A good customizer needs good tools and with the dizzying array of products out there you could end up spending a lot of money before you actually find one that suits your tastes. Today I'm reviewing my new best friend, the Dremel Stylus Model 1100! You can Buy a Dremel Stylus on Amazon for an excellent price and then Dremel Keyless Chuck so you don't have to mess with the inner collets that hold the bits as the keyless chuck tightens down on any size bit.
A Dremel (or any high speed rotary tool) can be the most useful tool in your customizing toolbox and often times a necessity to do certain jobs like hollowing out sockets and carving plastic. Many of you already own a corded Dremel or the cordless Mini-Mite that I use to use. Let me get this out of the way first, the Dremel Stylus is not a groundbreaking end-all Dremel tool that everyone has to own. If you have a Dremel of any sort, they all work pretty decently for customizing. The Dremel Stylus is simply an advancement of the standard rotary tool that was designed more towards precision than brute force.
The first thing you're going to wonder is what you're doing with Spock's phaser sitting in front of you. After the initial shock passes, you'll find that the biggest thing the Dremel Stylus has going for it is the balanced design. The rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries are now in a hand-grip that extends down from the main shaft and the motor is much closer to the center of the machine. Previous models tired out your hand and could become unwieldy very quickly because of all the weight in the back, especially the corded kind. With the Stylus, you can balance it on the edge of your hand!
Not only does the grip beneath the Dremel Stylus balance out the weight, it allows you to rest the tool while using it for precise control. Normally you'd have to rest your pinky on the table or set your wrist on something with a regular rotary tool. Here you can rock the Stylus around on the grip for great stability and comfort while tooling away at something. The instruction manual shows different ways to hold the tool, depending on what you're cutting as well. You don't get the dreaded 'skip' very often either because you're not free-holding the tool, it's usually resting on the grip.
The streamlined design of the grip and soft rubber grips make the Stylus defiantly the most comfortable tool I've ever used. It's for a righty or a lefty too. You hold the Stylus as you would a pencil and your fingers won't get tired from gripping the front to hold it steady.
Speed and Power
Probably the coolest feature for me was when I first started this baby up was the actual start-up. It doesn't instantly jump to full speed, but instead 'powers up' over the period of about two to four seconds depending on what speed you have it set to. This sucker sounds like you're powering up some super-space-cannon, and if you have it set to speed 10, can be quite surprising the first time! You must let the Stylus power up to the set speed before using it or it'll stall out. However once it gets going it's like a normal Dremel. The Stylus can't be activated by accident either like earlier models, you have to hold the on button down for one second to get it to start up, and tapping it won't do anything. It stops right away however with a tap of the button.
The speed dial is located on the back of the model and has a 1 to 10 scale, 10 of course being the maximum. The RPMs are listed at 5,000 to 25,000. This means at maximum, it spins really, really, really fast. Wear eye protection! The manual says wire brush wheels shouldn't be used past speed 4. I tested this so you don't have to, it's true. The moment you touch the wire bristles to something while this is spinning at speed 10, the bristles break off and actually imbed themselves in whatever is close by like tiny-death-needles that fly at mach 3. Always, always use eye protection with cutting, sanding, or brushing attachments! Hell, use eye protection no matter what you're doing really.
Now about the Stylus' power. This is not a cut-through-plywood, carve granite, and saw through screwdrivers type of machine like the corded ones. It's more powerful than its Mini-mite cousin but is still a precision tool. The power of the tool is actually controlled by the speed and the more speed you crank up, the less likely it is to stall out. Speaking of stalling, the Stylus has Stall protection. If the tool jams in something it will shut off automatically instead of trying to whip it around on the tip. I haven't broken a bit yet and this is a very useful feature when drilling through thicker, soft plastic.
Dremel vaunts the 7.2-volt Lithium-Ion battery as one of the Stylus' big selling points. They claim it holds a charge for two YEARS if you let it sit. It can also be left on the charger and charged at any time without needing to drain the battery. It has a three-hour charge time from a completely drained battery. So far it's lived up to the hype for me and I've used it for three days straight without it showing signs of battery drain. The charger is so easy to use tho, you just place the Stylus on top and that's it. Just put it back on the charger when you're done and you'll never run out of go-go-juice.
The Stylus accepts all older Dremel collets (the little gripping collars inside the head that hold your bits) and your basic 1/8th bit shaft and smaller that are commonly used in Dremel tools. It does not however accept any of the head attachments like the router-stand, or that long flexible shaft. The Stylus isn't for cutting through ceramic tile and it pretty much negates the need for that that flexible tube shaft because of it's versatile handling.
After all is said and done I'm extremely happy with the Dremel Stylus. It's replaced my cordless Mini-mite and is just way easier to use than either of my other Dremels. You can also Buy a used Dremel Stylus on EBay as they run about $120 at retail stores like Home Depot and Wal Mart. It does come with 25 accessories like the wheels, sanding discs, collets, buffing wheel, and even buffing polish, all in a neat little case. It's defiantly something I'd give 4 stars too and recommend to anyone who wants a really nice Dremel tool for customizing.
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