Dremel 4000 Rotary Tool - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

The ultimate crafter and hobbyist tool for light duty drilling, sanding, routing, cutting, polishing, and more


Dremel 4000 Rotary Tool

Perhaps somewhat unfortunately for the company the word 'Dremel' has become synonymous with 'rotary tool'; however the company does make several other high quality power tools, including an oscillating tool, drill/driver, scroll saw and glue gun.

One of the outstanding features of Dremel rotary tools is that they can easily be used single handed. Their small size, low torque, high rotational speed, and the availability of a huge array of attachments and accessories, make them ideal for precise, detailed work. I use my Dremel for installing small hinges and box locks, for making narrow grooves, and find that it's unbeatable for doing inlay work. A second feature is that, for all their versatility, a Dremel is an uncomplicated tool to use.

The new Dremel 4000 is now the replacement for the Dremel 400 XPR. It's compatible with all Dremel attachments and accessories, including Dremel’s popular Multi-Saw and Planer attachments, which were designed for 400 XPR. Plus, there are two new attachments debuting with the 4000, a Sanding/Grinding Guide (to guide the tool along the edge of a flat or beveled surface), and a Detailers Grip (enabling you to use the tool in a pistol grip for enhanced precision and control.)

Sanding/grinding grip
Detailers grip
The 4000 is more streamlined than the 400 XPR, and I find that it fits more comfortably in the hand, either holding it with a pencil grip or a golf grip. The front end of the tool has a 360° grip zone, which is very convenient - just pick it up, flip on the power switch and you're ready to rout, sand or cut.

Use the pencil grip for precise control
The all-purpose golf grip
The layout for the shaft lock, power switch and variable speed dial is pretty consistent with the 400 XPR. The shaft lock button is located at the front end of the tool, which makes bit change quick and easy. The collet wrench, along with all the accessories, are stored in the hard shell case that comes with the unit. I find it more convenient to attach the wrench to the power cord with a strong elastic band - 'on-board' storage would have been ideal.

Bit removal is quick and easy
Up front power switch
The power (on/off) switch is located at the front end of the unit, while the variable speed dial is located at the tail end. I don't mind this arrangement; I tend to leave the 4000 set at its highest speed most of the time. 

The 4000 has a new motor design that purports to offer more power than the earlier motor design. The newer motor delivers 1.6 Amp (versus 2 Amps for the 400 XPR) and has the same speed range (5,000 to 35,000 RPM). Unlike the 400 XPR, the 4000 is equipped with electronic feedback, which provides more consistent power under load.

Variable speed from 5,000 to 35,000 RPM
Convenient hanger to store the tool
There is little maintenance required on these tools. Every 40 or 50 hours of use check the brushes, and replace them when they begin to wear down. Look for signs of cracking, pitting or burning. Symptoms of worn out brushes are failure to start, intermittent starting, running slower than usual, and more sparking when running than is normal. New brushes are pretty inexpensive, so don't wait until the brushes are worn to the wire before replacing them. Other than that, keep the threads on the shaft clean, and occasionally blow dust out of the ventilation openings.

The 4000 has a hanger on the tail end, so you can hang it up near your workbench, and a convenient 6' power cord. It comes n a study lockable hard shell plastic storage case (and yes, the tool and accessories are easy to replace back into the case).

Lockable, hard shell case
Packs away nicely
The 4000 ships with a 1/8" collet, though you can purchase three other collet sizes (1/32", 1/16" and 3/32".) 

A rotary tool is really easy to use, but you need to treat it with respect. The bits have small shanks, and can break under too much lateral pressure. Let the tool do the work; there is never any need for you to force the tool. As well, these tools don't have guards. This doesn't pose a problem when using drill, router or carving bits, However, cutting wheels can be almost invisible when spinning at 35,000 RPM, so exercise caution.

I've been using the 4000 steadily over the past couple of weeks, and really like the tool. It's comfortable to use, quick to change bits, and has less of a tendency to bog down under load than the 400 XPR. It also seems to run smoother, and somewhat quieter. Once you start using a Dremel you'll find all kinds of uses for it. Guaranteed.

Shown with the circle cutting jig
Shown using the sanding/grinding guide
Note: The new Dremel 4000 comes in one of four kits, each containing the rotary tool, storage case, one or both of the new attachments, and from 30 to 36 accessories.

  • 1.6 amp
  • 5,000 - 35,000 RPM, variable speed
  • Electronic feedback
  • Quick collet lock
  • Accepts 1/32", 1/16", 3/32", and 1/8" collets (1/8" collet supplied)
  • Seperate power and speed control switches
  • Easily accessible motor brushes
  • 360-degree grip zone
  • 6' power cord
  • 18.8 oz.
  • 5 year warranty
AVAILABLE FROM:Tool and equipment suppliers nation wide
RETAIL PRICE:$129 and up
MODEL #:4000
MADE IN:Mexico
Carl Duguay, March 2010
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