Both professionals and novices will feel comfortable using the Dremel rotary tool because of its small size, light weight and versatility. The Dremel easily transforms into a surface router with the addition of the plunge router attachment. You can construct a basic, all-purpose circle jig out of scrap wood that’s perfect for cutting circles with the Dremel router. The Dremel router is best suited for projects that require circles cut from thin panels of wood, acrylic, medium-density fiberboard, particle board and other materials with similar hardness.
Things You'll Need
- Piece of wood
- Dremel rotary tool
- Dremel drill bits
- Dremel plunge router attachment
- Dremel 650 router bit or similar straight router bit
- Dremel wrench
- Electric screwdriver
- Safety glasses
Choose the appropriate wood panel for your jig. The jig for cutting circles consists of a flat board, longer than the radius of the circle you're cutting. There are two holes at either end of the board. One hole is used as a router bit window so the bit can cut the material underneath when the jig swings around its pivot point. The other hole is fastened to the circle board with a screw and acts as a pivot point to rotate the jig around. The distance between the two points creates the radius of the final circle. Choose a wood panel for the jig that has a length at least 6 inches longer then the radius you need. The jig should be from 1/8 to ½ inch thick.
Prepare the jig. Choose two Dremel drill bits to make the holes in the jig. Attach a drill bit to the Dremel rotary tool that is slightly smaller than the screw you're using to attach the jig to the circle's material at the pivot point. Drill the pilot hole for the pivot screw in the center of one side of the jig 2 inches from its end. Measure the distance for your circle’s radius. Start your measurement at the pivot point's pilot hole and make a mark in pencil at the other end of the jig. Attach a drill bit that is larger than the router bit you will use for cutting. Drill a hole at the pencil mark to make the router bit window of the jig. This window will allow the bit to come through the jig, allowing the circle to be cut from the material underneath.
Set the Dremel rotary tool in the plunge router attachment and secure it in place with the Dremel wrench. The plunge router attachment is Dremel's router attachment that holds the Dremel rotary tool and allows the tool to be used as router. Position the router system so its routing bit fits in the jig's bit window. Screw the clear plastic section of the plunge router attachment to the circle jig using the electric screwdriver and short screws. Use three or four screws so the machine is securely connected.
Attach the straight router bit to the Dremel plunge router tool and secure it in place with the Dremel wrench. Adjust the routing depth of the bit by turning the mechanism on the side of the plunge router attachment. There are measurements drawn on the attachment to help set the depth. To calculate the depth of the router bit, add the height of the jig's wood to the height of the panel you're cutting. Make the router depth 1/4 inch deeper than the combined heights to enable a clean cut.
Sit the jig over the panel. Position the jig so that the pivot point is in the center of the panel you're using to cut a circle. Use the electric screwdriver to attach the jig to the panel with a screw placed through the pilot hole.
Cut the circle. Turn on the Dremel and lower the bit into the panel. With both hands on the machine, slowly rotate the router-jig system around the pivot point to cut the circle. When finished, turn off the Dremel and release the screw from the pivot point using the reverse function on the screwdriver.
Tips & Warnings
- For circles made out of thicker or harder materials, use a multiple level method. Gradually increase the depth of the router bit with each rotation of the jig to slowly cut through the entire depth.
- Always wear safety glasses when working with the router.
- Photo Credit orange table top image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from Fotolia.com
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