LED Lighting for Dremel Tool




About: Retired Electronic Design Engineer. Member of The MakerBarn.

I designed this a few years ago for a friend who was doing fine inlays in a guitar. The other day I was using one I made for myself, and thought it would be a good instructable. You will need access to a 3D printer and a small CNC router, but these are common items in a makerspace. The case is threaded to fit the Dremel, and just screws on the front of the tool.

The light is powered from a 12V source. This could be a power supply, wall wart, or battery.

The circuit board uses six white SMT 1210 LEDs and two 240 Ohm 0805 SMT resistors. You will also need a little wire to connect it to a power source.


Step 1: Start by Making the Printed Circuit Board

The circuit layout is supplied in a DXF file. The lines in the DXF are color coded to show what procedures should be used to cut them.

I use a vacuum platen to cut the PCB. See the instructable "Vacuum Platen for CNC Router" for information.

The RED lines are cut with a 60 degree V cutter made by Think and Tinker. Their part number is EM2E8-0625-60V. It is an excellent rugged tool for making fine cuts in copper clad material. Cut the RED lines using an outside profile with a depth of 0.005"

The BLACK lines are cut with the same tool and depth. They are single open lines, so just etch or center cut those.

The GREEN circle is cut through with router bit, the Think and Tinker RCC08-0630-032D works well. Cut this as an inside profile.

The BLUE outer profile is cut through with the router bit above as an outside profile. You may want to use tabs.

Step 2: Finish the PCB and Solder Components

After milling the board, wet sand it lightly with water and a small amount of dish washing detergent. I dipped my board in a product called Liquid Tin. This is an electroless tin plating solution from MG Chemicals. You can get it from Mouser and Amazon. It puts a very nice tin plate on the copper which makes soldering much easier.

Look at the board through a magnifier to make sure there are no shorts.

Solder the 1210 LEDs and 0805 resistors. It's a good idea to check for shorts after each solder connection. Make sure you place the LEDs in the correct polarity.

Test the LEDs to make sure all are working.

Step 3: Print the Case

Print the case with a 3D printer. Both STL and STP file formats are included. You can use the STP file with Fusion 360. Notice that the case has screw threads that match those used on the Dremel. A nice test for your 3D printer.

Step 4: Check Your Work

At this point you should have your PCB built and tested. Test the case to make sure it fits the Dremel and the circuit board.

Step 5: Glue the Circuit Board Into the Case

Use a little E6000 or similar adhesive to glue the board in the case. Clamp with small clamps or clothespins until the adhesive has cured.

Step 6: Attach to the Dremel Tool

Unscrew the nose cap at the front of you Dremel and screw the lamp assembly in place. The lamp assembly is quite thin, so you may want to screw the Dremel nose cap on to keep from loosing it.

Step 7: Connect a Power Source and Try It Out

Connect 12V to the lamp and give it a try. I've found it to be quite handy and it does not seem to get in the way.

Keep Make'n



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8 Discussions


1 year ago

Hi. Great instructable. What are the chances that you already have the gcode for the PCB? I am having a few issues setting up my tool path and am hoping that if I can get yours, it might point to where I am tripping up. I printed the stl of the case and it was a perfect fit. (Just to be sure it wasn't a mistake, I did it 2x. LOL)




1 year ago

Very clean and elegant design! I just built (3rd iteration) a LED array for my homebrew CNC using old-style LEDs and resistors. I drilled holes for the eight leds into 1/4 plexiglas, and hard-wired the connections. Can you buy individual SMD devices, i.e., not already integrated into strip lighting?

2 replies

Reply 1 year ago

Surface mount LEDs come in several sizes. These are 1210 (3528 metric) size. They come individually in a strip like package, just like many other SMT components. Search for 1210 SMT LED on eBay and you will find many available.


Reply 1 year ago

Thanks, I'll give that a try.


1 year ago

Dremel used to sell a 2 LED inductive lite called the DREMELite. https://uedata.amazon.com/Dremel-677-Dremelite-Rotary-Light/dp/B00008Z9ZS


1 year ago

Great idea, but I don't have a cnc router. I'm thinking that a medicine bottle cap might be adapted. for the base. What type of power supply did you use for the

12 V?


1 year ago

excellent construction and idea...I've made one but I never had any CNC so I've made the circular circuit in 2 parts with dremel....voted


1 year ago

Nice project. I made a similar one for a 10X monocular I use lots of times. So many times I need to see in a tube or hole and need to see the bottom, like when rebuilding a carburetor and needing to see the needle seat to see if it is pitted or damaged. But it was so dark i could see anything. So I built a ring with SMD LEDs and designed a PC board for it to fit the monocular. Now I can see in the bottom of the holes and there is plenty of light. Great project to allow you to drill holes and see where you are drilling them.