September 18, 2021

How to use a 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 an ideal tool 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 1/8 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. If you are still in doubt, we have already answered the question of Can you use a Dremel as a Router?

Dust extraction port

The Dremel comes with a dust extraction port that you attach to a vacuum hose. The dust extraction port allows a blowout of compressed air, and the routing machine produces dust. 

Look for a perfect-sized vacuum that fits the port. There are DIY and heavy-duty vacuums you choose from. Your choice depends on what you intend to use the tool for. Vacuums have different capacities that suit your needs. The dust extraction port keeps your work environment and your router clean, and that increases visibility. Inhaling dust causes diseases, and the dust port helps you get rid of the dust. 

Speed control

Dremel models come in different modes when it comes to speed. Some offer adjustable router speeds, and some have a single router speed. Single speeds allow consistency, and speed variance uses a proper Dremel speed for an application. 

Set your speed when your router is cool. Keep the speed low so that you do not damage your wood. Move the router slowly when you are working on hardwoods. 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. 

Material removal

Do not remove more than 3mm of material at once. Not enough material is removed at a time, and it is considered minimal performance on a large or standard size 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.

Best Router Bit

When choosing the best router bit, there are features to consider. Consider the shank size, material, sharpness, and project type. In this case, the focus is on router bits. 

Dremel 650 1/8-Inch Straight Routing Bit

The bit is a 1/8inch straight router bit that is easy to use. It is of high-grade steel, and the bit is ideal for soft materials and routing. It works well on tiny areas on your wood projects, and tiny details are brought to life.

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Setting up the Dremel

  • Choose the model of your choice. Look for one that suits your routing needs. Take one that is within your budget. The sizes of the model have to match your workspace. 
  • Go through the instructions in the manual. Since Dremel comes with multiple drill bits and attachments, the manual helps you choose the proper attachments for the task. Familiarise yourself with the speed controls and power buttons.
  • Put on your safety gear. These are gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses.
  • Practice inserting and securing bits. Insert a bit by placing the bit into the hole at the end of the Dremel and back it out slightly. Tighten the collet nut to keep the bit secure whilst the tool is off and unplugged. Some models have collets designed for quick and easy connection and release. They come in different sizes for use with different-sized accessory shanks.
  • Use the right bit for the job.
  • Make sure your Dremel is off before you plug it in. Turn it on to the lowest setting and practice switching to different speeds.
  • Use clamps or a vice to secure the material you are working on. 
  • Check your user’s manual to determine the correct speed for the job you have in mind.

Step by Step Guide

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 the 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 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 by the v-groove bit. While 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 Dremel 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. 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 it. Test your router on scrap material before you start working on the actual wood material. 

How to Rotate

A Dremel spins in a clockwise direction when looking from the side of the tool body. The rotation direction follows where the screw tightens. For right-handed users, the clockwise spin is beneficial. The torque generated by the cutting forces is easier to counter for most users when they have to hold down instead of up. 

It will be away from the user, and that is a  safer direction. The clockwise rotation direction makes the Dremel compatible with standard right-handed drill and milling bits. 

How to use clamps

The securing clamp of the base comes with a layer of soft material to keep your workbench sturdy and scratch-free. Mount the clamps on the workbench, and that gives you control over your project. 

The clamp is easy to disconnect, and you can use it separately to attach the workpiece to your workbench. The quick-release function allows you to release the workpiece just by pressing a button. The clamp jaws have removable rubber caps and V-grooves to increase grip and protection of your workpiece and eliminate the risk of scratches on your valuables while clamping.

David D. Hughes
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