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Using a Dremel to make the holes?

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  • Using a Dremel to make the holes?

    I've been using my drill press to make the holes for inside cuts but have been thinking about changing over to my Dremel. My drill press is an older one and uses the key for drill changes so it takes more time and is difficult. I'd like to get pros and cons on making this change to a hand held Dremel with a 1/16 or smaller bit.

  • #2
    I use a Dremel extensively but wouldn't dream of using it hand-held to drill holes for inside cuts. You need an accurate vertical hole for this, especially when using fine blades; most of us can't hold a Dremel perfectly vertical.

    It's difficult to work on very large pieces because conventional drill presses don't have large enough throats to accept wide boards. Put the Dremel in a dedicated drill stand (they aren't that large, or expensive) and it becomes much more valuable for drilling holes prior to inside cuts. A Dremel in a drill stand can be moved over the piece itself very easily to drill into any size of board. Incidentally, mounting the Dremel in its drill stand and removing it is very simple - just a matter of tightening or loosening a couple of thumbscrews.

    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


    • #3

      I have a small battery operated dremel. i have used it on occasion for the purpose of drilling start holes for inside cuts, with good results, on my carvings like space between legs of charters where the angle or size of hole isent critical, i use the saw to remove bulk...

      although, i would'nt reccomend it for fretwork or veining.

      mikes workshop, as many other places has a small keyless chuck for around US.$9.50 for the little numbered bits it attaches in the current existing keyed chuch of your drill press, or pistol drill.

      or if you are a tinkerer you could try to adapt a $10.00 dremel finger tight chuck to your drillpress, with a hollow shaft.. that could be key tightened in the key chuck then exchanging the small bits would be key less,

      I did this with a old burnt out dremel by hacksawing the hollow motor shaft chuck end off,

      the problem i see is hand held dremel if used for veining wont make the holes 90 dregese and fine fretwork would get tough to keep the bit as small as you need to fit the blade and to thread the blade through
      starting the cut from the hole not being 90 may tear out more than you wish.

      but i use my portable dremel with a 1/16" bit all the time for inside cuts on non critical stuff..

      Dremel 1680 & Delta ss250 shopmaster


      • #4
        Using the dremel for pilot holes is not a real good choice. The only time I tried it I wound up with a 1/4 inch hole using a 1/16 inch bit. The thing "got away from me" and just kept chewing wood before I could get it turned off!!! I have a small proxxon drill press and the piece I was cutting at the time was too large for the throat of the press.
        If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!


        • #5
          I have used both my drill press and a small dremel for drilling holes. Pros and cons for both.
          There is an excellent plan for a parrallel arm jig that will keep the dremel perpendicular to your work for drilling those holes in the middle of a large piece.
          It is in one of Patrick Speilmans books, but I don't recall which one.
          I have a small pin vise pump drill I keep near my saw. It is great if you miss drilling one hole in pattern and don't want to run across the shop to set up the drill press again.
          I would only use it on thin material.
          I prefer drilling with a 1/32 bit. although I do jump up to 1/16 on thicker woods., just for ease of threading.
          The 1/32 helps when veining thin lines. although sometimes you have to slit the wood a little to get a thicker blade in.
          "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
          Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


          • #6
            I have a dremmel and I am thinking about getting a dremmel router table
            and a roundover bit. How thick of wood can you use effectively using
            this set up .I am doing mostly small projects but what is the biggest
            project you can use?
            Thanks ,
            Delta P-20


            • #7
              if you dont mind my 2 cents worth.
              i bought the old style router base attachment and the craftsman-sears router table for the dremel, i think sears is just a licened (OEM) other equeptment manf. part licensed by dremel with a sears sticker on it. it sure looks like the dremel table.//

              i have a 1/4th" and 1/8th" roundover bit for it. they have friction guide which will scortch wood.

              i found that when you really work the router the bit heats and loostens, so you got to go slow, i have rounded over oak 2x2 blocks with 1/4th" and 1/8th" bits without any problems, that i could blame on the setup, usualy its my fault by not tighting the fence or some other letting it wander.

              but making multi pass will always turn out better work when you remove less material per pas, other than crowding the bit and keeping the dremel under hard load.

              with the 1/8th" straight cutting bit i found it nice for making drawer joints and bottom datos for drawer bottoms and box bottom. sliding box tops ect, on small jewelry chests

              although it is a means to a end. i like the bigger router table for such jobs now that i have one.
              Dremel 1680 & Delta ss250 shopmaster


              • #8
                If no one objects I will throw my 2cents in here too. I would not use a dremel to drill holes nor to do router table work. The drill holes is a choice thing but a drill press is more acurate and easier.

