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Flex shaft rotation

I have read about shop ventilation and trying to keep the shop clean
of red rough dust. I have a Vigor flex shaft it has a counter clock
wise rotation. I hold it in my right hand and clean and polish my
work. The dust and debris get thrown into my chest and face. My
question is; Do I have a left handed machine? If I could hold it in
my right hand and have it turn clock wise I could direct the dirt
into a ventilation box and cut down on the dirt in the shop. Plus I
would not have the work pieces hitting ME when they slip out of my
left hand. Do they make a flex shaft like I am describing? The one
problem I can see is that if the chuck tightens the same way mine
does the clock wise rotation could possibly loosen the mandrels in
the chuck. I am not sure if that would happen or not. Any info on
this subject would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. John Daly
Grand Junction, CO.

Hi John Daly; Problem with a flex shaft that turns in the opposite
direction from what they normally do is that the burs, drill bits,
and assorted cutters are all designed to cut one way. . .the way that
a standard flex shaft turns. What I’d suggest is that you set up the
ventilation box anyway, it’ll at least collect some of the dust. As
for polishing at the bench, I’d stay away from that. You can get
arbors to use small brushes or miniature buffs and laps on your
regular polishing motor. Foredom even makes a bench mounted motor,
about the size of the flex shaft motors, that you can set up with a
dust collector behind it. I’ve seen some shops that have vents under
the counter of the bench, just behind the bench pin, about a foot
wide and a couple inches high that are connected by 4" hoses to a
dust collector. Good way to collect dust for refining too.

David L. Huffman

 I have seen a small micro-motor with a switch to change the
direction of the rotation. 

But also keep in mind if the motion of your flexshaft tool is away
from you, you might not be able to see the spot you’re working on, a
bur would not work as well backwards, and a drill bit wouldn’t
drill. It wouldn’t make a difference for diamond or grinding tools.

My flex shaft (Foredom) rotates clockwise. Drill bits are set up to
work in a clockwise rotation as well, so you can’t use your tool for
drilling holes.

We can convert a flex shaft motor to rotate the other way. The
popular #30 type handpiece will work either way.

John Cranor
The Jewelry Equipment Doctor


Foredom makes their standard flexshaft outfit available with a
reversible motor. I’ve seen it offered primarily to the woodcarving
trade. Looks pretty much just like the standard outfit, #30
handpiece, etc.


    My flex shaft (Foredom) rotates clockwise.  Drill bits are set
up to work in a clockwise rotation as well, so you can't use your
tool for drilling holes. 

You know, I think the original poster is describing the rotation
looking at it from the chuck end of the shaft. A standard motor
rotation would be ccw from that orientation, and when held in the
right hand with the tool pointing to the left, would throw stuff
towards you. I typically hold my flex-shaft at more of a 45 degree
angle, so the dust and debris tends to go off the bench pin to my
left (the left side of my chair is where I have the worst mess to
sweep up).

What he could do, is put a vacuum intake at the front edge of his
bench, since he seems most comfortable holding the tool parallel to
his chest.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR

Hi, One thing you might try is to wrap a piece of thin clear
plasticsheet around 1/2 of the hand piece so that it extends over
the tool. The plastic will catch debris and sailing parts. The
sheet can be held on the hand piece with rubber bands.

You can rotate the hand piece so that you can look at the tool under
the plastic.

You can buy a clear plastic box, from most jewelry suppliers, open
on both ends in which you can do place the piece and the hand piece.

If you have any wood working tools you can build a grinding box out
of clear plastic sheet obtained from home depot and plywood ends
with holes cut in them to allow your hands into the box.

Good luck