Getting Started With the Flex Shaft

Gain the confidence to wield your flex shaft with finesse and open the door to unlimited fabrication possibilities! Experienced Rio Grande instructor Mark Nelson shows you how to make the most of this tool with his fun and easy-to-follow teaching style. Discover tricks for setting up and maintaining your flex shaft, and which attachments Mark recommends for different jobs. Follow along as Mark demonstrates various cutting, polishing and drilling projects — even with shells and glass! You’ll also find out how to use your flex shaft to revive old and damaged tools, and how to create custom stamps. Along the way, discover trade secrets that will help you create your best work yet.

Class Preview

Meet the Flex Shaft

Meet Rio Grande educator Mark Nelson and learn more about the many uses of the flex shaft. Mark breaks down the flex shaft’s components, shares maintenance tips and introduces a variety of accessories that make the flex shaft a versatile and efficient tool for jewelry making.


Mark discusses the many types of drill bits available and shows how to drill through metal by hand or with a flex shaft drill press. Along the way, he discusses safety considerations. You’ll also see how to use core drills to puncture materials such as stone, glass or seashells.

Master the paring knife as you learn to easily core a jalapeño, tomato or cauliflower and zest an orange then learn how to cut down butternut squash and pineapple as you tackle a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Cutting, Sanding & Polishing

Mark explains how to protect your hands as you’re cutting, then demonstrates how to use burs to grind away metal. You’ll see how to use separating discs, grinding wheels, sanding discs and drums, and split mandrels. Mark will also you walk you through his preferred wheels to use at each stage of polishing.

Making Your Own Tools

Use the flex shaft to make your own tools! Mark shows you how to convert items such as old or damaged mandrels and burs into tools to suit your own needs, then demonstrates how to create a custom stamp from a masonry nail. You’ll be amazed at how many uses you can find for the flex shaft!

Bonus Download:

Getting Started With the Flex Shaft – Supplies and Resources

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