Using Flexshaft Power Tools
There are several different types of woodcarving power tools. This blog will deal with what are commonly called “flexshaft power tools”. Flexshaft tools consist of a motor, flexible drive shaft, handpiece and a speed control. The motor is meant to hang over your workbench at a height that allows using the handpiece in a comfortable position. (Here’s a Tip: when finished using the handpiece Do Not lay it on your bench. The inner shaft is greased so it operates with less friction and the grease becomes warm and will run down the shaft. By keeping the handpiece hung in an up-right position when not in use, it will prevent the grease from running into it.)
Motor: the one shown here is the SR Foredom model which offers 1/6th horse power. While 1/6th may seem small, it is certainly powerful enough for woodcarvers. It has been the most common Foredom motor for years and offers very dependable service. I have one that is 30+ years old and is only 1/8th hp! This SR model runs both Forward and Reverse at speeds up to 18,000 RPM. It offers all of the power and speed needed to accomplish most every job. Keep in mind that our motors are rated at continuous duty or maximum efficiency and NOT maximum output. Consequently, if we adopted the max output rating used by other manufacturers, it would qualify as 1/5 or 1/4 hp.
We also sell the Wecheer 330 model (shown here) which offers 1/4 hp. The Wecheer is comparably less expensive. We have sold the Wecheer model since the late 1990’s. Furthermore, the Wecheer and Foredom SR model Flexshaft and Handpieces are compatible and interchangeable.
Motors are available in different Horse Power options. As noted above the newer Foredom SR model is rate at 1/6hp while the Wecheer 330 is 1/4hp. They have similar output ratings. For the average woodcarver (either beginner or professional) these certainly will provide all the power you need! While there are others rated at 1/3 and even 1/2 hp, you simply do not need that much power. These larger motors are for industrial purposes and those who carve for hours and hours on end….but who does that.
What comes with our Flexshaft Kits
Flexshaft: the flexshaft has both an outer sheath and an inner cable. The inner shafts have a safety feature whereby if the bur happens to catch in your clothing, it will break. This is not a fault but a safety feature. Some carvers wear a leather apron so the bur will slide-off rather then catch. Both the Wecheer and Foredom models have 39″ long shafts and the inner cable attached to the handpiece(s) by a long key-tip.
Handpiece: there are several Foredom handpieces to choose from. Similarly, there are several Wecheer handpiece. The most popular has 3 collets which permit the use of 3/32″, 1/8″ and 1/4″ bur shaft sizes. There is also a chuck type, as well as a variety of sizes and bur changing options. In addition to these rotary action handpieces, we have reciprocating handpieces.
Speed Control: Both the Foredom and Wecheer models may be operated by a variable speed foot pedal (shown at top) – or desk-top dial shown here. This model is made by Foredom and once again, it can be used on the Wecheer 330 model.
The Foredom SR and Wecheer 330 operate in both Forward and Reverse
Advantages of Running in Reverse:
Left handed users have more control of the cutting tool. Reverse helps to keep dust and other debris flying away from right handed users. Alternating motor direction helps to extend the life of certain abrasives and burs. Reverse helps with accomplishing symmetrical grinding and carving techniques. Reverse makes it easier to back out stuck drill bits and burs.
Which Bur or Stone or Point to use?
There is a wide variety of accessories to use in the handpiece. We will discuss those in another Blog and offer some guide lines may help in your selection.
Power Carver We suggest you watch this YouTube video as it offers some really good information and covers different styles of power carving.
Hope you found this Blog on Using Flexshaft Power Tools helpful and will come back for more.
Dennis and Cindy
Chipping Away Inc