Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ode to My Dremel

I had already planned to write this post when I found my Dremel yesterday.  It was actually what I was searching for when I ended up unpacking most of the studio boxes.  Then I had a question from Dressagekid of Trail Blazer Farm about using a dremel, on my earlier post , so I thought I'd go ahead a post this now!


I love my Dremel.  I've had it for 17 years (!!) and have used it to work on a LOT of things over the years - mostly model horses.  Jeff is amazed that I've had it for that long and that it hasn't even needed any maintenance along the way.  I guess I just got a good one.  I don't work it very hard or for very long at a time, I think that has helped it last so long too.

Yesterday when I was emptying all of the boxes in the studio, I was hunting for my dremel.  (it was in the very last box that I'd decided to unpack, at the bottom of the pile of boxes - haha)

I was so happy to see this old dirty case.

The inside - hello, little buddy!

A closer look

Loose from the case.  I don't think they look like this anymore.  The last time I looked at them in a store they looked way different.

One concern I've had is that many of our appliances/electronics don't work well here.  So I flipped it over to check out the specs.  I can't remember the difference at the moment, but I think back home was 60Hz and here we are at 50Hz...  Yay, it looks like it will work from 50-60, so it should work just fine here!

Though it came with a bunch of attachments (and there are MANY more available), these are the only ones I use when customizing horses:

First up are the sanding drums or bands.  I use the smaller ones on small horses or to get into tight areas.  The larger ones I use on bigger models or to grind off a lot of material.  I go through a lot of these when I'm in customizing mode.  Shortly before we left home, I found a store selling big bags of the bands for only $5 a bag and I stocked up!

Next are the cut off wheels.  Again, I sometimes go through a lot of these, mainly because they have a tendency to break apart and snap off during use if you're not careful or if they get stuck in the material.  (and the pieces go flying - a very good reason to wear eye protection!)

The last things that I use most often are these teeny-tiny engraving bits.  I used then for carving out nostrils, ears, and hooves.  The tips are very fragile and can be broken off easily, I never leave them in the dremel - if they are knocked against anything, the tip will snap right off.  So I put them in the dremel, use them, then immediately take them off, and put them back in the case.

Another bit I use occasionally is this one.  I'm not sure what it's actually called, but it is handy for removing a lot of material, especially in tight places that you can't get to with a cutoff wheel.

I've most often used it to cut minis almost in half to flex their back or tuck their hindquarters (grisly stuff)  ;)

Two scary, old, in-progress minis that need a LOT more work...  :-/

A few more things have been added to my little dremel arsenal since starting the epic Stagecoach project.

First up are these teeny tiny precision drill bits.  They go all the down to 1/32" which I call the "hair bit", because it almost feels like I'm trying to drill with a strand of hair.  I've used these a lot, drilling tiny holes in various stagecoach parts.

I had to buy a special chuck for the dremel to hold them, especially the smallest ones.  The standard chunk inserts don't close small enough to grip these tiny things.

A top view of the chuck.  It will twist all the way closed.

Another thing I added to my kit is this, from Jeff's collection of rotary tool supplies. It is scary and I don't like using it...  It is basically a miniature metal saw blade.  It did really come in handy for doing some precision cutting on a few of the wooden stagecoach pieces, but this thing is dangerous.  It won't break apart like the cutting wheels do and it could really do a lot of damage if it grabbed a finger.  So, I don't use it unless I have to.  I should be done with most of the wood cutting in the stagecoach now and if not, I'd rather use a little hand saw that I have now.  I only figured I'd show it, because it might be useful for cutting apart models, but I have not tried it and I'm not sure I will!  I like my cutoff wheels...

Look at the tiny metal teeth!  *shudder*

That's about it!  I hope you liked this look at one of my essential tools and that maybe it was helpful if you are new to using a Dremel!


  1. Thank you very much! I like this post a lot. I'll stick with the cutoff wheel, the metal one scares me too. Thanks again!

    1. You're very welcome! :D Dremels are really great and make things so much easier when working on horses.

  2. That metal saw blade is definitely terrifying! I got a set thinking they would be helpful for cutting wood for jumps out of thin is extremely hard to control! My fav dremel tool now is the workstation with the drill bits! I work with wood, so having a mini drill press is amazing!