12 ways to use a rotary tool that will have people buzzing
These brilliant ideas may just inspire a renaissance of rotary tool use in your shop and beyond. Honestly, there isn’t much this humble tool can’t do.
Here’s a great way to free up your hands when using a rotary tool for sharpening and other delicate jobs. Screw an angle bracket to a board and attach the rotary tool to the bracket with a couple of radiator hose clamps. Don’t tighten them too much or you’ll damage the tool housing. The board lets you clamp the tool either vertically or horizontally.
Has your dishwasher rack seen better days? You can repair it yourself. Load a wire brush into a rotary tool and zip off the old rust and vinyl. Keep brushing until you get to fresh metal. Then paint on a new coating.
You can save time and energy by using a rotary tool to sharpen the cutters of your chain saw. The specialty chain sharpener shown comes with three grinding wheels in popular diameters and a guide that quickly screws onto the rotary tool to control the cutting depth and angle (it also comes with a stone and guide for sharpening lawn mower blades). Be sure to wear safety glasses while using it.
When kitchen or bathroom tap repairs go bad, they can be a nightmare. Professional plumbers have a secret weapon: the do-it-all rotary tool. You can slice down the side of a stuck tap cap with a cutting wheel. Don’t worry about cutting the plastic seal (you’ll be replacing that). But avoid cutting into the brass threads.
Getting tools back into those moulded plastic cases makes a Rubik’s cube seem simple. Here are two solutions.
Lose the cases completely and shelve the tool if it generally stays in the shop. This will free up a ton of space.
If you can’t part with the case, cut out the interior moulding. Use either a spiral cutting bit in a rotary tool or a jigsaw. Be sure to leave the lip intact so the case will stay closed and latched. Loosely store the tool and all its accessories in the now cavernous space.
To cut curves in tile, use a rotary tool equipped with a tile-cutting bit. Set the cutting depth of the bit at 6mm and make the first pass. Make more passes, setting the bit 6mm deeper each time until you’ve cut completely through.
A rotary tool fitted with a cutoff blade works great for cutting either type of PEX connector. After you remove the crimp ring or cinch clamp and pull the PEX supply from the fitting, cut off the end of the tubing to get a fresh section for the new connection. If you damage the fitting with the rotary tool, replace the fitting rather than risk a leak.
Shave off the inside of the strike plate with a rotary tool and a metal-cutting carbide bit. Remove a small amount and test the latch by closing the door. Continue removing metal until the door latch catches.
When your rotary tool’s sanding drum gets clogged, refresh the surface with a rubber pencil eraser. Run the tool at low speed and press the eraser into the clogged drum to rub out the chips and gunk.
Try this tip for extracting screws with stripped heads. Mount a cut-off wheel in a rotary tool and grind the wheel against a piece of scrap metal to reduce the circumference. Make it small enough to cut into the screwhead without slicing into the wood surrounding the screw. Now grind a slot in the screwhead at an angle to the original slot, insert your screwdriver and gingerly unscrew that battered fastener.
This rotary-bit organiser may just inspire a renaissance of rotary tool use in your shop. Friction-fit a piece of 20mm plastic foam in a snap-lid plastic food container. Then poke holes in the plastic foam with an awl to hold shafted bits, and slice crevices with a utility knife to hold cutoff discs. Using a spade bit at high speed, drill sockets for larger bits and tube-shape containers.
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Source: Family Handyman