What should I do with my Dremel tool?
June 27, 2007 5:47 PM   Subscribe

What should I do with my new Dremel tool?

My lovely girlfriend got me a lovely Dremel tool for my lovely birthday. I've checked out the projects page at dremel.com and looked at more casemods than a man should, but I haven't come up with something extra wonderful to do with it, except replace some of the tile in the bathroom. Any of you Dremelliers (pronounced dre-MEL-ee-AYZ) out there have a favorite project?
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I had a friend who engraved his name into virtually everything he ever owned with his Dremel. He's a big nerd, though.

Got any bolts that need cutting off? That's always fun. Wear goggles, though.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:52 PM on June 27, 2007

Many people file their pets' nails with Dremels!
posted by iguanapolitico at 6:03 PM on June 27, 2007

They're great for carving really awesome jack-o-lanterns.

And, um, polishing stuff.

Really, though, unless you're a hardcore crafter/hobbiest a Dremel is the type of tool you just put away until one day you're trying to do something and you realize the Dremel will be the PERFECT thing for it.

From then on you'll be really happy you have it.

I look forward to Ratings: Dremel bits.
posted by bondcliff at 6:18 PM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: Cut stuff up! Grind off bolts! Drill holes in EVERYTHING! (You went out and got the drill stand, didn't you?)

I inscribed a set of glasses with music quotes for my brother. Takes a steady hand and the right tip.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:19 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Grab some scrap wood and sculpt it into new and unusual shapes. Once you've got the hang of the tool, go forth and make art!
posted by lekvar at 6:42 PM on June 27, 2007

For me, the Dremel is never used for a project, like building a magazine rack, or a birdhouse, or a rumpus room. And I don't really do that much handyman stuff (apartment dweller.) But, I have been amazed at the number of times I have been working on my bike, or my car, or some other daily chore where the perfect tool is the Dremel. So keep it charged and handy and you will find it very useful.
posted by The Deej at 6:52 PM on June 27, 2007

Custom pickguard, dude.

I fail to see how customizing your Picard action figure would be a good use of a Dremel.

I've use a Dremel for cutting down large cardboard boxes to fit in my recycling bin, cutting wire holes in desks, modifying my car's center console to accept a stereo it wasn't designed to hold, modifying the plastic speaker brackets in my car doors to accept speakers that would otherwise not have fit, I've used to it scare my cat out from a deep corner hiding spot when it was time for a bath...

The Dremel invents uses for itself.
posted by pmbuko at 7:35 PM on June 27, 2007

First thing I used my Dremel for was cutting some irregular holes in the back of my TV cabinet to run the cables through more cleanly/elegantly. Mine came with a mill-type bit that lets you drill into something and then cut irregular holes with it. So much easier than a hole saw.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:38 PM on June 27, 2007


*For Pure entertainment value only*

posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 9:05 PM on June 27, 2007

Blow up CD discs [youtube].
posted by rolypolyman at 9:47 PM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: Here's what you should do: be careful.

A Dremel is a low-torque, high-speed tool, and the bits are built accordingly; that is, the bits are in many cases fragile, as they're not meant for high-stress work.

So if you're using cutting wheels and whatnot, you can easily find chunks breaking off and flying about. Since you're likely doing close-up detail work with your Dremel (high speed, low torque, after all) you'll want eye protection at a minimum.

Also, you're talking about a tool with no blade guard whatsoever. That's fine when you're using a drill-like bit, but (again with cutting wheels especially) the larger disc bits aren't visible when spinning, and it's quite easy to overlap the bit with your flesh. Most of the Dremels I have used don't have a dead-man's switch, either; if you drop it or otherwise let it go, the blade keeps on a-turnin'.

In short: whatever tasks and projects you use it for, get lightweight but strong gloves, wear long sleeves, and use eye protection -- a Dremel is a little tool that can cause a lot of damage.

All of these warnings aside (it's the dad in me!) have fun with your new tool!
posted by davejay at 10:20 PM on June 27, 2007

Screw the lockpicks, I like cutting locks open with mine. Just use a sand cutting wheel. Sometimes it takes a couple of them.

Uh, but please don't tell anyone.
posted by SlyBevel at 11:21 PM on June 27, 2007

Eye protection seconded. Non-negotiable. I have cutting wheels and abrasive stones fall apart all the time. It's no big deal, because I still get to see after.
posted by SlyBevel at 11:23 PM on June 27, 2007

I know a guy who picked up a stone from the garden, and using a dremel, turned it into a wearable ring. If you want to keep all your bits nice and tidy, this might not be the project for you though - stone takes its toll on even the hard grade dremel grinders.

So I suggest bone carving.

Or make some primitive device, like a carved stone-head spear or arrow. Then hang it on the wall and when people ask, tell them you fought in the battle of Gondor. :)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:27 PM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: Remove scratches from the face of your iPod (I tried this on a black Nano, it works) or Dremel up a new faceplate out of wood (haven't tried this and am unlikely to as IMO, wood + audio gear should stay in the '70s).
posted by jamaro at 12:03 AM on June 28, 2007

Add makezine.com/blog to your feed reader. You'll get about 5 dremel projects a day delivered hot and fresh.
posted by stuboo at 3:09 AM on June 28, 2007

Best answer: Buy the diamond engraving tip, and start drawing in glass. That's been my favorite use so far.
posted by drezdn at 6:15 AM on June 28, 2007

It's the perfect tool for cutting holes in drywall--use the side-cutting bit that Kadin2048 described above. I used that bit to cut a hole in a metal door, too, and for installing lock sets. There's a depth guide that works very well, and I'm looking to get the saw set. Cutting off rusted bolts, of course, but also cutting too-long bolts to a desired length is great--put a nut on the bolt first, though, then screw it off afterwards to clean out the threads.

Has anyone used the jigsaw attachment? That looks cool.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:59 AM on June 28, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. It was tough to limit the "best answer" flags. As it turns out, my first project with the Dremel is kind of prosaic, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless. I have a lot of electronic devices with generic power bricks, so I'm engraving the name of the device lightly into the brick so that if -- when -- they get separated I'll know what the brick belongs to.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 1:35 PM on July 1, 2007

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