I'll be using them for some miniature wood working so it's on topic.
Anyone have an opinion on their power tools, particularly their table saw
and drill press?
I'm looking for some tools to use for some model/slot car track building.
Got a full sized saw and bench mount drill press now, wondering if the
MicroMark stuff is worth getting.
Or another brand for that matter.
"when hatred calls with his package, refuse delivery..."
I don't know, I'll be working with 1:32 scale stuff, even the width of the
table saw blade is pretty big when you're making scale buildings. For that
matter, the material I'd lose in the kerf adds up when you're working with
really small stock...:^)
I'm mainly interested in the drill press. I do a fair amount of work with
small hobby stuff and my bench top press is too clumsy.
I've thought about trying one of the Dremel drill presses and one of their
rotary tools too.
Thanks for your comment.
There are some very thin kerf TS blades. <G>
My comment comes from experience preparing basswood, maple, balsa, and
spruce stock for model airplanes and model railroads, and my past
experience with "mini" tools. If it's thin enough, I'd stick with a
knife and straight edge, or "stripper" for very small strips. Small
MDF sleds will make full size table an band saws safer and much more
precise with small parts.
You can make auxiliary tables, fences, and hold downs from MDF for the
drill press that will make it wonderful for precise work. Of course,
it needs to be a GOOD drill press to start with.
If you can, check out the show "Mythbusters" on Discover Channel. The
shop where the show is filmed is actually a toy, puppet, and robot
prototype shop. Notice that you don't see "mini" tools.
I've spent a lot of money on mini tools only to replace them with
"real" tools. I'd love to help others avoid the same mistakes.
for very thin kerf cutting consider a jig saw. the machine isn't all
that big, it has a real motor and a decent size table, it will
probably cost you less to get a nice jig saw than it will to get a
halfway decent mini table saw (economy of scale of manufacruer), and
you will have a lot more choice of models and accessories.
You've probably never worked with small-scale stuff. 1/16" thick wood is
moderately thick! 1/32 and 1/64 are not uncommon.
I own a RAS with several thin-kerf blades and a band saw, but when I want to
start slicing up basswood sheets, I still run for the Dremel Table Saw.
It's just the right tool because it's built to scale of the stuff being
worked on it. Similar comments apply to the full-sized drill press and the
Dremel Drill Press Table.
the answer is... sometimes.
full size drill presses scale down pretty well. the extra table space
and quill travel are nice, and high quality chucks are available with
the same morse/jacobs or r8 tapers as the big ones. the only thing a
full size drill press may not do as well as a tabletop one is high
rpms. the extra mass and stability is always a good thing.
Sure I have! <G> Ever try a sharp Xacto #2 and steel straightedge?
I've used plenty of 1/32" and 1/64" mahogany ply, balsa, and basswood
as airplane sheeting.
The same went for the sheet styrene and bristol board I've built
architectural and railroad structures with. The ruler and knife is
accurate and extremely fast. Duplicates simply use the first part as
a pattern to set the straight edge on the next part.
Most of the airplane parts were for compound curves, for fairings,
fillets, etc... They couldn't be cut on a table saw anyway.
A trick with the knife on very thin wood is to mind the grain to
Depends on what you want to do.
If you're working at the size and precision that calls for a miniature
saw, nothing else will do. Having said that, if I were going to buy a
miniature saw it would be either a preac or a byrnes with byrnes being
the preferred by far. It's clearly the best of its' breed.
the minimill is supposed to be a good tool. get the r8 version if you
if I had a full size drill press I'd get a quality small chuck for it
before I'd get a bench drill press.
if the point of the mini saw is to get the thin kerf, consider hand
I have quite the array of dremel attachments, to include the drill press,
router table, etc...
For most cutting I use my regular table saw, mitre saw, etc. I use a 1/2"
strip sander for detail sanding as well as the PC hand held detail sander.
I too considered a small table saw but found that most cuts can be
accomplished with a regular table saw, detail work I use my dremel for
detail lines with the router table.
I can personally comment on the Micro-Mark table saw (Microlux model). I
have used mine for over 6 years with zero problems and find it to be a
real jewel, very well built and extremely accurate. I have designed and
built many helpful accessories, ..... table sled, outfeed extension,
fence enlarger/extender, straddle push block, enlarged crosscut guides
and a few other goodies. I use carbide tipped blades most of the time
but have others as thin as .020 in. I also have a neat conical faced
sanding disc for extra-fine finish esp, on plywood. The biggest drawback
(for me) is the limitation of distance from blade to fence but I'm
working on a design for rails to increase that capacity. It' a fine
machine for small, precision modeling.
I have no knowledge of their drill press since I use a Sherline
milling/drilling machine with it's X-Y table for my precision work, but
if M-M's drill press follows the saw's quality and performance, it too
is a winner.
One unfortunate aspect to working with quality micro power tools as a whole
is . . . if you get a good one, it will cost almost as much as the larger
counterparts. I've being working in scale for a while now and truly
appreciate "real" precision tools. I've read about "Proxxon" tools for a
while but never had one in my hands until the other day at the "Woodcraft"
store; they had a drill press, the x y table, and something else on display.
The drill press felt tight and had some heft to it considering its size and
had a deep reach, again for scale work (cost around $130+/-???). I ended up
taking home the x y table for now, and of course 3 more chisels and 4 & 4
Bessie's. When working with #50-#80 HS bits . . . a 1/64" drift or off
center would be like setting a drawer knob (full size) off center by 1-1/2".
A good comparison between a quality micro drill press and a dremel hobby DP,
would be the same degree of precision you can expect from strapping you hand
drill into one of those $19.99 holders and a real DP. For many projects in
scale . . . the eye won't even notice, that or it will stand out like a turd
in a punch bowl.
For general small holes, say 3/32 to 1/16" and where it won't matter if you
are off by 1/128" to 1/16" . . . save your money. Or, if you are not going
to drill that many holes and you still want some precision, get a pin vice
or a Yankee Screwdriver Drill (Excel Blades has a good ones and are
Without really knowing what you are going to cut on the table saw, the other
posts sounds link your best bet . . . a zero clearance insert and a thin
kerf blade. If you want to trim out the dash board of a scale car, go for a
quality micro saw.
Don't know this guy above, but I did review his site. At first look, it has
some very good features that you won't find on other saws that I've seen.
It is also a size that won't limit you to only hand size wood, one that I
have seen had a 4" x 4" table top--too small with limited uses.
A truly decent scale table saw will set you back around $375 to $450.
Cheapies run around $150 to $200 and are good for only the most general of
I hope this was of some help. I do not have any connection with any of
these companies for the record. If you want any more info or direction to
look toward, let me know.
Support your local Science Olympiad team and future engineer or scientist,
build-n-bust a bridge this weekend.
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