What is a Dremel Multi-Tool?
A Dremel Multi-tool is a rotary tool manufactured by the Dremel brand. The tool has a high speed motor that can rotate the spindle along with the tool bit at varying speeds up to 35,000 RPM.
With a wide range of accessories and attachments, this is one of the most versatile power tool you can have in your toolbox.
The early version of the tool was developed by Albert J. Dremel, the founder of the Dremel Company, back in 1932. Over the years, the Dremel rotary tool has turned into a compact powerhouse and become a favorite among craftsmen, DIY enthusiasts & hobbyists alike, transforming and shaping the way we approach a myriad of projects. While it is not a tough tool, I find it extremely useful for a number of different tasks.
* The above link will take you to the Official Dremel Store on Amazon.
Before jumping in, make sure that you choose the right Dremel according to the type of project.
Corded models offer higher power for more demanding projects, while cordless ones are more compact and easy to maneuver.
Dremel offers the following rotary tool models.
- Dremel 3000: This is a versatile entry-level tool ideal for beginners, offering variable speed control and a comfortable grip for various light-duty jobs.
- Dremel 4000: This high-performance rotary tool offers maximum power, versatility, and precise control, designed for more demanding applications.
- Dremel 4300: Equipped with a universal 3-jaw chuck, built-in LED light, and the most powerful motor among Dremel’s rotary tools, it’s perfect for advanced users working on complex projects.
- Dremel 8240: A cordless and portable rotary tool, best for quick, light-duty tasks around the home or where mobility is key.
- Dremel 8220: The original cordless rotary tool model.
- Dremel 8250: The latest Dremel cordless rotary tool with 3.0Ah brushless motor.
- Pet Dremel (Dremel 7300-PT): Specifically designed for pet grooming, this tool provides a safe, gentle way to trim your pet’s nails.
I have compared the different models in detail based on features and real-life performance. Click the links below to read them.
Which Model Should You Choose?
Consider the following factors when you want to pick the right model:
- Speed: Models with higher speed and variable speed options offer versatility. Faster speeds work well for tasks like polishing metals, cutting wood, or grinding hard materials. Lower speeds are better for more delicate tasks like engraving or working with plastic.
- Torque: More torque results in more powerful cutting and grinding, which is essential for tasks involving harder materials such as metals, harder woods, or masonry.
- Clamping system: Check the system used for attaching the accessories to the tool spindle. A universal 3-jaw chuck, for example, allows for easy and quick accessory changes without needing collets.
- Power: More power allows you to handle tougher materials and more demanding projects. If you’re planning to work with hardwoods, metals, or other resilient materials, opt for a more powerful corded model.
Once you’ve chosen your Dremel, buy a kit containing the accessories and attachments for the types of projects you want to do.
Accessories are tool bits such as cutting discs, grinding wheels, sanding bands, polishing bits, etc.
While I am not aware of an official color-coding system, I noticed that Dremel uses different colors to group the accessories and attachments by function:
|Cyan (Engraving/Carving)||Covers high-speed cutters for carving, shaping, hollowing, grooving, slotting, and making tapered holes, diamond wheel points for fine detailing, and engraving cutters for etching and marking.|
|Yellow (Polishing/Cleaning)||Includes buffing wheels, points, brushes, and polishing compounds for metals and plastics.|
|Green (Grinding)||Comprises grinding and sharpening stones, silicon carbide grinding stones for tough materials like masonry and porcelain, and aluminum oxide grinding stones for metals, castings, welded joints, and more|
|Red (Cutting)||Incorporates cutting wheels for wood, metal, plexiglass, and plastic, including reinforced cut-off wheels for added durability and spiral cutting bits for intricate cuts in wood.|
|Purple (Sanding)||Features a variety of sanding drums, bands, discs, flap wheels for detailed work, and abrasive buffs for removing rust and polishing metal.|
See our guide on Dremel bits for a detailed explanation with pictures.
In addition to the standard accessories listed above, there are also optional attachments like:
- Flex Shaft: This attachment is perfect for precision work, as it provides a flexible, 36-inch shaft that allows for more precise detailing and control. Ideal for tasks like carving, engraving, or intricate sanding. You could even use it as a nail Dremel.
- Router Attachment: Dremel offers both plunger router attachment and router table attachment to turn your Dremel into a wood router.
- Multipurpose Cutting Kit: This attachment allows you to make cuts in a variety of materials from any angle and provides a template for cutting shapes.
- See the full list of Dremel attachments here..
How to Use a Dremel?
- Start by selecting the right Dremel bit according to the type of work and workpiece material.
- To use an accessory, loosen the chuck, insert the attachment shaft, and tighten the chuck while holding the shaft lock button. A more detailed explanation with pictures on changing Dremel bits can be found here.
- Connect the power cord, or in the case of cordless models, attach the battery.
- Set the speed according to the operation and recommended speed range of bit.
- Slowly bring the spinning tool bit onto the workpiece and move the Dremel tool at a steady and constant motion.
- Do not force the tool into your workpiece. Doing so could damage your work as well as the tool.
- When working with hard materials such as cutting glass or tiles, dip the tool bit in a bowl of water to dissipate the heat. Also, consider getting a Dremel Multi-Vise for holding the workpiece.
Safety first! With any power tools, safety should be your primary concern. Here are some essential tips and best practices for using a Dremel safely.
- Protective Gear: Always wear wrap-around safety glasses, a dust mask, and gloves to prevent injury from flying debris.
- Work Area: Ensure your workspace is well-lit and ventilated. Keep your work area clean and uncluttered to avoid accidents.
- Clothing and Jewelry: Avoid loose clothing or jewelry that could potentially get caught in the tool.
- Tool Handling: Never force the tool into your workpiece, which could lead to tool damage or injury. Let the speed of the tool do the work.
- Power: Always unplug the tool when not in use or when changing attachments. Be aware of where the power cord is at all times to prevent accidents.
Maintenance and Care
Proper maintenance of your Dremel tool will ensure its longevity and optimal performance.
Regularly check the carbon brushes for wear and replace them when necessary. Lubricate the motor shaft every 20 hours of use with lightweight machine oil or air tool oil to maintain smooth operation.
Keep the tool clean, removing dust and debris from vents and the motor housing to prevent overheating.
What Can You Do With a Dremel?
With practice, you’ll soon be using your Dremel to:
- Cut shapes into wood and plastic
- Engrave wood, glass, and bottles
- Create wood carvings and artwork
- Cut metal, tiles, screws, etc., using abrasive discs.
- Sand wood and Polish metal surfaces
- Sharpen scissors, blades, chainsaws, cutting tools, etc.
- Remove rust and corrosion
- Deburr and detail metal parts
- See more uses of Dremel..
Dremel Project Ideas
- Personalized Engraved Glasses: Using a diamond point bit in your Dremel, you can engrave intricate designs, initials, or names on glassware for a personalized touch. This can be a great project for making customized gifts or event mementos.
- Jewelry Making: The Dremel tool can be used for making custom jewelry pieces. You can cut and shape gemstones, engrave patterns into metal charms, or polish completed pieces for a professional finish.
- Wooden Picture Frame: Using cutting bits and sanding accessories, you can create your own custom wooden picture frame. Start by cutting out your desired shape from a wood plank, then use the sanding drum to smooth the edges and surface, and finally, carve out a slot for the picture with a high-speed cutter.
- Restoring Old Furniture: With sanding and polishing accessories, you can restore old, worn-out furniture. Sand down rough patches, remove old paint and polish the surface for a new lease on life.
With patience and the right attachments, your Dremel rotary tool can transform just about any craft or hobby project. Wish you the best with your next Dremel project.