Getting to know your tool
This is a cheap budget rotary tool with flexi-cable attachment (it's not actually a 'Dremel'). It serves its purpose very well. There is however, a tiny little problem with it. That is when using it with the flexi-cable, it doesn't quite spin dead centre (perhaps the tension applied by curving/twisting the cable is the cause). It means that finer, smaller tips are a bit tricky to use (engraving would be hard for example). But it is still good for general shaping, sanding, grinding, drilling, and cutting stuff. If you use a flexi-cable, try to keep it as straight as possible. Normally this tool is kept suspended from a rail with the flexi-cable attached.
This is the control for the variable speed, but slowest is quite fast enough already (Warp 9 Mr Scott!).
This is where the bushes go. Simply unscrew the cover and pop them out. But generally, they'll last ages and won't really need replacing.
Battery powered dremels are ok. They can be sometimes easier to handle, more transportable (get into awkward spaces). However relying on a battery means having recharge times and the power draining after some time of using it. If you have a more permanent workspace, a plug-in type would be more ideal.
Care & Warning: Be careful not to obstruct the air vents. Be extra safe when using things like the cutting discs. All tips can cause harm, even the dull blunt looking types! Make sure your workpiece is firmly secured before working on it.
- Get a dremel with a flexi-cable attachment.
- Get lots of tips & accessories.
- Wearing ear & eye protection & dust-mask is sensible.
- Some tools come with variable speed which can be useful.
- Vice/clamps can be useful.
- Do not block Dremel's vents, check occasionally that nothing is obstructing them.
- Check, replace/renew bushes inside the dremel (although they last ages). If you hear high pitch squealing, that's probably not a good sign.
- Suspended, dangling dremels are pretty cool, helps save space.
There are lots of other alternative tips similar to these shown. They come in many shapes and sizes.The choice of materials and quality suit budgets pretty nicely. You can never have too few either. Spares are a really good idea. Spending a bit extra for tools will in the long run will save you cost in replacing parts, time, effort etc later. You shouldn't need to struggle with tools and accessories whilst actually working. If you find this happens, be careful as this can result in accidents.
Collets & mandrel/ Spindle - Varies size for attachments. Useful to have a bunch as well as mandrels. Mandrels come with 2 washers usually which can be easily lost. More importantly if the thread on the screw becomes worn (result from over tightening), then it won't hold the disc in place properly when being used and it could quite easily start moving about or even fly off. Shown is just a collet, having a couple of various sizes is handy.
Diamond coated (engraving) - Great for finer detail on glass and metal and gradual sanding. Smoothes metal edges nicely. Good for removing rust. If using glass, masking tape the back may help prevent breakages. Ball shaped tip is great for knocking protruding pins/studs down.
Discs - Careful not to break them or slice yourself. They can be very brittle (Carborundum and so metal (diamond coated/ sawing) discs may be preferred. Fibreglass reinforced discs are cool. A mandrel is required to mount the disc. When in use, be sure the tip is properly (strongly) secured in the collet of the dremel as once you get going, and you got your focus on the disc, you might not notice the mandrel slipping outwards (or inwards) from the dremel. Be careful in case discs suddenly bite into workpiece and try to race away.
Orange Tips - Not bad for grinding. Tougher than pink tips. Comes in various shapes.
Pink Tips - Not bad for grinding, deburring. They can wear out and become out of shape. Try to give gradual wear to keep an overall shape.
Drill Bits - Make sure you use with appropriate size collet. Be careful not to bend drill bit to avoid it snapping.
Mill ends - Great for shaping, carving, hollowing in wood, metal & plastics. Not good for smoothing or finer detail.
Polishing (buffing) - Great for making metals, glass, stones shine. Do not use without compound or automotive polishing stuff (you could use even toothpaste apprently). There are varies tips of different shapes and sizes which are usually screwed onto a mandrel. They can be felt, wool, silicone tips.
This is the compund which you might typically find with accessory packs.
Sanding Drum - Great for sanding things down and shaping. Sometimes the sanding roll becomes loose on the drum. If this happens, use some bluetac to help fill in the gap and add grip.
Lower-left is a more surface type sanding disc. You can make you own replacement paperdiscs with some sandpaper + double sided tape.
Lower-right is a Flappy type (they tend to get a bit beat-up and worn quickly). An alternative is a mandrel with a slot which you add your own paper flap by inserting it into the slot.
Keeping Drill bits cool:
Place a strip (ring) of Blu-Tac around the spot you want to drill. Add some oil into it to make a pool. Now drill. Try not to drill for prolonged periods.
Cutting Curvier Curves:
Use the diamond cutting disc. As you cut, hold at an angle and you can then do tighter curves. Careful not to cut yourself as the blades is being manipulated. Make sure you have a good firm grip on the dremel as it may suddenly grip into the workpiece and race-away. With practice you can move over to other discs which can be reduced in size given even tighter curves still!
Making your own discs:
Get a drinks can and cut out a circle, centre punch it. Mount it onto one of the mandrels which would hold discs. Now you got a razor sharp cutting disc. Be extremely careful with this!! Not only is it razor sharp, but will easily get damaged and wear out - resulting in potentially razor sharp things flying about. It could easily slice off a finger cleanly. Not even we mess around with these.
Using dremel for weathering effects:
experiment with different tool tips. Be gentle but be in control (good grip) of tool head. Be careful not to get carried away, review your work as you go along. Do not rely solely on a dremel to achieve realistic weathering, other techniques such as sculpting or pigments should be used).
Note: Probably could be fluffed out some more. Pics aren't the best, and many other tips/shapes could be included. This will probably need updating. Any input is greatly appreciated, thanks.
All the best,