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Unread 12-26-2005, 09:42 PM   #1
Tenebrae
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Tools of the trade - Dremel

Hey there!
I finally got a Dremel for an Xmas present. It's a Dremel 300. Not sure what the main difference is between the 300 and the 400 XPR is, though...
From a cosplay and prop-making point of view, is the 300 good enough? This is my first power tool and I'm excited, but cautious...
I'm also anxious to try it out on something. Hmmm...small first project suggestions?
Wow. I'm being all vague. I hate that.
How about something from Full Moon wo Sagashite, Fruits Basket, or Megatokyo to narrow it down a bit?

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Unread 12-26-2005, 11:10 PM   #2
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The 300 uses essentially the same motor as the 400 XPR. They both have an operating range of 5k to 35k rpms; the only difference is that the 300 draws slightly less amperage; more then likely there is no noticible difference in power between the two... or even my older model for that matter.

More important then the tool itself is the bit and accessories. A Dremel is a versatile tool but it can become very unwieldly and uncontrollable in some applications.

Which is why I use a dremel router frame that I made out of an official dremel tilecutting kit (http://www.mytoolstore.com/dremel/tilecut.html). By attaching that to a board with a small hole in it, I can make careful, stablized router style cuts using the smaller bits of a dremel tool. That's how I built that Fuu (rayearth) sword that I have in my gallery.

Of course, there's always the real Dremel router attachment (http://www.mytoolstore.com/dremel/router.html), but it's more expensive...


Now, as for a first idea... there aren't any really good props in the titles you recommended, and certainly none that are conveniently small enough to carve with a rotary bit (ie, not the killstick). What I think you should try is making the mini sealing wand from CCS (you know, the keychain sized one that can grow to the full sized one)

Last edited by Celebrimbor : 12-26-2005 at 11:22 PM.
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Unread 12-27-2005, 07:02 AM   #3
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Yeah, the Killstick might be a bit much.
The CCS thing would be cute for my kid, though. Hey, this thing does engraving! I have a belt buckle I've been meaning to work on.
You know, I'm getting a little worried because I found the Dremel 2005 product catalogue and my model isn't even in there.
I wonder if my sweetie got a deal on a discontinued model for me...

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Unread 12-27-2005, 08:02 AM   #4
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I'd suggest that you get some scrap wood/plastic/metal and just start cutting into it to get used to the Dremel before you attempt anything serious. A Dremel will tend to pull where you don't want it to go if you don't have experience with it, particulary if you're not used to working with power tools in the first place.

Of course, after you're used to it, you will swear by your Dremel.
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Unread 12-27-2005, 09:00 AM   #5
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I imagine I'll do plenty of swearing AT my Dremel...
I think I'm sounding like a whiner. I'm actually very happy that my sweetie supports my cosplay stuff enough to buy me power tools. I think I was really hoping for the 400 XPR, though, because it's the one that has the planer attachment which I wanted for something entirely too practical (the doors in our house stick and some won't shut properly due to excessive paint). I'm pouting too much. I should love my Dremel. But not too much - that would be creepy.
Thanks for the ideas. The only rotary items I'm used to working with were mounted to a table (I used to work for a silversmith).

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Unread 12-27-2005, 10:12 AM   #6
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Here's the thing T:

Dremel just revised their product line. The 400 is actually less useful because it has a different shape then the older black dremels made during the 90s and early 00s. The 300 is close enough to the old shape that it can probably still use older components, as well as the Craftsman rotary tool knockoff components. But the 400 is a little more dramatically redesigned. Eventually Sears will redesign to match what Dremel is making, but not for a few years yet.

Meh. All three I use were built around 95 or so and work fine.

Tiger's right though; they do have a nasty tendency to pull in the direction you don't want to go.

Last edited by Celebrimbor : 12-27-2005 at 10:25 AM.
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Unread 12-27-2005, 11:30 AM   #7
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Thanks, C. (heh)
That makes me feel better. I think I'll open up the box tonight and check out the manuals.

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Unread 12-27-2005, 03:01 PM   #8
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I love my dremel to death, however as stated above it does have a mind fo its own sometimes and on the higher speeds it can tend to take off on its own. But I would reccoemd just playing with it and the different bits until you're used to it.
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Unread 12-27-2005, 05:31 PM   #9
Mechanisch
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I'm sure your dremil will be fine, even if its a discontinued model. Hope you find some good projects for it.

I use mine primarily for cutting fiberglass, and if you plan to do any cutting of anything with yours, I have to recommend the fiberglass-reinforced cutting wheels over the smaller and much cheaper normal ones.. the little ones are nearly worthless, at least for what I've been doing. They quickly shatter into pieces that always hit you right in the face. The big fiberglass-webbed ones hold up through anything as long as you don't put any torsional force on them. Be sure to wear eye protection when you use your dremil!

One last thing I'd like to add is to be careful where/how you plug it in. I burned up my last dremel tool because I wasn't paying attention and plugged it into the same extension cord that was running a powerful shop light.. this caused a voltage drop which burned up the motor. From now on I always run my new one (actually it's a black and decker version) on it's own cord, because nothing is sadder than a dead dremil tool.
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Unread 12-27-2005, 05:53 PM   #10
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I thought of a project for which a dremel tool would be ideal, though I'm not sure that it'd be a good one for a beginner.

