[Looking4] Flex Shaft Machine

Hi All,

I’m am a beginner to metal working and am in need of a Flex Shaft,
but cannot afford the big price tag I’m seeing at some of the major
dealers. If anyone has one that they no longer need, please let me
know. If have to say that I’m learning so much just by reading what
some of you write about, this place is invaluable.

Thanks so much,


I'm am a beginner to metal working and am in need of a Flex Shaft,
but cannot afford the big price tag 

Try these guys, this is where I bought my first one, and it still

Economy Flexshaft, Item 236-971


You can get one for $66.00 at http://www.contenti.com


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Valerie worse comes to worse try ebay I just bought a foredom model
A lol old but works got it and 3 pounds of gems for 40 dollars. :slight_smile:

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry


call Renee at CR Hill Company in Berkley Michigan I was just there
yesterday and they have used foredoom flex shafts. 248-543-1555

Matthew Gross


am in need of a Flex Shaft, but cannot afford the big price tag I'm
seeing at some of the major dealers.

You might try starting out with a flex shaft from Harbor Freight.
It’s not a Rolls-Royce, but it will get you where you want to go.

harborfreight.com Item 40432


Designs of Eagle Creek
Web http://www.eaglecreekcs.com

I want to thank everyone that responded.

You all gave me some great ideas.

Being as I am new to all this, I do have another question or 100
(smile). I will probably go ahead and buy the one at Contenti or
Harbour Freight. What type of Burs should I buy for these machines
and is there anything I should know before I just go out and buy
some? How are they sold is what I think I’m trying to say.

Take into consideration that I know nothing about these things.

Thanks again,

What type of Burs should I buy for these machines and is there
anything I should know before I just go out and buy some? How are
they sold is what I think I'm trying to say. 

They are sold individually, and in sets, by type and size
(diameter). My first reaction is to first ask “what are you going to
use them for?” but that really doesn’t matter because you’ll find
many creative uses for each type, apart from their traditional use.
Especially if you tend to “think outside the box.”

Bud, setting, hart, krause, ball and inverted cone burs are my
typical “go-to” burs. I couldn’t possibly recommend one or a few
sizes over others because they all come in handy sooner or later. I
probably use bud, setting and ball burs more than the rest. You’ll
learn through experience which suit your needs most.

Eventually, you’ll even begin to modify them to suit your own
personal needs. A ball bur with the top hemisphere ground off makes a
great tool for grinding seats in bezels. Krause burs are wonderful
for cleaniing up the edges of pierced sheet.

In the end, I don’t have a definitive answer for you. Fortunately,
they don’t break the bank, so you should be able to experiment with
several different types and sizes at first. All that’s left is to
have fun.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL

Hi Valerie,

Before you send that credit card to Harbor Freight, please consider
purchasing a Foredom flexshaft. While writing the book on the
Flex-shaft, I spent many hours back and forth with Foredom. Foredom
is an excellent company with excellent service. The parts are of the
highest quality and they stand by everything they sell.

The burs you purchase completely depends on the work you want to do.
I spent countless hours working on the “Making the Most of Your
Flex-Shaft” and many of the questions you are asking are in the book.

The first chapter is all about finding the right system for your
needs. Will you use it every day, several hours a day? Then you need
a solid size motor with the right rpms, amps, and torque
requirements. If it will sit idle for a week at a time and you will
just polish or set a stone from time to time, than a less powerful
motor is perfect.

If you purchase a smaller system, you can’t put much of a load like
drilling stones or polishing. My suggestion? Purchase a motor that
you can grow into. Your technical knowledge will only grow, why not
have a system that will be at your side ready to take on your

Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857

First thing to buy for your new flexshaft is a good pair of safety
glasses for your eyes. Next burs depend on what you will be doing
setting faceted stones, polishing, carving. I suggest you start with
a set of different shapes and practice on scrap to understand how a
round bur differs from a tapered bur etc

You can get bur sets at harbor freight I use diamond to carve in
shell and gemstones 7.99 for a set is awesome pricing :slight_smile:
harborfreight.com search for diamond+burs

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

Hi Valerie,

Take a look at this link it has a good description of the different
burs -


To Valerie

This is how I began my education. I read catalogs of jewelry tools
and findings,I went to the library and took out books I was
interested in but could’t afford to buy. I didn’t really know exactly
what I wanted to do. I just knew I loved jewelry and wanted to make
stuff. My kids were little,I had no extra money but was very hungry
for knowledge. This was pre internet, so now you have a fabulous
resource which has been a great boon to learning. I also asked people
I knew or heard about for info/guidance(which I still do but now my
own kids are some of my best sources!!) Lots of people were very
gracious and willing to share.(as ganoksin illustrates) The more I
read the clearer it became what it was I needed to do,buy and explore
further. Of course, I have purchased THE TOOL,more than once I’m
afraid,that I thought would be fabulous, that now languishes on my
bench.I may not use it right this moment, but who knows, maybe
someday I will appreciate it more or, what has happened in the past,I
will discover someone who loves it and it becomes theirs.

This approach has been a good one for me on lots of different
subjects. This is,in my life,an example of what Joseph Campbell
called “following your bliss.”

Still learning and following where bliss leads me



I would buy a Foredom or a Grobet before I buy any cheaper Motors.

Foredom is # 1 not only in the Jewelry field but in Dentistry and
Wood Carving etc.

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative Grobet has a new one
which is an import from China. And you may be able to find one at
$85.00. Why should you choose Grobet among the cheaper ones is that
they have good quality control and warranty. Their unit is geared to
the jewelers.

Kenneth Singh
46 Jewelry Supply.

Orchidland (& Valerie),

I have great respect for Kenneth’s opinion. He tells truth and is
gracious as well. Add his experience with a wide range of tools and
you have an excellent resource.

BTW, Kenneth was a metalsmith’s angel once again with helping me
obtain a nice set of decent hand tools for my 4-H jewelry class. I
volunteer to do the teaching and put together the materials for a kit
that each student can keep. As with any group, some were very casual
about their work, and others were so precise and interested. I was
pleased to see some being innovative with mixing metals and unusual

Just sharing a little bit of personal pride in students here, Judy
in Kansas, where one of those turtles thought my toe was dinner and
gave me a good nip last night!! My fault - I know better than to wear
flip-flops in the garden.

You might try starting out with a flex shaft from Harbor Freight.
It's not a Rolls-Royce, but it will get you where you want to  go

For any one considering a flex shaft from Harbor Freight- here’s a
post I put up in 2002:

  Words can't express how much I hate these units. I ordered 6
  flex shafts from Harbor Freight last year. They would  run (no
  on or off switch, just a foot pedal) when no one was near them
  (at first I thought I had a studio ghost!) The foot pedal got
  so hot that you couldn't touch them The hand pieces weren't
  true (off center- wobbly) and made a grinding sound. Harbor
  Freight wouldn't take them back, wouldn't replace them. After
  8 or 9 emails, and  many, many phone calls, threats to file
  complaints with the Better  Business Bureau and Underwriters
  Laboratory (the foot pedals were a fire hazard!) they agreed
  to send me new revised foot pedals. This  took 6 & 1/2 months!
  I replaced the hand pieces with #30 Foredom  handpieces from
  another vendor. It is an incredible waste of time and this
  kind of frustration does hinder creativity. I've seen other
  posts on Orchid about Harbor Freight tools that folks like,
  but after this dreadful experience, I won't be back. I hope
  this helps... 

Best Regards,
Kate Wolf in crisp and sunny Portland, Maine hosting wicked good
workshops by the bay