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Micro carving tools the easy way


Guest DFogg

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Guest DFogg

Here is another one using ready bought handle, the Veritas carving tool. This handle takes disposable flat blades that are much like scapels. I love the handle. It is cast aluminum with a brass knurled head and feels substantial in the hand.

 

Loosen the head until the collet is as wide as it gets. Using a 5/64ths drill bit, drill out the center down to 3/4in. It will chatter some as the drill catches on the edges of the cuts, but it only takes a second to drill the soft aluminum. Try not to wallow out the hole. I did it with a hand drill.

 

The blades for this are made from old dental burrs. Break of the burr with a pair of pliers and then shape the point to suit. I have a diamond disk and it only took a minute or so to get a nice sharp edge.

 

The burr will fit into the handle and be held securely. They are really easy to change and simple to make.

 

Micro carving tool

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Interesting Handle Don. I think a jewelers Pin vise might also work well. If any one wants some used 1/16th burs I have some and would be happy to drop them in the mail as long the address is domestic (US). Be warned that even though very small these burs are made from a fine grained carbide. It takes Diamond to work this material effectivly. I recycle 1/8th inch carbide burs into textureing tools and gravers. I don't have any diamond wheels, but I have had some tedious success with Ceramic abrasives on my belt grinder and fused siliconcarbide wheels on the bench grinder. Working Carbide makes me want to buy one of those nice GRS diamond hones though it is a real pain.

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Cool idea, Don, although I would stick to high-speed steel as I don't think carbide is much of an advantage and so hard to shape and sharpen for those without diamond. 1/16" hardened drill rod(or hardenable if you know how). Both hardened and un-hardened are workable with the usual grinding wheels, stones or rubber abrasives.

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Guest DFogg

I am not sure if all dental burrs are carbide, I would have to check on that because the burrs I have look like high speed steel.

 

I have grown fond of diamond stones and did build myself a slow speed diamond disk grinder similar to the engravers sharpening set up. I realize that this is not necessary for most folks, but if you need to keep your tools sharp it is an excellent investment.

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I am not sure if all dental burrs are carbide, I would have to check on that because the burrs I have look like high speed steel.

 

I have grown fond of diamond stones and did build myself a slow speed diamond disk grinder similar to the engravers sharpening set up. I realize that this is not necessary for most folks, but if you need to keep your tools sharp it is an excellent investment.

 

I have seen HSS bits in this size range, but they were not designed for dental work. My friend Dr. Blue the local dentist has never seen HSS dental burs before. Regardless of the dental application the HSS do exist as general purpose burs, though I have not seen any for a long time. carbide has become very inexpensive and is easy to get. There are also several grades of carbide that have vastly different Hardness levels. Some can be shaped on a grinder and others are practically impossible to marr. I have a sample of the hardest variety commercially available. the intention was to make a high grade burnisher for Togi work. The material proved to be impervious to everything I have in the shop hehe. Burs are usually made from a softer, but relatively tougher grade of carbide.

 

An easy source for HSS woud be small drill bits. Just as you descibed with breaking the bur the Drill bit could be snapped off leaving the round shank. this could be shaped and sharpened much easier and would still perfrom great if not better than carbide.

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Looking at the dental burrs I commonly use in my carving, I notice the cutting portions are carbide, but the shafts are steel. They use steel shafts for strength. The all carbide drill bits I've used are quite brittle and easily broken (at least in the small sizes). I tried making chisels from the carbide portions of the dental burrs, but by the time I got them shaped like I wanted, I was into the steel anyway.

 

Perhaps that is the source of confusion...

 

Don, I like your ideas for the handles and appreciate the hardening and tempering advice in this and your other carving tool thread. I'll try the tempering thing, in the past I just water hardened the hobby shop piano wire I've been using, with the occasional chip or snap. Maybe the tempering will eliminate that.

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Guest ford hallam

Right!, here`s my suggestion,

 

based on the infallible K.I.S.S. principle.

 

First off, get hold of a set of cheap needle files, the cheaper the better. They tend to be basic tool steel and in a very hard state. Heat your selected file to a dull red, using a plumbers torch, gas camping cooker or even a barbeque, ensure that the whole tool is heated through and held at that red colour for at least 1 minute. Let it cool as slowly as possible, leave it in the fire for instance. If you use the barbeque method you can simply leave the whole set of files in the fire and let it die down naturally. Probably the surest approach.

 

Your steel will now be in a softer state, technically speaking it`s now normalised. The gray scale that will have formed on the surface can be removed with 50% solution of Hydrocloric acid ( muriatic acid, the stuff you put in the swimming pool ).

You can choose to file it off where neccesary although it it a bit harder than the softened steel underneath and is`nt kind to your files.

 

You can now shape the softened files quite easily using hand files, you might even try bending the ends of the files to better suit your needs. once you`ve created the shape you want you need to harden the new tool. I make my tools to carve steel, so the demands on them are quite high, the stress on the cutting face of a tool used on wood or ivory is naturally less. This means that the tip can be left quite hard, as long as the body of the tool is reasonably tough. I achieve this by heating the tip of the tool for about 1/2 an inch, to a tomato/ orange red ( 700 degrees celcius, ish! ) and stick just the red bit into the water. As soon as red receeds completely, remove from the water. The tool will still be quite hot at this point so don`t touch it!, the residual heat in the tool will move down to the tip and help relieve the hardness, thereby tempering the tool. I find that this is often adequate.

 

You may have to experiment a little with the few variables, but once understood, this is a simple and basic way to make your own custom tools. I reckon it should be taught in the first class for budding netsuke carvers. Although I`ve yet again ended up being somewhat long-winded in descibing this process, it is actually quicker to make a tool than write about it.