I'm a fan of Suichi Tanaka, an artist of likemind as Sebastian at bastianmage.com. Both their works are a little towards the H... to say the least. But Suichi recently posted a picture that I think would make for a very good cosplay. (See attached images now)


The pieces that could be done with a dremel are the mitten gauntlets. Essentially, you could make two pieces that fit together that have been carved out on the inside to fit your hand. You can do this by starting with a thick board, cutting a matched set of ovals, marking an appropriately oriented hand on each one, and carving away material with the dremel until you can close it around your hand. Repeat for other hand.


Now, granted most people would say "That's stupid; you can just make them from fabric." To which I say... sure; but that's not challenging. Or realistic looking.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg suitachi_meronii.jpg (105.8 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg suitachi_meronii_kanji.jpg (29.9 KB, 0 views)

Last edited by Celebrimbor : 12-28-2005 at 03:12 PM.
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Unread 12-28-2005, 01:00 AM   #11
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I guess you already know by heart your Dremel's instruction manual, but it's never too much to reinforce a few key points:

1) NEVER use your Dremel unless you are wearing eye protection: the Dremel works at very high speeds, so every bit of dust is likely to be very hot and very fast. Also is a good idea to have at hand a dust mask for the odd job that picks up too much dust (such as sanding rust or soft stones), or some gloves for the ocassional time you cut hard stone or hard metal.

2) If you are applying more pressure than the weight of the Dremel, turn off the Dremel and go for a big tool. The Dremel is designed to do the job by caressing the material at unholy speeds. I've used it to cut small shapes in steel sheet without even breaking a sweat, something that would have been impossible with other tools.
BTW, don't take too seriously the drill bits. They are there mostly to let you make a perfect hole so you can then introduce there the drywall or multipurpose cutters, although they also perform decently for minute or light drilling.

3) For the same reasons as the last one, try to always work at the highest opperating speed for the given accesory: the brushes are to be worked at 15K rpms, and mostly everything else is to be worked at 35K. Time grows at a nearly exponential rate the further you are from top speed, so it's only worthy to slow down for very minute detail.

4) Use the right accesory for the right job. Don't try drilling with the drywall or multipurpose cutter bit (either use the drill bit attachment, or get a real drill), don't try cutting with a sanding disk (use cut-off wheels or the right cutter bit), don't try sanding or grinding with a cut-off wheel (there are plenty of reasons, one of which is that the wheel WILL blow up), don't try doing heavy rust removal with the brushes (lighten the work preferably with an aluminum oxide grinding stone, and then do detail with the brush), don't try engraving glass but with silicon carbide grinding stones, don't use the felt polishing wheels without using plenty of polishing compound (at their speed they are likely to wear grooves ratter than polish), don't try to jump steps when you are doing restoration of heavily deteriorated metal (first the drum sanders, then the sanding discs, then rubber discs or bits, then felt or cloth polishing wheels), etc.

5) At your first chance go and buy a big accesory package. I got one with like a hundred and fifty accesories at Home Depot (at Cancún) for more or less USD$30; if you want to check it, is the Dremel 698 Mega Accesory Kit. I haven't regretted a single peso I spend on the kit, especially as without it my Dremel wouldn't see too much action.

Extra) For that engraving you were commenting, don't try engraving with the tip of the bit, but with its body. If it is not working like you want, try a different bit.

Have fun.


Mechanisch:
If you want to cut fiberglass, better try the 561 multipurpose bit. The cut-off wheels are for metal and occasionally some wood. The 561 is good for fiberglass.
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Unread 12-28-2005, 10:57 AM   #12
Tenebrae
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachoman
I guess you already know by heart your Dremel's instruction manual, but it's never too much to reinforce a few key points:
Hehehe...not yet. I did read up on the safety info first, though, and know the whole protective eyewear/etc. bit. Now, where did I put those safety glasses? I know I have a pair somewhere...might have to make another trip to the store for a new pair. I needed some more dust masks, too. I seem to have misplaced all my protective gear.
Ended up spending last night installing World of Warcraft on my kid's computer instead of playing with MY new toy. *sniff*

Quote:
2) If you are applying more pressure than the weight of the Dremel, turn off the Dremel and go for a big tool. The Dremel is designed to do the job by caressing the material at unholy speeds.
Ah, a great tip! Thanks. I would probably be the one hammering away with the poor Dremel on some unsuspecting prop.
The guide I read through briefly said something about remembering to use a tool that is at least as hard if not harder as the material you're working with. Sounds like a good rule of thumb.

Quote:
5) At your first chance go and buy a big accesory package. I got one with like a hundred and fifty accesories at Home Depot (at Cancún) for more or less USD$30; if you want to check it, is the Dremel 698 Mega Accesory Kit. I haven't regretted a single peso I spend on the kit, especially as without it my Dremel wouldn't see too much action.
Sweet! That's the exact accessory kit that my fiancé got me to go with it!

Celebrimbor: I'll have to check those pics out when I'm not at work.

Mechanisch: Thanks for the tip on the extension cord/outlet. I'll keep that in mind.

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