Having worked extensively with Dremel tools, I can attest to their incredible versatility. Their range of capabilities is truly staggering, but the key to unlocking their potential lies in choosing the right accessory or tool bit for the job at hand.
If you’re uncertain about navigating their extensive array of options, fear not. In this in-depth guide to Dremel bits, I’ll share the nuances and insights I’ve gained over the years, ensuring you approach your projects with the expertise of a seasoned professional.
What are Dremel Tool Bits?
A Dremel bit is a tool attachment that can alter the functionality of a traditional rotary tool and enable it to perform different types of tasks. You can get started by simply attaching it to the front part of your Dremel rotary tool.
Dremel bits are used for wood carving, cleaning, grinding, engraving, polishing, cutting, removing grout, sharpening, routing, and drilling.
Size of Dremel Collets
A Dremel or rotary tool‘s collet is a small metal attachment that slides beneath the front nut. Collets are used to keep bits in place by squeezing them shut. Because various bits’ shank sizes vary, it is sometimes necessary to switch out the collet depending on the shank size.
Collets come in a variety of sizes, the most common of which is 1/8″ (3.2mm). However, smaller sizes like 1/32″, 1/16″, and 3/32″ are also commonly used on rotary tools like the Dremel.
When the collet in your Dremel is loose or too tight, the bit may slip out of the tool unexpectedly.
There is an option besides constantly swapping collets with the Dremel Quick Change Chuck. It will make switching between various Dremel bit types a breeze.
So, to familiarize yourself with their various uses, here is a comprehensive guide on Dremel bits:
Dremel Bits Used for Wood Cutting
Carving and Engraving
You can use Dremel tools for engraving and carving wood. But remember that bits designed specifically to cut and etch into hard materials are essential for engraving and wood carving.
Stone, soft metals, and glass can all be engraved using a diamond drill bit. They’re low-priced, long-lasting, and capable of cutting through tough materials.
Some of Dremel’s official diamond engraving bits include #105 and #107. These are optimized for precision engraving and carving.
There is a wide variety of diamond bit sizes, plus different shapes and grits, so it’s important to pick the right one for the job.
In addition to diamond engraving bits, carbide burrs can be utilized for engraving. These are used for engraving in metal and other metalworking applications and are far more durable than diamond bits.
Interesting Read: 10 Beginner Dremel Wood Carving Patterns
When I’m cutting wood, metal, or other softer materials like plastic, I rely on high-speed steel (HSS) rotary blades from brands like Dremel that come in various sizes. When using your Dremel for this task, don’t forget to wear safety glasses. Safety first!
The Plastic Cut-off Wheel #SC476 makes clean cuts through the plastic. Combined with Mandrel #SC402, this is an excellent, long-lasting plastic cutting.
There are a few different methods available for cutting metal. The low-end cutting discs #409, #420, and #540 of Dremel will do the trick. Mandrel #402 requires low-quality cutting discs, which won’t break easily.
The Fiberglass Reinforced Cut-Off Wheels or cutting discs #426 and #SC456 are superior in durability, safety, and ease of use, so I highly recommend these for this task.
The Wood Cutting Wheel #SC544 is what I use to make clean cuts in wood. This carbide wheel is the way to go If you need to make precise cuts in wood.
Dremel tools are versatile and can be used for several purposes, but one of the most common is sanding. If you choose the correct sanding bits, you can also use a Dremel tool to smoothen wood surfaces and materials like fiberglass, clay, glass, and more.
Sanding discs come in a wide range of sizes. However, having a #431 (1/4′′ or 6,4mm) and a large #432 (1/2′′ or 13mm) sanding bits are handy.
I suggest stocking up on many inexpensive sanding bits and drums. They will wear out more quickly than ones of higher quality, but you will always have a backup available.
The sanding disc #411, another sanding bit, can be fastened to a Mandrel #402. This flat sanding disc can be used for knife sharpening things and smoothing up surfaces.
The most popular sanding bit is the drum sander. Sanding drums come with inexpensive, replaceable sanding bands that can be used as needed.
Sanding drums come in a wide range of sizes. However, Having a little #431 (1/4′′ or 6,4mm) and one large #432 (1/2′′ or 13mm) are handy.
Interesting Read: How To Use a Drum Sander
First, screw the cylinder into the Dremel tool’s end, then attach the band around the cylinder. The band, which contains the abrasive particles, is held by the drum. What gets things done is the band.
When sanding, the band will be covered with the abrasive material used to smooth the wood, glass, aluminum, or anything else you’re working on.
If you’ve ever used a sander, using discs will be a little more comfortable. You attach them to the end of your Dremel tool. You utilize the disc for fine sanding, which is how it works.
Generally, you should use a drum bit when sanding a larger surface. Instead, choose a sanding disc for your Dremel tool if you want greater precision.
Specific drill bits are designed perpendicular or parallel to the wood’s surface. You can’t use these bits without the dedicated routing attachment.
You can use a Dremel tool to accomplish basic routing work. Dremel’s 7-Piece Routing Bit Set #660 is a fantastic introduction to the tool. The Dremel Plunge Router Attachment #335 and the Dremel Shaper and Router Table #231 will be utilized with the Dremel routing bits.
I often use my Dremel tool with felt-tipped bits for polishing wood. Trust me, these polishing bits come in more than just one shape and size.
For cleaning and polishing silverware and other precious metals, as well as deburring metal edges, try using either the Flat Bristle Brush #403 or the Cones Bristle Brush #404. For cleaning rust from hard materials, you can use a bristly tool like the Carbon Steel Brush #428,
Dremel has various products for polishing to achieve the flawless polishing finishes I’m after. Hard metals can be polished to a brilliant sheen with the help of the #414 Felt Polishing Wheel, #422 Polishing Point, and #429 Polishing Wheel.
