I am building a workshop in my house. I don’t have room for a polishing wheel. Is it possible to use a flex shaft for all my polishing?
Yes, you can definitely do that. It’s not always the most efficient way to go, but it works fine. There’s actually advantages because it’s easier to control speed and pressure. There are also many different kinds of flex shaft accessories for polishing.
One negative is that you should figure out a way to protect yourself from breathing abrasive compounds flying towards your face. There’s lots of solutions for that issue on the forum.
You may want to invest in a quick release handpiece, so you can change out accessories easily.
Hope that helps!
i agree with Jeff…a dust collector for you bench would be money well spent in my experience…they also sell combo dust collector/ fume extractors…
keep in mind, there needs to be a funnel shape around the hose hole, to get more controlled suction…or else, as you hands move away from the hose, the suction is much less and disperswd…
see the videos in this past thread for exolanation
You can position the dust/fume collector on a bench in such a way that you can use it for both a flex shaft and a polishing lathe. You can then keep the lathe in storage until you need it. You will have to figure out a way to hold it down in use or it will move. As you move on to bigger work, you want a lathe just because it is quicker and does a better job on bigger pieces…Rob
If you have a GRS system, this little collar is an amazing help. It lets you slip a classic flex shaft handle in and use it at any angle, hands-free. Then you can truly use it like a mini polishing wheel.
Another option is this flex shaft holder that’s held securely in a vice.
Although, one can use the flex shaft to polish and many jewelers do, polishing compounds on your bench can contaminate your work surfaces, for example with soldering. Dust collection is very important. As you can see there is a lot of compound that isn’t collected by the dust collector. Every professional jeweler’s shop that I’ve seen, will have a space just for polishing.
Following is a link to a series of pictures of my grinding, sanding and polishing bench in mid Christmas rush condition. Note that one #30 hand piece is secured in a home made base over a hole drilled in my bench. The hole is piped to a dust deputy to collect solids and then to a shop vac. This allows me to easily collect swarf to send back to the refiner. I also do most of my hand held flex shaft work over this hole, You can also see my home made polishing hood made over 50 years ago. It has gone through many iterations in design. Currently it is evacuated by a 900 CFM blower with a couple coarse screens to collect the polishing swarf to be sent to the refiner. Finishing for me is a continuum from coarse work with a flex shaft to final high polish on a 6" buff. You don’t need to spend money on expensive hoods and stands unless you want to. I have other, very expensive, tools that I want to buy that I can’t make. Lots of fun…Rob
Everyone is making good suggestions, but I think the real answer lies in your usage. I forgot to say that if you’re making 1-10 ring size pieces a month, then polishing with a flex shaft isn’t too much of a problem. If you’re doing production work though, then you’ll need to come up with a production set up.
and you can clean without using polish!