Friday, August 2, 2013


Despite selling some shaky tools, you can occasionally find a good deal for an acceptable tool.    Drilling the #76 hand hold holes in resin gets tedious with pin vises and are a primary reason that I put these kits down for long periods of time  before returning to them.   I've had mixed results with Dremel tools, their drawback being their weight and power.   Ideally I have been looking for a lightweight rotary tool, that doesn't have to be super powerful - in fact - the weaker the better so not to break these fragile bits.    Enter Harbor Freight - this dremel type tool, called the "Drillmaster" had what I was looking for, and at $6.99 (with a coupon - $9.99 current "sale" price)  I took the chance.  The tool is very light and uses a 12v motor, powered by an included wall wart 500ma 12v transformer.   The cord is light wire and even has a male/female connector so the cord attached to the tool can be unplugged from the cord attached to the transformer.  Combined the length of these cords is very generous.   It also came with a shitload of rotary tooling - pretty much everything that comes with a Dremel, abet a little junkier, but also a lot of other things that don't, like a tube of a dozen or more end mills, 5 or 6 collets, drills, a whole tube of cutoff wheels,....etc..   The end mills are a bonus as I use these a lot to cut plastic and usually pay $6-8 each.   The machine runs smooth and with less noise than a Dremel.  Seems to have the power to do what I want.

Part two to this rotary tool equation were the micro end mills that Harbor Freight also sells.   Both boxes come as a set for $7    These are mostly metric, some match common drill sizes with a mixture from #54 through #88   There are multiples in the set and a few larger one, but there are a half dozen at least in the 70s.  These aren't drills, but rather end mills, which, when thinking about it are probably better for drilling holes in resin castings.   Also, the heavy shank is easier to chuck into a collet in the tool, and I hope will make them less susceptible to breaking as only a third of the shaft is the delicate smaller diameter.    I tried the #77 first and smooth as silk drilling with, however, the #76 that came with the set was a little wobbly.   I haven't tried the others yet.  

My hand for scale, although I have large hands.   I like the switch and the chuck is easy to change without tools.  Notice the end mill set that came with the tool.    The green round thing is a tube of cutoff wheels - again - that alone is a $7 dremel item.    I'm going back this weekend and pick up another two or three tools.  Probably will keep a #77 in one, a 1/16" in the other (for wheels and couplers) and an end mill cutter in the other.  Actually, maybe I need four.   Since the cord has the plug on it, I can just use one transformer and plug and unplug the drills - use the other transformers to power switch machines.  

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