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

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 abrasive cutting 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.

Orange Dremel grinding stones

Orange grinding stones

Orange stones can be used with the following materials:

  • Ceramic tile
  • Glass
  • Mirror
  • Steel

Blue/Green & Pink grinding stones

Blue/green & pink grinding 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 polishing felts and mandrel

Polishing felts and mandrel

Dremel polishing compound

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…

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

By Anonymous - 13 September 2015 Reply

Thank you. I agree with others that your ‘cut to the good stuff’ list is what most of us are looking for…like most tools, practice teaches us the rest.

By Elissa - 14 September 2015 Reply

I’m glad you found the information useful.

Elissa

By Mark Krupp - 1 October 2015 Reply

Where is the best place to buy a variety of specific bits?
Most stores have “kits” which include all the bits I DON’T need, and few that I do.
Thanks,
Mark

By Elissa - 13 October 2015 Reply

Mark –

One place to get specific accessories is from the woman who taught me everything I know – Jill Timm! She has her own online store – check it out.

I did a quick online search and found that both ToolBarn and Widget Supply sell individual bits. I haven’t shopped at either of these stores myself, but they seem worth checking out.

If you have a local toy and hobby shop near you, try looking there – they often sell Dremel accessories.

Elissa

By sky - 13 December 2015 Reply

Mark I get all my bits at Lowe’s and or at Walmart.

By Karen - 3 October 2015 Reply

My husband and I have just purchased a dremel 3000. Wanted to do some wood carving. Look forward to hearing from you with your expertise on the thousand and one ways it can be used.

Thanx

By Elissa - 13 October 2015 Reply

Karen –

Wow! A 3000? Mine is just a 300 model – lucky you!

Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about that specific model. I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use the same bits that I use for wood carving – high speed cutters.

Elissa

By Tunku Mohamed Abidah - 10 October 2015 Reply

thank you for sharing

By Elissa - 13 October 2015 Reply

Tunku –

I’m glad the post was interesting to you!

Elissa

By Lee Scaros - 23 October 2015 Reply

Hi

I love dremel and the Diamond coated dremel bits. I have used them in my stone sculptures for the final detail work and sanding. I politely offer a word caution, the stone dust will clog the dremel. I have destroyed 3 of them. The answer is frequent breaks to vacuum the dust off the dremel vents.

I currently use the dremel bits in pneumatic pen grinders with the air compresors located in a dust free area.

Happy grinding
Lee

By Elissa - 26 October 2015 Reply

Lee –

Thanks so much for the tips! Keeping an eye on the vents is really important.

Elissa

By Robyn - 27 October 2015 Reply

This is exactly what I needed. THANKS!

By Elissa - 28 October 2015 Reply

Robyn –

Thanks so much for the feedback!

:) Elissa

By angela - 4 November 2015 Reply

HI, I am not yet a Dremel owner (ohh shame of it). Not very good with tools etc – however I have a number of horseshoes that I want to polish up and engrave, but I don’t know which Dremel I should buy (I’m guessing a Dremel would be the best tool for this). I’ve seen the Dremel 3000 on offer, but also read the 4000 is better. Can anyone advise me what I should look for please? Thanks :)

By Elissa - 6 November 2015 Reply

Angela –

I’m not an expert on the different kinds of Dremels available. I own a Dremel 300 and I’m pretty happy with it. The only thing that could be improved would be for it to be cordless.

I had to look up what horseshoes are made of (blush) – it looks like you should be able to polish them with a Dremel as they are made of steel. For engraving, the diamond bits should work – try it on an inconspicuous area first to be sure.

Good luck!
Elissa

By Angela - 9 November 2015 Reply

Many thanks Elissa, believe me you know a lot lot more than I do about them!! Thank you.

By azflygrl - 25 December 2015 Reply

I just got the 4000 and I love it…..it has enough power to work on many products…..metal….wood….glass….pvc…..stone…..tile…..you name it it can do the job.

By Eric - 30 November 2015 Reply

Hi,

Thanks for this great resource; there are a lot of different bits and it’s always confusing to chose the right one.

Another issue I’m often facing is how to chose the right speed for each bit/material.

I already noticed you could easily set a wood piece on fire if you use a too high speed; Also when cutting metal, it’s easy for the bit to start glowing red which is probably not a good thing.

Any idea where this information can be found?
(or a rule of thumb to avoid destroying the bit and/or the work piece?)

Thanks :)

By Elissa - 30 November 2015 Reply

Hi Eric,

I did a bit of searching and found a fabulous resource that should meet your needs – I just wrote a blog post about it. I hope you find it useful!

Elissa

By Betty Laevey - 30 November 2015 Reply

I’m so glad I found your site. I’m flummoxed by all the bits and possibilities. Right now I need to put my flexshaft together with my Dremel and I have scattered the parts so that I don’t know their order. Can you help? Are there instructional pictures?

By Elissa - 30 November 2015 Reply

Betty –

It’s tough for me to help you without knowing the make and model of your flexshaft – could you give me more information about what you’re using?

Elissa

By azflygrl - 25 December 2015 Reply

You can go to YouTube….there are videos on how to do what you need…..

By David dutton - 17 December 2015 Reply

I wonder if you could help me, I have tried loads of places in the u.k. To try and purchase one of those posters, the dremel accessories guide chart, but have had no luck, is there anyway you could help me find somewhere in the states to purchase one.
Many thanks

By Elissa - 17 December 2015 Reply

David –

You can download the Dremel Accessories Guide Poster right from their website. You could also try requesting one using their Literature Request Form.

Good luck!
Elissa

By Tony - 12 January 2016 (5 weeks ago) Reply

I’ve been searching now for a week to find what I’m looking for, eBay, Amazon, drill retailers, hobby shops, ‘Marts – you name it I’ve searched! OK, I need drill bits to fit a Dremel but with a cutting edge of 4mm and 4.5mm. so what I need are drill bits with a reduced shank, i.e. 3.2mm. I need to drill 4mm and 4.5mm holes 1/2″ deep down the center of round plastic billets 1″ long x 5/8″ dia. using dremel fitted to my workstation drill press. I would appreciate any input/info from anyone. T.I.A
Tony

By Elissa - 13 January 2016 (4 weeks ago) Reply

Tony –

Did you see these? The measurements are close to what you’re looking for – the set includes 0.30mm and 0.35mm bits.

Elissa

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