Hanging motor or a bench motor?

Hi there

I’m looking at buying a foredom and am torn between getting a
hanging motor or a bench motor.

Also can you recommend which size motor to buy. Baiscally any
recommendations gratefully received.


I'm looking at buying a foredom and am torn between getting a
hanging motor or a bench motor. 

The hanging motor, or flexible shaft, has particular benefits when
working with small stuff. Naturally I recommend that one. Eventually
you may also want a polishing motor.

Metalsmith since 1990
and Certified PMC Instructor

I got a hanging motor which I hung on a hospital IV stand with
wheels. That way it can be rolled anywhere, which I need because I
have a small space and need to move and replace things on my bench
as I need them. It’s high enough that the shaft doesn’t have any
more of a bend than if it were on the bench. As far as motor size,
there is a very informative book sold through Rio (can’t remember
the name of it - something-something-your flexshaft [?]) that gives
much on motors and uses depending on the type of work
you do.


Ed and Toni, et all!

The so-called ‘hanging type’ of flex-shaft does have its weight
problems. First of all, you must obtain a proper length metal pole and
securing it to your bench. Is the pole too far away to allow the
shaft to be within hands reach to your work item? What about the
total shaft-handle height? When you are using this hanging type, you
are not only carrying the weight of the hand-piece now you are also
carrying the weight of the flex-shaft. This combination does make
your hand and arm tired at times.

Maneouverability, or freedom to move your hand around your work
station does cause a lack of easy access to your jewellery work. I
bought the “micro-motor” some years ago, what a ‘release’ of being
tied down to the motor. The only weight I now have is the handle
itself. No long flex-shaft, much easier and longer periods of time at
the bench with out ANY fatigue settling in.

My answer is quite obvious, micro-motor benchtype operation,


Foredom is not the only brand of pendant motors with high torque low
speed. I am particularly happy with the Foredoms I have at the
moment ( the new TX 300 for example is dandy), but there are a number
of other manufacturers with as good or better warranties for near
identical products, Pfingst in New Jersey, Buffalo Dental, NY, and
other proprietary motors shouldn’t be overlooked for a brand name
that has limitations with easch model…what you do need to pay
attention to with any pendant motor is how will you connect it to
your bench, and what, or how many other foot pedal operated machines
have you got to connect to a power source- in which case you may need
to purchse a central controlling port/outlet… (120-150 bucks) also
different Foredom motors have different handpiece limitations so if
you dream of using a hammer handpiece or adding a quick change one,
then check before you buy whether the Foredom you are looking at can
accept your eventual purchase…

That said, if you have a choice the GRSs micromotor and other
micromotors would be my choice if i had deep pockets… for starting
out though I believe i would recommend the pendant types for the
sher availability of compatible things that can be used with
them…another possibility to add flexibility to your system is to
purchase a becnh mount for the pendant motor allowing hands-free
operation. A wall mounted swing arm ( as is used for plants) is an
alternative to a floor standing crane as seen in a doctor’s or dental
office and moves it out of the way when not in use…check out some
different suply sources and do the research, don’t just settle for a
brand because it’s a brand-



The cable driven hand piece is probably one of the most useful tool
you will have on your work bench. You will be able to grind, cut,
polish set stones, texture and many other operations with a cable
driven hand piece.

I am not sure what you mean by bench type. Rio Grande used to sell a
Foredom mounted in a heavy base that could be mounted anywhere. I
did not see that product in the latest catalog.

How and where you hang the motor will depend on you work bench and
work space.

I have several Foredoms. One is the old bench type, one is the
hanging type and one I just set on the table next to my work bench.
The main concern is how and where your are going to use the hand
piece. The flex shaft cable should not be bent in too tight of a
radius. The Foredom should be mounted so you can use the hand piece
without stress. The hanging cable should not be in the way as you use
the hand piece.

The size of the motor will depend on what you want to do toda and in
the future with your Foredom. Plan ahead and buy the size of motor
you might need in the future.

Check out the book, “Making the Most of Your Flex-shaft” by Karen

Lee Epeprson

Yes bench top because you can move it to where you need it on the
bench I am using an antique fordom model A :))) it is starting to
wear down the flex shaft vibrates off the spindle I emailed foredom
but got no reply as to how to repair it they still sell the shaft for
it so if that is what I need a tip would be appreciated.

I like it cause I can polish or use flex shaft. I will be replacing
it if my Sept show goes well

with a foredom. After all this model A is serial # 1329 I have no
idea how old it is but it still works lol. But it deserves a rest I
work it hard.