Dremel Bits Used on Plastic
You can use any woodworking tool with little adjustment on plastics and fiberglass because they work just as well on other soft materials besides wood.
Slowing the rotation speed is recommended for particularly soft materials. Otherwise, you could end up with smoke that could harm your health. Excessive heat and friction caused by moving too quickly can also damage and scar the wood.
Dremel Bits Used on Metal
Dremel produces carbide burrs and grinding bits with stone tips to smooth out metal. These are also used as sharpening bits for removing burrs and polishing sharp or rough metal edges.
Blades and tools like chainsaws can also have their edges sharpened using these grinding wheels. Dremel also produced a chainsaw attachment and associated bits specifically for this task.
Abrasive materials like aluminum oxide are commonly used to create this. They typically take on a circular form and have a narrow cross-section when seen in relation to their size.
The thinner wheels are ideal for splitting off and cutting, while the thicker ones are more versatile. It is possible to remove stubborn rust from metal with the help of the edge wheels and the Paint & Rust Surface Prep wheels.
Grinding stones are important for sharpening the edges of tools like knives and axes.
Silicon carbide and aluminum oxide are common ingredients in constructing sharpening bits or grinding stones. These cylinder-shaped tools excel at grinding profiles and holes.
If you have the right parts for your Dremel tool, you may use it as a cutting tool just as effectively as an angle grinder or circular saw for tasks like cutting wood or tile. There is a wide variety of cutting bits to choose from, and cutting bits specifically for the Dremel tool come in a flat shape.
(You can also opt to use high-quality saw blades for angle grinders for a more effective cutting task.)
Nonetheless, not all cutting bits and discs are made the same. Some are designed for precise cutting, with very few spaces between the teeth (a high tooth count).
The huge spaces between the teeth of others are more suited for bulk cutting, where the finished product’s aesthetics are less important.
Metal etching is pretty much the same as metal grinding. I use specially coated cutting tools that corrode the metal as they spin. As long as you don’t apply too much pressure or speed, you can achieve solid results.
Metal can also be engraved using fine pointed grinding stone bits. Keeping your piece submerged in water or flowing water will help keep it cool as you work.
A tip is to operate at low speeds to prevent the metal from deteriorating.
Polishing metal requires the use of specialized abrasive tools. If you’ve ever used sanding drums on wood, you’ll recognize the effect these are meant to mimic.
The material used is the only defining feature. These are typically fabricated from thin metal burrs or strands to create a pompon-like shape.
The only precaution you should take when using these is to avoid exerting any force and to reduce the speed to its lowest setting. If not, they tend to go off everywhere.
For polishing metal, I also often turn to polishing bits with felt tips. And when it comes to buffing car bodywork, I use large felt discs and polishing wax to get the job done right.
Dremel Bits Used on Glass and Ceramics
You can use a core cutting set for accurate ceramic and glass cutting processes.
Cutting or scratching them requires a tool with a diamond point. Similarly to sandpaper and whetstones, they can be found in various grit sizes. The finer the grit, the higher the figure between 40 and 600 grit.
All you need is a diamond-tipped engraving tool. The diamond-coated bits are available in a wide range of forms and sizes, just like their wooden carving counterparts.
For experimenting, you can select a large but inexpensive set, and, once you’ve determined the size you’ll be using most often, you can upgrade to a more expensive set.
Since polishing glass often involves achieving a shine rather than sanding, you can use the same felt-tipped bits or attachments for both processes.
Dremel Bits Used on Stone
When working with tougher stones like granite or jade, the process of shaping and etching can be laborious and time-consuming. Therefore, I recommend starting with softer stones, such as sandstone or marble.
When it comes to hardness, stones are similar to glass. Therefore, diamond-coated bits are required for any significant progress when cutting or etching them. It’s rewarding to see what you can make from a block of stone, even though it takes time and requires careful cooling.
For stone carving, use a hammer and chisel to create a rough outline on the material, and then finish off with the Dremel for the finer details. First, ensure you’re close to a water source or a basin. Doing so will allow the bit to cool down and avoid overheating and sustaining damage.
While not required, regularly cleaning the lens with rubbing alcohol will improve accuracy and smoothness.
Don’t give in to the temptation of cranking up the rotation rate, either. You’ll lose accuracy and possibly ruin the bit you’re using, not to mention the design you’re trying to create.
The stone material you’re holding was formed over a long time, potentially thousands of years.
As a result, spending some more time on it without using high speed to create art is worthwhile.
Top Recommendations for Dremel Wood Carving Bits
Now that you’re familiar with all the Dremel bits in this guide, here are some of the top picks I’d recommend from available in market:
Top Choice: Dremel 4000-6/50
The Dremel 4000-6/50 High-Performance Rotary Tool is my top pick for wood carving, routing, and cutting.
The Dremel 4000, with its robust 1.6 amp motor, is worth the extra cost. Compared to other Dremel rotary tools, it provides superior performance and adaptability.
Budget Choice: Dremel 3000-2/25
Accessory: Dremel 4486 Keyless Chuck
The Dremel 4486 Keyless Chuck is an essential accessory to make changing drilling bits easier and faster.
Drilling bits, routing bits, sanding drums, polishing bits, diamond bits, wire brushes, bristle brushes, and cut-off wheels, among other light-duty accessories, are all compatible with all Dremel corded and cordless rotary equipment.
I hope this Dremel bits guide provided you with a high level of understanding of all the Dremel tool bits and the different materials and tasks for which they are most suited.
You can start looking for more specific components after you know where your project is heading.