Here you will find a quick reference guide to all the accessories and attachments I have used with my Dremel 4000. The Dremel website provides only dry official info about each. My intent is to give more of a real-world perspective and describe how I use the accessories for different projects, how well they work for their intended and unintended uses, and any other tidbits of useful info I’ve come by during my work.
(Some good info about the different categories of accessories can be found in this blog post from Blue Roof Designs.)
In no particular order:
The Dremel 191 high speed cutter. The bit is the same diameter as the shank – 1/8″ (3.2mm). The cutter does a good job of chewing through soft woods, though I have yet to use it on anything else. My most common use for this accessory is to remove material left over between pre-drilled holes when I’m trying to cut out an internal portion of something.
Update: As I’ve written in this post, I have now used this accessory on a clay pot, as a result of which I no longer have a 191 high speed cutter.
The Dremel 150 drill bit is perhaps the least exciting of the accessories. It is a very average drill bit, 1/8″ (3.2mm) in diameter, suitable for working with wood and soft metals. That said, it has been an essential part of all my projects so far. I’ve been using it mostly for drilling pilot holes that were then enlarged by the 191 cutter, or for marking a line of cut before using cut-off wheels. If your Dremel tool didn’t come with one, or you need a replacement, you can buy them individually or (and this is probably much more useful) as part of a drill bit kit or a larger 160-piece accessory kit.
Update: As described here, the 150 drill bit snapped while trying to drill through 4mm plywood. It is not that the bit is poorly made, but rather that, being a general-purpose bit, it lacks a brad point on its tip, which would have allowed it to dig into the wood and stay on point. I have since purchased a wood-specific drill bit (non-Dremel), and have found it to perform infinitely better when drilling plywood and solid wood than the 150 ever did.
Dremel 407 sanding drum & mandrel with 408 60-grit & 432 120-grit sanding bands. These accessories have been truly indispensable. The rough 60-grit bands remove soft wood very aggressively, and one must be careful not to go too far. I usually leave ~1mm before I reach the edge of the final shape and switch to the smoother 120-grit band for the final shaping. I find that when using either band, it is very important to move the rotary tool side-to-side instead of back and forth (i.e. perpendicular to the axis of rotation, not along it), because otherwise it’s very easy to sand an unexpectedly deep groove into the material.
The 407 drum & mandrel that came with my Dremel 4000-1/45 are of the screw-down variety, meaning that I need to use the included screwdriver/wrench to swap the sanding bands. Getting the EZ407SA EZ Drum Mandrel is highly recommended – it can be purchased individually or as part of the EZ Lock / EZ Drum kit.
Dremel 411 & 413 sanding discs. Very simply, small discs of sandpaper with a hole through the centre. These come in grit 180 and 240 (with grit 220 – part # 412 – also available) for finer, gentler sanding than that done by the sanding bands above. The hole allows the discs to be attached to the 402 mandrel, as shown in the photo, and this attachment method is, to me, their biggest shortcoming. The protruding screw head prevents the discs from being used flush agains a surface. Instead, one must position the Dremel tool at an angle and use a portion of the disc, relying on its flexibility to do the work as shown in the sketch on the right.
This is the great advantage of the EZ Lock versions of the sanding discs – they do not have anything protruding on their business side and can be used flush agains a surface. They are also easier to change and, Dremel claims, last two times longer. Of course, the EZ Lock sanding discs are also more expensive.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the discs’ extreme flexibility makes them behave in a particular way on softwood – as I wrote in my of my first posts, they’ll wear away the softer material quickly, but will have less impact on the harder “veins”. The final result – a wavy texture – can actually be quite appealing, but may not be suitable every time. If I don’t want the wavy effect, I use the very hard 932 grinding stone for the final finishing of my wooden pieces.
An additional undocumented use for the sanding discs is to use their edges to cut through very soft materials. This can yield a very thin cut if one is careful, but wears away the discs at an extremely fast rate (that’s how the top right sanding disc in the picture above got to be so small). Expect to smell burning paper 🙂
Standard Dremel sanding discs can be bought in packs of 36: 411 (180 grit, coarse), 412 (220 grit, medium) & 413 (240 grit, fine). The corresponding EZ Lock part numbers come, confusingly, in different grits: EZ411SA (60 grit, very coarse), EZ412SA (120 grit, coarse) & EZ413SA (240 grit, fine). You also need the 402 mandrel for the regular discs, or the EZ402 EZ Lock mandrel for the EZ Lock discs. Alternatively, Dremel offers kits 686-01 and EZ686-01 that include regular or EZ Lock sanding discs, respectively.
Dremel 932 aluminum oxide grinding stone (orange cylinder) & 85422 silicon carbide grinding stone (green wheel). I have yet to use either of these accessories for their intended purpose of grinding metals (932) or ceramics and masonry (85422). However, I have used both on wood. As detailed in a few posts, I use the 932 cylinder to put finishing touches on things made out of softwood. Being much more solid than sanding discs or bands, it finishes the surface evenly without distinguishing between the harder “veins” and the softer parts in between. I also use it to smooth down sharp edges. However, it does not remove a lot of material, so actual shaping must be done with something more aggressive.
I’ve only used the 85422 grinding stone once so far, on plywood, and it appears to be more aggressive than the 932. So far, I’ve found the latter’s cylindrical shape more useful overall, but your mileage may vary.
