aerial shot of dremel bits

Dremel Grinding Wheels: A Beginner's Guide

If you are thinking about purchasing your first Dremel, good for you. This versatile and easy-to-use tool could tackle so many jobs that we would be here for hours if we wanted to list them all.

One bit frequently used is a Dremel grinding wheel, a popular Dremel tip that can grind, sand, and clean various materials in no time.

Grinding wheels are popular for various industries and tasks, and the type of tip you need depends on the Dremel you have and the job you are looking to complete.

What Is a Dremel?


Man carving a heart on a block of wood with a Dremel bit

Dremel rotary power tools are small and fit comfortably in your hand. They come with a variety of bits and accessories to assist in cutting, sanding, etching, and much more.

One of the most popular jobs assigned to this tool is grinding. Understanding how to use your Dremel will ensure you get the cleanest and most accurate results.

Dremel’s typically come in kits consisting of the hand tool itself, various bits, a hard shell case, and multi-tool accessories (in some of the bigger options).

There are different types of Dremels to choose from. Each option differs in price range and quality. Some are designed for the professional level or frequent use, while others are more suited for occasional, general purpose use or DIY projects.

Types of Dremels include:

  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy and Strong
  • Fixed Speed
  • Variable Speed
  • Cordless
  • Corded
  • Extended Battery Life

How to Use a Dremel when Grinding

Using a Dremel rotary tool is extremely easy; anyone can figure it out. Before turning the tool on, you must plug it in or check to ensure it is fully charged (if you have the cordless option).

Safety First

Although the tool is small, it is still dangerous if run incorrectly. Before starting the Dremel, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying projectiles.

You may also want to wear safety gloves; grinding various materials can get hot or lead to chipping and cracking, causing cuts or other injuries. Gloves will also give you a tight grip when holding the tool.

Work in a clean space always. Keep objects, children, and pets away from your work area to prevent accidents.

Insert Your Bit

Now that you’re geared up and ready to go, it is time to insert the bit. You do this by placing the grinding wheel end of the bit into the end of the Dremel rotary tool. Tighten the Dremel by turning the top of it.

Wiggle the bit to double-check that it is tightly in place. The grinding end should be sticking out the top and unable to move.

Secure Your Materials

For most projects, you must secure the material you are working on before grinding into it. You can easily do this by clamping it down or placing it into a vice. This will keep your project in place and steady during use.

Power Your Dremel On

Flip the power switch on the Dremel to the “On” position. Most tools will offer high and low speeds. If you are new to the craft, you might want to start at a lower speed, increasing it as you feel comfortable.

Practice Your Technique

Although using a Dremel is fairly straightforward, it does take a little getting used to at first. Practice using the tool before working on any important projects. Practice controlling the grinding wheel and getting comfortable with the speed.

Different Types of Dremel Grinding Wheels

Different thicknesses and coarseness of Dremel grinding wheels

Now that you know how to use the Dremel, you should familiarize yourself with the types of grinding wheel bits out there. The two main options are a grinding stone and a grinding wheel.

A grinding stone is used to sharpen blades on knives, hatchets, axes, etc. A grinding wheel is disk-shaped and used to cut parts off metal pieces. Edge wheels or prep wheels are used to grind off rust or a stained or painted surface.

Types of Grinding Wheels for Your Dremel

There are a ton of different grinding wheels for your Dremel tool. The kind you choose depends on the type of job you are working. The choices range in size, materials, and shape.

Grinding Wheel Materials

There are three main parts to a Dremel grinding wheel. The first is the abrasive grain, then a bonding agent, and lastly, there is the empty space.

The abrasive grain is the wheel part that does the hard work. It comprises abrasive segments bonded together or mounted to a core, forming the wheel. These strong and secure particles allow the tool to grind away at hard metal, debris, and other surfaces.

The empty space is the porous section of the grinding wheel.

Abrasive Materials

  • Industrial-grade diamonds
  • Ceramic alumina
  • Zirconia
  • Aluminum oxide
  • Silicon carbide

Bonding Agents

  • Fiberglass
  • Resin

 Wheel Hub Materials

  • Steel
  • Carbon fiber
  • Bakelite
  • Aluminum

Types of Wheels for Every Material

Each wheel is designed to handle certain jobs. They can withstand varying max speeds and come in different thicknesses and diameters. These alterations of the wheel make them useful on specific materials.

  • Type of wheel for grinding hard metals: aluminum oxide and silicon carbide
  • Type of wheel for grinding ceramic: silicon carbide
  • Type of wheel for grinding glass: diamond or silicon carbide
  • Type of wheel for grinding aluminum: aluminum oxide

The wheel's shape differs depending on what you want to do with the tool and not so much about the material you are working with.

The grit size and grades are also important when it comes to grinding.

  • Coase grits: 12-24
  • Medium grits: 30-70
  • Fine grits: 80 and finer

Coarse grit grinding wheels are best used for large jobs that involve shaping, deburring, removing significant imperfections or debris, or any other tasks where the finish isn’t all that important.

A finer grit is best for small jobs requiring smoothing to a clean fine finish.

  • Soft grades: D through H
  • Medium grades: I through P
  • Hard grades: Q through Z

The grades of the wheel determine the hardness of the bond. The harder the bond, the more grinding force it can withstand. The higher the letter of the alphabet in the description, the harder the bond. Lower letters of the alphabet mean the bond is going to be weaker.

Final Thoughts

A Dremel is a great tool to have in your workspace to tackle any grinding tasks that may come up. Understanding the difference between each grinding wheel and what they are designed for will help you obtain the best possible outcome on every project.

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