Introduction: Get the Most Out of Your Dremel
If you're like me (and I'm sure a lot of you are) you own a Dremel. This versatile tool is perfect for preforming odd jobs when you don't want to get out a power tool. With (hundreds?) of attachments, this tool can do anything from drill a small hole in a sheet of aluminum, to carve intricate objects from a block of wood.
In this Instructible, I will tell you how to get the most out of your Dremel, from proper use of attachments, to safety and other various tricks I have picked up.
Step 1: Parts of Your Dremel + How to Attach and Detach Bits
A Dremel is a relatively simple tool, it consists of a wire brush motor with an adjustable current switch that allows for two or more speeds. The "business end" of the Dremel consists of four parts: the shaft-stopping button, the rubber collar, the collet, and the tightening cap.
By default, your Dremel will come fully assembled, minus a bit in the collet. However if you find yourself taking the parts off to clean them, you may want to know how to reassemble them. First screw on your rubber collar, this is shown in the first picture. Next insert the collet (Picture 2) and finally the cap (Picture 3). While this is still loose, insert your bit (Picture 4), hold down the shaft-stopping button and tighten the screw cap with the wrench.
Once the cap is fully tightened, you are ready to use your Dremel.
Step 2: The Dremel's Bits
Almost any Dremel you buy will come with several different bits. Each has its own specific use, and each must be used correctly in order for them to last. Here I will explain the bits I own, and their various uses. I wish I knew how to do those nifty bullet type things, but until then:
Fiberglass Cutting Disc - I love these guys, they are the largest cutting bit you can get for a Dremel, and they tend to last for a good while before breaking. Advantages include deeper cuts and they're able to cut stronger material, such as metal and ceramic. Disadvantages are that refill packs are about $10 for five of them.
Standard Cutting Disc - Also decent for metal, most replacement packs come with many for cheap. They break often, and I've been nicked by flying disc-shrapnel before. Used for all-purpose cutting. Use these before your nice fiberglass ones.
Carbide and Standard Grinding Bits - Both essentially the same, the carbide bits are designed more for metal, however the standard ones work well on it too. Use these whenever you have to take down sharp edges on something. The small carbide one is decent for drilling holes through metal, just make sure you center punch it with a nail or something beforehand.
Various Sized Sanding Bits - Almost self explanatory, use these for sanding wood inner corners and edges. Note that these will break very quickly if you attempt to use them on metal. The sanding discs are used primarily for flat surfaces and edges, you could call these disposable, refill kits are cheap and plentiful. More information on how to change and replace these later.
Carbon Steel Brush Bit - I love this one as well. Very useful for cleaning out tools and taking paint off anything. Scrapes away delicately on a lower setting and more vigorously on a higher setting. Can be used in place of a larger wire brush wheel to clean files.
Drill Bit - When I don't want to go out back to my drill press or get the DeWalt, this is a worthy substitute. Whenever drilling into anything, be sure to center punch it with an awl or Leatherman tool.
Brush Bit - Not truly a drilling bit, but still worthy of mention. Can be used for....well for brushing things. Not the most useful attachment, but it's handy to have...sometimes.
Step 3: Specific Bit Uses
Some of these bits have multiple specific uses, I will show you how to do some specific tasks with your attachments.
Cleaning a pair of needlenose pliers with the carbon steel brush bit: (Pictures 1-5)
My overused pliers gather lots of crud fast, so I often use my carbon steel brush attachment to clean them out. This task is simple enough, and requires little time to improve the performance and grip of your pliers.
Start by attaching the bit to the Dremel.
Put it on a low setting and start brushing parallel to the plier grooves.
You will find this improves the pliers grip greatly.
Changing sanding sleeves on a sanding block mandrel: (Pictures 6-9)
If you've worn out your current sanding bit's sanding sleeve, it may be time to replace it with another. To do this, start by taking the sanding bit out of the Dremel if it isn't already. Remove the small screw at the top of the bit, and slide the rubber part off the shaft. The reason we do this is because of the way the bit is made, the sleeve can only be removed when it is off the shaft.
Once the rubber block is removed, slide the sanding sleeve off of it and throw it away if you're replacing, or slide a new one on if you're putting it on for the first time. After this simply slide the block back on the shaft (making sure both the washers are there) and screw it back in tightly.
Polishing wheel use: (Pictures 10-15)
In order to install a polishing wheel, you first need to remove a different disc from the interchangeable disc mandrel. Take one of the cutting wheel mandrels and unscrew the screw at the top. remove the disc from the screw and insert the polishing wheel through the screw. Thread the screw onto the shaft of the mandrel and tighten snugly.
Once completed turn your Dremel on a low setting and apply some polishing compound. You can use this wheel and compound mixture to polish any type of metal. Below I've included a sample of a pair of scissors that I've used the compound on. Notice the great shiny lighting and visible difference from the rest of the tool.
Step 4: Safety
It is important to always wear the proper protective gear when operating any machinery. Glasses or safety goggles are required at all times in order to protect your precious eyes from shrapnel, amongst other things. When cutting or opening potentially harmful things, please wear rubber gloves. With some people, even battery acid can cause long term skin damage.
In any event, thanks for reading my 'Ible, and please rate +1 for the contest if you thought it was good!
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I know this is an older post, but what do the different colors of grinding wheels mean? What wheels are used for what materials?