How to Use a RotoZip to Cut Shapes

Written by mary lougee
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How to Use a RotoZip to Cut Shapes
You can make intricate yard decorations with a RotoZip tool. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Bosch manufactures the versatile RotoZip tool for cutting out detailed designs easily. The RotoZip is small and can move in any direction to cut out shapes, circles and any free-form design you wish, unlike saws that only move in one direction in a straight line. Woodworkers use this tool to cut intricate shapes out of plywood for holiday decorations to display in a yard.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Saw horses
  • Plywood
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Pattern
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Place a sheet of plywood between two sawhorses to support each end. You can draw a shape on the plywood freehand, or trace a paper or wooden pattern onto the surface. Hold the pattern in place with one hand and trace around it with the other.

  2. 2

    Press and hold the shaft lock button which is locate on the right side of the RotoZip. Turn the collet nut and shaft on the tool until the lock engages and it no longer turns. Place an adjustable wrench on the collet nut below the bit and turn it counterclockwise to loosen the nut. Insert a bit into the collet nut and tighten the nut clockwise.

  3. 3

    Insert a screwdriver into the rear of the depth guide screw. Turn it counterclockwise to loosen it and allow the depth guide to move up and down over the bit. Place the RotoZip on the plywood with the bit on the outside edge. Slide the guide up or down to position the tip of the bit so it is about 1/8-inch lower than the bottom of the plywood. Tighten the screw clockwise with a screwdriver to hold the depth guide in place.

  4. 4

    Slide the power switch to "I" to turn on the RotoZip. Stand in front of the plywood, place the guide next to the plywood and gently guide the bit into the wood. Guide the tool to the right to follow the lines of the shape. Continue cutting the shape in the same direction even if you need to walk to a different side of the plywood in order to reach. The correct direction will be counterclockwise from the starting point of the work in front of you.

  5. 5

    Cut the complete exterior shape out of the plywood and then exit the edge of the plywood with the RotoZip. Make interior cut outs on shapes by plunging the RotoZip straight down into the wood and following your lines. Slide the power switch to "O" to stop the tool and wait for the bit to stop turning. Pull the tool straight up and out of an interior cut.

Tips and warnings

  • Always work in a counterclockwise direction so that the bit, which turns clockwise, will not jump out of the wood.
  • A RotoZip removes a thin line of material from wood that is the same width as the bit. If you are cutting shapes that need to fit together, align the cutting guide with the outside of each line of the pattern to obtain the correct size of the shapes.
  • Adjusting the cutting guide so the bit is slightly longer than the material you are cutting keeps the bit from ripping or tearing the underside of your shapes.
  • Hold the tool with both hands to guide it easily along the wood and provide stability.

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