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Flexshaft questions

I am pondering on what kind of flex shaft to buy. I’m planning on
doing precision work such as stone setting. Should I buy the
standard ‘CC’ system (up to 18000rpm) or the more fancy ‘L’ system
with the high torque and low speed (5000rpm)? Will the low speed
system be a disadvantage in any way? As for the handpiece, is the plain
old No. 30 prefered by stone setters or should I shell out a few more
dollars for a higher quality quick release variants? Also, what are
the differences between the ‘S’ motor, the ‘R’ motor, the ‘TX’, and
all the others? They all seem pretty similar to the ‘CC’ motor to

thanks in Advance

hi, the basic difference in the flexshaft other then the l is motor
size the cc is a 1/10 h.p and 18,000 the basicunit which a lot
of jewelers use for setting and repair work. the s is more powerful
and the h.p is 1/8 as well a 18,000 rpm.the r machine has a /10 h.p
and a 20,000 rpm. which a 3 are ball bearing s. the l is a 5,000 and
is excellent for just setting work i find and has a closed motor so
the bearing are self lub. as far as the handpc i like the quickchange
over the 30. it is worth the money and i like the one without the

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
e-mail @Andy_Kroungold

Hello Tato, Several years ago the flex shaft of choice for stone
setting was the Foredom ‘R’ machine. When I bought mine several years
ago it was a wonderful machine. It would run at a very low rpm and go
up to a maximum of 14,000 rpm. After several years, I had to replace
the foot control. The newer controls have a design flaw that makes
them unusable at low rpm. Then newer ‘R’ motors have a high end speed
of 20,000 rpm.

The old foot controls were a simple design. They had a trigger
assembly from a variable speed drill inside the housing. This trigger
was depressed by a lever. The trigger was of a simple design also. The
new design is more complicated. There is a circuit board and there
are two micro switches in the assembly. Each of the switches have a
long actuator arm with a roller on the end. Here is the problem with
the newer foot controls. It seems that the switch for the low speed
circuit bends once the foot control is fully depressed. Once it bends,
you will no longer have low speed available on your machine. I have
tried several of the newer foot controls on my old motor, they all
have had the same problem. A few years ago I mentioned this to Foredom
and they seemed unconcerned with the problem.

I have rambled on enough. To answer your question. You will need low
speed for precision stone setting. You should be able to see the
individual teeth on a bur when it is turning at low speed. You also
need high torque at low speed. You will want high speed grinding,
polishing and finishing.

The ‘CC’ machine has good speed control, but it does not have enough
low end torque.

The ‘S’ motor does have more torque than the ‘CC’, but not as much at
the low end as the ‘R’.

I have not tried the ‘L’ machine because I want more high end speed
available than the 5,000 maximum that it offers. It is too slow for
grinding, and polishing.

Last week I ordered one of the new ‘TX’ machines. I will post my
opinion of this machine after I test it out.

I use several hand pieces. I use the #18D the most, but I would not
be without the #30. Get the #30 if you only get one handpiece. The #30
will accept anything up to 5/32". Another plus is that it accepts the
"Allset" tool.

Good luck choosing a machine. I hoped that my comments have helped in
some way.

Timothy A. Hansen
TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
e-mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

Hello Tato and Timothy, Timothy is right about the uses of the
flexshafts and handpieces. I would like to clear up one mistake about
the foot pedals. The ‘curcuit board’ style are no longer available and
to repair them they now have a trigger switch. The switch takes a
bracket to hold it in place. You can no longer get the curcuit boards
of foot pedals with them in it.

There are those that liked the curcuit boards over the trigger switch
and those that like the trigger switch over the curcuit board. The
nice thing about the curcuit board was if you did bend the twisted
wire part you could get replacements for next to nothing. Now with the
switches it is basically the only part and when it goes it’s much more

Ken Kotoski
MPG Repair

Hi Tato, If you’re only going to use the machine for stone setting,
I’d go with the Foredom Stone-Setter kit. It’s a slowe speed unit
(max 5000rpm), but with a tremendous torque. It’s kind of pricey,
$450. It includes #15 & #18 handpieces as well as some burrs.

If you’re going to use the unit for other jobs as well as stone
setting, I’d go with the ‘R’ motor. It is a 5000 - 20000 rpm unit
that has full power over the full speed range. The other models all
fall off in torque at lower speeds.

I’ve had a ‘R’ unit for about 10 yrs & have had no problems with it.
It gets used with several different handpieces, including a hammer
handpiec, for stone setting & everything else.

I can’t comment on the foot pedal problem someone mentioned. Mine has
worked well for 10 yrs & never given any problems.


One detail to consider when buying a flex shaft that should not be
overlooked is ease of repair. I gave up buying the R series foredom
after burning through a few and not being able to repair them. The S
series is very easy to tear down and rebuild and all the replacement
parts are available through your local tool suppliers. For about
$65.00 the S series can be rebuilt like new. A bit of a saving over
buying new. On the other hand if money is not a concern the fastest
most precision hand pieces I have used are the micro motor systems.
With 35,000 RPM and no heavy shaft they work like a dream. Of coarse
you will still want a regular flex shaft as a back up to hold the
trusty old work horse of the industry your #30 hand piece.

John Sholl
J. F. Sholl Fine Jewelry
In Littleton, Colorado Where the Avalanche Have the Stanley Cup

�Hola! To make your decision more complicated I will recommend you the
Foredom Powergraver. It is also for high torque/low speed
applications. With the 9D handpiece that comes with the kit, you can
adjust the impact force. I really think it is the best for stone
setting and engraving. Now, to make your decision easier let me tell
you that this will cost you the double of the standard CC Model. The
Quick release is a big advantage when doing many different jobs,
meaning changing the accessories too often. For analising in detail
the advantages and characteristics of all the different models you
should consider visiting

Arq. David C. Duhne

If it is any help, I have been using a Lucas foot pedal for years.
The flex shaft of my choice is Frei and Borel’s Autoflex. It is made
by Buffalo who makes flex shafts for dentists. I use my flex shaft
just about every day and have had very good luck with this model.
Everyone in our studio uses them and likes them very much.


Karen Christians
Accredited Jewelry Instruction