The two grinding stones can be purchased individually through the links above, or together with 29 other sanding / grinding accessories in the 686-01 kit.
Dremel 414 felt polishing wheel and 422 polishing tip. These small accessories are made of hard-packed felt and are meant for polishing metals and plastics. In my fork polishing test, the 414 wheel, used with the 421 polishing compound, gave the shiniest and smoothest finish of the 4 different accessories I tested. To use the felt wheel with the 421 compound, I simply started up the Dremel and then gently touched the spinning wheel to the surface of the polishing compound to coat it more or less evenly. Briefly polishing a small part of a fork handle left the 414 wheel black with whatever it was that came off the metal, plus the 421 compound, so it is now limited to doing similar sort of work in the future. Of course, being very mild and non-abrasive, these pieces of felt won’t do much to a very rough surface, and will have to be preceded by something more aggressive. Their best use, in my mind, would be in restoring an antique metal object, especially one with small and intricate surfaces, to a nice lustrous shine.
I have also used the 414 polishing wheel, without the 421 compound, on wood and plywood, and found that it improved the appearance of the surface, making it lighter and cleaner by removing dirt and other residue.
In addition to being sold individually in packs of 6, these two polishing accessories are available as part of the 684-01 Clean & Polish kit, which also includes a jar of the 421 polishing compound.
As I have yet to use the EZ456 1-1/2″ EZ Lock cut-off wheels on metal, I can only write about what they are not good at: cutting wood. They can do so in a pinch, but it’s not a pleasant process. The wood will smoke and the cut will be charred. To avoid actually setting things on fire, I don’t do one continuous cut but go back and forth a bit, allowing the wood and the cut-off wheel to cool and letting the smouldering sawdust drop out of the cut.
More importantly, it must be kept in mind that these wheels are really designed for short cuts, such as trimming off bolts, cutting through padlock shackles or – something Dremel mentions a lot for some reason – re-slotting stripped screw heads. Whether working with wood or metal, the cut-off wheels will not do a good job with longer cuts, nor are they, obviously, suited for intricate cutting. This is an accessory for fast, aggressive and brief cuts.
Among other reasons, any extensive cuts with the EZ456 wheels, or any cut-off wheels for that matter, will be hampered by the rotary tool’s geometry, as shown on the right. The diameter of the wheels is smaller than that of the Dremel 4000, meaning that only cuts within a few inches of easily accessible edges are not hampered by the tool’s body. Internal cuts can be made with the tool held at an angle, though this is difficult to do well and, obviously, won’t give you a perpendicular cut. Two ways to make things easier involve using either the 225 flex shaft or the 575 right-angle attachment. The diameter of the flex shaft’s grip or the 575’s perpendicular part is smaller than the 4000’s, placing the wheel’s axis closer, though still not very close, to the material it’s cutting.
All in all, my woodworking projects simply don’t give these metal cut-off wheels a suitable challenge. While they don’t perform well in their unintended uses, I have no reason to doubt their efficiency in doing what they were made to do – make short cuts in metal. EZ456 cut-off wheels can be purchased as a pack of 5 wheels, as 5 wheels plus the EZ402 EZ Lock mandrel in the EZ406 starter kit, or as part of the EZ688-01 EZ Lock cutting kit.
Dremel 511E EZ Lock finishing abrasive buff. My 4000-1/45 kit came with one of these buffs. Since the product code 511E refers to a two-pack of buffs, one 180-grit and one 280-grit, I have no way of telling whether mine is the coarse or the medium version. (Fine 320-grit EZ Lock buffs are also available as 512E.) The buff in my kit (probably 180-grit) did a very decent job of finishing various wood pieces, such as the very first ring I made. It can be thought of as mild, spongy sandpaper, and is quite useful for smoothing cut edges, removing tiny splinters, and generally cleaning up a wooden surface (including erasing pencil marks). On plywood, some caution is needed, as the buff can splinter the material’s edges if applied perpendicularly to them.
In the only instance I used it on metal, the 511E buff gave a very attractive brushed finish to a stainless steel fork handle, while smoothing away or masking tiny scratches and scrapes on its surface.
The downside of the abrasive buff has been its longevity or, rather, lack thereof. This accessory cannot be used above 15,000 rpm, but even at that speed a small number of its tiny bristles gets ejected by the centrifugal force. Upon contact with another material, especially edges and corners, the ejection rate increases and, on top of that, the bristles begin to break off at the point of contact. My 511E buff, which has seen moderate use, is now half its former size that is shown in the photo. The take-home message, then, is that this is a rather useful accessory, but one that should be thought of as disposable, in the same category as sanding discs or cut-off wheels.
Unlike the EZ Lock cut-off wheels, the 511 finishing buffs can be used with both the EZ402 EZ Lock mandrel and the screw-down 402 mandrel. The buffs are available as a set of one 180-grit and one 280-grit or a two-pack of 320-grit buffs. All three grits can be found in the EZ684-01 kit, while individual buffs are also included in the EZ686-01 and 686-01 kits.
Coming at some point in the future:
- 401, 402 & EZ402 mandrels
- 425 emory impregnated polishing wheel
- 403 nylon bristle brush
- 421 polishing compound
- 225 flex shaft attachment