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Thread: Drilling scales with a Dremel?

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    Member CMOT's Avatar
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    Default Drilling scales with a Dremel?

    Looking to start making scales and I'm wondering if a Dremel in a stand would be accurate enough to drill holes in scales. I'm not really wanting to buy a bench mounted drill as I'm not planning to do all that many (famous last words!) Would the Dremel be good enough to get going? I don't think drilling by hand would work for me, I'm not that skilful.

    Thanks

    Simon

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    Senior Member bongo's Avatar
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    Hi Mate, do you have a Dremel now ?
    I couldn't find a Dremel drill press at the time, so I bought a "proper" bench-drill press for less
    than AUD$100.00.

    The good thing about this is you can drill out (unpin) a pivot without damaging the scales as well as
    drilling holes in new scales.

    Brad Maggard (forum name "Undream") is highly respected here and has made
    an entire series of vids on restoring a straight from start to finish.

    Check out this vid :https://www.youtube.com/v/Hkz1xHkLlhw
    Food for thought
    Last edited by bongo; 07-06-2015 at 11:02 AM.
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    Member CMOT's Avatar
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    Cheers. I don't have a Dremel yet but from what I've seen it looks like I would be able to do lots of other razor related jobs with it. I have a cheap Dremel copy but it won't fit the stand.

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    Senior Member bongo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMOT View Post
    I have a cheap Dremel copy but it won't fit the stand.
    Yeah, me too !!....A drill press with a drum sander is very handy as well.
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    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMOT View Post
    Cheers. I don't have a Dremel yet but from what I've seen it looks like I would be able to do lots of other razor related jobs with it. I have a cheap Dremel copy but it won't fit the stand.
    A dremel stand is good enough to get started. But small drill presses can be had for reasonable prices.
    If you're a beginning restorer, I don't advise dremel for sanding, because I can guarantee you will get oopsies.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    You can buy used Dremels, very inexpensively, on EBay or at flea markets. I have bought them for a low as 2 bucks, if you are looking for one to keep in a drill press set up. Do buy a variable speed. I have 3-4 set up for various processes. I keep 2 on the bench with the bits I use most, it is faster than changing bits.

    Sam’s club has a nice variable speed knock off kit, with flex shaft for $20. Variable Speed and Flex Shaft are the way to go.

    If all you want is drill holes for scales, a pin vise or drill bit with Hex head attached $3 at Lowes, will easily drill through a 1/8 in scale in seconds. The hole does not need to be “dead” straight and actually should be a bit larger than your pin stock and a bit tapered.

    Don’t be intimidated or over think the pinning process. It really is as easy as it looks. Now getting the head smooth and even does take a bit of work, light taps and rotating the scales so you are tapping straight down on the edges.

    Watch the videos of Factory pinning, it’s almost comical how we over think it.

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    A Dremel can be a useful item. The newer drill stands for them are not as accurate as the older ones which had the table go up and down for feeds. Matching the two is where the fun comes in. I think i've bought about eight Dremels at various times and have router table, drill stands, extra hands, and other Dremel stuff. The Dremel drill chucks are worth the money for quickly changing bits.
    Most anything dealing with scales and renewal can be done with them.
    The reason I got involved with the Dremel line was some of the guys I deal with have small apartments and can only spread a tarp to work in the living area.

    Yes, the cheaper drill presses are a good way to go also. Buying a cheap set of sanding drums make scales a lot easier.
    YMMV
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    As Richard says they can be usefull at times,if mounted on a press type stand and the travel is accurate,it should be fine for scales.
    I never use a drill press for removing pins,do it all by hand with a simple pinvise,Takes alot more time but far less chance of an issue.JMO
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    I use the dremel stand for all my scales drilling - it helps to ensure that you are at 90 degrees in both horizontal and vertical planes. If you keep the scales taped together it also ensures the holes are positionally matched. It's a good idea to drill both the pivot and wedge ends before you start final shaping - this way, the scales are still flat.

    The advantage to the dremel is that it's not just a drill press - you can turn it up to 90 degrees either way for profiling and other jobs.

    One thing I don't use the Dremel for is sanding or cleaning blades - like others have said it's just too easy to skip off and create deep scratches or worse.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    If you’re thinning scales on a budget, a cheap block plane (5-10 dollars, used) with a sharp blade, can thin a scale blank quickly, finish with a card scraper if needed.

    Make a shooting board with a flat piece of MDF and some thin, wood stops glued to the board, (Popsicle or a piece of a free paint stir stick), the thickness you are trying to achieve, to hold the scale piece. A couple dabs of rubber cement or strip of thin scotch, double sided tape, will hold the slab in place if needed.

    Thin stock to thickness, before you cut to shape.

    The whole process can easily be done with hand tools. Charlie Lewis (Spazola) has a great video, making a pair of scales from start to finish with hand tools, in just a few minutes.
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