fixing a Dremel
Thursday, November 6 2014
It was a mildly rainy day, though not rainy enough to keep Gretchen from walking the dogs in the forest. I slipped away while that was happening to do some final painting at the Wall Street house. I had trouble finding a matching white for the ceilings and upstairs hallway, so I bought a pint of white with an eggshell finish at Herzog's, but it proved far too glossy. Fortunately, I'd brought an old gallon of flat white, and though it was thick and somewhat clotted, it was a far better match. Owing to the humidity, almost none of the paint dried during the hours I was there, so I couldn't yet tell whether that white was a good enough match. As for all the other colors, I'd somehow made them work even when the fresh paint proved darker than the old, faded paint (some of which had faded considerably since 2009, a date the previous owner had marked on the can). I also did the last of the sanding of the floor around the edges of the living and dining room using a brand new Dremel. Near the end of my visit, I moved nearly all of my tools and other gear out of the house, leaving it in a state where Deborah can photograph it.
Back home, I decided to see if I could get my old Dremel working again using a replacement carbon brush from the new Dremel. The old one had died after some aggressive floor sanding behind the toilet in the Wall Street house's new bathroom. It had actually worked up until the moment I'd turned it off, at which point it could not be turned on again. When I'd opened it later, I'd found one of the brushes was stuck in the chassis, apparently having melted the plastic around it. Today I used small screwdrivers to chisel that hole square again, and when I installed a new brush, it came right back to life. Unfortunately, I nicked the commutator a few times and now the brush would no longer slide over it smoothly. Still, it was working, and perhaps the commutator will eventually file itself smooth again. The lesson from this experience is to never turn off a Dremel when it is hot. Instead, I should let it run at full speed under no load to allow its internal fan to cool all its parts so that none are molten when I do turn it off.
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