Can You Use Dremel Bits In A Regular Drill?

If you are looking to cut some materials, you might be considering using a regular drill. However, depending on the job in hand, you might need to get the right tool such as a Dremel rotary cutter. Does that mean you need to buy a new tool? Not exactly.

You can use Dremel bits in a regular drill if the rotary-tool head you are using doesn’t require high speeds. However, given their small diameters, Dremel bits need extremely high speeds to work well. If you use them in a drill on harder materials, they could get shattered due to the high torque.

In this article, we will take a deeper look into what makes a Dremel different from a regular drill, how it works, and whether it’s good to use Dremel bits in your drill.

Differences Between a Dremel and a Regular Drill

A Dremmel is a useful multi-purpose tool that’s quite popular with hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts.

A very handy tool, you can use it around the house, workbench, or workshop for various applications, home repairs, and general craftwork. The tool has found a happy home amongst jewelers, glass engravers, and stone carvers.

Below are some of the main features that differentiate a Dremel tool from a standard drill:

Dremel Offers Higher Speeds

A Dremel boasts a higher speed (rpm) capability than a regular drill though the latter has more torque.

Most regular drills have a maximum rpm of about 2200. A rotary tool, on the other hand, can turn 20,000 to 30,000 rpm.

This makes it work faster while using less pressure. The high speed also enables the tool to cut without catching on the material being worked on.

Dremel Is Easy to Use

What’s great about the Dremel is that it’s light and easy to use, which makes it very user friendly.

The hand-held tool is also comfortable to hold. Therefore, you can use it for intricate work like carving and fine engraving, especially if you use the flex shaft attachment.

It’s also ideal for working with small workpieces and in small, confined spaces.

The Dremel tool doesn’t rattle or vibrate. This allows you to be precise in your work and generate superb quality no matter what material you choose to work with.

Dremel Allows for Accessorising

The tool also allows for multiple attachments and accessories, which are very useful. You can mount drill bits on different sized shanks, making it possible to use the Dremel for different applications.

The key to getting the best results from the Dremel’s accessories is its high speed. You can also adjust the speed to one that is appropriate or comfortable to work with.

Dremels Are Multi-Purpose Tools

Drills are mainly used for drilling holes and driving screws, but Dremels have multiple uses. You can use them for:

  • Cutting
  • Sanding
  • Polishing
  • Grinding
  • Engraving
  • Routing
  • … and so much more.

However, the Dremel is not suited for drilling holes or driving screws.

You can also use a Dremel tool on various materials like wood, glass, metal, or plastic.

How a Dremel Works

Unlike the regular drill, which relies on its high torque, a Dremel depends on its high speed.

When you fit it with an appropriate bit ( burr), the Dremel can perform various tasks, including drilling, grinding, and cutting.

Dremel also features cleaning and polishing accessories such as brushes and rubber points. These work on steel, silver, aluminum, or gold.

Why Use a Dremel Over Your Regular Drill?

There are advantages to using a Dremel instead of your standard drill. Let’s have a look at some of them:

  • One challenge with using a regular drill is that it’s not designed for a lateral load. Rather, it’s meant to go straight in and out. A rotary tool, on the other hand, is designed to cut sideways. Lateral loads can destroy the bearings of your drill since it’s designed for end-on loads.
  • While a Dremel is a high-speed grinder, a drill doesn’t rotate as fast. It’s also not easy to hold for precision work like the Dremel, which is light and small.

Using Dremel Bits in Your Regular Drill

So, should you use Dremel bits in your regular drill? Before you even consider doing so, you need to have the points below in mind:

The Type of Material You Are Cutting

Consider the material as well as the thickness of the item you are cutting.

If you attach Dremel bits into your regular drill, they will require to run at speeds of between 20,000-35,000rpm to be effective.

Since the ideal rpm is inversely related to the bit diameter, this affects the cutting performance. While this might not affect operations such as drilling or working on soft materials, it is critical to achieve an effective grinding or use abrasive discs.

Dremel Bits Are Fragile

Dremel bits, especially cut-off wheels, are fragile. They also rely on peripheral speed, rather than pressure to cut smoothly and fast.

Hence, when you use Dremel bits in your regular drill, your drill tends to be very slow. Furthermore, you will need to apply a lot of pressure to move things along faster.

Using the smaller Dremel bits in a regular drill might, thus, turn out cumbersome.

Finally, if you are using your tool for continuous periods such as over many hours, the Dremel could get very hot.

Consider Your Safety

Another thing to bear in mind is that cut-off discs could pose a great danger if they were to break while spinning at high speed.

If you are cutting cable housing, for example, it might be safer to cut it using a housing cutter, then trim the cable ends using the cut-off wheels.

Note that you can get fiber-reinforced cut-off disks that are not as fragile. Still, these flexible shaft adapters limit you to the lower rpm a drill offers. Therefore, your sole benefit remains better dexterity.

Nevertheless, the flex shaft attachments allow you to use your regular drill and to avoid the cost of a new Dremel tool.

So, with the appropriate Dremel accessories, can you get away with using a drill?

Yes and no.

Ultimately, this depends on the job to be done. The great thing is that you can use any Dremel bit in a regular drill – while Dremels only accept bits that feature a specific size shank. This means you can’t use most drill bits in a Dremel.

Still, what you need is the right tool for the job. Cut-off wheels could do the trick as an example, but they would be too slow in a regular drill and hard to control also.

Final Thoughts

A Dremel has high rpm but low torque while a regular drill has low rpm but high torque. Due to this, some bits rely on the Dremel’s high speed to counteract its low torque.

So, instead of spending a chunk of money on a Dremel, why not buy the appropriate accessories? For instance, a drill head that resembles the wheel-cutter attachment you’d use on a Dremel. Problem solved, right?

Not quite. Since the Dremel lacks torque while a drill lacks speed, this makes them different tools with different uses.

Hence, you can’t use one in place of the other because fitting Dremel bits into your drill won’t give you optimal performance due to the low rpm.

But, in case of an emergency, you can go right ahead. Just know that your regular drill is not an ideal substitute for the multi-purpose Dremel.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers, tools owners!

Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.