How to use your Dremel! 4 awesome attachments to get the most out of your Dremel.
Upgrading your Dremel
When it comes to carving I have lots of tools, but the Dremel is still one of my all time favorites. I like it because it's small, easy to use and has lots of possibilities. The dremel is a small electric rotary tool that is available almost anywhere from Home Depot to Walmart. I keep three variable speed series 3000 Dremels in my studio and even though I also have heavy duty rotary tools and pneumatics (air powered tools) I still rely on my Dremels for small tasks and detail work. One of the best features of the Dremel is its versatility. If you've been looking for more ways to use your Dremel to make amazing art, here are some awesome attachments to add to your toolbox along with some of the general uses for these new tools.
#1 Flex Shaft
This is the attachment I use when I need to get into those hard to reach spaces. It basically takes your bit from the end of your bulky Dremel body to the end of a 3 foot long flexible rubber hose with a much smaller hand grip so that you have the freedom and flexibility to get your tool into tight spaces and reach awkward angles. Maintaining the flex shaft is fairly easy, and very important.
1. One end of the flex shaft simply screws onto the tip of your Dremel, keep this part of the shaft clean and free from dust.
2. Never forcibly bend your flex shaft or allow it to be pinched in anyway, there is a coil inside the sheathe and if it gets damaged it will no longer operate correctly. Never let your bit get twisted or caught up in clothing or anything that will force it to a stop, this can easily destroy your flex shaft within seconds.
3. If your flex shaft starts running slow or gets hot, you may need to apply some lubrication. Dremel sells grease for your shaft which will include detailed directions that you should follow.
Honestly, I've never needed to lubricate mine-- I always completely wear them out or break them before they need lubrication. You should be able to get one for less than $30, look for a good deal on Ebay!
#2 Miniature Circular Saw
Cutting very thin sheets or dowels of plastic or wood (1/4" thick or less) can be a tedious job. Handsaws or blades can make jagged uneven cuts and can take a lot of time and energy to execute. Full sized shop saws can be somewhat of an overkill for making these small and precise cuts as well. I've found the best way to deal with precision cuts on delicate materials is with Dremel's miniature circular saw attachment. The blades are a fraction of the size of standard circular saws, which allows for quick easy and precise cuts. The blade comes in a clear casing with a retractable safety guard that simply screws onto the tip or your Dremel body. It has an arrow tip that helps to guide you as you make fast, clean, delicate cuts in a matter of seconds.
TIPS: Don't ever force the blade, allow it to pull itself through the material. In order to avoid binding don't stop the blade until the cut is complete. Never use dull blades. Always follow directions and use common sense. This powerful and useful tool can also be exceedingly dangerous.
#3 Circle Cutter
If you are needing to make a round cut, the mini circular saw is not going to do the trick. But this circle cutting attachment from Dremel not only makes it easy to cut perfect holes in walls, ceilings, wood etc., it can also help you to achieve round shapes. It also provides a wide range of size options from as small as 3/4" and as large as 12". An of course it has depth adjustment so that you can use it as a router if you're not trying to cut all the way through the surface. That means you can etch out circular shapes on the surface of your project.
#4 Mini Planer
The final Dremel attachment that I will discuss is their little planer tool, which is perfect for small jobs like sticking doors, etc. It takes off a depth of about 1/64" of in inch on each pass across the material, but it's width is less than 2 1/2", which means it won't work on anything wider than that. I use this attachment mostly when I'm building boxes, frames or pedestals and need to have smooth perfect edges that will fit together tightly. It's far faster and more precise than any sanding tools and far more logical to use on small jobs than a full sized planer.
Be safe, and go make some art!
Shop around and get a good deal on your new attachments. Buy one thing at a time and take the time to explore it and get comfortable using it before moving on to the next one. Try them out on scrap materials first so that you can build up your skills and soon you'll be implementing all of them in your everyday art processes. Always take needed safety precautions, follow all directions indicated in user manuals and above all-- remember to have fun, learn and explore!