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A rotary tool is a hand held power tool with a variety of rotating accessory bits and attachments that can be used for cutting, carving, sanding, polishing and many other applications.
The smaller rotary tools use high RPMs to maintain the correct cutting conditions for the tool bits. They have low torque which makes them safer for freehand use than the larger higher powered models or similar power tools. A wide variety of accessories are available for applications such as cutting, carving, sanding, polishing, and grinding. The carving (or cutting) bits are referred to as burrs and are similar to those used by dentists.
Rotary tools are sometimes called "Dremels" because of the market strength of Dremel, a particular brand. But the Dremel name is still protected and is far from legally genericized.
A tool similar to a rotary tool but larger and more powerful is a die grinder. Objectively there is little difference, and much overlap of principle and usage, between die grinders, rotary tools, and various surgical and dental drills. All are essentially just a powered spindle that chucks cutting tools, usually with a collet or quick-change indexable system, and the power is usually supplied either pneumatically, electrically, or via a flexible shaft drive.
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