Question Which Dremel?

Raytl Jan 21, 2017

  1. Raytl

    Raytl TrainBoard Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm looking at purchasing a Dremel and am researching which one to buy. I'm sure I'll find other uses for the Dremel, but my Z layout is really the impetus for the purchase.

    There seem to be quite a few models and then there's corded vs. cordless. Does anyone have a favorite here for Z-related uses? I'm thinking cordless may be a good idea just to have one less obstruction.

    Initial uses for me will be making some holes for lamp posts and modifying my Marklin passenger car to use MTL trucks. I'll have to buy a set of small bits to accompany the Dremel. Looks like there is a Dremel drill press that may be useful too. Anyone use this?

    Thanks in advance!

    Ray
     
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  2. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Variable speed is a must. Over the years, I have had issues with batteries, so mine is corded
     
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  3. emaley

    emaley TrainBoard Supporter

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    I also tried the cordless dremel, but battery life and reliability were not good. It also lacked the torque for much of my needs. I got the 4000 series and have been very pleased. I purchased the drill press and the flexi-shaft. The flexi-shaft is really nice for small precision work. This is my 3rd dremel in 35 years, and for me it is worth the effort. Amazon has a huge selection of bits and tools to do most anything you need.

    One other thing about cordless tools for me is they never seem to be charged when I want to used them, so I just deal with the cord.

    Trey
     
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  4. Raytl

    Raytl TrainBoard Member

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    I appreciate the feedback guys, I will definitely get one with variable speed, had not thought about that. Sounds like cordless may not be what it's cracked up to be.

    Best,

    Ray
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes- Definitely variable speed!
     
  6. Ed Slanina

    Ed Slanina TrainBoard Member

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    Variable speed for sure, I had battery seemed like whenever I need it batteries where dead so I have electric one now.
     
  7. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

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    I got the newer cordless, and one or 2 extra batteries are a must. I use the 8220, plenty of power. Don't get the little cordless one.

    Greg
     
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  8. fifer

    fifer TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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  9. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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    I have bin using the same old Montgomery Wards brand Drermel type tool for nearly 40 years now. Sometimes the cord gets in the way and i wish it had variable speed but it gets the job done. One thing to keep in mind is that the tool itself is only 1/2 of the equation. Having a nice selection of bits, tips, grinding, citing, sanding, and polishing attachments is just as important.

    As for which one is best or which one is best for you, think about how and where you intend to use it, think about how often you will actually use it. If you are going to user it on a every day basis and in areas where you may not have power then a battery powered unit is the way to go however if you are like most and will only be using it occasionally and / or for long stretch of time at once, well a corded model will probably be the better choice.
    And regardless of battery or corded get a variable speed model. I would also recommend getting one of those speed chucks for use with drill bits and such.

    As for the tips and bits and such you will want to get a nice assortment. I have and use as many of the cheap harbor freight /dollar store brand tips, and bits as i do the more expensive Dremel version. They all have their place and uses.

    Next you will want a good place to store the tool and all those tip's and bits. I gave up on those boxes with all the little holes to keep them in. It seamed like they never staid put and would fall out all over the place every time i moved/opened the box
    So I picked up one of those Plano tackle boxes with the slide out plastic boxes in the bottom and a large compartment on the top to keep my stuff in.

    Lastly don't feel you need to get everything all at once I started out with just a few bits and tips then once i figured out what worked best for my needs I picked up one or two each time i went to the hobby or hardware store. Also keep a eye out for sales on the assorted multi packs while you may not need or use all of them they can often be the best / cheapest way to get the bits you do use.
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Right on. :)
     
  11. tracktoo

    tracktoo TrainBoard Member

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    Consider Proxxon. Specifically the IBS/E. It's a little pricey in comparison but it's a much better made tool. And then later you can add the MB-200 drill stand, KT-70 compound milling table and precision steel vise, and you can mill with it. The components are rigid and precise enough to do some very respectable milling work.

    Dremel has a stand and rig that has the appearance of such a rig but doesn't have the rigidity to actually do this kind of work. It's a drill press at best. I have one of them, too. These recommendations are from first hand experience.
     
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  12. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

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    This is Z scale, and I cannot recommended a "dremel" type tool with a cord. It's just a lot of bother having that cord pulling and tugging on the unit while you are working on such small stuff.

    I have had corded dremel tools since 1968, still have a Sears Craftsman from that era, and have put a flexible extension on it to get the handle "smaller"... it's really rare when I haul it out to use it.

    I have enough trouble with Z scale without fighting a cord or long flex cable.

    Greg
     
  13. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    They are cheap compare to a loco,so I have the cordless and the corded.
     
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  14. Raytl

    Raytl TrainBoard Member

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    Tracktoo,

    I started looking at this tonight since I was considering the "drill press" from Dremel as a part of this purchase. The Proxxon press looks nice and the press looks pretty sturdy too. Definitely a contender, thanks for the recommendation!


    And thanks to all for the feedback!!
     
  15. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

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    One tip: often the tool is used with a cutoff wheel. When cutting rail in place, for example, the diameter of the unit comes into play as you try to keep the cutting wheel perpendicular to the rail. You will notice this immediately the first time you try.

    Look for a tool that has at least one side that is as "thin" as possible (in relation to the centerline of the shaft).

    Greg
     
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  16. tracktoo

    tracktoo TrainBoard Member

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    IF you go the Proxxon route consider the specific models I mentioned, especially the press, table and precision steel vise. And should you elect to go with the Dremel press stand send me a PM first. The one I have is in absolutely new condition and I would part with it (for another Proxxon). :)
     
  17. peteyPab

    peteyPab TrainBoard Member

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    Looks like this was an old thread. Any updates on which brands / models to choose? I'm working with N scale. It seems that corded and variable speed are a preferable feature.

    thanks.
     
  18. shortpainter

    shortpainter TrainBoard Member

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    I purchased a new Dremel 3000 last year and I already have to replace the shaft lock pin. Of course, a search on the internet yielded nothing but bad news. It seems like the older Dremel tools are still going strong while newer ones have a much shorter life span.
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have my old and trusty 395 variable speed. Still rock solid and going strong. Then I also have a 7300, as I wanted a cordless for some applications. Nowhere near as solid as the old 395, the 7300 is clearly much lighter and components not of the same quality. But I will say that it does hold a charge quite well.
     
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  20. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Don’t get a corded one for any kind of desktop detail work. There OK for cutting track or for heavy grinding sanding purposes that you might hold in your hand. Otherwise stay with the battery powered versions. I Have a Dremel 8050 with lithium ion battery and have not charged it in years yet still runs full speed, full power. I did plug it in today to recharge it (for another future use ;)

    As mentioned with cutting track, keeping a small diameter, you can find products called “nail drills“ designed for manicures. These are often corded but have very narrow bodies helping you get more 90° vertical when cutting track. However some of these are less power than the Dremel or Proxxon products. It is very hard to find these super thin abrasive cut off discs, don’t make very small gaps in the rail but still way bigger than a razors saw.

    NOTE: When using the smaller drills (wire drills) like number 61 Dash 60, make sure that you mount them with a very short protrusion from the Collett. Almost all of the motor drivers can’t go two very slow speeds and always start around roughly 2000-5000 RPM which makes the protruding drill vibrate off center making a much larger hole. AND, if you get a set of drills that have very large shanks with very short drills, those are tungsten-carbide and extremely brittle. While they will not vibrate on the tip, they do not take lateral pressure without snapping off. They’re commonly used for printed circuit boards and other high use stuff which are in fixtures that are precisely aligned without any stress.
     
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