The six must-have Dremel Bits & accessories for model train enthusiasts

Dremel model railwayEnhance your model train railway with these six essential Dremel accessories.

Before we get into the bit for your Dremel or rotary tool, it’s probably worth exploring what a Dremel multitool is.

In short, rotary action power tools like the Dremel multitool are handheld electric tools with a spinning spindle that can be used for a huge range of jobs. Various attachments and Bits enable drilling, cutting, sanding, carving, polishing, sawing, and more. As tools, they are great for DIY and crafting projects and can be used for a wide variety of tasks on model railways.

Personally, I prefer using the Dremel version because, despite the wear,  tear and abuse that I put them through, they continue to work reliably. Over the years, I’ve tried several other brands, but my Dremel has outlasted them all. Although it will eventually die, I’m impressed with its longevity compared to other rotary tools I’ve used. Read my review of the Dremel 3000 multi-tool if you’re interested.

Dremel multitool bits for model railways

With that out of the way, here are the Dremel accessories that every model train enthusiast should consider:

1. Cut-Off Wheels

Cut-off wheels are small, thin disks made of abrasive material that can be used to cut through metal, plastic, and wood. Combined with the right angle tool, they’re perfect for cutting already laid tracks and filling the ends down to give a clean profile.

And if you use point motors, such as the Circuitron Tortoise motors, the cut-off wheels are superb for cutting piano wire that connects the motor to the point tie bar. I damaged many good wire cutters trying to cut this stuff before I realised cut-off wheels slice through them like knife through butter.

2. Cutting Discs

Cutting discs and wheels are similar to cut-off wheels but are sturdier and essentially miniature circular saw blades.

They can be used to cut through thicker or tougher materials, such as metal, hard plastics or hardwood. Typically, I use them for cutting strips of wood used in models around the layout, limbs from model figures and cutting portals to fiddle years in layout backboards. Whenever possible, I get the fibreglass-reinforced ones as these are less likely to shatter.

Dremel sanding drums for model making

Sanding drums can be great to smooth down edges on styrene models.

3. Sanding Drums / Bands

Sanding drums, also called bands, are cylindrical attachments used to sand down rough edges. Once I’ve sanded down long edges of styrene models using a desktop sander, a Dremel with sanding drums is great for small details, inside edges around windows and doors. They come in a variety of diameters, usually 1/2″, 3/8″ and 1/4″, and in different sizes of abrasive material – the grit rating – of which 60 grit, 120 grit, and 320 grit are the most common.

Using a grinding stone to modify a model train

Using a Dremel with a grinding stone to modify rolling stock.

4. Grinding Stones

Grinding stones are small round attachments that can be used to sharpen or grind down metal or harder plastic pieces. They’re great for removing burrs or smoothing out rough edges on metal kits or sanding down the edges of internal frames to fit new body shells or making space for DCC chips.

5. Cleaning and polishing Wheels

These are small, soft – often made of wheel or cotton – attachments that can be used to clean, buff and polish metal surfaces. In my case, free wheels on rolling stock and the tops of track to remove any stubborn dirt and occasionally other tools; scalpel blades etc. (For cleaning locomotive wheels, use a brass brush Dremel bit, the steel ones will scratch the metal of the wheels and allow dirt to easily build up).

The best price I’ve found for the Dremel polishing set is via Rapid Online.

6. Router Bits

Router Bits are attachments that can be used to cut grooves or channels. On model railway layouts, they’re handy for creating channels for wiring in a baseboard. I’ve also used them for creating small stream beds and sunken paths on baseboards for scenic elements.

The router bit set is a good general-purpose set, if you’re intending to use this a lot this plunging accessory will make life a lot easier. For long trenches for wire runs etc, I’d recommend it.

What about drills?

You may be wondering why there are no drill bits included in this list. While there are certainly many drill bits available for Dremels, personally, I prefer to use pin vices or hand drills when working on my model railway. Using a Dremel with a drill bit rotating at a possible 30,000 RPM near delicate plastic models or track is not something I’m comfortable with and hence I’ve excluded them from this list of what I consider essential Dremel bits for a model railway.

Recommended accessories

Along with the above bits, which I consider essential, there are a number of accessories that while not essential will make using a Dremel on a layout much easier, quicker and faster.

Perhaps the most used of these on my layouts is the Flexi-Shaft. It’s a long flexible shaft with a small pen-like head that can be attached to your Dremel 4200, 8200, 3000, 200, 4000, 398/400, 300 and 395 tools. With it, I can reach across the layout without damaging delicate scenery, and get the head into confined spaces near the backboard, tunnel entrances and cuttings for example. Being lightweight, it’s also easier on the hand during prolonged use and easier to control for precision work when model making.

Dremel has a nice video (below) that shows how it’s used.

The Dremel Detailer’s Grip Attachment is also available, which can help you hold the multi-tool in a more natural position while working on small detail work. I don’t use this attachment as much on the layout, but it could be quite useful for working on rolling stock and models away from the layout.”

Finally, while not accessories for the Dremel itself, safety goggles and gloves are a must-have when using the tool. I personally use these goggles that can be worn with the head magnifier that I also use for close-up work. These goggles provide extra protection for your eyes in case anything flies up while using the tool. They have saved my eyesight on at least three occasions. Additionally, it’s highly recommended to use good quality protective gloves.

As you can see, Dremel tools and accessories are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to enhance your model railway – you’ll be amazed at how much they can ease and speed up the creation of your model railway and the maintenance of your model trains.

You’ll want:


Do you have any tips or tricks for using a Dremel rotary tool in your model railway construction? Let me know in the comments! And If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Note: the Bits listed here are for Dremel tools but should work with any rotary tool that is compatible with Dremel 3000/4000. The attachments, such as the Flexishaft, router plunger, and right-angle tool are designed specifically for Dremel and unlikely to work with other makes.

Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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