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

In reading some comments on putting the flex-shaft motor where it is
convenient and easy to work with. This solution I came up with has
worked well for me for a long time. I have both the hanging and table
motors, but prefer the hanging one as I state next.

Got a Shepherds Hock from the garden nursery…Tall one. Bought a
small plastic waste paper basket… Plaster of Paris holds the
shepherds hock in the waste paper basket. Turned the basket with
largest opening to the bottom.(cut the bottom out)…More stable.
Seal the Top opening with cardboard or wood and duct tape, (Seal
real good !) Pour the plaster of Paris…Put the hock in and let
set, and you have a great moveable holder for your
Flex-Shaft…Works great for me. Hope someone in Orchid Land finds
this idea useful.

Barbara in HOT Las Vegas, Nevada

A hanging motor doesn’t take up valuable bench space and it is
easier to manipulate the handpiece.

Bob Rush

I have two flex shafts hanging on my left (one quick-change hand
piece that I use constantly, and one Jacobs chuck for drill bits and
the odd size tools I find useful). I also have my micro motor below
on my left for the high speed work, where torque is not necessary.
This does not count the GRS hand piece, also on my left. Rather than
deal with switches, as some recommend, I simply mounted all four foot
peddles on a wood block (it took a while till my foot instinctively
went to the correct peddle, but I am happy with this set up).

Hi Teri,

I’m sorry that you have not received a response from your inquiry
about your older Foredom unit. I have searched through our historical
files and cannot find a model A Series motor. We have gotten repairs
from units from as far back as the 1930’s and have managed to repair
most of them. If you’d like you can call us at 800-441-0625 to talk
about your unit’s problem or send it in directly for a free estimate.
Please i9nclude your return shipping address and daytime phone
number. You can send it to Foredom Repair Dept., 16 Stony Hill Rd.,
Bethel, CT 06801. If you or anyone has any further trouble reaching
us I’d really like to know about it.

Mike Zagielski,
Foredom Sales Manager

Hi Tony,

The most popular style flexshaft machine is the hang-up type,
however you can purchase the base and yoke mount separatly to change
it over to a bench mount type. The separate base and yoke, part #
UA111P, simply attaches to where the hanger mounted on the motor
housing. It has a suggested retail price of $45.00 and can be ordered
through any Foredom dealer.

Mike Zagielski
Foredom Sales Manager

I’ll jump in here to provide a simple but completely unmentioned
hanging method.

Somewhere above your bench is a ceiling. Any of many threaded hooks
can be put in the ceiling. I use a piece of ordinary ribbon tied to
the hook and the foredom for suspension. I can adjust the height with
ease. I place it a little back on the bench and have a hook at the
base of the motor for getting the hand piece up out of the way when
not in use.

The front of my bench is uncluttered with cords and the steel

Somewhere above your bench is a ceiling. Any of many threaded

When I moved my shop to my garage, with open rafters, I was stymied
on how to suspend my flexshaft from the ceiling (my preferred
method). I solved the problem by placing a woodworkers bar clamp
between the rafters. A bar clamp is made of 1/2 threaded gas pipe
with a screw clamp on one end and a sliding clamp on the other. From
that I have a bungee cord suspending the flexshaft. That way I have
about 24" of side to side adjustment. Of course this depends on the
direction the rafters run. For finished ceilings or rafters running
in the other direction, you could attach two pieces of 2x4 flat on
the ceiling to attach the bar clamp. Height is determined from the
length of bungee cord which there are a plethora of lengths and
anyone who does outside shows should already have a variety to choose
from. I like the ribbon idea. I could implement that with my bar
clamp. But I can’t think of anytime when working at my bench when I’m
not using my flexshaft…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Somewhere above your bench is a ceiling. Any of many threaded

When I moved my shop to my garage, with open rafters, I was stymied
on how to suspend my flexshaft from the ceiling (my preferred

On the far right corner of my bench at the front edge is a 3 "
diameter disc with a threaded hole for 1" plumbing pipe screwed to
the top with four screws. Screwed into the base plate is a 3 1/2
foot long piece with a 90 degree elbow with a 1 foot long pipe
screwed into that. Wires wrapped around the pipe and hang down that
the flex shaft hangs by that you can adjust the height to where you
need it. The way this is done allows great flexibility to position
the flexshafts exactly where you want them, as the vertical pipe can
be turned any way you need it. I took a flat piece of 3/16 by 1/2
inc= stock, made a right angle of about one inch, drilled a hole in
the short part and screwed it to the pipe about 9 inches above my
desk, a pliers rack, all my pliers are within easy reach and I can
see all of them at once. Picture is available if needed.

