If you are into woodworking, you might have wondered if you can use a Dremel tool as a router. After all, both tools use a spinning bit to cut or shape wood and other materials. However, there are some significant differences between a Dremel and a router that you should know before you decide which one to use for your project. In this article, we will compare the two tools and answer the question: can a Dremel cut like a router?
The short answer is no, a Dremel cannot cut like a router. A Dremel is a rotary tool that is designed for small, detailed work, such as carving, engraving, sanding, and polishing. A router is a woodworking tool that is used for milling wood, creating grooves, edges, slots, and decorative patterns. A router is more powerful, faster, and larger than a Dremel, and can handle bigger and thicker bits. A Dremel is more versatile, lightweight, and precise than a router, but it can only remove a small amount of material at a time.
Understand why a Dremel cannot cut like a router
To understand why a Dremel cannot cut like a router, let’s take a closer look at the main differences between the two tools.
A Dremel and a router have very different designs, which reflect their different functions and scales of operation. A Dremel is a handheld tool that looks like a thick pencil or an electric toothbrush. It has a rotating spindle with a collet that holds a tool bit at the end. The tool bit can be changed depending on the type of material and task. A Dremel is small, lightweight, and easy to maneuver, which is ideal for fine and intricate work. A Dremel can be operated with one hand, allowing you to use your other hand for steadying the material or guiding the tool.
A router, on the other hand, is a larger and heavier tool that requires two hands to operate. Most routers have a flat base, and the bit protrudes from the center, cutting into the wood as the tool is guided over it. There are two main types of routers: fixed-base and plunge routers. Fixed-base routers have a fixed depth that is set before cutting, and are best for straight and precise cuts. Plunge routers have a spring-loaded base that allows the bit to plunge into the wood, and are best for cutting variable depths and shapes.
The collet size of the two tools is another noticeable difference that affects their performance. The collet is the part of the tool that holds the bit in place. Dremels only have 1/8-inch collets, which means they can only take bits with a diameter of 1/8 inch or less. Routers have 1/4-inch collets or larger, which means they can take thicker and longer bits. This means that a router can cut deeper and wider than a Dremel, and can handle more types of bits, such as straight, spiral, flush-trim, rabbeting, chamfer, round-over, and dovetail bits.
Another major difference between the two tools is their power. Routers are much more powerful than Dremels, and can handle harder and thicker materials. Dremels have motors that range from 1.6 to 2.4 amps, which is enough for soft materials like wood, plastic, and metal. Routers have motors that range from 5.6 to 15 amps, which is enough for hard materials like hardwood, plywood, MDF, and laminate. Routers can also cut through materials faster and more efficiently than Dremels, as they can remove more material in one pass.
Along with more power, routers also have higher speeds than Dremels. The speed of a tool is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), which is the number of times the bit rotates in one minute. Dremels have speeds that range from 5,000 to 35,000 RPM, which is good for delicate and precise work. Routers have speeds that range from 15,000 to 35,000 RPM, which is good for smooth and clean cuts. Routers also have variable speed controls, which allow you to adjust the speed depending on the material and the bit. Dremels have speed controls too, but they are less precise and more limited.
One area where Dremels have an advantage over routers is their versatility. Dremels can do more than just cutting and shaping wood. They can also be used for carving, engraving, sanding, polishing, drilling, and grinding various materials, such as glass, ceramic, metal, and stone. Dremels can also be used with different attachments and accessories, such as cutting guides, circle cutters, flex shafts, and detailers. Dremels are also more portable and easier to store than routers, as they take up less space and can be used in tight and hard-to-reach areas.
Routers, on the other hand, are more specialized and focused on woodworking. They can do more than just cutting and shaping wood, but not as much as Dremels. They can also be used for joinery, such as making dovetails, mortises, and tenons, and for decorative work, such as making inlays, signs, and letters. Routers can also be used with different attachments and accessories, such as router tables, jigs, fences, and templates. Routers are less portable and harder to store than Dremels, as they take up more space and require a stable and flat surface to work on.
As you can see, a Dremel and a router are very different tools that have different strengths and weaknesses. A Dremel is a versatile and precise tool that can be used for small and detailed work, but it cannot cut like a router. A router is a powerful and fast tool that can be used for milling wood and creating grooves, edges, and patterns, but it is not as versatile and precise as a Dremel. Therefore, the best tool for your project depends on the type, size, and complexity of the work you want to do. If you need to cut or shape wood on a large scale, a router is the right choice for you. If you need to carve, engrave, sand, or polish various materials on a small scale, a Dremel is the right choice for you.