Introduction: 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

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

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

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!

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.

Comments

author
Blackhart_inc made it! (author)2016-11-27

i just bought a new Dremel " https://www.lowes.com/pd/Dremel-4000-Series-39-Piece-Variable-Speed-Multipurpose-Rotary-Tool-Kit-with-Hard-Case/3824381 " it has a quick collet changer so Dremel is trying to keep up

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SherylinRM made it! (author)2016-11-07

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

Smart man :)

Thanks for this :)

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2016-11-07

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.

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gromitnyc made it! (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

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2016-10-06

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

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gromitnyc made it! (author)gromitnyc2016-10-06

cent

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Bobblob made it! (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.

Dremel Chuck.jpg
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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2016-03-31

Thanks.

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MandalorianMaker made it! (author)2014-05-14

my dremel wrench has a mini Philips head already

temp_1107795768.jpg
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cowboyathome made it! (author)cowboyathome2015-12-27

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

This is a Philips head:

PHILLIPS_screwdriver_and_screw.JPG
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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2014-05-14

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.

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SeksBomb made it! (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.

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2014-09-04

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.

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cobinrox made it! (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) : https://www.instructables.com/file/FQBMNK7HJKC0HAN.

author
Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2013-09-16

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.

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backflowteck made it! (author)2013-04-28

Great idea. Need to do this to my ryobi

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2013-07-02

Thanks.

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mykiscool made it! (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.

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2013-04-27

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

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mykiscool made it! (author)mykiscool2013-04-28

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.

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2013-04-28

Thank you very much for taking time to report back.

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djzadjza made it! (author)2013-01-20

great idea

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2013-04-28

Thank you.

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rimar2000 made it! (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.

author

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.

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abstracted made it! (author)abstracted2012-03-03

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.

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rimar2000 made it! (author)rimar20002012-03-04

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

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2011-11-26

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.

untitled.JPG
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rimar2000 made it! (author)rimar20002011-11-27

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.

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2011-11-27

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.

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underground carpenter made it! (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.

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poza made it! (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.

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Thundermoon99 made it! (author)Thundermoon992012-10-13

yeah same

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northcalgreens made it! (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 ,

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2012-05-20

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.

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bond815 made it! (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.

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2011-11-25

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.

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abstracted made it! (author)abstracted2012-03-03

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.

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BobS made it! (author)BobS2011-11-25

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!

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2011-11-26

Thanks.

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sigity made it! (author)sigity2011-11-27

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

http://www.dremel.com/en-us/Tools/Pages/ToolDetail.aspx?pid=EZ406

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.

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2011-11-27

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.

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Zibodiz made it! (author)Zibodiz2011-11-25

Mine too. My dremel is about 5 years old.

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2 stroke made it! (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

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abstracted made it! (author)abstracted2012-03-03

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

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2011-11-29

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

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dog digger made it! (author)2012-02-20

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

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2012-02-20

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.

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bfk made it! (author)2012-01-20

Dremel has been my favorite tool since my college days 40 years ago. The very first thing I do with mine is fit them with a chuck, eliminating the collet. I love your Instructables and am now following you... You are my new hero! Thank you for all that you publish.

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Phil B made it! (author)Phil B2012-01-20

Thank you for your comment. The chuck is a good idea. Thank you for the kind words about my Instructables. As Red Green (Canadian humorist) says, "Remember, if women do not find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."

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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 »
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