Dremel bits?

Bonsai Nut

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#3
Dremels and other hobby tools are restricted to 1/8" collets and are good for detailed work but are not really cut out for large removal of wood or for use with larger specialized bits (for example some of the tricut bits Harry is refering to). You are better off buying a die grinder with a 1/4" collet. Die grinders are much more powerful and are intended for industrial use including grinding metal, so they typically don't bog down or burn out under extended use with wood. One thing that I consider almost a requirement is to get a die grinder with a variable speed adjustment - normally from about 10K RPM to 30K RPM. This allows you to adjust speeds depending on the work and the bit.

If you intend to buy a die grinder here are a couple of things to consider:
1) Do you buy electric or air-powered? Both have strengths and weaknesses. Electric are more expensive and have to be handled with care in wet environments. Air are much cheaper and can be used around water without problems, but they require that you own an air compressor.
2) Do you buy straight or 90 degree angle? Depending on the bits you use and how you approach your trees you will ultimately prefer one or the other. You want to cut with the grain of the wood so you will either hold your tool parallel to the deadwood grain (90 degree) or perpendicular to the deadwood grain (straight). I personally prefer straight because I do smaller and less frequent work - I think that 90 degree is better for heavy and frequent work.

Electric variable speed die grinders with 1/4" collets can be bought for $170 - $250. Two good brands are Makita and Flex. Fixed speed electric die grinders can be gotten for a lot less - in some cases $30-$40 - so if you don't mind switching bits and tools regularly, you can buy a few single speed grinders for the price of a single variable speed tool.

There are many options for air-powered variable speed die grinders, since these tend to be industrial auto shop type tools. Believe it or not, you can pick these up for under $30, though of course it means you own a compressor. One nice thing about going the airtool/compressor route is that once you own a compressor you can also pick up other cheap airtools that offer great applications for bonsai - like a detail sand blaster.
 
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#4
Dremels and other hobby tools are restricted to 1/8" collets and are good for detailed work but are not really cut out for large removal of wood or for use with larger specialized bits (for example some of the tricut bits Harry is refering to). You are better off buying a die grinder with a 1/4" collet. Die grinders are much more powerful and are intended for industrial use including grinding metal, so they typically don't bog down or burn out under extended use with wood. One thing that I consider almost a requirement is to get a die grinder with a variable speed adjustment - normally from about 10K RPM to 30K RPM. This allows you to adjust speeds depending on the work and the bit.

If you intend to buy a die grinder here are a couple of things to consider:
1) Do you buy electric or air-powered? Both have strengths and weaknesses. Electric are more expensive and have to be handled with care in wet environments. Air are much cheaper and can be used around water without problems, but they require that you own an air compressor.
2) Do you buy straight or 90 degree angle? Depending on the bits you use and how you approach your trees you will ultimately prefer one or the other. You want to cut with the grain of the wood so you will either hold your tool parallel to the deadwood grain (90 degree) or perpendicular to the deadwood grain (straight). I personally prefer straight because I do smaller and less frequent work - I think that 90 degree is better for heavy and frequent work.

Electric variable speed die grinders with 1/4" collets can be bought for $170 - $250. Two good brands are Makita and Flex. Fixed speed electric die grinders can be gotten for a lot less - in some cases $30-$40 - so if you don't mind switching bits and tools regularly, you can buy a few single speed grinders for the price of a single variable speed tool.

There are many options for air-powered variable speed die grinders, since these tend to be industrial auto shop type tools. Believe it or not, you can pick these up for under $30, though of course it means you own a compressor. One nice thing about going the airtool/compressor route is that once you own a compressor you can also pick up other cheap airtools that offer great applications for bonsai - like a detail sand blaster.
Hey nut, remember I'm mainly working on shohin and chuhin trees. The grinders you refer to are for the big trees you cats work on in California.

Harry
 
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#6
Buhhdamonk,
Then....you can install a "Samurai" cutter on it. They are modified to fit the Arbortech kit.( see pics).

BTW, I sell the Mini-grinder kit pre-assembled on a right angle grinder from Arbortech for a bit less, plus shipping. And, for a bit more, you can also get a longer-lasting carbide-tipped 2" cutter to replace the cutters that come in the kit. The kit comes with 2 hardened steel cutters as shown in the ad.

Dale
 

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#7
Electric variable speed die grinders with 1/4" collets can be bought for $170 - $250. Two good brands are Makita and Flex. Fixed speed electric die grinders can be gotten for a lot less - in some cases $30-$40 - so if you don't mind switching bits and tools regularly, you can buy a few single speed grinders for the price of a single variable speed tool.

.
Be VERY careful about buying an electric die grinder that is priced at $30-40. It would most certainly be Chinese and will PROBABLY have a short life ( if any) and possibly have collet-fitting problems.
You can find Chinese right-angle grinders for these prices and you will probably be satisfied and have no problems, but, they run at 1/2 the speed of die grinders ( normally 12,500rpm-ish versus 25,000 rpm-ish) and generally you will not have them running as long for a job or throughout your years in the hobby as you will a die grinder.
IMHO,
Dale
 

Bonsai Nut

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#8
Hey nut, remember I'm mainly working on shohin and chuhin trees. The grinders you refer to are for the big trees you cats work on in California.

Harry
I should probably say I own a dremel and use it all the time :) But you're right - I'm thinking of bigger trees (though not TOO big)
 
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#10
I would recommend the Makita because of its durability and light weight. The last thing you want if you are doing a lot of carving is a heavy die grinder, especially if you are working above chest high. On the dremel bits, I would try to get something with a carbide tip. It should last longer and stay sharper than the steel bits.

Tom
 
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#12
Have any of you looked at a RotoZip? I use that with the carbide bit that looks kind of like a corncob. It works quite nicely.
 
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#13
I was wondering if anyone had tried the Rotozip bits. I bought a few of the bits last year but have not carved anything with them yet. I do have a couple of the burr wheels that are good at removing a lot of material quickly. The bit I use the most though is a carbide round nose 1/4" in the Makita. It was recommended by Dan Robinson about 12 or 13 years ago when he visited our club meeting.

Tom
 
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#14
Air powered die grinder? Fuggeddaboutit!! Air tools are great for very high speed, but lack the torque to do wood carving, Finish work, maybe. Heavy stock removal, no way.
I speak from experience. I have a compressor and several air tools that haven't been used for years. If anyone wants them, I'll sell them very cheap. Hardly been used.

My experience with electric die grinders goes back to the early 1980's. I have owned several brands over the years, and I can state for sure that the best is made by Bosch, model 1215, 27000rpm. I'm sure I've put 100-200 hours on mine and the motor brushes are still good. QUALITY!!

Mike
 
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#15
My experience with electric die grinders goes back to the early 1980's. I have owned several brands over the years, and I can state for sure that the best is made by Bosch, model 1215, 27000rpm. I'm sure I've put 100-200 hours on mine and the motor brushes are still good. QUALITY!!

Mike
I have to agree with you Mike on the Bosch. Although my expericence with them is from cutting ceramic tile. The company I work for has 7 installation crews that use them everyday. They do break down some were in the 500 to 600 hours of use.