has a "Smooth and Simple" design. The nosecone contains finger grips for tight detail work. This is especially important when using inverted cone burs and serrated carbide cutters. The axial turbine impeller and bearing assembly was specifically designed and manufactured under a microscope to work in this tool to obtain the highest degree of precision engraving for artists. By having a larger impeller, and 7 manifold jets, more air is converted into torque. This means you have more cutting power at a sustainable higher RPM than other tools. The Vortex F5+ uses Phenolic in the bearing retainers and the entire bearing assembly is encased in the brass nosecone. When replacing the turbine, just unscrew the nosecone, remove the old turbine, replace with a new turbine and screw the nosecone back on - done in only a few minutes. You no longer have to send in the entire tool to the manufacturer for them to replace the turbine for hundreds of dollars!

Features & Benefits

The most technologically advanced handpiece on the market today, the revolutionary Vortex F5+ is the smallest all metal carver on the market - yet, it's the lightest and easiest to handle! Featuring an ultra-high-speed turbine and dual support bearings preloaded into a nosecone, it provides high-torque steady vibration-free action unmatched by any competitive handpiece. And it's quality-backed by the best protection plan in the business. It sets up in minutes, too: simply connect a few hoses, plug in the compressor, insert a carving bur and you're in business!

What's Included in your Vortex F5+ Ultra High Speed Precision Carver Kit

1 Red Vortex F5+ Carver Kit including the following:

  • 24 Vane Turbine Impeller preloaded into Brass Nosecone, (the integrated turbine)
  • Ceramic Bearings: Lube-Free & Sealed
  • Fluted Nosecone with 10 Seated exhaust ports
  • Fluted Cap: Twist to Release Burs
  • 4 Barb Air Hose Fitting
  • 2 feet of Tygon connection hose
  • Free Artwork via Google - Click for Elk Example
  • Free Demo via YouTube
  • User Guide/Instructions
  • Lifetime Warranty, 1 year turbine
  • True customer support provided by Larry & Debbi

Essential Accessories Kit only $30 with your Vortex F5+ purchase.

This would cost you $71.80 if purchased separately!

  • $4.95 - Variable Speed Air Valve or Brass Splicer with optional Foot Pedal
  • $11.40 - 12 feet of high quality 1/4" OD, 1/8" ID air supply hose
  • $5.95 - Brass 1/4" NPT to 1/8" Hose Barb
  • $3.95 - 1/4" Female Brass Industrial Plug
  • $26.70 - 6 Bur Sampler Kit:
    3 Carbides (FG8, FG33.5, FG699)
    3 Diamonds (DR12C, DFB23C, DFL14C)
  • $4.95 - 4" Magnetic Polished Stainless Steel Bur Tray
  • $6.95 - Bur Cleaning Stone, cleans burs fast without chemicals
  • $6.95 Safety Glasses and Dust Mask

How Fast is Fast Enough: 300,000 RPM 400,000 RPM 500,000 RPM?

Vortex F5 Sweet SpotAll carvers have something called the "Sweet Spot." It is well known as you go faster in RPM, power output goes down. What happens when you start carving and press the bur against your work, the RPM will start to go down but something interesting happens. The cutting power starts to go up until you reach a point where no more increase in power is realized. This is the referred to as the "sweet spot". Most carvers reach their maximum power a 1/2 their RPM. So, a 400,000 RPM carver reaches maximum power at 200,000 RPM.

The Vortex F5+ operates at a maximum air pressure of 40 PSI (pounds per square inch). At this pressure, the Vortex F5+ will rotate around 500,000 RPM or about 8,300 revolutions in one second! Why not go faster? Isn't faster better? Yes and No, for three reasons. First, the impellers on the turbine are designed to extract energy from the compressed air. This means nearly all of the air is converted into torque. Think of torque as "cutting power". Torque is the power delivered to the bur, the actual cutter. This means you should be looking at how much air the tool consumes per minute, RPM and air pressure. The second and the most important reason is by exceeding the maximum RPM rating for the burs, it could compromise the integrity of them. Most burs are only designed for rotational speeds of around 400,000 RPM. Above this RPM, the burs could disintegrate and fly apart.  It is for this reason that you should never exceed a maximum RPM for the individual bur. The Vortex F5+ turbine bearings are rated at 500,000 RPM, but applying more air pressure to go faster will shortened bearing life. The third factor is the "Sweet Spot" as mentioned above. If you use our Speed Control Foot Pedal, you can bring the speed of the carver up while making bur contact with your work to increase the sweet spot power without exceeding the bur's maximum RPM. This is how some artists use higher pressure in their carver to get more power. By the way, our speed control foot pedal is rated for 150 PSI.

How fast do other tools go? There are some tools on the market advertising their tool goes 400,000 RPM. We took brand new competitor's tool on the market and connected to the recommended air pressure. With a magnetic testing bur for measuring RPM inserted into the turbine, the measured speed of all tools tested were less than 400,000 RPM. Here are the testing results.

