Introduction: An Improvement to a Dremel Tool

Picture of An Improvement to a Dremel Tool

The cutoff wheel is one of my favorite tools for use on a Dremel. But, the little discs do not last long when cutting on a piece of sheet metal and frequently need to be changed. That means I need to have a screwdriver at hand to remove the small screw that holds the disc in place, and to tighten the new disc onto the mandrel. This Instructable will show a simple modification that should be standard on every Dremel. The only thing needed to make this modification is a grinding stone. One attached to a Dremel will do the job.

Step 1: Screwdriver Options

Picture of Screwdriver Options

I usually use a very small screwdriver, but I also discovered the middle screwdriver bit on my Leatherman PST will also do the job in a case of necessity. 

Step 2: The Other Tool for a Dremel

Picture of The Other Tool for a Dremel

Everyone who has a Dremel knows the little wrench that comes with the Dremel. Why does this little wrench not have a spot on it that doubles as a screwdriver bit to remove and to tighten the little screw on the mandrel? One tool could serve two functions. 

Step 3: Do a Little Grinding

Picture of Do a Little Grinding

Almost any grinding wheel will do the job. Here you see a common grinding stone in a Dremel. Even an oilstone and some hand labor would do the job. I chose to grind on the side of the wrench because it already has a straight edge, but the round end of the wrench could be made flat and straight, too. I ground at a very shallow angle until the edge of the wrench was thin enough to fit the slot in the mandrel screw. 

Step 4: And, It Works!

Picture of And, It Works!

In the photo you can see the new, thinner edge of the wrench mated with the slot in the mandrel screw. 

My Dremel came with a plastic case that holds the various bits and the Dremel wrench. That case is always in a drawer at my workbench. I can put my hands on the wrench very quickly anytime I need it. But, the small screwdriver I usually use to change the cutting discs seems to wander around the top of my workbench and even hide under other things. This will save me time I would spend looking for my small screwdriver.


Countrywings (author)2017-11-13

For the small Dremel grinding discs that are not reinforced, I have heard of taking thin super glue (CA) and saturating the discs before use and letting them dry completely, to add strength. Personally, I've never tried this, as I use larger, fiberglass-reinforced wheels. But regardless of the type, eye protection is a MUST!

Phil B (author)Countrywings2017-11-13

Thank you for the idea.

Blackhart_inc (author)2016-11-27

i just bought a new Dremel " " it has a quick collet changer so Dremel is trying to keep up

SherylinRM (author)2016-11-07

I have used a dremel for decades and never thought of this.

Smart man :)

Thanks for this :)

Phil B (author)SherylinRM2016-11-07

Thank you. As you can see from some of the other comments, newer Dremels come with a screwdriver point on the little collet wrench. Mine was inherited from my father-in-law's estate and is older. It came without that little screwdriver tip. I am glad you can use the idea.

gromitnyc (author)2016-10-06

I have to call lame on Dremel. Every one I've bought in the past had a combo wrench screwdriver. This type of change is the result of not caring about our even considering your customers when the company can save 1/10th of sent. #nosympathy #crappycompanies

Phil B (author)gromitnyc2016-10-06

The Dremel I have is from around 1990. It is not new.

gromitnyc (author)gromitnyc2016-10-06


Bobblob (author)2016-03-26

I stopped using the Dremel colletts a while a go and use a chuck made for the Dremel that fits every tool shaft I've needed and made the use of my Dremel even more joyful!

Walmart has them in my area.

Phil B (author)Bobblob2016-03-31


MandalorianMaker (author)2014-05-14

my dremel wrench has a mini Philips head already

Sorry, but that is not a "Philips" head. That is just a standard slotted screw head driver.

This is a Philips head:

Phil B (author)MandalorianMaker2014-05-14

If you read other comments, you know that it was not always so. I did not know Dremel began adding screwdriver ends on the wrench until after I published this. My Dremel was inherited from my father-in-law and is decades old. The end on your wrench looks like a straight blade screwdriver rather than a Phillips.

SeksBomb (author)2014-09-04

You can also block the head by pressing the little button, and "unscrew" the cutting disk just like you would open a beer. This loosen the screw and you can easily remove it by hand afterwards.

Phil B (author)SeksBomb2014-09-04

When it is time for me to unscrew a disc the disc has shattered or worn down to nothing. Otherwise, yours is a good idea and would be useful in some situations. Thank you.

cobinrox (author)2013-09-15

Neat, easy, quick, works.
By the way, they also make these chuck things (but they may not fit on older Dremels as I found out) :

Phil B (author)cobinrox2013-09-16

Thanks. I have not used the chuck you linked. I seem to use cutting wheels a lot, burring tools sometimes, grindstones and wire wheels now and then, and a sanding drum rarely. That is about it.

backflowteck (author)2013-04-28

Great idea. Need to do this to my ryobi

Phil B (author)backflowteck2013-07-02


mykiscool (author)2013-04-27

As far as I can see picture doesn't work sir. Maybe it's just me, but you may want to look into this.

Phil B (author)mykiscool2013-04-27

Are you saying the picture does not display on your computer? I see the photo on my computer.

mykiscool (author)Phil B2013-04-28

I've tested this on a different computer and it works. Sorry about that. Quite a weird thing. It worked with every other photo except that one.

