Rotary Tool

This machine is working fine.

Unfinished SOP

This procedure is unfinished! Any instructions in here may be incomplete or incorrect.

Table of Contents

About this Machine

These tools are useful for making small, detailed cuts and removing sharp edges/burrs from parts. They’re like angle grinders, but really tiny.

With enough patience and manual dexterity, they can do almost anything. With the appropriate choice of cutting head, they can cut everything from soft plastics and wood to hardened steel.

The 8220 and 4000 models are essentially the same tool, one just has a battery and the other has a cord.

Machine Safety

This is a tiny spinning cutter. It can give you lacerations, throw metal chips into people’s eyes, or grab loose things.

How to Get Help

TODO: Include a list of which documents, websites, people, or mailing lists should be consulted in case of problems.

In the case of equipment failure or operation concerns, turn off the rotary tool, remove or unplug the power source for the rotary tool, and communicate with an EPL manager immediately.

Using this Machine

These sections describe the standard usage and common pitfalls.

Choosing a Cutting Head

There are a lot of available attachments for these tools. Only some of them may be available in the lab. If you need a specialized tool, you may need to purchase it yourself or ask a manager if the lab can purchase one.

Sanding Drums

These are just cylinders of sand paper. They’re useful for smoothing rough edges and removing small amounts of material. They aren’t suitable for removing lots of material, since they wear out quickly. Don’t run these head excessively fast in flammable materials like wood or plastic, since they generate a lot of heat.

Replacing a Sanding Drum

These drums are disposable, however their holders are usually not disposable.

  1. Make sure the tool is unplugged and turned off.
  2. Hold down the spindle locking button, just above the power switch.
  3. Loosen the fastener on the end of the drum holder.
  4. Slide the drum off of the holder and replace it with a new drum.
  5. Tighten the fastener on the end of the holder.

Diamond Burrs

These are just pieces of metal with diamonds embedded in the surface. These are good for removing small amounts of hard materials. These should not be used on soft metals like aluminum, copper, or brass. Those metals tend to clog the tool.

Abrasive Discs

These are made of a very hard dust held together with some sort of binder. They are good for making thin cuts in any material. These heads are usually very delicate and can fly apart during use. You can help prevent this by making straight cuts and not changing the orientation of the cutting plane. These are only meant to cut on the edge of the disk, not the face!

Grinding Stones

These are like abrasive discs, but thicc and usually more coarse. These play a similar role to sanding drums. They’re a little more durable than drums or discs, and more expensive.


These have cutting blades and work similar to an end mill. They’re good for removing lots of material from wood, plastic, and soft metal.


These are similar to cutters but with “claws” instead of blades. They’re good for removing lots of soft material, like wood or plastic. They leave a rough surface finish.


These should not be run above 15 000 RPM (half speed)! Running brushes at higher speed can eject the wires.

These are a bunch of wires. Metal brushes are used to remove surface corrosion and leave a nice “brushed” surface. Plastic brushes are good for cleaning. Be aware than wires will occasionally fly off of the brush during use. You can mitigate this by only applying gentle pressure. “Mashing” the brush into your work piece will case excessive wear on the brush.

Polishing Wheels

These are usually made of felt or sewn layers of cotton fabric. They can be charged/impregnated with abrasive compound to polish parts. You can get a mirror finish this way.


These are just ordinary twist drills. It can be difficult to keep a rotary tool straight when drilling. If you can, consider using the drill press instead.


TODO: Describe how to check that the machine is okay to use. TODO: Describe make the machine ready to use.

Removing a Cutting Head

  1. Make sure the tool is off and unplugged.
  2. Hold down the spindle locking button, just above the power switch.
  3. Use the small wrench to loosen the collet at the end of the tool. This is the knurled bit that spins with the cutting head.
  4. Remove the cutting head. If it’s an abrasive disc, be careful not to pull on the disc itself.

Attaching a Cutting Head

  1. Insert the cutting head into the spindle.
    • You may need to loosen the collet a little.
  2. Hold down the spindle locking button, just above the power switch.
  3. Use the small wrench to tighten the collet .


TODO: Show how to actually do the thing.

Picture of the Tool In Use Cutting with a Dremel


  1. Set the tool to the lowest speed setting, and make sure the power switch is in the off position.
  2. Let a manager know if a cutting head was damaged or broken while you were using this machine.
    • If you think something was too damaged to be put back in the kit, let a manager know.
  3. Return all cutting heads and accessories to the tool kit(s).
  4. Clean and return the tool kit(s) and rotary tool to the tool cabinet.
  5. Vacuum up the work area, including any surrounding work areas which may have collected dust/cuttings/swarf.
    • Leave the lab a little bit cleaner than you found it! 😇

Tips and Tricks

TODO: List some sections describing advanced techniques.