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Dremel Type
High Speed Drilling and Grinding Machine

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Various operations can be performed or made easier using Dremel tools or similar ones of alternative manufacture.

The term Dremel has become synonymous with the type rather than as a specific trade name (like 'Hoover' for 'vacuum cleaner).

When I was in business I had several mains driven Dremel drills that either ran at 30,000 RPM fixed speed or were variable from 10,000 to 25,000 RPM. They gave good service and drilled many millions of holes in fibreglass printed circuits without any failures, although the drill stands tended to wear out after a few years of more or less continuous daily use.

Since my business failed my need for this type of equipment has been slight and very intermittent and so I use a relatively inexpensive version that is illustrated below.

Hilka drill, mains version

It is mains powered, has four preset speeds of 15,000, 20,000, 25,000 and 30,000 RPM. The motor is 110 Watts and it is equipped with a 3 jaw chuck as well as a set of collets. It came in a box with about fifty... burrs, polishing mops, sanding drums, sanding discs, small diameter drills etc.. It was not expensive at about one third of the Dremel equivalent and has proved a very useful and versatile tool.

Hand held printed circuit drill
PCB drill, handheld inexpensive type The cylindrical red version that is illustrated at left... Is commonly available and does not cost very much. They are available with a 3 jaw adjustable chuck or with sets of collets.

They are rated at a nominal 12v DC and can be run from a car battery... I have several variable voltage power supplies, and in any case, I am a radio amateur and I have 12v DC outlets alongside the mains ones in my living rooms, and several more in my workshop.

One disadvantage of this type is that the plain bearings are relatively exposed and if you use grinding burrs and cutting discs the residue of grit causes the bearings wear out after a few years. They cost so little that this is not a big issue.

As far as beekeeping is concerned such drills are used in maintenance roles rather than directly. I use mine for making hive numbers or engraving and small grinding jobs... Especially in the making of bits and pieces for use in instrumental insemination.

Accessory Bits and Cutters

These are of many types quality and price vary considerably, but the most expensive is not always the best. Two mandrel sizes are common... 2.3 mm and 3.15/3.2 mm with 3.2 mm being the upper limit that most chucks or collet systems will accept.

The various types are illustrated below (more will be added from time to time). Hover your mouse over the picture for the details.

HSS burrs 5 mm HSS Ball Burr with 2.3 mm shank HSS arrow point burr
Abrasive cutting discs future cutting disc picture
Grinding points
Sanding drums
Sanding discs
Polishing mops

Various other cutters intended for use with conventional electric drills can be accessed via this link.

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Written... 20 March 2002