How to cut plastic with a Dremel

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to cut plastic with a Dremel
Dremel tools will cut plastic. (large plastic pipes image by Yali Shi from

The Dremel company produces a line of cordless, handheld rotary tools that perform a variety of tasks including sanding, cutting and polishing. Their tools are often simply called Dremels and are useful tools for homeowners and hobbyists. Once the main unit is purchased, the owner can buy additional tips and accessories to extend the functionality of the device. Cutting plastic with a Dremel tool is possible but must be done carefully to avoid melting the plastic.

Things you need

  • Dry erase marker
  • Dremel rotary tool
  • 3 mm (1/8 inch) collet
  • High speed cutter
  • Safety glasses

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  1. 1

    Lay the plastic item on a table or other flat surface. Decide where you want to cut it and draw a line on the plastic using a dry erase marker or a china marker. Pencil does not transfer to the plastic and an ink pen will leave a permanent mark.

  2. 2

    Insert a 3 mm (1/8 inch) diameter collet into the end of the Dremel rotary tool with the metal post side facing the Dremel. A collet is a metal cylinder that holds the cutter in place. Most Dremels come with a 3 mm (1/8 inch) collet, but they are also available at most hardware shops.

  3. 3

    Place the collet nut onto the end of the collet and turn it clockwise with your fingers until it is tight.

  4. 4

    Insert a high speed cutter into the end of the collet nut. Depending on the model of Dremel tool, the metal rod of the cutter will either insert directly into the collet nut or it may screw in using a clockwise direction. A collet nut comes with all Dremel rotary tools.

  5. 5

    Turn the speed dial on the handle of the Dremel to the lowest setting, such as 5000 rpm. This will prevent the plastic from melting during cutting.

  6. 6

    Put on safety glasses and turn the Dremel power switch to "on."

  7. 7

    Place the tip of the cutter against the plastic and press down gently to begin cutting through the marked line. If you have difficulty cutting through the plastic, increase the speed of the Dremel tool slightly. Watch carefully for signs of melting and lower the speed back down if necessary.

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