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Greasing a Foredom flex shaft


You folks started talking about Foredom problems, and now mine is
acting up. The shaft (not the motor) is making a sort of gurgling
noise, as if something is either loose or stuck inside. The handpiece
still works fine, but the noise is painful to the ears. I’m thinking
it might be overdue for lubricating–I’m finding out the hard way
that the people I bought my shop equipment from weren’t good at doing
routine maintenance.

I do not have the original booklet/papers for this Foredom, so I’m
not sure what sort of grease to use. I saw on the Foredom company
website that they sell flex shaft lubricant, but I would hate to buy
some and then find out that we have the right stuff here already in
the collection of grease tubes in my husband’s workshop. Before I
place an order, does anyone know what type of grease is recommended
for Foredom flex shafts? And once I get the proper grease, how to I
go about getting the grease inside the flex shaft itself?

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry


Hi Kathy. You should opt for the Fordom grease. The reason is that
different greases are not always compatible. If you mix greases,
they will sometimes set up into a waxy sludge that provides no
lubrication, and a lot of drag. It is always best and safe to use
the same grease that originally lubricated it.

To remove the sheath and lube the shaft, remove the handpiece. Then
unscrew the big nut that the sheath is mounted in. This is a left
hand thread on a fordom. On the old Vigor motors, it was a right
hand screw. The left hand will have flats like a big nut, the right
hand has a knurled collar. Simply unscrew the nut, and slide the
sheath down the shaft until you are clear. Two notes of caution
here. First, at best, the shaft will be very dirty, and the grease
on it will permanently stain you cloths etc. Second, if you are
getting strange sounds from the shaft, it is probable that your
shaft is starting to come apart. Watch for stray wires sticking out
from the shaft. They hurt when you poke one in your hand, and
because of caution #1, they are slow to heal.

Now using the correct grease, apply a thin coat of grease on the
shaft from end to end. Watch #2 above. Slip the sheath back on the
shaft and screw it back on the motor. Apply a bit of grease to the
keyed end of the shaft before attaching your handpiece. If your
handpiece has a compound spring in it, you need to lubricate it as

If you are doing commercial work, you should keep a first aid kit
for your flex shaft. It would include a tube of Fordom grease, a
spare shaft and sheath (make sure you get the correct one for your
motor), a set of brushes for the motor, again the correct ones, a
duplex spring repair kit (if you have a duplex spring handpiece or
hammer), and a spare foot petal. This can be an old sewing machine
petal for temporary use until you can get a good replacement. You
won’t have the control using one, but you can keep working. Total
cost of the kit would be around $35.00.




I will try to describe how to grease the Foredom flex shaft. You
probably will get may comments on your concern. By the time you
read them all you will probably be an expert.

The flex shaft housing (the black rubber coated flex tube) is
fastened to the motor by an aluminum tube that has a hex nut shape
on the end nearest the motor. Find a wrench that fits the hex nut
and remove this piece from the motor. Once this is done the entire
flex shaft housing and aluminum piece will slide down the interior

I apply grease to the interior cable then replace the flex covering
and aluminum piece. Simple? Wear old clothes and be prepared to
get greasy. You need about three hands to do the job but you can do
it with a little practice.

You might have to replace the center flex shaft if it is damaged.

The grease Foredom sells is probably the correct grease. I comes in
a tube. Rio Grande also sells a Foredom repair kit.

While you are at it you might want to replace the brushes. They are
under the two black screw caps on the upper end of the motor. Make
sure you replace the brushes so that the curve of the brush matches
the armature. The best way to do this is to note the orientation of
the curve of the brush as you remove it. Replace the old one or the
new one with the curve orientated the same way. I hope this helps.

If not contact me off line and I will answer questions. Good luck Lee

   You folks started talking about Foredom problems, and now mine
is acting up. The shaft (*not* the motor) is making a sort of
gurgling noise, as if something is either loose or stuck inside. 

It sounds like a problem that developed in my Foredom after about a
year of use…the setscrews that attach the inner flexshaft to the
motor had worked loose. Under a load the motor shaft would spin
faster than the flexshaft, rumbling over the loose set screws.