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What do those Dremel bits do? Well I’ll tell ya!

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Yeah, I’m an overachiever.

I originally thought I could fit all of my notes from Jill Timm‘s class, The Amazing Dremel, into one blog post.

Bwahahahahahahah!!!

I did not take into account how many notes I took during the workshop. In fact, my table neighbor at the workshop teased me for two days on how many notes I took.

My plan is to split the information into three blog posts:

Please note that this post only focuses on what the bits look like and what they do. Oh, and the bits mentioned are the only ones that we used in the workshop – we didn’t use any routing bits. Sorry.

That said, let’s talk Dremel bits.

I think that one of the things that both attracted me and freaked me out about the Dremel was its huge buffet of accessories. The packages are labeled by use, but it still seemed like gibberish to me. Jill created the perfect environment for overcoming my Dremel fear.

You can read about my class in the following blog posts:

This post is in no way meant to replace the total awesomeness of taking Jill Timm’s class. I benefited so much from hearing Jill’s experiences and seeing her work in person. If I had bought a Dremel and experimented with it on my own, most likely I would have never tried it on the range of materials that we did in class.

Jill recently announced that she’s taking her Dremel class on the road and would love to be scheduled by your group. I highly recommend the class if you have a chance to attend.

The main categories of bits, according to Dremel, include the following:

  1. Carving & Engraving
  2. Sanding
  3. Cutting
  4. Grinding & Sharpening
  5. Cleaning & Polishing

These categories are pretty consistent among other manufacturers of rotary tool accessories, so you can often find alternatives if you shop around. Carving & Engraving I used two different types of bits that fall into the carving & engraving category – diamond bits and high speed cutters.

Diamond Dremel bits

Diamond Dremel bits

Diamond bits can be used with the following materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Bookboard
  • Ceramic tile
  • Glass
  • Mirror
  • Steel
Dremel high speed cutters

Dremel high speed cutters

High speed cutters can be used with the following materials:

  • Bookboard
  • Linoleum
  • Polymer clay
  • Wood

Sanding

Sanding involves two different parts – the drum and the sanding band. Sanding bands come in different grits, just like sheets of sandpaper.

Dremel sanding bands and drum

Dremel sanding bands and drum

To use the sanding band, you simply slide it over the drum. Replace it when it wears out. Easy peasy.

Attaching a Dremel sanding band

Dremel sander ready to use

Sanding bits can be used with the following materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Bookboard
  • Plexiglass
  • Polymer clay
  • Wood

Cutting

There are different types of cutting wheels for different materials.

Dremel cut-off wheels

Abrasive cutting wheels

Abrasive cutting wheels can be used with the following materials:

  • Bookboard
  • Plexiglass
  • Wood
Dremel fiberglass cutting wheel

Fiberglass cutting wheel

Fiberglass cutting wheels can be used with the following materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Bookboard
  • Ceramic tile
  • Wood

To use a cutting wheel, you have to attach it a mandrel.

Dremel mandrel

Dremel mandrel

Unscrew the tiny screw on top of the mandrel and remove one of the washers.

Attaching Dremel cutting wheel

Slide the wheel onto the screw, then add the second washer. Attach the screw to the mandrel base and tighten.

Attached Dremel cutting wheel

Replace the wheel it when it wears out.

Grinding & Sharpening

Grinding and sharpening stones are made of two basic materials: silicon carbide (green bits) and aluminum oxide (brown, orange, pink, or grey bits). You may have noticed that some of my grinding stones are oddly-shaped. This is because the stones wear out with use. You can reshape your grinding stones using a dressing stone.

Dremel grinding stones

Orange stones

Orange stones can be used with the following materials:

  • Ceramic tile
  • Glass
  • Mirror
  • Steel
Dremel grinding stones

Blue/green  & Pink stones

Blue/green and pink stones can be used with the following materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Ceramic tile
  • Glass
  • Mirror

Cleaning & Polishing

Felt polishing wheels and cones are used in combination with polishing compound.