What kind of Air Compressor do I need?

CAT1610 Quiet Air Compressor

Compressors come in many different types, but there are two requirements which must be met to power the Vortex F5+. First off, the pressure needs to be a maximum of 40 PSI (pounds per square inch). Secondly, the volume of air needs to be rated at least 2 times the carver's requirement. Using a value for the carver of 1½ CFM (cubic feet per minute) at 40 PSI, we get 3 CFM for the air compressor. The reason we need a larger CFM value for the air compressor is because while the carver is running, the tank also needs to fill up at the same time. If the CFM for the air compressor is too low, the compressor will just keep running continuously. This can cause the air compressor to overheat.

We are frequently asked if an air brush compressor will work with our Vortex F5+ carvers. The answer is no because they do not meet the CFM requirement. There are cheap compressors available at Lowes and Home Depot, but they are extremely loud requiring ear protection. We've seen air compressors pushing 130db!

The air compressor shown above is the California Air Tool's quiet oil-less 1610SPQ-DCO. The powerful 1.0 HP induction motor operates at only 1680 RPM producing 3 CFM at 40 PSI with less noise and less wear. The Motor and Pump have been designed with a long life compared cheap air compressors rated for 300 hours or less. It is very quiet at 60db and is an oil-less air compressor which uses a dual-piston pump for high performance and durability. The CAT-1610SPQ-DCO air compressor is Duty Cycle Optimized (DCO) for carving to provide smooth and consistent airflow to your Vortex F5+. The 1.6 gallon tank removes about 80% of the moisture before it enters your air hose going to your Vortex F5+. Order the CAT-1610SPQ-DCO air compressor with your Vortex F5+ and we will setup it up for you.

Warning: Do not use a tankless air compressor without a water trap. If water droplets entering your carver it will cause damage.

Important: Only use Duty Cycle Optimized air compressor for carving.

Please Note, the air compressor is optional and is included with the Vortex F5 Turnkey package.

Vortex F5+ Specifications
*Measurements taken at 35 psi. Higher air pressure produce more power and higher rpm, but shorten turbine life and could cause turbine failure.
Rotational Speed 400,000min-1 (minimum rpm)
Recommend Air Pressure 29-35 psi
Air Consumption 2 cfm
Torque ~
16 watts
Size ½ by 4½ (inches)
Weight 1.8 ounces

ISO 9001

ISO 9001:2008

This quality standard specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.


WarrantyVortex F5+ Warranty

The Vortex F5+ hand tool carver carries a Lifetime Warranty to the original owner.  We guarantee the Vortex F5+ against manufacturing defects in material and construction and to perform as advertised when properly used and maintained. The Lifetime Warranty is non-transferable and does not extend to normal wear, damage or breakage due to improper use or commercial use, improper maintenance, accidents, loss or theft. The turbine 1 year warranty is limited to normal non-commercial use.


All trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Specifications and items subject to change without notice.

Want to carver better? 

Need finer details in your carvings? 

Here's how you can do it. First, you need to get away from carvers with electric motors and switch to a carver powered by air. Switching to air give you about 10 times the RPM over electric motor carvers. Second, use precision burs and cutters designed for ultra high speed - we're talking 400,000 to 500,000 RPM! Now you know what's needed, you'll want a tool designed specifically for carving. The Vortex F5 ultra high speed precision detail carver is the tool for you. How so? What about the other tools on the market? Why is the Vortex the best tool to get?

Which Carver Do I Want?
Powercarver, PowerCarver, Shofu Lab Air-Z, PowerCrafter, NSK Presto, Vortex, Turbo Carver

Prove to me the Vortex is the best!

The Vortex carver design was started to solve the problems with existing carving tools. Since the SculptingStudio was a dealer for Turbo Carver, PowerCrafter and SCM Powercarver, and we used other tools like the Shofu Lab Air-Z, NSK Presto and NEY Huricane, we knew what worked, what didn't and where improvements needed to be made. In the year 2000, we started carrying the plastic tool called "Turbo Carver" but we soon discontinued it and switched to an all metal tool call the PowerCrafter. It worked fine for a tool requiring oiling every 20 minutes. A short time later, the PowerCrafter company ceased operations. Looking for another all metal carver, we started carrying the SCM carver, but is used a turbine like a NEY Huricane lab tool. Up until this time, all the carvers were either based off of dental lab tools or were actual dental lab tools. What was needed was a tool designed not for the dental lab, but rather the bench of a carver. So the Vortex was born in 2010 as a design by an artist for artists and carvers.

Vortex Carver, First Sketch

Original Vortex Sketch

As you can see above, it was very crude and still had a long ways to go. The Vortex carver had to solve the problems with existing tools to become the lightest, fastest, all metal carver on the market.

No! Do Not Want

  • No! Heavy And Long
  • No! Plastic Components
  • No! Plunger To Eject Bur
  • No! Press Down Hard To Insert Bur
  • No! Side Connection To Air Hose
  • No! Affected By Moisture
  • No! Proprietary/Hard To Replace Turbine
  • No! Steel Bearings
  • No! Oil Needed To Lube The Bearings
  • No! Friction Grip Spindle
  • No! Cold Air Exhausting In Housing
  • No! Foreign Made

YES, Want All Of These

  • Yes, Light, Short And Ergonomic
  • Yes, All Metal Components
  • Yes, Easy Twist To Eject Bur
  • Yes, Easy Twist To Insert Bur
  • Yes, Air Hose Connects Straight In
  • Yes, Anodized MIL-A-8625 - Impervious To Moisture
  • Yes, Uses OEM Turbine, Easy To Find
  • Yes, Ceramic Shielded Lube Free Bearings
  • Yes, Bearings Are Grease Packed Lube Free
  • Yes, Autochuck Pushbutton Spindle
  • Yes, Air Exhausts Straight Forward
  • Yes, USA Made

Machine Shop Shopping

When the PowerCrafter company ceased operations, we began our machine shop search in earnest.  The first shop we found said they could design and produce our Vortex to our specifications. After about of year of no progress, we pulled the project and found another machine shop. Want to know what happened? Exactly nothing after another year and a half! Next, we interviewed three more shops, one of which specialized in small parts on their numerous Swiss lathes and an in house design engineer said he could design our Vortex. After a tour of their facility showing their work and the ability to do what we wanted, we hired them. After slow progress we finally got a Vortex carver. We called it the Vortex XJ7. 

Ta-Da!  First Vortex called the "XJ7"

Vortex 3rd prototype






The machine shop we finally settled on came up with several prototypes. After the first initial failure, they built a few more prototypes, but failed to listen to us when each prototype could not meet our expectations. They didn't communicate well and failed to produced anything within a reasonable amount of time. The Vortex XJ7's produced didn't come close to meeting our requirements. It was slow and lacked power; had a bulky nosecone; had a plunger; still had the side air hose connection (that leaked because of poor welding); had a chunk of machined plastic inside to duct the air to the nosecone and too many proprietary parts to be able to produce in a timely fashion. They did manage to produce a handful of tools in 3½ years but we could see that they would never be able to fill the demand for a great tool. So in the end, we fired them and began our search for a new machine shop.

Success! ISO 9001 QMS

We learned a lot about machine shops, mechanical design engineering and ISO 9001 Quality Management System. Our next search struck gold when we found an ISO 9001 machine shop and design engineer certified for machining products in the fields of Medical, Aerospace and Technology Industries. We created a team and had our entire Vortex redesigned to our requirements in SolidWorks, a solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) computer program. Before a single part was machined, the Vortex design was computer simulated using structural analysis tools that use Finite Element Analysis methods to predict real-world physical behavior. Here is a photo of the actual SolidWorks model and closeup of the nosecone:

Vortex F5 SolidWorks Model

Close-up of the Vortex F5 Nosecone

Now We're Talking!

  • No plunger or side air hose to get in the way
  • No proprietary turbine
  • No plastic air ducting
  • All metal, yet it weighs in at 1.8 ounces. 
  • Feels nice in the hand, Ergonomic! 
  • Bur release cam-system

How cool is this! Twist the stainless steel rear cap a quarter turn to open or close the autochuck. We finally had a real design! Wow, what a ride so far! Now for the real test. Machining a real tool and see if it really will work.


First prototype being tested at the machine shop.

Here We Go.  First Production Run!

First production run of Vortex F5 carvers ready for turbines.

Tried and Tested

We've produced many machine runs of thousands of Vortex F5 carvers. Our latest version includes the Vortex F5 and Vortex F5+ Plus. Click the tabs above for more information about our Vortex F5 carver. Give us a call if you have any questions.
Vortex F5+ Plus

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Specifications and items subject to change without notice.

Quick Start Guide (QuickStart.pdf, 175 Kb) [Download]

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Vortex F5 - Changing The Bur

Vortex F5 Weight

Weights were measured using an Acculab V-3000 laboratory scale with a readability of 1 gram.
Weight of the Vortex F5 is 52 grams or 1.8 ounces.

Vortex F5 - Blowing Dust

Vortex F5 - Glass

Vortex F5 - Jade

Vortex F5 - Turquoise

Vortex F5 - Conch Shell

Vortex F5 - Quartz

Vortex F5 - Petrified Wood

Vortex F5 - Damascus Steel

Vortex F5 - 6061-T6 Aluminum

Vortex F5 - Bronze

Vortex F5 - Resin

Vortex F5 Test Carving

Vortex F5 Prototype carving on gourd, exotic hardwood, antler and shells with no dust.
The turbine used had non-sealed steel bearings used for testing tolerances.
We clocked the Vortex F5 at 430,000 RPM at 40 PSI for this video test.