In some instances, a Dremel might be useful for modelling type work, and working on miniatures.
In other instances, there may be better tools to use.
In this guide, we discuss how Dremels might be used for these applications, and what the best Dremels might be.
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What Is Modelling?
Modelling can include new model making and building, as well as modification of existing models.
It involves making (or modifying) different types of three dimensional models, such as scale models.
Model trains and ships, model railways/railroads, model terrains, and model figurines are all examples of different types of models.
What Are Miniatures?
Miniatures are small scale reproductions, or small versions of real life or fictional things.
For example, a miniature could refer to a scale model, but it could also refer to a small figurine (like Warhammer miniatures/figurines), or an action figure.
So, miniatures and models can sometimes refer to the same thing (miniatures might sometimes be referred to as miniature models for example)
Can A Dremel Be Used For Models & Miniatures?
Sometimes a Dremel can be very useful for models and miniatures, and in other instances, other tools will be required (or be more practical).
Some of the factors that might impact whether to use a Dremel might be:
– Size (& Surface Area) Of The Model
It might be much easier and more practical to use a Dremel on larger models and figures, or models and figures with a larger surface area.
Vice versa, for smaller sized or smaller surface area models and miniatures, smaller, finer, or non powered tools might be required.
– The Type Of Work Required
But, but very heavy duty or very detail orientated work may be better carried out with another type of tool, such as a higher powered tool, or, a very precise or non powered tool.
– What Material The Model Is Made Of
The type of material (i.e. plastic, metal, wood, paper, clay, and so on), and how thick or heavy duty it is, can matter when deciding on the type of tool to use.
Therefore, they may be better suited to materials that can take the friction of the spinning bit, and thinner or lighter duty materials.
Some types of plastic (such as some types of PET) may have a lower melting temperature, and the friction created by the spinning bit in a Dremel may lead to issues with some types of plastic models (such as the plastic melting, or the Dremel bit getting ‘gummed’ up).
Additionally, Dremels may not be suitable for very thick or heavier duty types of materials, such as very thick and heavy duty metals.
They may also not be suitable for brittle materials that can crack, such as some types of brittle/fragile clay.
– Type Of Dremel Tool
A Dremel tool designed specifically for crafting type activities, or precision type work, might be more suitable to use for modelling and miniatures than other types of tools.
– Type Of Dremel Bit Used
Some types of coarse Dremel bits might damage some models and miniatures, and softer bits might be better.
Some large/thick Dremel bits might damage some models and miniatures, and smaller or thinner bits might be better.
Can Dremels Be Used On Plastic Models?
We addressed this above, and we also addressed using Dremels on plastic in a separate guide about working on 3D prints.
But, the type of plastic might impact whether Dremels are suitable to use on a model.
Some types of PET plastic for example might melt more easily when subject to the friction of a spinning bit on a rotary tool – especially if the Dremel doesn’t have a low speed setting (in RPMs) available to use
Other types of plastic that can handle more friction might be OK to use a Dremel on.
What Can A Dremel Be Used For On Models & Miniatures?
It depends on the bit or attachment used on the Dremel, but, Dremels are generally versatile tools that can be used for a range of tasks.
Some of the ways to use a Dremel for modelling and miniatures might include:
– Sanding (for smoothing surfaces)
– Grinding (especially grinding edges to smoothen edges, or to shape the outside of a model)
– Polishing and buffing
– Engraving and carving (for designs on models)
What’s The Best Dremel Tool For Models & Miniatures?
Some of the best Dremel rotary tools to use on models and miniatures might be:
Small & Specialized Dremel Rotary Tools
Dremel has two small and specialised rotary tools that are designed for light duty and detail orientated type work, like arts and crafts.
A low RPM setting (the speed the bit spins at) on these tools might minimise the chance of damaging the model or miniature, or, put less friction on it.
Other features like the light weight of the tool might be beneficial too.
– Dremel Stylo+
A corded rotary tool designed specifically for crafting, and detail orientated works.
It’s smaller, and lighter than Dremel’s 4000 and 8000 series rotary tools, and can be held and controlled in a similar way to a pen.
– Dremel Lite 7760
A cordless rotary tool designed specifically for light duty crafting and DIY type work.
It’s smaller, and lighter than Dremel’s 4000 and 8000 series rotary tools.
Larger, More Versatile Dremel Rotary Tools
These tools below might allow the user to work on models and miniatures, but, also use a Dremel tool for other types of work.
– Dremel 4000 Series
The 4000 series currently have Dremel’s highest performance and most versatile corded Dremel models.
The 4000 series models are larger than the small/specialized Dremel rotary tools, but they allow the user more versatility to do tasks and activities outside of specialty activities like crafting for example.
The 4300 and 4250 models are currently the highest performance models:
Dremel 4250 Rotary Tool – Currently, there’s no US Amazon link available to buy this tool. We will update this link when the product is available. Buying options for the 4250 might currently be available from the Dremel site, or, the tool might be available for sale directly from some sellers
– Dremel 3000
The 3000 model is still a reasonably versatile corded tool, but, it’s an older and lower spec’d model than the 4000 series models.
You can view the 3000 here – Dremel 3000 Rotary Tool (on Amazon)
– Dremel 8000 Series
The 8000 series currently have Dremel’s highest performance cordless Dremel models.
Like the 4000 series models, the 8000 series models are larger than the small/specialized Dremel rotary tools, but they allow the user more versatility to do tasks and activities outside of specialty activities like crafting for example.
The 8260 and 8250 are currently the most advanced models:
Dremel 8260 Rotary Tool – Currently, there’s no US Amazon link available to buy this tool. We will update this link when the product is available. Buying options for the 8260 might currently be available from the Dremel site, or, the tool might be available for sale directly from some sellers
– Dremel Flex Shaft Attachment
Dremel also has a lightweight attachment that attaches to most of the popular Dremel rotary tools
It is designed for precision and detail orientated work (which might be useful for working on models and miniatures), and you can hold it like a pen.
That attachment is the Dremel Flex Shaft Attachment (on Amazon)
– Dremel Drill Press Workstation
Specifically for drilling with a Dremel rotary tool, Dremel offers the Dremel Drill Press Rotary Tool Workstation (on Amazon)
This workstation is compatible with most of Dremel’s most popular rotary tools.
It holds the tool, and allows the user to drill holes with it.
This workstation (equipped with a Dremel rotary tool) might be suitable for drilling into models.
Dremel Bits & Attachments For Modelling & Miniatures
It depends on what type of activity you are wanting to perform with the Dremel as to what bit/accessory you use.
But, some bits that might be useful to use might be:
– Cutter bits, or cutting wheels
– Sanding bands and drums, as well as sanding discs
– Grinding stones, or grinding discs
– Polishing/buffing wheels
– Drill bits
– Carving and engraving bits
Above, we mentioned the Flex Shaft Attachment, and the Drill Press Workstation as potentially suitable attachments for models and miniatures
Using Other Tools For Modelling & Miniatures
There are several guides online that list and explain essential tools (and supplies) for modelling, or miniatures.
Some examples of tools (other than a Dremel), might include:
– A cutting mat
– A handheld cutting tool (like a scalpel, a hobby or craft tool, a sprue cutter or clippers, and so on)
– A handheld micro engraver tool
– Sandpaper (which can be used dry, or wet)
– A brush
– A polishing cloth, or similar polishing item
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