Flex Shafts, Dremels, Drills and Other Things Like That!

Last updated: 5/10/17

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Let me state this upfront because, I am asked this question, frequently:  You can use most quick release, hammer handpieces, The Wolf Belt Sander, Jump Ring Cutters, etc.  with THE HARBOR FREIGHT FLEX SHAFT!  You just pull off the handpiece and snap the other tool on.  I know this to be true, because I use these attachments with my HF flex shafts!

The Flex Shaft

Question

“Would you please let me know where you bought the small motor that you use for polishing your projects, Especially the cones that slip onto the shafts of the motor for polishing wheels and such. At present I’m using a drill. The cones would be much more convenient for putting on various wheels.”

Answer

I think you are talking about a buffing machine or buffing lathe. Please see this Q&A page: Buffing Motors, Dental Lathes and Polishing Motors, etc. Originally, I thought that you meant the flex shaft as that is a small motored tool. But, the flex shaft doesn’t use a cone system for loading attachments.

Please visit my page:  Flex Shafts, Dremels and Drilling Tools for a lot more information.

What Dremel Attachments Do I Need?

Question

“I am about to purchase my first Dremel tool 3000 series and wanted advice on the attachments I might need. I want to start working with coconut shells which is why I need a cutting, sanding, buffing and polishing system.  Do you have any advice on the bits I might need?”

Answer

I think that the bits/drills, etc., should probably be purchased as the need arises.  There are soooooo many different types of bits available and they are all very specific to a task.  Have you purused Rio Grande’s online catalog?  They have 7 pages on burs and drills alone. They have many different types of attachments and explain (somewhat) the uses.  
Obviously, drills will be important as will buffing, sanding and polishing implements.  Something for cutting like cut-off discs or a metal cutting blade. I love the Wolf Belt Sander for sanding and finishing but, any belt sander would work.  I also love sanding discs which are found on my sanding webpage (see below).  I would image that woodworker related tools would work well with coconut but, I don’t know as I’ve never worked with it before.  Because of my lack of knowledge in that area, I couldn’t recommend specific tools to finish coconuts.
***Have you been to my website?  I have a bunch of information that may help you.  Here are some links:  Flex shafts, dremels and drilling tools (under construction – like most of my website.  It is a growing beast!).  Sanding, Finishing Jewelry, Safety in the Small Jewelry Studio, Suppliers outside the US. Don’t forget to wear a mask and goggles!

Question

I’m inquiring about the flex shafts.  Just wanted to get to know a bit more. Which do you find yourself using the most? Is there one better than the other? I currently  have a dremel, with different speeds. However only the higher speeds work now, and I hate that it is so bulky for the little projects.  Though I believe I saw something about the dremel coming out with a foredom flex like piece, I’m curious if it will hold up. I think I would like the foot pedal, it would be just like my engraving power assist machine.

Answer

I use my Foredom SR the most.  But, I have several other flex shafts made by Harbor Freight.  Pricing varies:  I bought several for our makerspace at $35.00 each. I have found, with theirs, that you need the warranty.  I think it’s 10.00.  There are occasional lemons but, if you have the warranty it’s easy to exchange. The HF flex shafts can last a long time.  I’ve had a few for over ten years.  Maintenance and avoiding abuse helps to increase their lifespan.

  • Most of the add-on tools, that I’ve encountered, work with the HF flex shaft.
  • Rio Grande carries a mid-range flexible shaft as do other vendors. Rio’s version is called The Prodigy. 
  • The Foredom is much better made with quality materials.  It also has a reverse function. Foredom also has an engraving setup called the Power Graver.
  • For foot pedals, I love the Lucas pedal.  Very responsive.
In comparison, I find a dedicated flex shaft much easier to work with than a Dremel with an attached flexible shaft.
I would compare power and rpms between the units.