It really isn’t necessary to take a class in using the flex shaft
machine, especially since lions don’t offer any. OK, minor joke! You
could pay round trip travel expenses to bring in an instructor of
your choice (OK, being silly here).You can learn to use yours by
yourself. Just make sure that any time you use the tool, you protect
your eyes and your lungs. Check each mandrel for ‘true’ (no wobble),
by running it very slowly in the machine and discarding if it
There are two wonderful books available specifically dealing with
the flex shaft. I can’t praise "Making the Most of Your Flex Shaft"
by Karen Christians highly enough. It’s the most thorough and
informative book out there for using the flex shaft. It de-mystifies
this indispensable tool, descended from those used by dentists, that
we in the jewelry arena use in so many ways.
There is also a second book, written by Harold O’Connor, “The
Flexible Shaft Machine”. This is an older book (the very first one
that attempted to summarize the use of the flex shaft), with much
about using the tool, but especially focussed on unique
uses for the many wheels, drill bits, burs, etc. that can be used
with the flex shaft.
With both of these books in your library, you will have very few
questions left about using your flex shaft. Don’t get just one of
them, get both. There is no overlapping of in these
books and you won’t regret it. If you have to restrict yourself to
buying just one initially, go with “Making the Most of Your Flex
Shaft” (sorry Harold). Get Harold’s book later down the line, when
you have the bucks/whatever.
Here are the URLs for these books on Amazon.com:
Safety Caveat: As is my usual tack, I strongly urge you to use a
face shield (I do), or at the least a pair of safety glasses when
using a rotary tool like a flex shaft. And when using a grinding
and/or polishing wheel in the tool, make certain to draw the dust
away from you with a good ventilation system. The dust coming off
grinding WILL ABSOLUTELY end up in your nose, sinuses, throat and
lungs, if you don’t suck it up with a machine designed to do just
that. This is necessary when working with metal, metal from metal
clay, metal clay greenware, wood, stones, shells, etc.
If, after reading the books above, you still have questions about
using your flexshaft, you can certainly ask them here. There have
been many threads Re: flex shaft use on Orchid, so you can check the
archives. Also, I would bet that Foredom has a tech person who can
answer your questions, too.
As far as the ceramic abrasives, you don’t say whether you’re
talking about the drums or the flat discs. If the drums, then you
need to thoroughly tighten the screw in the end of the mandrel.
Hope this is useful,