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Stubbornly refusing to go away since 1997


FAQ: Customizing Tools

What is a Dremel?

    A Dremel is a small rotary tool, like a drill that you attach different drill bits to for sanding, cutting, etc. Dremels come in different varieties. Black and Decker also has a rotary tool called the Wizard that looks comparable to the Dremel.

What kind of Dremel should I use?

    It depends on your needs. There are different kinds, ranging from low-power to high-power. I use a small cordless Dremel called a "Mini Mite" (around US $35). It has two speeds and is cordless. I have no complaints.

What Dremel accessory bits should I use?

    That really depends on what you want to do. I personally use a set of diamond drill bits. The finer the detail, the smaller the bit should be. Don't try to sculpt a fine facial detail with a sanding wheel.

Where can I get a Dremel and accessory bits?

    I know Home Depot carries them. You may also be able to find them at hobby shops.

What do I need a Dremel for?

    Unlike paint, you really donít need a Dremel, but it makes things easier. You can pretty much do what a Dremel does using an X-acto knife, sandpaper, and a metal file. If you plan to hollow out helmets, a Dremel with a small round bit can really help save time. And once you have a Dremel, youíll see there are all kinds of good uses for it around the house. (No, I donít work for the Dremel company.)

What type of glue should I use?

    After trying different glues, I find plain olí Super Glue is the best. Remember, since Super Glue can make a white "haze" on surrounding material after it dries, itís a good idea to paint at least one coat after you glue.

Is there anything else I need to start customizing?

    Thereís plenty. Hereís a list of what I recommend:
    • X-acto knife - No self respecting customizer should be without one. But be careful - donít customize yourself!
    • Brushes - Duh!
    • Masking tape - When you need to paint straight lines on a figure, use the tape to mask off parts you donít want painted.
    • Sandpaper - Get different grits for different finishes. The higher the grit number, the smoother the finish. I find that 600 grit gives a nice smooth finish for figures.
    • Small towel - Good for handling hot pieces just out of the microwave. If you need more reasons for having a towel on hand, read Douglas Adamsí Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy.
    • Paint remover - Good if you want the original color of the plastic to show, or if you need to start over with a custom. There are many different types of paint remover. Acetone can be used for this purpose, but BEWARE that acetone can dissolve plastic. I almost wasted a General Veers torso with acetone trying to make my Imperial Army Trooper.
    • Protective glasses - If youíre using a high-speed Dremel, glasses can come in handy when hot pieces of plastic start to fly around.
    • Persistence - You will make mistakes and do stupid things. Accept it. Donít let them get you down, just be sure to learn from them.
    • PATIENCE - I know itís hard, but take your time. Aside from damaging your custom, rushing could cause you to damage your hand, and youíll have to spend six hours waiting in the ER. Of course, they wonít be wasted hours if you can bring your tools and continue to customize with the other hand. :^)


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This page last modified on 8/25/2006
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