Phil B (author)mykiscool2013-04-28

Thank you very much for taking time to report back.

djzadjza (author)2013-01-20

great idea

Phil B (author)djzadjza2013-04-28

Thank you.

rimar2000 (author)2011-11-25

Phil, my cheap "dremel type" tool have a screwdriver at the opposite end of the wrench. But subsists a problem: it is very easy to slide off the tip of that rough flat screwdriver, and consequently break the cutting disc. The screw should be phillips or allen type, they are far safer. I will seach if among my tiny screws there is some phillips of that size.

Rimar, don't worry about using the screwdriver to tighten the screw. All you need to do is get it finger tight, because the torque from turning it on will tighten the screw any remaining bit that it needs. Having it totally tightened would only be an issue on higher end rotary tools like a Foredom that have a "reverse" switch, and honestly you shouldn't be using this type of mandrel in reverse because you could put enough force on the disk to spin the screw completely off the mandrel and then you have a flying disk problem.

abstracted (author)rimar20002012-03-03

tear apart some floppy n hard disc drives, lots of torx type screws in those, and after your great inspiration (rimar2000) i recall the screws being simular enough its worth a looksie. besides there is really kewl stuffs inside those.

rimar2000 (author)abstracted2012-03-04

I have a lot of tiny srews, abstracted. I often tear apart old devices. Thanks anyway.

Phil B (author)rimar20002011-11-26

That would be a very tiny Philips screw! Perhaps you could grind a new profile to the screwdriver portion so it does not slip off of the screw so easily. Here is a drawing of what I have in mind.

rimar2000 (author)Phil B2011-11-27

Oh, that is a good idea, Phil. Although the recess should be vey little, because the high of the screw's head is little too.

Phil B (author)rimar20002011-11-27

You are very much correct, Osvaldo. If the recess is cut too deep, just grind or file a little off of the two ends that extend on each side of the screw. As I drew it, the recess is too deep.

underground carpenter (author)2012-12-22

Phil, Dremel must have seen your Instructrable years ago, because they've redesigned their wrench to include the screwdriver. ;-) That said, excellent upgrade for those older wrenches, of which I have a couple from older Dremels.

poza (author)2011-11-25

i've bought two dremels and they both came with a little wrench that has a small screwdriver at the other end.

Thundermoon99 (author)poza2012-10-13

yeah same

northcalgreens (author)2012-05-20

i like to tether my wrench to my cord so that it is always handy and i never lose them. i like to use those cutoff wheels to cut very thin slits in the bottom of plastic cup to use as alfalfa sprouters. the kids love them and it only takes a week to grow something that they can eat (they love that part) love this site ,

Phil B (author)northcalgreens2012-05-20

The tether is a good idea. I am not much of a gardener, but the slits in the cup sound like a good idea. I am glad you like the site. It is a nice place to share ideas, get advice from people who know more than I do, and have interesting exchanges of information. A few times I came looking for help with a problem, but there was none on what I needed. So, I had to be the one to solve my problem and then share if for the benefit of others.

bond815 (author)2011-11-25

Maybe you have an older Dremel but mine (2 years old) has a wrench with a screwdriver on the opposite end.

Phil B (author)bond8152011-11-25

As I mentioned below, the one I have is probably at least 20 years old. Had I known they now come with a screwdriver built into the wrench, I would never have bothered with this Instructable.

abstracted (author)Phil B2012-03-03

had mine since they first hit the stores...stiill works and i use it so often i wonder how i lived before dremel. funny how some inventions are like that. rotozip my next fav.

BobS (author)Phil B2011-11-25

It is always good to 'invent' something, build it and publish, even when it has been done before. At least you came up with something, it keeps the creative juices going!

Phil B (author)BobS2011-11-26


sigity (author)Phil B2011-11-27

Phil, you should try Dremel EZ Lock cut-off discs.

The link above takes you to a reinforced cutting wheel that swaps out really easily. No need to bother with the wrench or screws.

Its much easier, and discs last longer too.

Phil B (author)sigity2011-11-27

Someone else suggested that, too. I like the smaller, thinner discs for closer, finer cutting where I need to follow a pattern or get into tighter corners.

Zibodiz (author)bond8152011-11-25

Mine too. My dremel is about 5 years old.

2 stroke (author)2011-11-29

nice work. i had a dreamel accident lately the abrasive cutting disk exploded and fragments were burried deep in face lol good thing i allways wear eye protection otherwise it would have been worse

abstracted (author)2 stroke 2012-03-03

double up the thin redish discs for less breakage, and use washers on each side of the fiberglass cutoff wheels.

Phil B (author)2 stroke 2011-11-29

Thanks, but "Ouch!" Those discs seem to be dangerous and prone to surprise breakage in all sizes. Facial shields, etc. are encouraged for all.

dog digger (author)2012-02-20

The new dremels actually have a little screwdriver at the end. A shame because this is a great Idea

Phil B (author)dog digger2012-02-20

Thanks. Several other people commented that their newer Dremels have a screwdriver flat on the end of the wrench. My Dremel is from the early 1990s and is the only one I have ever used or handled.

About This Instructable




Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
More by Phil B:Make an Electric Motor Run AgainMotor Made New McGyver StyleCuptisserie With Four Spindles
Add instructable to: