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.
The Vortex F5 has many of the great features of the Vortex XJ7 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 Vortex 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!
Read 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.
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.
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.
Once the preload is applied per specification, the bearings will yield a long life and precision runout (eccentricity).
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 Vortex 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Option
Optional 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 significantly increases the power, but it will also increase the air consumption to approximately 2 CFM or 55 liters per minute. Available on the Vortex F5 PLUS.
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
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.
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:
Feel The Control - Smooth and Simple
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 Vortex F5 Carver Kit including the following:
Vortex F5 Turnkey Kit - Start Carving in 5 minutes with these included accessories:
This would cost you hundreds more if purchased separately!
How Fast is Fast Enough: 300,000 RPM 400,000 RPM 500,000 RPM?
All 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 will I get? Is it a good one?
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. To alleviate overheating, our air compressors have the pressure switch set to optimize the duty cycle. This helps keep the air compressor much cooler.Do I need two air pressure regulators?
No, the Vortex F5 is designed to operate over a wide range of air pressure. With the supplied speed control foot pedal, you will vary the carving speed. So, it makes very little difference to the Vortex F5 if air pressure is 30 PSI or 35 PSI. We find the factory installed spring/diaphragm air compressor regulators work just fine. By the way, when we test each carver, we do use a very accurate air pressure regulator set to 35 PSI at 0.1% accuracy by using a stainless steel measuring capsule as a sensing element to activate a high gain servo balanced control mechanism in which the main valve is controlled by a pilot valve. See the photo to the left.
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 that will work, but they are extremely loud requiring ear protection. We've seen air compressors pushing 130db!
Order your turnkey today and we will setup your air compressor, put all the hoses together and make the connections for you.
The CAT-1610SPQ-DCO Duty Cycle Optimized quiet air compressor is designed to be one of the quietest air compressors in the industry having only 65 decibels of sound, about the same as normal conversation. The powerful 1.0 HP motor operates at only 1680 RPM creating less noise and less wear. The Oil-Free Dual Piston Pump System is engineered for high performance and durability. The oil-free pump allows you to use in different temperatures and uneven terrains. This air compressor with its 1.6 gallon air tank is perfect for carving with the Vortex F5. It's lightweight and easy to transport. The control panel comes complete with 2 quick release connectors that will allow you to use your Vortex F5 and dust gun at the same time (No more swapping hoses and tools!) This air compressor is ideal for anyone working where noise is a major issue. Note: This air compressor is duty cycle optimized to run cooler when carving for extended periods of time. Note: this air compressor runs on 110 to 125 volts at 60 hertz. (US, Canada, Mexico)
Outside of the United State, Canada and Mexico, most countries use 220 to 250 volts at 50 hertz. Choose this air compressor if you are an international customer.
The California Air Tools 2010A-22050 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free Air Compressor is designed to be one of the quietest air compressors in the industry having only 60 decibels of sound. The powerful 1.0 HP (SP-9413-22050) motor operates at only 1680 RPM creating less noise and less wear. The "New" SP Series of Ultra Quiet Air Compressor Motors have been designed to increase duty cycle and allow for longer continuous run times. The Oil-Free Dual Piston Pump System is engineered for high performance and durability. The CAT-2010A-22050 Air Compressor has a Oil-Free Dual Piston pump designed to have a life cycle before wear of 3000 Plus hours compared to other comparable air compressors with life cycles of 300 hours or less. The Oil-Free pump allows for use in a variety of temperatures. The 2.0 Gallon Aluminum (Rust-Free) Air Tank is Lightweight (35 lbs) and very easy to transport. This air compressor is duty cycle optimized to run cooler when carving for extended periods of time. Runs on 220 to 250 volts at 50 hertz. (Europe, UK, Australia, New Zeland, Malaysia, South Africa, etc.)
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.
Vortex 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 warranty is limited to normal use for 1 year.
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Specifications and items subject to change without notice.
Quick Start Guide (QuickStart.pdf, 175 Kb) [Download]
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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 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.