Flexible Shaft Machines
Flexible shaft machines are probably the tools most often used by practicing craftsmen. They can be used for a variety of tasks to enhance production and reduce fatigue. Scottish engineer James Nasmyth invented the flexible shaft in the 1800s. This invention provided a means of transmitting rotary motion from a power source to a drill on the end of the flex shaft. The smaller end was lighter to use and made it easier to access tight areas. Since then, flexible shaft machines have been used by jewelers and goldsmiths, woodcarvers, hobbyists, artists, and toolmakers. Jewelers find them especially helpful for drilling holes, setting stones, polishing metal, and shaping wax. Woodcarvers use them to efficiently carve fine detail on their projects.
A flexible shaft system uses a motor to rotate a flexible shaft. The end of the shaft contains a handpiece, which contains the desired-shape bit. It is operated by an adjustable power source. Flexible shaft handpiece accessories include burs, drill bits, polishing wheels, or brushes.
Often, jewelers may have several different types of handpieces. Pfingst & Company offers a complete line of rotary instruments to use in flexible shaft machines. We have a full line of steel, carbide, and high-speed steel burs, diamond and ruby coated instruments, and silicone polishing wheels and points.