Dremel felt polishers

Dremel polishing felts and mandrel

Dremel polishing compound

Dremel polishing compound

To use a polishing felt, you have to attach it a mandrel (different from the cutting wheel mandrel). The felt has a tiny hole in the center of it – you screw the mandrel into the hole to attach it.

Attaching Dremel felt polisher

Attached Dremel felt polisher, ready to use

Felt polishing wheels and cones can be used with the following materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Ceramic tile
  • Glass
  • Mirror

For further reference, you can check out Dremel’s website for information on all of their attachments. Even better though, is this very sexy poster: Dremel Accessories Guide Poster. We got one of these posters from Jill in our workshop packet.

I can’t decide if I want to hang it in my studio…

162 Responses to “What do those Dremel bits do? Well I’ll tell ya!”

By Val G - 15 April 2014 Reply

In my experience, it is possible to cut (thin) steel as well with the fiberglass cutting wheel. If you’re in a pinch and you have plenty to spare you can also cut (thinner) metals with the abrasive wheels. The most hilarious example I know of was when my dad used a Dremel tool to cut off a part of my brother’s broken braces… he said “I see sparks” and my dad said “I see more!” Anyhow, hopefully I can get my hands on one of those metal cut-off wheels to work on my next few projects instead of buying up fiberglass wheels.

By Elissa - 16 April 2014 Reply

Val –

I don’t know if I could have tolerated having a Dremel so close to my face. That must have been fun to watch, though. :)

Elissa

By Kristi Northcutt - 2 May 2014 Reply

Hi! I was checking out the link for buying Dremel bits that is out of the UK. I noticed that with each collection of bits, a specific Dremel model number was listed. Are the Dremel bits not universal to all Dremels? I had been thinking all bits could be used on any Dremel. I was actually going to purchase a collection in advance of purchasing a Dremel. I haven’t made up my mind which model I want yet. If they are model specific, I really need to know. I will have to quit procrastinating on my decision of which one to buy :(

By Elissa - 5 May 2014 Reply

Kristi –

I don’t believe that bits/attachments are Dremel-specific. If any of them are, it will likely say something on the package. The different collets included with the Dremel are used to accommodate the assorted bit widths.

I hope that answers your question.

Elissa

By Kat - 18 May 2014 Reply

Thank you for a very informative post. This really helped me understand the uses for all these bits. Love the photos!

By Elissa - 19 May 2014 Reply

Kat –

Glad you found it useful!

Elissa

By Daniela DeVon - 3 June 2014 Reply

Thanks sooo much for your time and effort to share with the rest of us how to use the dremmel bits. I’ve watched most of dremmel videos and still didn’t feel competent to start.
Your info answered my prayer today.
All the best,
Daniela

By Elissa - 5 June 2014 Reply

Daniela –

I’m glad that you found the post useful. Go forth and Dremel!

Elissa

By Dawn - 3 June 2014 Reply

Can I use the pink stones to sharpen knives?

By Elissa - 25 June 2014 Reply

Dawn –

From what I’ve read online, Dremels aren’t recommended for sharpening knives. This is mostly because they run too fast and hot for the work.

Elissa

By David - 15 August 2014 Reply

You can use the buffing wheels and a cutting rouge. Start by taking a couple passes on a sharpening stone or stick. Then use finer and finer rouges to make it super sharp. Buff out both sides. It will create a small burr which can be removed by buffing the burr side lengthwise or with a couple passes on sharpening stone or stick.

By Stacy C P - 24 June 2014 Reply

AWESOME site!!!!! Thank you, I have a ton of attachments and it’s been a guessing game for far too long.

I have a piece of metal(don’t know what kind) with sharp edges and I want to smooth out the edges so no one gets tetanus(not good). After reading you AWESOME page I think I should use an orange stone, correct? Is there anything you would warn me of in advance?

Thank you again for being so AWESOME!!!!!
Stacy

By Elissa - 25 June 2014 Reply

Stacy –

You’re so sweet! Thanks for the compliments. :)

I believe that an orange stone would work for your job – unless the metal is harder than the stone, in which case the stone will just wear away. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try. Definitely wear goggles and protective clothing so you don’t get burned by any flying metal bits.