Richard Hart

I find that the motor has somewhat of a kick when started, such that
it can wiggle the flex shaft and alter the aim of the handpiece. So
for doing detailed things it’s necessary to take the start-up torque
into consideration. That’s with flexible material like ribbon,
bungee, and a loose attachment to a steel stand.

So I favour a more rigid hanging mount, which arrests any unstable
flips from the torque of the motor on startup.

But then, I’m a bit jerky on the Foredom FCT footswitch. I’ve a much
smoother one on my old machine which once was a sewing machine

B r i a n A d a m a n d R u t h B a i r d
Auckland New Zealand
www.adam.co.nz www.ruthbaird.com

The best foot control seems to be the Lucas-- it shines at low
speeds: http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=28 I
usually prefer the motor running at a fixed speed though and a cheap
router speed control works for me.

http://www.harborfreight.com Item number 43060

these go on sale at $12.95 from time to time


Screwed into the base plate is a 3 1/2 foot long piece with a 90
degree elbow with a 1 foot long pipe screwed into that. Wires
wrapped around the pipe and 

Although Richard describes the typical flex shaft hanger right, his
plumbing terms are a little rusty. The crucial part is a pipe
flange. That’s a (usually) round fitting with 4 bolt holes and a
pipe fitting in the center, for mounting pipe onto a surface for
railings or flex shaft hangers. He says 1", but mine is 1/2" pipe
(galvanized pipe is the ID, not the OD). Usually it’s mounted in the
back corner of the bench top, but mine is mounted on the back, with
street elbow so the upward pipe can go into it. I also put an elbow
on the end of the top pipe, so the flex shaft can’t slide off the
end of it. All it is is a big “L” made out of pipe that goes from
the back of the bench up and outwards over the front of the bench. I
hang my motor with plain old copper electrical wire, which, as
Richard points out, is easily adjustable for height.

Very adjustable flexshaft holder.

The hanging flexshaft holders on my benchs are made out of 20 to 24
inches of 3/8 black iron pipe with a piece of 5/16 in cold rolled
rod bent into an inverted L. The part which sticks inside the pipe
has a set collar with a set screw so the hight is adjustable. The
swinging end has a 2 in 45 degree V bent into the outermost end. I
can have the flexshaft mounted on the end hanging down. Or with the
flexshaft mounted near the upright shaft, and the flexable shaft
portion suspended by1/8 in brass hooks. they can be of differient
lengths 4 " or up to 12 ". This allows the flexable shaft to be
partly supported and free to swing in and out. The pipe is threaded
to fit into a 4 hole pipe flange which is mounted at the back corner
of the bench. The pipe, if broken can be removed from the flange and
rethreaded and so is reuseable. I use one of these for a Foredom H
model ( heavy ) and have no problems. It can be adjusted up or down,
flexshaft in or out to the end., freehanging or supported by brass
hooks, And is free to swing in or out. I have a piece of 1/8 " brass
which is twisted like a spring with the end sticking so as to hold 3
or4 Optovisors handy but out of the way. This fits a standard 20 "
deep bench.

Buy 4 - 1 1/4" screws and make sure the heads are big enough to fit
the flange… Buy a 4 hole pipe flange for 3/8 pipe. Buy a piece if
3/8 pipe 20 " to 24 " long and have one end threaded 38 NPT pipe
thread. Buy 48 " of 5/16 cold rolled round shaft. Buy 1 - 5/16 set
collar ( with a allen set screw ) . Buy 1 - 36 " long 1/8 brass
brazing rod= - Total cost $ 10 dollars for each at any

Do you have unsightly holes in your bench because you bought a used
bench like I did or made changes to your bench ? Then buy a package
of bamboo skewers and some wood glue glue. Dip the bamboo skewers
into the glue and drive into the holes then cut off the skewers.
When the glue is dried in a few hrs, sand the spot flat and smooth.
You have a new bench top.


Good Morning Orchidians

I’ve been following this thread for a bit and have not seen anyone
mention using a balancer system. It’s a system using a track that can
stretch as long as your bench and from that hangs one or more
retractable things called balancers or tool positioners. The
flexshafts, drills or whatever hang from the balancer and can be
pulled along to anywhere on the bench. The retractable cable pulls
the tool up out of the way when it’s not being used and there is a
dial to adjust the tension for pull-down. I’ve enclosed the web site
for the kind we use at work for our drivers and air guns. This place
has all the things you need to set up the system…and there is a
Canadian site as well.


Hope this helps…Sheila