The Parts of a Flex Shaft
Pressing on the foot pedal (similar to a sewing machine pedal) controls how fast the bits, burrs, discs, and brushes spin.
You can purchase the motor, flexible shaft, hand piece, and foot pedal all in one kit. Many kits also include various tool attachments. This is the ideal way to get started. After you have the basics, you can purchase additional attachments and even different hand pieces.
Flex Shaft Manufacturers
Foredom is one of the top manufacturers of flex shafts, kits, and attachments. It’s the most commonly used flex shaft among bench jewelers. You can purchase the kits as well as individual pieces from the Foredom website. Amazon and Rio Grande also offer Foredom flex shaft kits.
Choose an SR motor, one of the most powerful ones which will go forward and in reverse. It operates at 1/6 horsepower at 18,000 rpms and 115 volts. Foredom measures their horsepower in maximum efficiency, not in maximum output (like Dremel). If Foredom measured in max output, their flex shaft’s horsepower would be the equivalent of 1/4 horsepower. That’s a big motor.
There are different hand pieces available for the flex shaft. The most popular and most versatile hand piece is the Foredom H.30. It can accommodate small and large attachments to perform light or heavy work. The Foredom H.20 is also a common choice, but it uses smaller attachments than the 30 and is geared towards lighter bench work.
The 9100 Fortiflex is Dremel’s most powerful motor. It operates at 1/5 horsepower at 23,000 rpms.
Drill bits are used for drilling holes and piercing metal.
Burrs are used for cutting, carving, and setting gemstones.
Flex Shaft Recommendations
|Photo||Name||Top Reviews on Amazon|
|SE Flex Shaft Grinder Set||
"I have several handheld motor tools (mostly Dremel) that work very well for many light applications. They all suffer from one limitation, however - prolonged use for grinding or cutting, especially with metal, would result in the motor housing becoming uncomfortably hot. I've never had one actually fail, but they do sometimes reach a high enough temperature that I feel obligated to let them cool down in the middle of a job. Also they are fairly heavy to hold for long periods of time when trying to do precision work.
|Go2Home Flex Shaft||
"So far this is an exceptional grinder. I do engraving on metal and stone so work and I needed more power than I could get from a standard size rotary tool with a flexible shaft. This model with the 780w motor seems to be just what I need for the time being. Having an extra set of carbon brushes for the motor is a big plus as I know they will need to be replaced eventually. So far, I am very satisfied with my purchase." read more
|Flex Shaft System||
"Plenty of power, easy to use and control and the price is great! I use it to clean and cut gems and rocks as well as polish them, so i need to be able to vary the speed a lot. The eurotool works great. Way, way better than my dremel and quite a bit better than my foredom for much less money." read more
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