How to Use a Dremel to Cut Through Metal

Written by tom price
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Although the Dremel Rotary tool is prized by many woodworkers and model builders, it also has other practical uses that can be employed in your everyday life. While most think of a Dremel tool as something that is used for carving intricate details in wood, it can also be used to cut off stripped screw heads, bolt heads, small rods, cable, or for cutting rectangular holes in sheet metal. All it takes is a basic knowledge of the tool and the right attachment.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sheet-metal
  • Permanent marker
  • Straight edge
  • Dremel Cutting Wheel Assembly
  • Small Slotted Screwdriver
  • Dremel Cutting Wheels

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  1. 1

    Mark a square on a piece of sheet metal using a straight edge and a permanent marker.

  2. 2

    Lock the tool shaft by depressing the shaft lock button located just above the switch in the handle of the tool.

    Loosen the collet nut by turning it counterclockwise by hand.

  3. 3

    Insert a Dremel cutting wheel assembly into the collet of the Dremel tool and tighten the nut by hand, while holding down the shaft lock button.

  4. 4

    Plug in the Dremel tool and push the on/off switch toward the end of the tool until the desired RPM is reached.

    It is better to start with a low RPM and graduate to higher RPMs depending upon the thickness of the sheet-metal being cut.

  5. 5

    Make contact between the rotating cutting wheel and the left side of the line on the sheet-metal.

    Keep mild pressure on the cutting wheel and let the wheel work through the sheet metal. Watch that the tool does not cut outside of the marked square, but does cut cleanly up to the 90 degree line intersecting the line being cut.

  6. 6

    Move the tool slowly to the right until the cutting wheel reaches the next line of the square and stop.

  7. 7

    Repeat the previous cut three more times rotating the sheet-metal to the left each time after completing the cut.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not let cutting wheels wear down to the point that it becomes difficult to cut with them.
  • Replace Dremel cutting wheels as they wear down by first unplugging the Dremel tool and holding down the shaft lock while unscrewing the screw and the end of the tool shank with a small slotted head screwdriver. Discard any of the remaining cutting wheel and install a new one by first inserting a screw through the hole in the middle then threading the screw into the tool shank and tightening the screw with the screwdriver while all the time holding the shaft lock button in the locked position.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with power tools.

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