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Tools 101: How to Use a Rotary Tool

*How to use a rotary tool is sponsored by The Home Depot and contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

A rotary tool is a versatile and powerful tool that can be used in many different ways. A rotary tool has an electric motor inside that spins a shaft with sharp cutting bits on the end to cut through tough materials like wood, metal, plastic, stone, etc. There are also sanding attachments for smoothing rough surfaces and polishing them up to a beautiful finish. The versatility of this power hand tool makes it one of the most popular tools in any carpenter’s arsenal. This blog post will show you how best to use your rotary tool safely and effectively!

What is a Rotary Tool?

It’s a handheld battery-powered or corded motor-driven tool with a tip to attach accessories and or tools to do tasks. It usually makes a whizzing or whining sound when turned on.

Chances are you have been using a rotary tool all along and didn’t even know it.  Yes! Want to bet you have picked up a small compact handheld battery or wired motor-driven device that when powered on makes a high-speed whizzing or whining sound while you perform some task with it. Just think of your last dental cleaning and the sound of the handheld device the dental tech used to polish your “pearlies.” Yep, that’s a rotary device. Your electronic toothbrush is a limited-use rotary tool.

A rotary tool is a handheld device with a fast rotating motor, with variable speeds typically between 5,000 – 35,000 rotations per minute (RPM). A rotary tool’s accessories do a variety of tasks like cutting, sanding, polishing, making holes, engraving.

What can you do with a Rotary tool

There are so many things you can do with a rotary tool, from engraving to making jewelry. It’s used by manufacturers, artists, hobbyists, contractors, woodworkers, and even homeowners in household projects. A rotary tool can be used for shaping, cutting, and even sanding, grinding, sharpening, carving, drilling, and even routing. You can use it to make custom templates to trace onto your material or even cut shapes out of sheets.

How to operate a Rotary Tool

OK, So here’s how you use a rotary tool. First, ensure the device is turned off and the power source is disconnected. Remove the battery if battery operated or unplug the device.

To loosen, first press the shaft lock button and rotate the shaft by hand until the lock engages the shaft preventing further rotation. Use the collet wrench to loosen the collet nut and insert the desired bit. Retighten the nut ensuring the bit is secure.

Bit selection – How do you know which bit to use?

With so many bit options to choose from, it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to determine when and where to use a particular bit. But ultimately it’s the job or task that determines which bit is right for you. And when in doubt, I say utilize Dremel’s accessory selection directory.

Cutting Bits:

Carving and Engraving Bits:

Drilling/ routing Bits:

Sanding and Grinding Bits:

Etching Bits:

Tools I recommend


DREMEL 4300 Series 1.8 Amp Variable Speed Corded Rotary Tool Kit with Mounted Light, 40 Accessories, 5 Attachments, and Case.  – It’s Dremel’s most powerful 1.8 Amp motor rotary tool. And allows tool-less and collet-less accessory changes with the inclusion of the 3-jaw chuck. 


Dremel Lite 7760 Cordless Rotary Tool Kit with 10 Accessories – This is a great lightweight easy to use rotary tool. Perfect for beginners who want to do light sanding and engraving projects.

 Dremel 8220 Series Cordless Rotary Tool Kit – You can do just about anything with this that you can do with a corded Dremel offering the highest performance and versatility of all Dremel cordless rotary tools. It has a slim ergonomic body that provides a 360-degree grip zone for control in any position. This battery-operated rotary tool has a long run time when fully charged. And its battery fully charges within 1 hour or less and is compatible with Dremel 876 charger.

For more easy to follow tool tutorials visit:

Tools 101: How to use a miter saw

Tools 101: How to Use a Jigsaw

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the THDProSpective 2020 Campaign. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot and its partners. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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