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Diamond Files


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Ms. Haley had mentioned using diamond files in the past, and she seemed very taken by 'em. I was looking at Micromark to pick some of these up, and I was just wondering if anyone knew the "preferred flavor" for miniature work. These things come in needles, rifflers, 100grit, and 220 grit....

 

These things are relatively expensive, and I wanted to make sure I got it right the first time.

 

Thanks,

Kev

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Ms. Haley had mentioned using diamond files in the past, and she seemed very taken by 'em. I was looking at Micromark to pick some of these up, and I was just wondering if anyone knew the "preferred flavor" for miniature work. These things come in needles, rifflers, 100grit, and 220 grit....

 

These things are relatively expensive, and I wanted to make sure I got it right the first time.

 

Thanks,

Kev

 

 

I got some diamond rifflers from micormark recently. I haven't used them much yet, but I played with them a bit when I got them and I think I will really like them. They are not as fine as the needle files I have, so I expect that I may need to go over some parts a little bit with a needle file. The different shapes really help get into the small spaces.

I may eventually pick up some diamond needles, but for now I am using the cheap ones I get at Hobby Lobby.

 

I hope that helped a bit Kev, sorry I haven't played with this "new toy" more yet.

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Ms. Haley had mentioned using diamond files in the past, and she seemed very taken by 'em. I was looking at Micromark to pick some of these up, and I was just wondering if anyone knew the "preferred flavor" for miniature work. These things come in needles, rifflers, 100grit, and 220 grit....

 

These things are relatively expensive, and I wanted to make sure I got it right the first time.

 

Thanks,

Kev

I happened upon the same advice on her site, and ultimately decided to go with:

 

82248 MINI DIAMOND FILE SET 220G

 

(copied from my order e-mail; first number is the set number; the second, I assume, the grit, i.e. 220 grit)

 

I'm *very* happy with them. What a difference they make after wrestling with the standard GW set. I highly recommend this particular (needle) set for miniature work.

 

-Tom

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I've had diamond files, but I always found they gummed up pretty quickly and were a pain to clean, least for me. I got this set of needle files from MicroMark. They have served me well. I never mount the files in the handle, but it is convenient for storage when tranporting them. I also got the 10 piece riffler file set to help with curved surfaces, but haven't found much use for them because they are fairly wide for miniatures.

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That looks like the set I get at Hobby Lobby for $10!

I only use one or two of the files, the others are too big or the wrong shape. That's why I bought the riffelers. :lol:

 

I plan to use both types. It seems that they each have their advantages.

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Thanks for the help everyone.

 

@Claymoore--I'm intrigued--what makes Friedrich Dick "the best"? "Expensive" for me has way more to do with value than price.

For example:

I have a set of files that "do the job" that I paid 4 bucks for.

The Micromark diamond files I've heard praises about sell for 20 bucks.

"What is the extra $16 buying me?"..so to speak. At this time, I really don't know----as I've never used a diamond file.

 

In the case of Friedrich Dick, if the extra money buys me something besides "just a diamond file", then I'm more than open to entertaining the prospect.

 

Thanks again,

Kev

 

What I find most useful (for mini work) are the micro file sets that offer a tapered profile with 170-200 grit for Diamond types or #4 Swiss Cut. Friedrich Dick makes some of the best but if you think the Micro Mark stuff is expensive don't bother with them.
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As someone who never used a file for anything but spreading superglue for basing before I got my diamond files, I can happily endorse spending the extra sixteen bucks. ::): Essentially they take down the mold lines with much less work and pressure on the tool, making a finer touch (yay, finesse!) feasible when working in close or delicate areas (even eyeballs!). Though Qwik has had problems with gumming, I have had the opposite effect with my set and have experienced no gumming-up whatsoever--perhaps I have a different grain on mine? I think the ones the Asylum carries are 220's. Mine are small, and needles rather than rifflers. I never used to use files, but can't live without the little buggers now.

 

--Anne ::):

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Thanks for the help everyone.

 

@Claymoore--I'm intrigued--what makes Friedrich Dick "the best"? "Expensive" for me has way more to do with value than price.

