Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Modeling Tools: The Dremel

So on my first article about modeling tools I decided to do it on the Dremel.  I've mentioned it on a couple of posts recently so I figured I'd write this while it was fresh on my mind.  Personally I own the Dremel Stylus.  I purchased this baby back around 2008.  I remember liking the gun like shape as well as the fact that it has a lithium battery which means I don't have to drain the pack before charging it (less prone to battery memory issues) so anytime I am done with it I can put it right back in the charger (which I don't lol).

It is important to note that there are some downsides to having the Stylus, although you may already not like the shape and therefore there's no reason to worry if you acquire a "regular" dremel.  First of all, you cannot change the batteries as simply as other dremel models or exchange them or borrow them from friends etc...  I believe they can be replaced but they have to be bought special for this dremel model.  Secondly, there are some accessories for the dremel that turn it into other "tools" like a guide drill, push drill etc... (don't know the name of most).  Those accessories are based on the body shape of the dremel and none of them that I've seen fit this one.  So, be aware of that if you take a liking to the stylus.

When I first acquired the dremel I had already had some experience on what they were about as it relates to modeling thanks to a friend that used his to model as well.  So with that said, I was mainly interested in acquiring the Brash Brush (535), flat Diamond Point (7134), and round Diamond Point (7144).  

Below you can see the flat Diamond Point.  I use this one to deal with oval or flat surfaces.  Also, I use it to get into smaller places that the oval Diamond Point cannot get to (between arms and such).

Note on the image below the "oval" shape at the tip of this particular Diamond Point.  I use this point for areas that are concave as not to disturb the natural shape of the miniature.  It is also larger than the flat Diamond Point so it won't fit on as many places but it will feel more stable over larger surface areas.  Also, because of it's round tip it can also clean up flashing on perpendicular edges a little better than the flat bit, although at that point I would recommend using a file (I'll post on those in another article).

I have used the image below on the Iron Fang Pikeman post here but I figured it was applicable to this example so here it is again.  So what we have here is a generous mould line with some flashing coming out of it as well.  It is my preference to use a dremel Diamond Point for these.  I used the flat Diamond Point and filed it off.  You want to be careful with pressure and the speed you set it at.  Not sure how other dremels work but for the stylus at a setting of 2 it works fine for me.

After you're done with the Diamond Point the area will be "slightly" scratched looking.  This is where the Brass Brush comes in.  I usually use a higher speed setting for the brush, about 3 - 4 is good.  It is also important to note that the brush tends to shed it's bristles while it's being used.  Because of the speed it's going at there's a chance they will shoot out towards your face and eyes.  Wear safety googles!  Also, if you have pets I would do this in an area that you will be cleaning promptly (vacuum) or that they don't go to so they don't accidentally eat any brush bristles.

As you can hopefully see from the picture above there's no sign of the mould line or the flashing.  So why not a set of regular files or an Xacto knife?  Well the answer is I use those too on occasion.  It really depends on the task at hand.  I do find myself using the Diamond Point more often.  Also, I find the Brass Brush so useful that I use it in combination with the Xacto knife or files to smooth out any work perform to clean up the mini.  By the way the brass brush will also clean up botched up prime jobs but I'd recommend wearing a mask for that as the dust from the primer will fly everywhere.

Let's not forget of course that the dremel is in essence a drill.  Because of this you can buy all kinds of bits including drill bits to help you pin, sand, engrave etc...  Do any of you use a dremel for this?  Got better ideas?  Let me know what you think.  If not I hope this has served as a source of inspiration today for your modeling tools!  More to come...


  1. Great article. I too own a Dremel Stylus and I've been using it for over a year now. However, I've only been using it for drilling/pinning purposes. I will definitel consider getting a diamond point and wire brush dremel bits now!

  2. For sure! Glad the article was useful! If you're hesitant to use the Diamond Points get the wire brush and see what it does after you use your normal Xacto or Files. It does wonders!