 

I`ll see if I can put together a photo sequence to accompany this, tomorrow.

 

Ford ;)

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Guest DFogg

Patrick, I read a new pack of these and they do have carbide burrs with steel shanks, I have been breaking off the burr anyway so didn't recognize the carbide. The shanks are hardened and that is what I am grinding into the cutting edge. They seem to hold up well, but I haven't cut anything except wood with them.

 

Tom, piano wire is perfect and I may try to get some in this diameter to play with. I may even try forging some shapes with it.

 

Ford, I never throw away a file, the steel is always good and can be remade into something useful. Vince Evans, a swordmaker, made all his fullering tools from old files that he annealed, split and shaped. Very quick to make and they worked very well.

 

I like making tools.

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Guest ford hallam

Don,

 

I assumed you`d feel that way about file steel, In fact, before I went to Japan I`d made all my carving chisels from worn out 10 inch files. I bought for practically nothing, I softened them in a barbeque and spent an age filling them smooth. I then using a hack saw to cut each file into 6 chisel blanks, I produced a coffee mug full of chisels this way. I had no money at the time to buy materials but I had the strength and will to do it the hard way. I don`t know if I`d go to all that trouble now. I still keep those early examples as a reminder of how far I`ve come. Mainly thanks to the generosity of my teacher, Izumi Sensei and his friends.

 

Ford, the old chiseler ;)

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  • 3 years later...

Don, Ford & Dick

Dental burs are toughened tool steel with carbide tips. Breaking the tip off looses the carbide. Making tools from the remaining shaft will give a very good instrument. Don I like your handle idea and shall try it when I get back into my workshop. The handle that I have used is a pin-vice, very similar to what Don described but made for holding small diameter round rod (ie pins).

The instruction on annealing and hardening are fine. If oil is used for cooling, I cool in and then drop the blade into the oil, you should get a tough, hard (Rc64/65) working tip. For shaping I use a variety of abrasives, from files to abrasive points in the Dremel and fine sharpening stones and a leather strop.

Be aware that dental burs come in 2 basic lengths. The shorter one is most dificult to hold, look for the longer one for the "straight handpiece" as used mainly for dental technical work.

Don most of my small tools are homemade. They need to be as they aren't comercially available and more importantly are needed NOW for a special job!!

Enjoy

Toothy

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Hi all

Check out the thread in 'Tools & Technical' called 'Home made Tools, Unique homemade tools' for more info. There are other threads that cover this topic as well.

I'll load a pict of my dragon hatching and a pin vice when I next download from my camera.

Toothy

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Don, Ford & Dick

Dental burs are toughened tool steel with carbide tips. Breaking the tip off looses the carbide. Making tools from the remaining shaft will give a very good instrument. Don I like your handle idea and shall try it when I get back into my workshop. The handle that I have used is a pin-vice, very similar to what Don described but made for holding small diameter round rod (ie pins).

The instruction on annealing and hardening are fine. If oil is used for cooling, I cool in and then drop the blade into the oil, you should get a tough, hard (Rc64/65) working tip. For shaping I use a variety of abrasives, from files to abrasive points in the Dremel and fine sharpening stones and a leather strop.

Be aware that dental burs come in 2 basic lengths. The shorter one is most dificult to hold, look for the longer one for the "straight handpiece" as used mainly for dental technical work.

Don most of my small tools are homemade. They need to be as they aren't comercially available and more importantly are needed NOW for a special job!!

Enjoy

Toothy

 

 

You know, I just realized that you might have an answer I've been wanting for awhile:

Do you know of a place where I can get the REALLY TINY dental burs? I've found a few outfits that only sell to dentists...but I'm not one, so that's no help. I've been going with the smallest I could get from my jeweler's supply place, but I suspect smaller can be had. Know of a source you can point me to?

LJ

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LJ

The only advice I can offer is to make good, very good freinds with your dental team - the dentist, receptionist or nurse - and see if they can help by ordering for you.

Dental burs come in sizes ranging from +- 0.5 mm up. These are availeable as carbide, steel (don't buy) or diamond in a range of shapes - round (ball), inverted cone, tapered cylinder and straight cylinder. The standard shaft sizes are 2.4mm and 1.6mm or thereabout and are of a reasonably uniform coarseness. There are also finishing burs which are reasonably fine to very fine in both diamond and steel. The 1.6mm burs are short +- 12mm while the 2.4mm come as a regular 35mm and +- 70mm lengths which are best for rotary tool users BUT not all sizes and shapes are available.

I buy from both a jewelery supplier and my dental supplier who I have known for 45 yrs.

Sorry I can't help more - I am 16000Kms away!

Toothy

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LJ

The only advice I can offer is to make good, very good freinds with your dental team - the dentist, receptionist or nurse - and see if they can help by ordering for you.

Dental burs come in sizes ranging from +- 0.5 mm up. These are availeable as carbide, steel (don't buy) or diamond in a range of shapes - round (ball), inverted cone, tapered cylinder and straight cylinder. The standard shaft sizes are 2.4mm and 1.6mm or thereabout and are of a reasonably uniform coarseness. There are also finishing burs which are reasonably fine to very fine in both diamond and steel. The 1.6mm burs are short +- 12mm while the 2.4mm come as a regular 35mm and +- 70mm lengths which are best for rotary tool users BUT not all sizes and shapes are available.

I buy from both a jewelery supplier and my dental supplier who I have known for 45 yrs.

Sorry I can't help more - I am 16000Kms away!

Toothy

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