August 28, 2021

Can you use a Dremel as a Router?

Can you use a Dremel as a Router

Yes, you can use a Dremel as a router as long as you use the proper attachment or bit. The Dremel works as a router, but it does not cover large surfaces. There is a wide range of routing bits to choose from. Know what your material requires before you pick a bit. Below is an evaluation of both tools. Each tool can and cannot do certain tasks. 

What is a router?

A router is a tool that comes with a flat base and a rotating blade. It has a spindle driven by an electric motor and works on both hardwood and softwood. Routers are ideal for cabinetry, and they are handheld. The versatile power tool has a hand tool known as a router plane. 

What is a Dremel?

A dremel tool on a table with two bits and some wood

Dremel is an international brand of power tools that focus on woodwork and metalwork. It has rotary tools named after the company name, and the series are unique in their features. The rotary tools are ideal for both beginners and experienced users. There has been a quick expansion on its range of products as the manufacturer keeps improving the rotary tools. 

Dremel vs Router

Although both tools are high-speed and high RPM rotary/spinning tools, they have differences that separate them. The difference comes in the bit that is attached to the rotary tools. You can use any of the mentioned tools for any task with the right bit. These include cutting, sanding, engraving, and carving. 

The two have common usage since they are versatile tools. However, there is no limit to what the router delivers. With the Dremel router attachment, you can turn your rotary tool into a well-functioning router. 

You cannot find yourself buying a new tool when you can use the one you have to finish your project. However, a full-size router does tasks that a small Dremel tool cannot depend on size and power. 

Planning or milling rough lumber stock down flat, cutting joints, carving, and shaping large pieces of material are some of the tasks the router completes with ease. However, that does not mean a Dremel cannot cut grooves, inlays, and profile edges, and it does, at a slow and tedious rate. 

Not enough material is removed, which is minimal performance on a large or standard wood. Whenever a Dremel tool is under a high load, there are high chances for the bit to slip out of the chuck. That destroys your piece of wood, and you get a new one. Full-size routers are more practical, efficient, and effective for woodworking than Dremel.

How can you use your Dremel as a router?

The Dremel tool can do all the tasks the router does, but it cannot deliver the same quality on a large scale in woodworking. Dremel is ideal for detailed and technical tasks like freehand engraving and making low profiles on edges. However, it is less practical if you want to take off more than ⅛ inch of material at a time. 

Smaller jobs such as decorating ornaments like jewelry boxes and gift boxes are ideal for the Dremel tool. There is a wide range of Dremel bits to choose from as well as attachments. That allows you to be creative as you get different kinds of profiles, cuts, and grooves. 

How to start routing

Gather your materials

The starting point is your routing tool and the materials and tools for the project. Choose the materials that are easy to rout. Softwoods are easy to cut as well as fibreboard, plastic plywood, and rubber. A hand-held router works better on hardwood. Take it slow since you should be careful to avoid burning your wood. 

Safety precautions 

When all the materials and tools you need are on the ground, gather your safety gear. Neglecting safety precautions causes accidents. Goggles protect your eyes, and a dust mask protects your mouth from dust. 

You cannot be breathing sawdust that causes chest problems, and plastic and wood particles also cause diseases. Insulating earmuffs are also part of the gear. Your feet should be safe from sharp materials. 

Know the type of router you need

The type of router needed depends on the job you want to work on. Grooves are part of the process, and these are long cuts in surfaces. They come in different shapes and are flat-bottomed, v-shaped, or rounded. 

Functional inlays are made possible on wooden tables and cutting boards. The cove is also known as a rounded groove that adds an edge to a plain surface. The chamfer works as a decorative route. The chamfer is a flattened corner since it does not extend across the material’s profile.

Choosing the right router bit

There is the straight bit, piloted bit, rounding-over bit, v-groove but, and the keyhole bit. The straight bit makes straight cuts and square bottomed grooves such as trench grooves. 

A v-groove bit makes v-grooves and the keyhole bit narrow slots. Anything hung on the wall or a picture frame is made by the v-groove bit. A guide called piloted bit keeps the bit in place, and it is ideal for decorative work. 

Router attachment

There is a need for a plunge router attachment when routing. It converts your Dremel multi-tool into a plunge router, and there is no need for a separate plunge router. The attachment routes circles, cut letters and signs, and it also works for inlay work. 

The edge guide comes with a plunge router attachment. In woodwork, the attachment is ideal for DIY projects that include routing. 

Hold the router slanted

As soon as you get the proper router bits with all the safety precautions observed, turn on the routing tool. Hold it slightly slanted so that you start using the side of the bit. Please avoid using the tip of the bit since it does make perfect cuts. The angle of the router has to be at an angle that creates a slide in the wood. Make your way in the wood and hold the router upright. 

Set your speed and start moving

As you set your speed, make sure your router bit is cool. Move the router slowly when you are working on hardwoods. When working on plexiglass, keep the speed low so that you do not damage your wood material. 

Each router bit comes with an instructional manual that gives you information on how to control your speed. Rout in stages so that you get time to study your rotary speed and material. Do not move more than 3mm of your material at once. 

Set the router’s depth to 3mm and run it in three phases. Make sure you test your router on scrap material before you start working on the actual wood material. 

Finish

Choose your favorite spray paint and apply a coat on the whole surface. Allow it to dry and sand the surface using 60 grit, 150 grit, and 220 grit—round over the edge for a decorative finish using a different bit. Use your favorite coat to protect the wood and the paint. You should also see How to use a Dremel as a Router & How to cut a Groove in Wood with a Dremel.

David D. Hughes

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