Dremel Trio - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A tool that DIYers will find convenient for small cutting, sawing, and routing applications

dremel_6800

Dremel Trio



I've been using a Dremel 4000 for the past year or so, and it's proved to be a very handy tool to have around the shop and the home, particularly when I need to cut, sand or grind small pieces of wood or metal. When renovating my workshop it proved to be very useful for making drywall cut-outs for the electrical receptacle boxes. However, where it really shines for me is in cutting shallow grooves for inlaying. The Dremel is much more easier to control than a router.


 
While the Dremel Trio (6800-01) offers much of the same functionality as a standard Dremel rotary tool, it has two important differences. First, it has a pivoting handle. Most of the time you'll use the 6800 with the handle positioned parallel to the work surface (as you would a jig saw). The large 3" x 4-1/2" footprint makes the 6800 very stable in use.  However, with the push of a button you can pivot the handle straight up, enabling you to use the 6800 much in the same way you use a conventional rotary tool. This position makes it easier to use the 6800 in tight corners, or when working overhead.
 

d1
Press the articulation button to change handle orientation
d2
Handle in open mode
The second difference between the 6800 and the standard Dremel rotary tools is that the 6800 uses a larger, 3/16" collet; which means, of course, that you have to use accessories with 3/16" shanks. The larger bit shank diameter provides greater stability in use, reduction in bit chatter, better heat dissipation, and greater shank strength. However, the biggest drawback to the 6800 right now is the very limited number of accessories available. None of the standard 1/8" Dremel accessories will work with the 6800.
 

d3
Shaft with collet nut removed
d4
The 6800 uses a larger 3/16" collet
The 6800 is, as with the other Dremel tools, well constructed. It's well balanced, in either the open or closed modes, comfortable to grip, and at just under 3 pounds easy to control, particularly when using it overhead. I like the large trigger, and the lock-on button is easily accessible with thumb or forefinger. The speed dial is at the back end of the handle. Easy enough to manipulate, but a forward location might be a bit more convenient. Pivoting the head is pretty easy; you just press the articulation button and pivot the head until it locks into position (with an audible click). The base plate (the foot) moves up and down 1-1/8".
 

d5
Depth adjustment thumb screw
d6
Depress the shaft lock button to rotate the collet nut
The 6800-01 comes with a multi-purpose bit (TR561), a 1/4" straight router bit (TR654), a sanding mandrel (TR407) with 6 sanding sleeves (60, 120 and 240 grits), and a straight edge/circle guide (TR800). The high-speed steel multi-purpose bit is 2-1/4" long with 1-1/8" of cutting surface. With the bit almost fully seated and the shoe fully retracted you get about 1" of usable surface. I found that it gave surprisingly good cuts in 1/4" ply, MDF, and hardwood.

The high-speed steel 1/4" router bit has twin 7/16" cutting edges, and did a superb job of routing perfect 1/4" grooves in hardwood. I'm anxious for Dremel to come out with 1/16" and 1/8" straight bits as well (or better yet, end mill bits). The sanding sleeves are 19/32" diameter and 3/4" long. As with the other Dremel tools you can make cuts with 6800 in any direction without having to re-position the tool. This makes it ideal for freehand cutting or routing.
 

d7
Speed dial located at the tail end of the tool
d8
3/4" dust port needs to be connected to a shop vac to work effectively
Changing bits is quick and easy, with the shaft lock button located at the front of the motor housing. I always found the wrench on the Dremel 4000 a bit too small; the wrench for the 6800 is larger, making it easier to use. You don't need to remove the base to change bits, but it's easier if the shoe is open to its maximum depth. As you would on a router, don't bottom out the bits, but leave them about 1/8" above the bottom of the collet. The easiest way to do this is push the bit all the way down to the bottom, and then pull it up about 1/8".
 

d9
Locating pin on the bottom side of the straight edge/circle guide
d10
The works: tool, bits, straight edge/circle guide, and durable, hard shell storage box
The straight edge/circle guide fits into two slots in the base, and is firmly held in place with a lock screw. To use the circle cutting jig you need to drill a 1/8" diameter hole in your stock to accept the 1/8" locating pin on the bottom of the jig. The largest diameter hole I could cut was 16-1/2" (with the arm of the jig inserted only into the first slot in the base); the smallest was 1-3/4". Flip the jig so that the locating pin is pointing upwards and you can use the jig as an edge guide. Maximum extension is 8-1/8" (again, with the arm of the jig inserted into the first slot on the base); minimum extension is 1-11/16".

When extending the jig out to its maximum distance ensure that the tang rests under one of the bars of the metal spring that is attached to the base. Once you snug up the bolt that lock the jig in place there is still a tiny bit of play in the arm. This occurs regardless of whether you inserted the jig arm into either one or both of the slots on the base. Fortunately the amount of play is fairly miniscule that I haven't found it to be an issue as of yet.
 

d11
Freehand cutting with multi-purpose bit
d12
Edge sanding
The 2 amp motor generates from 10,000 to 20,000 RPM, which is all the power and speed you need to spin the bits and accessories for this tool. I like the inclusion of the 3/4" dust port on the back, but find it's pretty much useless unless you connect it to a shop vac (an optional dust port adapter is available).


 
At only 6' long I found the power cord too short, particularly when used to make drywall cut-outs or when working on long panels. However if you work at a bench on small stock then it might be adequate. The hard shell case is, as with all Dremel tools, stellar. Keeps your tool and various bits and accessories organized and easy to store.


 
At this time there are only a few optional accessories available for the 6800: a compact depth guide and dust port adapter (TR820), a wall tile bit (TR562), carbide hardwood/sheet metal bit (TR563), guide point piloted bit (TR560), 1/8" corner rounding bit (TR615), chamfer bit (TR618).
 

d13
Edge guide in use
d14
Circle cutting jig in use
If you already own a Dremel, then I'm not convinced that it's worth adding the 6800 to your power tool inventory. However, if you're looking for a first multi-purpose tool, then you might want to consider the Dremel Trio. I think that anyone will find it quite useful for a multitude of small cutting, sawing, and routing applications. And once Dremel expands its accessory line the 6800 will become even more attractive.

KEY FEATURES:


  • 7" H x 8 1/2" L (closed mode), 12 3/4" H (open mode)
  • 2 amp motor
  • 10,000 - 20,000 RPM
  • 3/16" collet
  • Telescoping base (1 1/8" travel)
  • 3/4" dust port
  • 3" x 4 1/2" base
  • Lock-on button
  • 90-degree pivoting handle
  • 6' power cord
  • 2.8 lbs 
  • 2 year warranty
  • Includes: straight edge/circle guide, wrench/screwdriver, 1 routing bit, 1 multi-purpose cutting bit, sanding madrel, and 6 sanding sleeves, hard shell case, operating instructions
MANUFACTURER:Dremel
AVAILABLE AT:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
RETAIL PRICE:$99.00
MADE IN:Mexico
Carl Duguay, August 2010
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