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In response to the Make: Newsletter Special Edition (on Tips) that we sent out yesterday, MAKE pal, and automata artist, Dug North sent us a link to a piece he did on Dremel tips. The article is part of Dug’s Automata Tips, Techniques and Tricks, a series he’s doing on Cabaret Mechanical Theatre.

10: Carving with Stones Wood carving bits often leave a rough surface on woods such as Basswood (a.k.a. Lime). Try using grinding stones for the final stages of carving. The pink/orange/brown Aluminum-oxide stones remove material a little faster, while the darker gray/blue/green Silicon-carbide stones remove material more slowly, but leave a smoother finish.

Dug’s Automata Tips, Techniques and Tricks No. 6

 

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Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • Steve

    What speed do you use with the 1/4″ and 1/2″ sanding drums? If I use anything faster than the lowest speed they wear out really fast. Maybe they are supposed to be able to handle a little more speed, or maybe mine are from a bad batch?

  • http://dugnorth.com Dug North

    Steve – I often use a single speed rotary tool, which runs runs at 35,000 RPMs (fast) for both the 1/4″ and 1/2″ sanding drums. I find that I can get a lot more life out of them by running them against an abrasive belt cleaning block occasionally. I suppose you could have a bad batch, but that hasn’t happened to me, even with no-name brand drums.

  • Tim

    There are a couple of safety messages in Dug North’s great article. I would like to emphasize them.

    When I was first introduced to Dremel tools over 35 years ago I did quite a bit of wood carving. I greatly enjoyed it (and still do) but I quickly discovered some of the destructive potential of these little tools. Sanding drums in particular can grab a surface, get away from you and remove a chunk of skin. My hands have had a lot of abuse in workshops over the years, but the most prominent scars are two I got way back in the 70’s from a Dremel tool with a sanding drum.

    • http://twitter.com/halfvastcnsprtr Halfvast Conspirator (@halfvastcnsprtr)

      Holding those little workpieces in your fingers is a recipe for pain and blood. At least you might want to use a glove like for carving or fish flleting that will protect your fingers.

      –R (been there, have the scars…)

      • Tim

        I agree that gloves are a very good idea. The Kevlar ones for knife protection are a bad idea though. The fibers can get caught in the tool and pull very tight around your finger. It’s better to use a leather glove.

    • http://dugnorth.com Dug North

      Tim — Thank you for pointing this out. Leather gloves are a very good idea when using a rotary tool, regardless of the bit. I will add something about this to the article page.

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