Elissa

By Bobbie - 26 June 2014 Reply

I am trying to figure out this dremel (3000) but it feels like a foreign language. Just trying to match up using visuals. I am hoping to work on a project cutting plastic, using a cutting wheel. However, I cannot find a MANDREL anywhere in this kit. Is this tiny piece imperative and if so, where can I purchase one? Thank you

By Elissa - 27 June 2014 Reply

Bobbie –

You should be able to purchase a mandrel at your local hardware store – it’s a pretty standard attachment. You will definitely need one to be able to use a cutting wheel.

Elissa

By Jan Richards - 27 June 2014 Reply

Has anyone ever considered using a Dremel for a pedicure? If so, what tool or wheel?

By Elissa - 27 June 2014 Reply

Jan –

Dremel makes a pedicure kit – you can check out the included attachments and speeds at which it works. That should be a good guide for if and how you can use your Dremel for a pedicure.

Elissa

By aryanto - 20 October 2014 Reply

LOL PEDICURE AND the sanding wheel works wonders on calluses – carefull not to go too deep too fast , i use mine about every 2 weeks and … it works , never tried trimming my nails …

By Bill - 13 July 2014 Reply

Really nice and quick rundown of the Dremel bits. Thanks!

By Elissa - 30 July 2014 Reply

Bill –

Glad you found it helpful!

Elissa

By a - 29 July 2014 Reply

thanks. that was really helpful. i bought a set and never figured out what they were all for

By Elissa - 30 July 2014 Reply

A –

Glad you found the post helpful – go forth and Dremel!

Elissa

By John Murphy - 30 July 2014 Reply

I just purchased a Dremel and the whole works of bits etc. What would I use on stones (semi-precision gems) that I want to shape then sand and then polish. Then material is listed as 5 to 6 on the mohs mineral hardness scale?
Thanks for your response.

By Elissa - 1 August 2014 Reply

John –

I did a bit of research and found that there are several different attachments you can use to shape and polish stones. I found the following articles on eHow that might be of help:

I hope the information is helpful – please let me know how it works out for you.

Elissa

By Joan Porter - 17 August 2014 Reply

My dremel just vibrates- tip does not rotate… What’s up?

By Elissa - 19 August 2014 Reply

Joan –

I’m not sure, but it could be that you’re either not using the right size collet or the one you’re using might not be tight enough. This is just a guess.

Elissa

By Lewis - 12 September 2014 Reply

Hi.
I am new to the Dremel world, I have a Multi Pro and a set of aftermarket bits, pads, discs etc. On 2 occasions I accidently switched the MultiPro to the fastest speed and it bent the mandrel to almost a right angle, very dangerous I thought. Is it just cheap aftermarket mandrels or is there another reason?
Thank you and looking forward to some advice.
Lewis.

By Barb Smith Kamento - 12 September 2014 Reply

I want to cut jump rings out of coiled wire? Which tool would I use?

By Elissa - 12 September 2014 Reply

Barb –

It might be better to use a manual wire cutter for making jump rings. I think that the cuts would be easier to control.

Elissa

By Lisa - 4 October 2014 Reply

Better off with a proper jewellery saw, you’ll get a far cleaner cut than with plier wire cutters, and both sides of your cut will be straight, unlike flush cutters which will only give you one side flat and the other squashed. Get your saw blade through your coil first, then fit the saw blade end into the saw handle and cut all rings at once; ie lengthways along your coil. for more advice please message me https:www.etsy.com/shop/NoDittoDesign.

By Elissa - 4 October 2014 Reply

Lisa –

Thanks for the tips!

Elissa

By Tracy - 25 September 2014 Reply

Just a tip–I use a lot of the sanding disks and they can be expensive and wear out pretty quickly. I bought a 1 inch round scrap booking stamp and cut my own sanding disks out of sheets of sandpaper. It’s a lot cheaper than buying the pre- made disks.