For example:

I have a set of files that "do the job" that I paid 4 bucks for.

The Micromark diamond files I've heard praises about sell for 20 bucks.

"What is the extra $16 buying me?"..so to speak. At this time, I really don't know----as I've never used a diamond file.

 

In the case of Friedrich Dick, if the extra money buys me something besides "just a diamond file", then I'm more than open to entertaining the prospect.

 

Thanks again,

Kev

 

With conventional files the extra money gets you a higher quality, harder steel that stays sharp and therefore is less prone to clogging. Companies like Friedrich Dick and Grobet use the highest quality steel. The Diamond files Micro mark sells are inexpensive for diamond files. With Diamond files paying more often insures a more uniform abrasive grading and superior bonding of the abrasive to the blank.

For mini work one advantage all diamond files have is that they cut on both the pull and push strokes. Pewter type alloys are relatively soft so they realy don't stress most files anyway so the less expensive sets like those from Micro Mark should work very well.

Water is the recommended lubricant for diamond files. Some problems people have with clogging may be due to the use of other lubricants.

Sorry for the tool snobbery.

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Thanks team.

 

I didn't take it as "tool snobbery", Clay. I was just ignorant about diamond files, and you had some experience with 'em----I've used diamond bladed power saws---just never files... ::D:

 

Thanks for you input too Anne---it pushed me on to direction I was leaning.

 

I bought the 220 grit diamond needle files----we'll see how it goes.

 

Thanks again, everyone.

Kev

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From a machinists standpoint, diamond files are a bit of over kill for miniatures. The only advantage that they have over a normal file is that they can cut through tungsten carbide and other very hard metals...something which you will rarely if ever see when working with miniatures (and they only time you will see it is if you plan on doing a conversion with some exotic parts).

 

You can get the same grain and grit with a normal needle file, generally at a lower price. Either way - finesse is important to remember. Your files generally will get gummed up if you use a heavy hand...no matter what type they are.

 

Cost wise - you get what you pay for...which is often more than you need. I used to do a lot of machining - engine work, cleaning casting and forged steel parts. I probably have a couple hundred dollars worth of bargain tools, which snapped off - broke - or otherwise didn't last. I also have a substantial ammount invested in high quality tools which cost two or three times more (quite often even more than that) than the bargain bin tools. They end up being work horses and will last nearly forever when well cared for.

 

With miniatures, you have to ask is it worth it? For some things it definately is. I have a set of carbide tipped end cutters which I use for cutting sprues, pins and nearly everything else. At $30 or so they probably cost a good bit more than any of the cutters which you will find at a hobby shop, but I have been using them for 9 years both for miniatures and when I was still doing the type of work that used them on a daily basis for several years. They don't even show any signs of wear let alone the nicks and flat spots you get on cheap hobby store sprue cutters when cutting things like paper clips and even brass rod. For files - it is less important. The materials used are very soft so you don't need the carbides and diamond surfaces. They are nice and will last, but you really don't need them.

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Yeah, I've been wondering this too. I bought a sort of wire brush type thingy at the hardware store for cleaning files. It worked decently on the larger file set I had, but then I found a smaller set that I like a lot better, and the brush cleaner seems to have pretty much zero effect.

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If the file is actually a file and is cut from steel with teeth and all of that, a file card (possibly the wire brush thing) will clean it up quite nicely. If it is more like sand paper on a stick (most you diamond files fall into this category) you will want to use 1) a stiff bristle tooth brush under running water or 2) an ultrasonic cleaner. I normally use the cleaner now - toss them in at night take them out in the morning. You can clean them up pretty fast with a brush though.

 

Now if you really gummed them up, and continued to use them after they were gummed up, you can try another method...though it is kind of a spotty method due to the various methods used to make the really fine grit files. Pewter melts at a very low temperature when compared to pretty much everything else. Hold the file in one hand with a vise grips and a heat source in the other hand (lighter, candle, butane torch...). Slowly bring the heat closer till you see the pewter bead up and run off the file.

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