Dremel Multitool - How To Use
Some of the things I use my Dremel for
So let me give you an idea of some of the uses my Dremel has been put.
My Dremel 3000
The kit arrived with the Dremel rotary multitool, the flexible extender and a small assortment of tools to use with it.
The cutters, grinders, sanders and buffing tools that come with it are all useful but you might want to invest in an add-on kit of accessories which will give you a more comprehensive range.
Before you start using your Dremel I must first point out a few safety guidlines. There are two major hazards that you will encounter when using any rotary powertool. The first one is dust. Not so much from cutting things like plastic which tend to melt but there will be lots of dust generated when cutting hard materials such as perforated circuit boards. The second problem is that the Dremel cutting tools are quite brittle and do shatter after a little use. This can result in small sharp objects flying in random directions. Nasty if you catch one in your eye.
The image left shows me kitted out with a face mask and safety googles designed to protect my lungs from dust and my eyes from fast moving flying objects.
It takes a bit of practice to work in this gear because condensation tends to build up inside the goggles. This is a particular nuisance if you wear spectacles like I do and the goggles are on top. I can't see without my specs so I have to control my breathing when working with the Dremel.
Wearing a mask and goggles while trying to carry out some precision cutting work is not convenient to say the least but I urge you not to skip this part if you value your eyesight and lungs.
Cutting perforated stripboard
First draw a line on the stripboard where you want to cut. I use a Sharpie because it doesn't rub off easily. Then clamp the board down so that it can't fly off when the cutter bites.
Mount one of the small brown cutting wheels into the Dremel. Put on your safety gear and switch the Dremel to a medium speed. Lightly touch the spinning wheel to the board and move slowly along the line. Don't apply pressure to the cut because the wheel may break or the cut will be uneven.
Don't try to cut through the whole board in one pass. It works best when you make multiple passes along the line taking the cut down a fraction of a millimeter each pass. I find that this gives me the straightest cut with the minimum of problems.
Cutting a notch
I often find myself trying to fit stripboard around pillars and guides in the enclosure which requires notches to be nibbled out of the board. This is easy with the Dremel.
Using the small cutting wheel first make some diagonal cuts to take out the majority of the notch. You will be left with some jagged bits of board on the inside of the notch. Carefully take out the remaining unwanted material using the cutting wheel to wear down the jagged parts.
As you can see from the image I'm still learning the art of cutting rectangular holes in plastic. I can say that the Dremel has made it much easier than it used to be for me so you can imagine what my earlier efforts were like.
The picture shows a typical example of a rectangular hole in the side of an ABS case to provide access to the HDMI and AV sockets of a raspberry Pi. Start by marking the hole with a pencil then take out as much of the material inside the outline as you can with a small drill. You can use the Dremel for this step but I prefer to use a battery operated power drill instead.
Carefully take out the remaining material up to your pencil line with a cylindrical cutter. These cutters work very well on ABS plastic so it is all too easy to go too far so take it easy.
Get yourself a Dremel for your projects
Other useful tools
Get yourself kitted out with tools from the list below today and you will be ready to start building electronic circuits.
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