The Rotozip tool is part of the newer crop of power tools that have come out in recent years, adding to the more traditional tools that we all know and love. Like other newer tools, it was designed for a particular purpose, in this case, cutting holes in drywall. But the Rotozip tool has gone far beyond that now and is used for cutting holes in just about any material.
This tool is a high-speed rotary tool, somewhat like a router, but smaller. The special bits look like a drill bit , but are different in that their fluted edges are sharp, much like an end mill, allowing the tool to cut sideways. That’s the real beauty of it, as the tool can cut in any direction, even allowing you to change direction quickly for corner or intricate cuts. The tool even allows plunge cuts, eliminating the need for a pilot hole.
It’s not exactly a router, but the Rotozip can be used for a number of applications that a small router might normally be used for. This includes laminate trimming, although I haven’t seen an actual laminate trimming bit for it or any bits that work together with a bearing. However, it is quite possible that a normal laminate trimming bit would work with the tool, as it should fit in the collet.
Rotozip has come out with a good assortment of different bits for the tool, allowing it to cut in drywall, wood, tile, metal, and even granite. These bits are mostly 1/4” in diameter, although there are a few 1/8” bits, which work with a step-down collet adapter.
While a couple of other power tool companies have now entered the market with their own versions of the Rotozip, called by the more generic name of “rotary saws,” drywall cutters,” or “rotary cutters the original product still dominates the market with the lowest price and ease of use. Some of these companies also manufacture cordless versions of the tool.
Using Rotozip with Plywood
Perhaps one of the best unsung uses of the Rotozip is when cutting plywood. The high speed rotary bit of the Rotozip eliminates the problem of splintering that is so common with plywood. While any crosscutting operation done on plywood is likely to splinter, the biggest problem is when using a jigsaw to cut plywood, because the up and down action of the blade tends to rub against the edge of the surface veneer, causing it to splinter. With the Rotozip, that action is eliminated, causing a considerably smoother cut.
Since the Rotozip bit is round and is cutting in all directions at once, the Rotozip can be used for intricate shapes, as long as the cuts are wider than the diameter of the bit. Work similar to that which normally requires a scroll saw can be accomplished with ease, when using a Rotozip.
The maximum depth of cut of the Rotozip is one inch; but shallower cuts can be made as well. The tool’s foot is easily adjusted to control the depth of cut, with the turn of a thumbscrew.
Changing Bits on a Rotozip
The Rotozip tool and competing brands use a collet for gripping the bit, much like a router does. A locking button is depressed, in order to prevent the motor shaft from turning, and then the collet can be loosened with an open-end wrench. The new bit is slipped into the collet and the collet is tightened.
As with a router, it is important to fully seat the bit into the collet. If only the end of the bit is in the collet, there will be uneven pressure on the bit shaft and the bit will gradually work its way loose. The collet needs to be tightened thoroughly to help prevent this problem from occurring.
Rotozip Accessories Expand its Capability
The basic tool allows plunge cutting in a wide variety of materials, making hole of just about any shape. First and foremost amongst these is their circle guide, which allows the Rotozip to cut perfect circles of any size from 4” up to 12” in diameter. Unlike using a circle cutter with many other types of tools, the same accessory can be used to cut inside and outside circles, providing greater flexibility.
A replacement collet kit exists, allowing the tool to be used with 1/8” 5/32” and 1/4” bits, including bits from other manufacturers. This expands the capabilities of the tool. Replacement brushes and other parts are readily available.
The Rotozip tool can also be used as a cutoff tool, with the direct drive cut-off attachment. This provides an electric cutoff tool that runs 50% faster than pneumatic ones, making the job quicker and providing a smoother cut.
Considering the amount of sawdust the tool is able to make, Rotozip also produces a dust collection port and system, allowing the tool to be adapted to work with a ShopVac or other dust collection system.
There are some attachments for the Rotozip which seem to be no longer available, even though they would be useful. These include a baseplate that allows for ripping plywood with the Rotozip and a jigsaw handle, allowing the tool to be more easily controlled when being used in place of a jigsaw.