Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.
Hundreds of Uses for a Small Wizard
The Dremel Cuts, Sands, Polishes Intricate Work in Awkward Spaces, and also Engraves Wood, Metal, Plastics and Glass
The Dremel is a small wizard with hundreds of handy DIY uses, reaching awkward places that other tools can't reach to cut, sand and polish and great for engraving on wood, metal and glass. Like a SoniCrafter the Dremel is another great little powerful and versatile DIY tool invaluable for getting to all those tight spaces where larger tools can't reach or are awkward to use. It's also an excellent tool for engraving on a wide range of materials including wood, metal and glass to personalise gifts or add artistic flare to any DIY Project.
The Dremel is one of those extra tool kits I was given as a gift many years ago, and since has proved such a handy little tool on many projects I wonder how I managed before. The answer of course is that Before I had the Dremel I struggled trying to do things with tools that were unsuitable for the job in hand, tasks where without the Dremel no other tool can reach or do the job e.g. such as trying to remove screws when the thread in the head has gone, cutting small bits of metal, wood and plastic and polishing in small and awkward places or engraving on metal, wood or glass. With all the accessories that come with it and which you can buy as accessories the list of what the Dremel can do seems endless.
Therefore I'm grateful to be a proud owner of the Dremel and below provide, from my personal experience what it can achieve.
100 Accessories for 100s of Uses
Accessories for Every Occasion
The Demel comes with loads of accessories, which are tiny attachments to fix to the end of the Dremel for the job in hand; although it will pay to buy more for more versatility and you can get through the attachments quite quickly on some jobs. I treated myself to an additional 100 Accessories kit (pictured above) a few years back; they weren’t expensive, have proven useful to have to hand and the accessory kit will last quite a while before I need to replenish it. With the Dremel you can never have too many accessories because like sandpaper they are not durable and you will get through them quickly when you use your Dremel in earnest; but then again, like sandpaper they’re inexpensive to replace.
The Dremel accessories consists of lots of tiny attachments for tiny jobs such as sanding, polishing, cleaning, engraving and cutting; and the different attachments can be used on different materials including wood, plastics, metals, glass, ceramics, stone, fiberglass and rubber.
However big or however small a DIY project is it is surprising how often I reach for the Dremel to do some small task in the project; often to cut the head off of a stubborn screw to remove some wood without damaging the wood or what’s the wood is attached to e.g. wall or door frame; particularly when the thread has gone on the screw head. One particular occasion was when I was helping some friends to remove an old iron railing bolted to the path in their back garden, so that they could widen the path for easier access. The bolts were rusted in place, WD40 didn’t shift all of them and although an angle grinder could reach most of the bolts there was one bolt in particular that was inaccessible with the angle grinder; and that’s when the Dremel, being so small. Came into its own, using a pack of cutting discs we cut through the head of the last bolt and were able to remove the iron railing.
Accessories and Attachments
To Enhance the Use of Your Dremel
If you buy a Dremel, or if you already have one, then I recommend getting a good stock of accessories; as they are always handy to have, are good value for money, and a good stock should last you a good while.
Dremel accessories are inexpensive and you can never have enough; they are always useful for odd jobs around the home and in the workshop. The general accessory kits are great in that they include a wide assortment of useful attachments that will cover most of your needs, although for cutting the EZ Lock Mini Cutting Kit is particularly useful as is the dedicated Engraving and Carving kit if you intend doing more than just the occasional bit of engraving.
Everything You Need in One Carry Case
Lightweight and Compact
The Dremel is a small lightweight tool that fits comfortably into its small durable carry come storage case which in the top compartment includes ample storage space for a wide selection of attachments. So what other tools you may have carried to the house for DIY whether it be a large project or small job if you’re in need of the Dremel it doesn’t take a moment to nip back to your shed to grab it, case and all.
Over the years I’ve used most of the Dremel attachments on most materials on various jobs, including sanding, polishing and cleaning small objects or objects in awkward to access places. The one thing I haven’t tried yet which I’m itching to give a go is engraving; something I need to put some time aside for and give a go, practicing on scrap material first of course.
Engraving with the Dremel
Personalise Gifts With Engraved Messages and Art Work
Engraving in a wide range of materials including wood, metal, plastics, ceramics and glass is easy with the Dremel. I’m no artist and I don’t have a stylish hand writing but the dremel is easy to hold and use like a pen, pencil or brush so with a little practice even I could produce some works of art, or short stylish messages so it’s a handy tool to have.
The pictures below are my first attempts at engraving different materials with the Dremel. If you have artistic skills or a good hand writing then you’ll love the Dremel for engraving; even if you ice cakes and make flowers and swirls in cake icing you’re halfway to making good engravings with the Dremel.
You’ll notice from the picture below of the Dremel with the wine bottle that the Dremel has a natural finger hold near the tip specifically so that you can hold it comfortably and use it just like a pen or brush when engraving.
The attachment for engraving glass and ceramics is different to the attachment for engraving wood, metal and plastics but it only takes a moment to change attachments, not that you would normally switch between engraving different materials in one session; both attachments are pictured below.
Therefore, with a Demel and a bit of practice you could personalise a wide range of gifts for all occasions including, birthdays, Christmas, Valentine, Mother’s Day and Anniversaries; although I would suggest practicing on scarp material first and becoming competent in engraving before tackling any expensive gifts.
Engraving Wood, Metal, Plastics, Glass, Ceramics, China and Pottery - Using the Dremel to Engrave Everyday Objects
Modify Flower Pots With Your Dremel
Making a Clear Plastic Pot for Orchids
This article demonstrates the versatility of the Dremel where I use the attachment normally used for engraving glass as a cutter to neatly and quickly cut drainage slits and drainage holes in a rigid clear plastic mug to transform it into a clear plastic pot ideal for those orchids who needs their roots exposed to the light.
Orchids are notoriously difficult to grow so, although I love plants and gardening, its one plant we've avoided until we were recently given one as a gift. Knowing how difficult they are to grow and knowing little about them we quickly sought advice from a specialist in a local trusted garden centre and did our own research on the web.
The important things we learnt, relevant to us, is that there are two general types of orchids, one that is normally planted in a conventional pot and one where Photosynthesis is done in the roots and benefits from being in a clear pot; I'm not an expert on names but ours was identified as being the later.
We received the Orchid with its roots wrapped in a clear plastic bag (with good drainage), which in turn was placed in a conventional pot that was then seated inside a larger decorative pot; and it was already pot bound. Therefore we took the bold and risky decision to re-pot it before its finished flowering. With orchids it is much better to wait until they've flowered before upsetting the plant too much; although we seem to have got away with as the orchid has perked up an looks a lot healthier than it did.
Although it's not good for the orchid to be pot bound it's equally bad for the pot to be too big e.g. the orchid's roots need to be kept damp but not wet. Being advised the orchid we have needs to be kept in a clear pot we tried to buy a suitable pot from the local garden centre but the ones they had in stock was far too large for it. However we did have a stack of stiff clear plastic drinking cups in our kitchen cupboard that was the right size for the roots. The soft plastic tumblers that crack easily wouldn't have been much good but the tumblers we have is a strong rigid plastic and therefore are ideal for plants pots; excepting they need good drainage holes.
Having found a suitable candidate for the clear plastic orchid pot the next step before re-potting the orchid was to make suitable drainage holes. Most people would be tempted to poke holes in it with a pair of scissors or a sharp screwdriver rather than taking the time to use a drill. Also, I noted that proper clear plastic orchid pots have drainage slits down the side (near the bottom) as well as holes in the base.
This is where is saw the Dremel as the ideal tool for making the drainage holes, using the attachment normally used for engraving glass as a drill bit I was able to cut four drainage holes in the base of the plastic mug and on the sides the attachment just cut through the plastic like butter so, as shown in the photos below, it was an easy quick job to cut the side slits with the same attachment.
Using Your Dremel to Make Drainage Holes in a Flower Pot - Remodelling a Plastic Cup Into a Plant Pot
Cordless or Corded
Battery Powered or Mains Power
In my mind the choice is simple; mains power with lead and plug. Yes cordless tools are popular and for the larger tools such as power drills and jig saws with 12v or 18v rechargeable batteries I would advocate the cordless option.
However, from my experience the smaller tools with rechargeable batteries built in the batteries takes ages to charge and don’t hold the charge that long; and the batteries which need regular charging tend to die long before the tool. Someone once bought me a cordless screwdriver, it was nice but because the battery slowly discharges when not in use each time I wanted to use it I had to remember to put it on charge in advance and even then, in use the charge only lasted an hour and, unlike the large tools that have large 12v and 18v batteries, these built-in rechargeable batteries not have the same power I found the screwdriver never had much torque, so I often ended up using a manual screwdriver anyway.
Whereas if you can plug the tool into the mains you’re guaranteed power so the Dremel isn’t going to let you down halfway through a job. Obviously if your Dremel is powered by the mains then you can’t use it if you don’t have mains power to hand but I’ve never had an occasion where that situation has arisen so I don’t see it as an issue.
Is Small Beautiful?
Whether it's DIY tools, garden tools, kitchen utilities or appliances around the home do you always go for big and powerful regardless or do you accessorise with the little brothers version for little jobs e.g. a normal vacuum cleaner for the carpets but a small vac for those hard to reach places.
Do you always opt for big and powerful tools regardless or do you also make space to cater for the little handy tools for all those little jobs?
Small Tools for Small Jobs
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Arthur Russ
Your DIY Views and Comments
Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 15, 2017:
Thanks for all your feedback, which is greatly appreciated; and I'm pleased to have given some inspiration for this humble but effective and versatile power tool.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on March 11, 2014:
Wow! What an excellent review! I already loved the Dremel tool, but you have now given me even more reasons to consider it essential to any home.
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on March 11, 2014:
Sounds like the Dremel is a handy tool to have around. I've never heard of a tool that was so versatile. Nice.
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 11, 2014:
Love, love, love my Dremel. Such a versatile tool. I haven't found anything it can't do yet. Can't say that about many tools. Really liked the sample projects you shared here.
clevergirlname on June 05, 2013:
I need to put my dremel to use!
Bill Armstrong from Valencia, California on January 14, 2013:
Love the Dremil and got mine ;)