By Elissa - 26 September 2014 Reply

Tracy –

Thanks for the great tip!

Elissa

By hydranix - 5 October 2014 Reply

Just thought I’d state the obvious.

Not all dremel bits are universal/standard

They’re rated by RPM , and using a higher rated rotary tool than bit can cause catastrophic bit failure which can cause injury if not wearing eye protection.

By Elissa - 5 October 2014 Reply

hydranix –

Thanks for the words of caution. It’s always a good idea to make sure any attachments you purchase are intended for use with your specific Dremel model.

Elissa

By Sabrina - 5 October 2014 Reply

Wow – Dremel Accessories Guide Poster is amazing!

I love the tip about the sanding discs, however I’d like to do that with the sanding bands to polish polymer clay pieces. The recommended grit goes from 200-1200, which the bands do not come in. Anybody got any suggestions? Anybody done this before? Maybe glue the grit to an worn down band?

Thanks for the website!

By Elissa - 5 October 2014 Reply

Sabrina –

I found the 1200 grit sanding bands for you: sanding bands

Elissa

By Sabrina - 16 October 2014 Reply

Awesome! Great site! I bought the Dremel 400 w/ like, I think it’s 100 different accessories, and have been stumped by so many of them. Your site is amazing :D
Thank you.

By Elissa - 16 October 2014 Reply

Sabrina –

Thanks so much for your kind words. :)

Elissa

By Chasidy - 7 October 2014 Reply

Dremel should pay ya :-) Thank you for all of your helpful hints :-)

By Elissa - 15 October 2014 Reply

Chasidy –

I’d love it if Dremel would pay me! :)

Elissa

By Susan in AK - 15 October 2014 Reply

What a fantastic blog post! Thank you!

By Elissa - 15 October 2014 Reply

Thanks Susan!

Elissa

By Matt - 16 October 2014 Reply

Just got a Dremel the other week. Used the sanding heads and pink top grinders to shape some wood. I really need those high speed cutters and diamond edge set. Thanks heaps for the lesson!

By Elissa - 16 October 2014 Reply

Matt –

Have fun with your Dremel!

Elissa

By Tom - 24 October 2014 Reply

Hi Elissa Great article Loads of information Thank You,

I have one question for you ! Would you recommend Router Bits or high speed cutters ? Situation is I have slapped my Dremel 300 Series onto a Pantograph ( Originally Designed For A Router ) for copying designs and sketches onto Russian Birch Plywood on till i get the confidence and skills to try on expensive hard woods ?
I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.

Regards Tom

By Elissa - 28 October 2014 Reply

Tom –

I don’t know for sure, but my gut tells me that you can’t go wrong starting with the high speed cutters.

Elissa

By Nan Smith - 30 October 2014 (5 weeks ago) Reply

Thanks Elissa,
I’ve been procrastinating using my rotary tool (Canadian Tire house brand) because I didn’t have a clue what to do with it! ( Seems I’m not the only one!) Thanks to your fabulous post I will definitely attempt it this weekend. I’ve been making lots of polymer clay projects and hate the hand sanding part.

By Elissa - 31 October 2014 (4 weeks ago) Reply

Nan –

You’ll love using the sanding attachment on polymer clay – it’s wicked fast.

Elissa

By Sheila - 9 November 2014 (3 weeks ago) Reply

This was sooo helpful. I have been researching for two days and cant really find info like this on the Dremel website. I have the “sexy” guide poster, printed at home but still having trouble determining which bit to use for what. I can see that engraving bits are probably for engraving just by looking at them but for what materials? This information you provided was just what I was looking for. Wish it was more comprehensive since I plan on using my dremel for everything I think it might be useful for in a woodworking/auto mechanic/household/everydaytool shop. LOL But thanks so much! Great post!

By Elissa - 9 November 2014 (3 weeks ago) Reply

Sheila –

I was also surprised by the lack of information available on the Dremel website. Have fun with your new toy!

Elissa

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