                The router table is another thing. Just because it is small and the pieces you make are small do not and I say this loudly do not think this is not as dangerous as a larger router. Bad mistake. First a few facts. The roundover bits for the dremel are not carbide they are HSS which will dull faster than carbide. They are only 1/8" shaft so you can not put much sideward pessure on them which happens when routing roundovers. When used this way the chuck has a tendency to loosen and the bit may fly out or at least move and ruin the cut. The router bits do not have bearings on them to help eliminate the burned marks you will get on the edges from the bit rubbing. When using soft woods this will leave indentations or impressions where the bit is guided. You do not get this with bearings unless you over push. I would suggest you look at one of the new palm routers that are smaller than the standard routers so the intimidatin factor might not be there. You can use a small router table or even make you own. They have the capabilities to have dust collection, ease of raising and lowering through the table, and they use a more stable bit a 1/4" carbide bit with beaings. Pluss you can use this router for non table use also and will do as good a job as a standard router. To me this is a better, safer, and cheaper way to go. Take a look here. Now this is just my opinion.
                John T.


                • #9
                  Another option to consider is getting a 1/8" collet for a plunge router (assuming you have one). Then it will take Dremel style drill bits and plunge them through vertically. If you have a really small shop (I do), a few simple jigs make a plunge router pretty darn versatile. It's a joiner, thickness planer, wood burner (that's a joke, son ), carver, saw, dado cutter and it can round and shape board edges pretty will also...


                  • #10
                    Hi Bill

                    As Thomp says, inverting the Dremel in its dedicated router table means that you can machine wood to whatever shape the dimensions of the cutting bit will allow; but be warned that the bits do heat up and are best used to remove a little wood with each pass.

                    The Dremel router table scores over many conventional setups because the bit passes through a relatively small hole in the table and therefore offers more support to small pieces that are being routed.

                    I've been able to round over some very small pieces using a simple home-made jig which holds the piece from above whilst it is being routed. With such a setup, no fence is needed.

                    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


                    • #11
                      2 more cents..

                      Years ago i bought the old style rotor zip.

                      I GUESS I WAS THINKING ?
                      (WOW A 1/4" DREMEL WITH MORE POWER.) .grunt grunt.......

                      it had 1/4" collet & 1/4" to 1/8th" collet, and it could handle 1/4th router bits and 1/8th" dremel bits as well... what a idea...

                      I had christmas yard silouettes to make and a sleigh and 8 reindeer plus santa and elves...
                      To say the least i got them all made but at much more cost over run than expected for collets and spirial blades. finished with jigsaw.

                      WELL! as far as i know the 1/4 to 1/8 collett is the only thing that was usefull for woodworking, the bits are too limber and the base platform of stamped steel is too flemsy to be of much use other than drywall electrical receptical openings and some doorframe openings... the base will not hold 90 degreese, it could be welded in place but then you loose depth adjustment.

                      but i bought several rotorzip step down 1/4 to 1/8 th" collets and i did use them when i had to use my router to gear down for smaller bits, or drilling short holes for shelf dowle pins from a template.

                      which requires me to run a collet inside a collet "although i wouldnt advise this operation to those of faint heart or the ones that are afraid of flying objects," multi-collets are a make shift setup, its better to buy the right equiptment to begain with, I have since bought 1/8, 1/4, 5/8, 3/4 & 1" roundover carbide bits with bearings for both 1/4th and 1/2" shafts

                      rotorzip collets are made of soft untempered metal, they wear easily, and they burr up, they crack inside the collet which is under the bit locking nut where you wont see them in your router, unless you inspect every time you change a bit.

                      but, using a router for small objects i would reccomend a alternate table top with just enough blade clearance for the job at hand, and a variable speed on/off foot switch would be a great help especally for soft starts then you can speed up when your ready to apply load to the work.. and taper off as you finish the end... while using run out board helps to keep from getting splintering or tearout at the end of finish of a pass,

                      as mentioned before router bits with roller berings riding on the finished work works out the best, but bearings will lock up eventualy so keep them lubricated and replacement berings on hand.
                      Dremel 1680 & Delta ss250 shopmaster


                      • #12
                        I got a keyless chuck from Mike that fits into a keyed drill press chuck and it's great. It takes the small numbered drills as well as 1/16th and 1/8th and changing bits is now a snap.



                        • #13

                          hopefully the best $10. spent this month..

                          it should allow you to use the proper tool for the job..

                          years from now you'l forget the finish the wood species. but you will remember the mistakes - blemishes usually caused by using the wrong tool.
                          Dremel 1680 & Delta ss250 shopmaster


                          • #14

                            I Guess I'm The Odd Ball Here. All I Have Ever Used Is A And Held Dremel With A #68 Bt. I Get The Smaller Bits From Mike M. Of The Flying Dutchman Blades. If I Am Making A Fine Line Cut I Will Start The Saw Off Slowly So The Blade Does Not Wander As Much And I Will Quickly Make The Adjustment. It Would Be Great To Have A Mounting Tool For It But Havent Found One. Be Daring, It Can Be Done. Rain Man


                            • #15
                              okay so I am weird---

                              I guess I am weird because I love my dremel for routing and drilling-- As a matter of fact i seldom use my drill press anymore. I use my flex shaft on my dremmel an i am able to get the hole exactly where I want it as small as I want it. I also have the router attachment for my dremel and I love that too. I can only use the router on 1/2 if I am doing the complete side as in a roman contour -- a 3/4 or larger goes on the table router. I do have a scrap board under my piece when drilling my pilot hole also. I can use the tiniest of drill bits with my router so I really like that it means i have no teardrop lines on my spiral cuts. -- Sharon


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