Everything you need to know about rotary tools

December 23, 2014

For small scale jobs like home improvements, hobby construction, crafts and customizing, there are a million applications for a rotary tool.

Everything you need to know about rotary tools

Rotary tools are hand-held power tools with a somewhat low torque spinning end. The low torque means you can hold them freehand and use them safely as an everyday person. The spinning end is what allows you to get the work done. There’s a wide variety of attachments for rotary tools, spanning everything from polishing, carving, sanding, cutting and many other things.

Sizes of rotary tools

Rotary tools come in various sizes and levels of torque depending on their intended use. Obviously, if you’re using it with a cutting wheel attachment to cut something, it’s going to require a bit more juice than if you're using it to polish something shiny, and so on. So, pick the rotary tool that best responds to your intended use. For small jobs, a smaller tool can be more precise and use less power, while for big jobs, you'll want to use an adequate level of power so you don’t burn out the tool or do a shoddy job.

So what do you use them for?

One popular use for rotary tools is carving and engraving. For this job, you need a set of engraving bits, which can come in various materials, and often have diamond-coated ends in order to be able to carve and engrave highly durable or difficult materials like aluminum, steel, glass and tile.

The next category is cutting. For this, you need a set of cutting wheels. They’re discs made of an abrasive material that, when spun at high speeds, can cut though wood, Plexiglas and the like. There are also fibreglass cutting wheels for tougher jobs, like aluminum, wood and so on.

Sharpening and grinding bits are also available in a variety of shapes for different jobs. They can be used to grind down objects to size, reshape objects, or sharpen and refine edges of a variety of materials.

Likewise, you can use the rotary tool for sanding. Because the sanding bit spins, it can be much easier and more consistent than doing it by hand, but much more precise than a full sanding machine. The next step down from sanding is, of course, polishing. With the right bit, you can use your rotary tool  to polish just about any material in an efficient and precise manner. And this is just the beginning. There are as many attachments for these tools as you could possibly imagine.

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