[again] Foredom Handpiece

My Foredom #30 handpiece has developed a “wobble”; I notice it
when drillbits don’t rotate on axis. It isn’t severe, but does
cause a problem with precice drilling. The handpiece is 5 years
old; this is the second #30 I’ve had in 10 years which has
developed this problem. Is this just caused by something wearing
out? Can it be repaired? Is there something I could be doing
wrong in the use of the handpiece to cause this problem? I’m
about ready to buy my third handpiece. It seems they should last
longer than this. Is there another handpiece that is comparable
to the #30, but perhaps made a little better, that I should

Thanks very much for your help!

Rene Roberts

My Foredom #30 handpiece has developed a "wobble";

You might try rebuilding the handpiece. The bearings are replaceable.


There are two sealed ball bearings in that handpiece, it sounds
like the bearing next to the chuck has worn out. The bearings are
replaceable and you should not have to replace the whole
handpiece to fix the wobble. Remove the shaft/cable, unscrew the
end cap opposite the chuck, use a wooden dowel to drive out the
inner unit. Remove the e-clips holding the bearings to the shaft
and remove the bearings from the shaft, replace in the reverse
order. I would call Foredom to order the bearings first. Brian

Hey Rene, I just heard yesterday that Frie and Borel have a
"super" #30 available that specifiacally deals w/ this problem.
I’ve noticed that Foredoms hammer handpieces have really gone
down in quality. Others have agreed.

Maybe the #30 has declined as well.

Hope you’re doing well.

Andy cooperman (Mendocino June 1998)

There’s a guy in NYC who repairs handpieces, used to have an ad
in lap journal. I had a handpiece like that too, never got
around to sending it in. Years later I showed it to another
jeweler (who fixes tools) and it had “healed itself.”


If the outside surface of the body of the chuck (the surface the
holes for the chuck key are in) is spinning true then the problem
is most likely dirt on the interior of the chuck, between the
jaws and the body.

Open the chuck to it’s maximum and clean it out as well as you


Renee, there isn’t much to the handpiece. If it has been
dropped, you might have bent the flexible shaft, inside, which
you can replace much less expensively than a new handpiece. The
wobble could be from wear, but there again, it would probably be
the shaft. Elaine @ Gesswein might be able to verify my
suspicions. Curtis

I would suggest going to a bearing supplier/wholesaler with
bearing in hand instead of going to foredom. You already know
that they use bearings that wear out quickly. The supplier will
cross reference the numbers on the bearing (or measure the inner
and outer) and can give you a bearing which will last longer and
be less expensive. I have done this with many bearings from
different pieces of equipment. Like precious stones, bearings
come in different grades.

John g

Hi Rene,

It’s hard to tell at long distance what’s causing the wobble.
If the bearings are bad you can replace them. Here’s how I’ve
done it on a couple of 30’s.

  1. Grip the large diameter of the end that connects to the flexshaft in a vise.
  2. Unscrew (counter-clockwise) the aluminum body from the end.
  3. While keeping the chuck from turning with the chuck key, remove the nut (7/16)
    from the end of the exposed shaft. Save the nut for reuse.
  4. Use a plastic or leather mallet to drive the shaft & chuck out the chuck end of
    the body. The shaft, chuck and front bearing come out as an assembly.
  5. Open the chuck to it’s maximum.
  6. Support the chuck between the back of the chuck & front of the front bearing.
  7. Place a 1/8 to 5/32" rod in the open chuck.
  8. Drive the shaft from the chuck. The shaft has a 0 Jacobs taper that fits into the
  9. Press the old bearings from the shaft & body.

Replacement bearings are available at any bearing suppliers
(check the yellow pages for Bearings). Get the best replacement
bearings available. Assemble in reverse order.



Foredom repairs them!!! I did my own bearing
replacement but ordered and received the bearings from Fordom.
They were helpful, polite, fast and not too pricy. I’d give them
a call or and e-mail and see what they would charge for the work
vs just buying a new handpiece. You might mention how old
(young) the handpiece is and how much you use it to get an idea
if you are getting premature failure. They might have some
suggestions of ways to get more life out of the handpieces.

Good luck,

John Dach

Hi, I’ve had the same problem with #30 and in my experience it
seems that is caused by the Jacob’s chuck teeth wearing out. You
might be able to nurse the hand piece along for a while by pushing
down the teeth so that they seat evenly or turning the bur till
it runs true. This only goes so far though. To replace the
Jacob’s chuck is nearly the price of a new hand piece. I give
them to apprentices for cleaning up casting for about a year when
they are retired for parts. The hand piece not the apprentices.
Jimbo alpine custom jewellers & repair

Brian - You can take the bearings to the nearest bearing
distributor and he will be able to match them. Since Foredom is
an American mfg. the bearing are probably made to the US
standard, but even if they used Metric bearings they will have
those too. These bearings are probably Class 1, the cheapest, but
you can ask for a Class 3 which are made to closer tolerances at
a slightly higher cost. Jack Burton your friendly Mech. Eng.


Maybe it’s not the handpiece, but the flex shaft. I had gone in
to lubricate my flex shaft spring, and when I reassembled it I
had a noticable wobble. I ordered a new shaft, but meanwhile
after a bit of use the wobble disappeared. Many folks recommend
lubing your flex shaft after “x” hours of use, and I’d never done
it. (If it ain’t broke don’t fix it? ) At any rate, I now
have a new shaft to replace it when I have trouble. Maybe you
just need a lube job! Something to look into.

Judy Marsh

Regarding Flexshaft handpiece repairs, I have had good and
timely service repairs with five handpieces in recent years from
Precisiion Tool Repair Service, 2208-D Sacramento St., Berkely,
CA 94702. Phone (510) 848-5386. (In no way am I related!) Hope
this helps to bring back to life many Foredom, etc. HP’s that
have been collecting drawer dust.

Rene - Send it back to Foredom with a letter explaining what is
wrong with it. I have sent various parts of my Foredom machines
back for repair and servicing. They have always been very prompt
and reasonably priced. Steve.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Don’t you hate when that happens? Then you never know :
(a) what was wrong
(b) how it fixed itself
© how to prevent a relapse or
(d) which god to plead with for a repeat performance.

As the wife of an engineer, I have had to become very adept at
noting circumstances surrounding said failure(s) as well as
recalling the full symptom profile and “soundtrack” (my nursing
background is a benefit). Can’t say I could repair a handpiece,
but I am becoming more proficient at “healing” much of my own
equipment as a result.