In the first instalment, I gave my opinion on the Dremel 4000 rotary tool itself, the part that forms the core of the various kits. I wrote that overall I was very happy with the 4000 as a versatile and powerful platform for a wide variety of applications. This part of the review will focus on the accessories that come with the various Dremel 4000 kits. Rather than going through everything piece by piece, though, I’ll take a broad overview of what’s included in the purchase. Once again, I don’t want to pretend to be an expert, so please have a look at the rest of the blog, or at least at the Who Am I? page to put these opinions into a proper context.
First, a bit of explanation for Dremel’s terminology: Rotary tools have attachments and accessories. Accessories are the bits that actually come in contact with the material you are working on, while attachments are things that make work easier. You can have a look at the Let’s Get Up to Speed and Reference Guide pages for more info. Dremel’s naming scheme for the 4000 kits is the following: 4000-A/#, where “A” is the number of attachments included in the kit, and “#” is the number of accessories. “A” is typically small, in the 1-6 range, while “#” can be over 100 in some special edition kits.
One thing to be aware of is that the “#” can be somewhat misleading. It refers to the total number of accessories included in the kit, not to the number of unique accessories. When I unpacked my 4000-1/45 kit, I was dismayed to see that all the 45 accessories fit into a rather small box. This is hardly surprising, though, since the kit includes only 19 unique accessories. Almost half of the 45 pieces were sanding discs – tiny circles of sandpaper that occupy little space. On top of that, all 4000 kits come with 3-4 mandrels, which only act as holders for other accessories but are useless on their own. This numbering system for the Dremel kits is something to be aware of, otherwise it can lead to some early disappointment.
So, what sort of accessories do you get with the Dremel 4000? Dremel’s aim in assembling their kits appears to be to showcase the versatility of the tool. The company categorizes their rotary tool accessories into seven categories: Carving & Engraving, Cleaning & Polishing, Cutting, Grinding & Sharpening, Routing, Sanding, and Miscellaneous. Regardless of which kit you choose, the range of included accessories covers each category more or less evenly, with the sole exception being Routing accessories that are not included in any of the kits. This strategy makes sense: Dremel 4000 is a multi-functional tool with many potential applications, and including a broad range of accessories is a good way to show off the various things it can do.
The variety of accessories in Dremel 4000 kits is, in some ways, good for the amateur user. Without extensive prior handiwork experience or many specific ideas about what to do with the rotary tool, it is interesting to sample the different accessory categories and begin to see the possibilities the tool offers. Most likely, however, once the initial sampling is over, you’ll begin to focus on a specific set of applications for the 4000. So far, for me, that’s been woodworking and making toys, jewellery, and items of home decor. And at this stage, the shallow breadth of the included accessories becomes limiting. So, Dremel’s strategy makes sense once again: having gotten a taste of what the rotary tool can do, a new 4000 owner is very likely to quickly start giving the company more of his or her money in exchange for additional accessories.
With this in mind, it might be interesting to see Dremel release kits that are less “all over the place” and more focused on specific applications: wood, metal, etc., or even based on the company’s own categories – the Carving & Engraving kit, the Cutting kit, and so on. Together with that, it would be good to have the option of buying the rotary tool solo. Finally, the holy grail of this process would be to have a set price for a kit with a given number of accessories, and then let the buyers pick and choose their own options. Having written all this, I started wondering what I would have done had such options been available when I was making my purchase decision, and figured that, most likely, I still would have picked the same “a little bit of this, a little bit of that” introductory kit. At the time, having little first-hand knowledge of Dremel’s possibilities, that was the best way to get acquainted with the tool. Now, however, I would definitely take advantage of something more specialized, if it were available.
Having just now taken another look at the 3 North American Dremel 4000 kits, in terms of their accessories alone, I see little reason to buy one of the more expensive kits: the 3/34 and the 6/50 simply have a greater number of more-or-less the same accessories as the basic 2/30. However, another thing to consider are the attachments. I’ll write about these in the third instalment of my Dremel 4000 review, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.
Thanks for reading!