Can You Use a Drill As A Dremel?

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Every woodworker and home DIY enthusiast has his or her favorite tool.  It’s usually one that is versatile to the point where there is virtually no small task it can not perform.

For us at Obsessed Woodworking, one of those favorite tools is the Dremel.  Just exactly how versatile is it, you ask?  Let’s see.

What Is A Dremel?

Dremel is a brand name referring to its line of power tools favored by DIYers.  The company is a multinational corporation, owned by Bosch since 1993,  that produces these tools, and they are terrific.  For home improvement tasks and even for the hobbyists among you, and with its multitude of bits, the Dremel line, which includes the 3000, 4000, and 8200 series, is the rotary tool that too often is indispensable for the smallest of tasks.

Small is one of the important aspects of Dremel tools, too.  They rely upon rotary speed rather than torque.  Torque, as you know, is the strength of turn that other, larger tools employ to perform their tasks.  You can think of drilling, screwing, and such when you consider the torque created by powered turning.

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The difference in rotary speed is impressive.  The torque and rotary speed are the most dramatic difference between Dremels and drills; the second most dramatic is the size.  Dremels are smaller, lighter, and can fit in harder-to-reach spots that a power drill can’t, and much easier to hold and angle and work.

Yes, the drill is more powerful – torque turns with power – but what it lacks in that power, the Dremel more than makes up with the speed of the turn.  The lower torque Dremel will turn at the rate of up to 35,000 RPM, while the higher torque power drill will turn at the rate of around 2,000 RPM.

What Can a Dremel Do?

Dremels are ready and built for performing many different tasks, and it is the wide variety of bits that enable them to perform these tasks.  Included on the list, but not all-inclusive, are the tasks common to, as we said, little home improvement and hobbyist jobs:

  • Carving and engraving.  The size of a Dremel is lighter and much less bulky than a drill, and its variety of bits makes it perfect for these tasks.  You might have seen a craftsman engrave a money clip or business card holder with your name or initials in scroll and with flourish.  Or, perhaps you’ve seen a duck decoy maker use one to give the neck, head, and beak just the right curve with a smooth surface needing only paint to create that perfect workpiece.
  • Cleaning, polishing, and sanding.  A piece of metal or wood (again, a money clip, a metal business card holder, a pen, a wood carving) takes on that finished look as a result of what your Dremel and a steady hand can accomplish.  A buffing bit will make that metal shine, for instance.
  • Cutting, grinding, and sharpening.  You are starting to get the point of the Dremel, no pun intended.  Those 30,000 – 35,000 RPMs can whiz around and cut that hard-to-reach dangling piece of trim edge, or grind down a nail or screw head, or sharpen those hedge clippers, as simple examples.  

The cordless design of the Dremel means it is portable in the extreme and easy to fit into tight corners and spaces that even cordless drills can’t access.  The accessories that come with a Dremel and that can be added post-purchase help create all of that versatility.

Dremel Woodworking

You are not necessarily locked into Dremel as a brand once you have the rotary tool kit, either.  You can use your Dremel with another manufacturer’s accessories, such as drill bits and grinding bits.  We’ve used a Dremel to cut screws and nails down to size for some jobs by using a 1” cutting wheel.  There’s just something about holding that small power tool and feeling the bit or wheel turning so fast and making short order of these tasks.  

Simply stated, these are not tasks a power drill would be able to tackle easily or well.  Too much bulk in the handle, motor, and battery pack will get in the way of finer tasks when you use your power drill.  But, you can use your Dremel to drill holes, again relying on the high turn speed.

In other words, a Dremel can perform tasks usually associated with power drills on a small scale, but a power drill really doesn’t work performing the task of a Dremel.

The right tool for the right job, as we often say, is the rule when it comes to Dremels and drills.

Is Dremel The Only Rotary Tool Manufacturer? 

Dremel makes rotary tools, but it’s not the only manufacturer that makes them.  Rotary tools refer to those that use a rotary motion to do their work, just like an immersion blender in the kitchen.  The speed of the spin does the work rather than the torque of the turn.  Other manufacturers that make rotary tools include DeWALT, Ryobi, and Wen.

Many professionals consider the Dremel 3000 variable speed tool kit to be the best rotary tool on the market today, followed closely by the Dremel 8220 variable speed tool kit model.  We would be hard-pressed to disagree.  As we said at the outset, we like Dremel rotary tools and find so many uses for them around the house.

While we have described some of the best uses for your Dremel, videos can show Dremels in action.  This first video is about a wood artist, and since we know one who creates beautiful pieces, we present this one to you first.

We’ve also mentioned Dremel accessories and how they can be used to perform many of the tasks listed earlier.  We found a video that will present many of these accessories and bits to give you a broader understanding of what they can do.  

What Does A Dremel Cost?

A Dremel 3000 Variable Speed Tool Kit can be found for around $55; a Dremel 4000 Tool Kit can be purchased for around $90, and a Dremel 4300 model will run you around $130.

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While that might seem a bit pricey for a power tool without a great deal of power (torque), once you learn all of the tasks that are made easier by them, we are confident you will find the price very reasonable. 

Just one other thought to share, and it has to do with safety.  Because of the tasks, Dremels can tackle (grinding metal, polishing metal, sharpening other tools, fine-sanding wood), safety goggles or face plates should always be worn.  Those metal shavings and wood dust/debris can be harmful to the eye, for instance.

We like Dremels, we use Dremels, and we recommend you add one to your power tool inventory soon.  The more you use one, the more uses you will find for it. 

Last update on 2024-02-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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