Dremel to enlarge holes in beads?

Hi there,

My dad just got me a dremel tool and I was wondering if there were
any tips on being able to use such a tool to enlarge bead holes in
stones or pearls? In particular, I was hoping to enlarge a hole in an
azurite piece.

If this is possible, is there a special bit or technique to use
(water, slurry, safety)?

thanks so much,
peggy li

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Looking for a multi functional tool for your jewelry projects? We recommend:


Get diamond bits, and use water or some other coolant, also use a
vise to hold the work so you can use both hands on the dremel.


Hi peggy li:

My dad just got me a dremel tool and I was wondering if there were
any tips on being able to use such a tool to enlarge bead holes in
stones or pearls? 

I just did this at Christmas time with my Dremel tool. I had
earwires and pearls that had holes that were too small to fit on the
wires. I had to get a chuck to fit the smaller sized drill bit. The
one that came with the Dremel kit was too big. I held the pearl in
flat nosed pliers in my left hand and drilled with my right hand. It
was very easy and the earrings came out really nice. Don’t drill too
fast and wear a mask for dust. I don’t know how hard Azurite is.
There are much more knowledgeable people on the list who could tell
you that part.

Good Luck
Kim Starbard

This is easy. Get the appropriately shaped diamond point. Use with a
coolant (bowl of water, I.V. style drip rig, what-have-you). Use a
light, “pecking” touch.

Has anyone used the Dremel drill press for this, or anything else?
Mine is still in its box, taking up room in somebody else’s house,
because I was told it’s essentially useless. Can somebody tell me

Lisa Orlando

I don’t know if this would be useful to you but just happened to run
across it today while looking for something else. A “Motorized Bead
Reamer” and you can find it at

http://www.nationaljewelerssupplies.com Item ETHDP375

inexpensive enough that it may worth trying.

Hope that’ll help!


I have a Dremel MultiPro (Drill press) and while not my primary tool
any longer, it is still used and I would be reluctant to part with it
on a whim. Luckily when I got mine, there was no one around to tell
me it was useless.

If you have not taken yours out of the box yet, there are a couple
of things that I would suggest you do at the outset.

There are two screws on the column (the shaft that moves up and
down), these may need to be adjusted, but only ‘lightly’. Check to
see if it is out of square first. You can do this by use of a square,
good light and watch the seams of the clamping brackets, they should
run parallel to the edge of the square when you raise and lower the

To square the Dremel in the chuck mount, I shimmed with paper and or

There is play in the head piece, but I turned the depth gauge so
that it angles in its setting to take that play out. If you assemble
it you will see what I mean, there is a little nut on the bottom of
the gauge, loosen this and turn the gauge slightly until it rubs just
a little on the guide. The teeth for the stop collar may rub, but I
did not find it detrimental to the press function or to the operation
of the stop.

The gear which runs the mounting shaft up and down is plastic, don’t
put a lot of pressure on it, like when drilling 6 X 48 screw hole in
a rifle receiver for a scope mount. Its not that the gear is hard to
replace, the little spring that raises it back up is a finger slapper
when it slips out of your grip, matter of fact, you may want to use
needle nose when you do this, it is sharp as I recall and I took
several band aids to complete the repair on me and the press.

When used as an overhead router, with those little bits your can
buy, you may find when you feed to fast that the whole head wants to
rotate on the column (the round pipe at the back), sticky backed
sandpaper like that used on orbital sanders placed in the column
guides will stop that for you. I have had good luck with 220 grit
paper with the grit facing the metal post of course.

Those little tubes of silicon grease for fishing reels works well to
keep it working smoothly, I am not sure I would use regular oil or
grease as most of the housing is plastic.

If you put it in line with a knee for foot switch for the Dremel and
a drip with a pan, it also works pretty well for shaping stones
freehand when what you want to do is too small for your regular

Used for the purposes I have, I have not found it to be useless. The
press and the Dremel were my predecessors to the Foredom and is still
used when I have a lot of things lined up which require those types
of tools. There are times when you want to hold the work, not the


Hi Lisa,

I bought a Dremel drill press several years ago from Micro Mark -
great company for model maker’s tools. I tried it, but found it too
"loose" for jewelry work, and gave it to my son-in-law, who makes
dioramas. Perhaps the unit I got was faulty, but it simply had too
much play to be accurate for drilling small holes in precious metal
or beads.

Later I bought a relatively inexpensive, but much larger drill press
from Harbor Freight. It has been much more satisfactory… plus my
Dremels are always available and not affixed to something.

There’s my US$.02 on the Dremel drill press. If you get one, be sure
you can easily return it if you don’t like it.

Judy in Kansas where the redbuds are gorgeous and there are so many
vivid flowers in bloom. Just love spring.

Terry, thank you so much! Another incredibly thorough and priceless
explanation from a member of this priceless list. Orchid rocks!

Lisa Orlando

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a multi functional tool for your jewelry projects? We recommend: