April 13, 2022

Can you drill with a Dremel?

Yes. If you attach the appropriate bit, you can use a Dremel as a drill. 

Yes. You can drill with a Dremel.

The Dremel is ideal for drilling holes. Many different bits make the Dremel versatile. Many professions and hobbies use this tool. The Dremel comes in battery-powered and corded models with speeds ranging from 3,000 to 37,000 rpm. 

The only drawback is that the Dremel lacks torque while a drill lacks speed. That makes them different tools with different uses. You cannot use one in place of the other because fitting Dremel bits into your drill will not give you optimal performance due to the low rpm.

The Dremel is for small holes using the standard collets that come with the tool. With an adjustable speed Dremel and the adjustable chuck for the Dremel, you can drill holes up to 1/4 inch. You can drill as many as ten holes per item at odd angles and even 25 to 50. However, after ten or so items, you have to let the Dremel cool down because it will get hot.

Speed helps in drilling a hole properly. Dremel tools start at about 2000 RPM and go to 20,000 RPM. That is too fast. The Dremel does not have enough torque and power to drill holes except in very soft stuff and small holes.

You may opt for alternatives such as drill presses, portable electric drills, cordless drills, a cordless screwdriver, a few hand braces, a push drill, some hand augers, and a nail and hammer. That does not mean the Dremel does not have uses, but drilling is not its strong point.

What kinds of drill bits do you need?

  • Diamond drill bits are for drilling holes in materials such as glass, stone, ceramic, bone, shell, pottery, and china.
  • HSS (High-Speed Steel) drill bits are for drilling soft metals.
  • Carbide or Tungsten Carbide Drill Bits are for drilling through hard metals.

Dremel Accessories

Collets  

Collets accommodate all of the available Dremel accessories. For a variety of accessories, purchase a complete set of four collets. Store these to have the proper size of the collet for any accessory or drift bit you want to use.

Mandrels

A mandrel is a shank with a threaded or screw head, and mandrels are for polishing accessories, cutting wheels,  sanding discs, and polishing points. Mandrels have sanding discs and cutting wheels that have to be replaced frequently. The mandrel is a permanent shank. 

High-Speed Cutters  

They are available in 24 shapes and are used in carving, cutting, and slotting in wood, plastics, and soft metals such as aluminum, copper, and brass. These accessories are for freehand routing or carving in wood or plastic and precision cutting.

Tungsten Carbide Cutters

These are tough, long-lived cutters used on hardened steel, fired ceramics, and other materials. They are also for engraving on toots and garden equipment. 

 Small Engraving Cutters

These have a variety of sizes and shapes, made for intricate work on ceramics, wood carvings, jewelry, and scrimshaw. They are used in making complicated printed circuit boards and should not be on steel and other materials.

Structured Tooth 

Tungsten Carbide Cutters are fast cutting, needle-sharp teeth for material removal and minimum loading. 

Polishing Accessories

Polishing points make a very smooth surface. These include an impregnated polishing point and an impregnated polishing wheel for bringing metal surfaces to a smooth finish. No polishing compound is needed when using the 425 Polishing Wheel, 427 Polishing point.  

Wire Brushes

Three different shapes of wire brushes are available. For best results, wire brushes are used at speeds not greater than 15,000 RPM. They remove rust from tools and other metal surfaces and clean and burnish metal parts. 

Bristle Brushes

These are cleaning tools on silverware, jewelry, and antiques. The three shapes make it possible to get into tight corners and other difficult places. Bristle brushes work with polishing compounds for faster cleaning or polishing. 

Cutting Wheels

These are thin discs used for slicing, cutting off, and similar operations. Use them for cutting off frozen bolt heads and nuts. Sometimes the screw head is so damaged that the screwdriver will not work. 

Safety

  • Keep the work area clean.
  • Do not expose tools to rain. 
  • Prevent body contact with grounded surfaces. 
  • When not in use, tools should be stored in a dry, and high, locked-up place.
  • Do not force tools.
  • Dress properly.
  • Secure work.
  • Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
  • Avoid unintentional starting.

Dremel drill bit adapter

An adapter allows your tool to perform tasks that it usually cannot. The Dremel Chuck holds accessories without using a collet.

How to drill metal with Dremel

  1. Measure and mark the selected material.
  2. Unplug the Dremel and attach the appropriate sized drill bit.
  3. Begin drilling the material with the Dremel set at a slow speed. Hold the Dremel perpendicular to the material at all times. Increase the speed to quicken the drilling process.
  4. Clear accumulated dust and excess material.
  5. Repeat this process for the remaining holes.

Dremel power drill

You can use Dremel as a power drill by using bits if the rotary-tool head does not require high speeds. Due to their small diameters, Dremel bits need incredibly high speeds to work well. Using them in a drill on harder materials gets shattered due to the high torque.

Dremel vs drill

Drills are used for two things: drilling holes, and driving screws, while rotary Dremels have dozens of different uses: cutting, grinding, sanding, polishing, engraving, inlaying, and routing.

Can a Dremel be used as a screwdriver?

It is unnecessary to buy a screwdriver when you have a Dremel tool. It cannot be dismissed since you can use it if you have it already. Due to its automatic collet lock, users can turn the tool like a manual screwdriver if hand-tightening is needed. The only downside is that  Dremels spin too fast to be used as a screwdriver, and they do not have enough torque.

David D. Hughes
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