Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you.
The Dremel has many different bits to use for sanding. The different sanding bits are made for different situations, some sanding bits are good for sanding flat surfaces, some are good for sanding corners and some are good for finishing off a project. So, how should we approach sanding with a Dremel?
Sanding with a Dremel can be done with a sanding drum, a sanding disc, an abrasive buff, and with your own homemade sanding bits. The different types of sanding bits are used for different applications.
All Dremel bits, mandrels, and attachments have been assigned a number. So throughout this article, I will use this number whenever talking about a certain bit. This makes it easier for you to google, research, and understand which bit I am talking about. (Ex. #408 = Sanding Drum)
Let me go into detail and introduce you to the different types of sanding with a Dremel and when to use the different types of sanding bits and attachments.
1. Using Sanding Drum With the Dremel
The sanding drum is by far the most used sanding attachment for the Dremel. It is the one I use the most and probably the one you are going to use the most as well.
Sanding Drum Sizes
Sanding Drums comes in one large size and one smaller size, the larger sanding drum is 1/2-inches (12.7mm) in diameter, and the smaller sanding drum is 1/4-inches (6.35mm) in diameter. Both are generally used for the same applications, but the smaller one is a little bit slower at sanding because it covers less surface, but the smaller one is better for more detailed work and getting into tight spaces.
Uses Of Sanding Drums
The sanding drums are the most universal sanding bits for the Dremel and can be used for most sanding jobs, but let’s go through some of the things they excel in.
The sanding drums are surprisingly effective at removing wood, especially if you use the lower grits. This makes them really good for wood carving small projects. If you like to wood carve small objects like hearts or pendants, the sanding drums are definitely a great option to use.
You can also use the sanding drums to sand metal, if you have done a cut I a metal pipe there will be some metal debris on the edges of the cut. By using the sanding drums the metal debris will be gone in no time.
The sanding drums are generally good at sanding wood, but I find it to be most useful if I need to sand smaller surfaces, for example, the protrusion of wood after I removed a screw.
Sanding Drums Are Not Good For
The sanding drums are not good for sanding larger surfaces, it is hard to sand evenly with the drums and if you want to sand a large flat surface I would use a tool made for the task like an orbit sander.
Sanding Drum Grits
Sanding drums for the Dremel can be obtained in grits ranging from #80 to#600. But I rarely use finer grits than #300.
Sanding Drum Buying tips
There are two types of sanding drums you can buy, the official Dremel brand or a cheap off-brand. The Dremel sanding bands are of higher quality and last longer but the cheaper ones are just so much cheaper. I would recommend buying a large pack of cheap sanding bands off amazon, they will last you for months, even years depending on your use.
2. Using Sanding Discs With The Dremel
The Two Types Of Sanding Discs
Sanding discs come in two different types, the first one is the sanding discs that use the Ez-lock system to attach the sanding discs. And the second types are the sanding discs that use the Screw Mandrel to attach the discs.
The difference between the two is that the EZ-Lock sanding discs are totally flat on the bottom so it is much simpler to use for sanding flat surfaces, and you can press the entire sanding disc onto the surface being sanded.
On the sanding discs that use the screw mandrel #402, the screw will be sticking out at the top of the disc. That forces you to hold the disc at an angle when sanding.
Uses Of Sanding Discs
The sanding discs can be used for reaching sharp angles in wood and steel that are so hard to get to. With a sanding disc, you can sand at angles steeper than 90 degrees which would be almost impossible to reach with the sanding drum mentioned above
Sanding discs are also very useful for removing rust and other impurities from metal and metal tools. If you have a rusty old wrench you want to restore you can sand it down to a clean finish with the sanding discs.
Dog nails can surprisingly also be trimmed with the sanding discs that Dremel makes.
Sanding Discs Are Not Good For
Sanding discs are fragile, and they break a lot. The sanding discs with the EZ-lock system are sturdier and break less often.
Sanding Disc Grit
Sanding discs can be obtained in grits from #60 to #240.
3. Sanding With Abrasive Buffs
The most common abrasive buffs for the Dremel are the #511 and #512. The Abrasive Buffs for Dremel uses the EZ-lock mandrel #SC402
Uses Of Abrasive Buffs
Abrasive buffs are best used for sanding uneven surfaces, removing rust, and finishing off a project to a smooth finish.
The reason abrasive buffs are so good for sanding uneven surfaces is that the material of the buffs will fill the voids while sanding without removing too much material. It will get into small cracks and waves in wood or metal and make a smooth finish on all sides.
Abrasive buffs are also great for removing rust and tarnish. I prefer to use the abrasive buffs over the sanding discs for removing rust and tarnish because the abrasive pads leave a smoother finish than the sanding discs.
Abrasive buffs can be obtained in superfine grits, this makes them great for finishing off a project to a nice finish.
Abrasive Buff Grits
Abrasive buffs can be obtained in grit rating from #180 to #320
4. Making Your Own Sanding Bits
A great way to save money and to have sanding bits for every situation is to make the sanding bits yourself. And it is surprisingly simple to make your own bits for the Dremel. As long as you can get the material to stick to a metal shank that is 1/8″ (3.2mm) or smaller it can be used in the Dremel.
You can for example use the Screw Mandrel #402, cut out some circles in some sandpaper to the size you want, and jam it in the screw mandrel. Now you have a perfectly good custom-size sanding disc.
When making your own sanding discs it is only your imagination that can limit the kind of bits you can create.
Check out this video of a guy making homemade bits.
Here Are My Favorite Dremel Tools, Bits, And Attachments:
Recommended Dremel: The Dremel 4000 with Flex Shaft is the Dremel I recommend. It is a little bit more expensive than the Dremel 3000 but the powerful 1.6 amp motor of the Dremel 4000 is worth the extra money.
Affordable Dremel: The Dremel 3000 is an affordable option and is a good Dremel to buy as well. Just know that it comes with a little less power and runs at a little bit lower RPMs
First Accessory: The Quick Change Chuck is the first accessory I would get for the Dremel. This makes it so much quicker and easier to change bits.