A flexible shaft rotary tool is a versatile tool that can be used for a number of applications, from jewelry to automotive to crafting new things. We’ve rounded up the best rotary tools with flexible shaft rotaries and reviewed their features so you can find the perfect fit for your project.
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These are the best flexible shaft rotary tools:
- WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
- Ryobi One+ Plus 18Volt Variable Speed Rotary Tool (P460)
- APEXFORGE M6 Rotary Tool Kit
- POPULO Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
- Dremel 4300-9/64 Versatile Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
We have also created an in-depth buying guide that will help answer any questions you might have before making your purchase!
Thanks to technological advances, many tools have been designed to help us complete our tasks with maximum efficiency. One of these tools is the flexible shaft rotary tool.
It’s great for finishing off your project pieces because it doesn’t heat up as much as other rotary devices that are on the market today.
They are relatively cheap and are usually powered by Dremel motors which were originally designed for dental work.
Some of them even come packaged with a small assortment of accessories like bristle brushes, sanding drums, etc., but there are also several other attachments you can buy separately if you need additional options.
The best part about owning one is that it really helps make things easier to do whenever you’re working on something so you can save money.
It’s always best to have a rotary tool handy when you want to finish up your project pieces, but not all of them are the same. Before buying anything, it’s important that you first know what features to look for in order to get the most out of your purchase.
Since there are several options on the market, it may be difficult for some people to find something that will suit their needs perfectly.
That is why we decided to write this article about some factors you should pay attention to if you are thinking about buying one of these tools.
This guide will present information about some essential things you need to consider before spending your hard-earned money on any model so make sure that you take everything into account before making a purchase.
Before going further, we can have a look at some of the best flexible shaft rotary tools that we have picked for you, so you don’t have to do the homework.
1. WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
The first product on this best top flex shaft rotary tool list is the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool with Flex Shaft.
Wen has earned a reputation for making affordable products loaded with features and options that allow it to compete with models that are much more expensive.
This model is provided with a low-speed to high-speed option ranging from 8000 RPM all the way to a massive 30,000 RPM.
These settings can be easily adjusted with a knob during operation, making it convenient to change while the machine is running.
This along with the 80 tools added as part of the kit allows you to dial in the precise setting required to get any job done.
The tool itself weighs around 3.5lbs, which ensures that users can handle it for long periods of time with ease.
The provision of a carrying case that accommodates the other tools in the kit makes it the perfect option for those looking to carry the kit around.
The flex shaft is also provided in this model, allowing for better control and flexibility while using the tool while ensuring improved reach, and minimized vibrations.
The price point makes it one of the most affordable models in the market today.
PROs and CONs
- Clear instructions in manual, easy to understand
- Good ventilation and design, maintains performance over long term usage
- Compatible with aftermarket parts of other brands
- Very cheap and affordable
- Works well on hardwood and steel materials
- Quiet operation and lightweight design, ideal for beginners
- Prompt customer service
- Could use some more power
- Tool susceptible to run-out issues due to improper centering
- Gets overheated in general-purpose use occasionally
- Cheap fit and finish, accessories lack quality
2. Ryobi One+ Plus 18Volt Variable Speed Rotary Tool (P460)
Japanese brands like Ryobi are renowned for their quality and precision. Holding true to this notion is the Ryobi One+ Plus 18 Volt Variable Speed Rotary Tool, which offers users a host of features that make it a value-for-money addition irrespective of your requirements.
The feature that stood out was its pen grip design which allowed for a more natural feel while doing jobs such as engraving, carving, and polishing.
It ensured greater precision and accuracy, ensuring even the most intricate jobs could be done with ease. Another stand-out feature was that this product is a battery-operated unit.
While many may feel it lacks the power compared to corded options, being battery powered allows users to use this tool whenever they want, wherever they are.
It is also compatible with the Ryobi One+ battery range, ensuring one can choose the run time as they wish.
This option is a great buy for hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts looking to complete smaller jobs on the go.
However, professional contractors might want to look elsewhere if they require a more powerful machine designed for heavy-duty applications.
PROs and CONs
- Compatible with Dremel and Ryobi One+ tools
- Smooth operation
- Comfortable grip and pen design for a natural feel
- Easy to access battery and controls
- Battery-powered model, offers great portability
- Collet nut susceptible to damage, entire flex shaft unit has to be replaced
- Changing speeds is not a smooth experience
- Quite loud requires hearing protection
3. APEXFORGE M6 Rotary Tool Kit
Up next in the list of top flex shaft rotary tools is the APEXFORGE M6 Rotary Tool Kit.
This product has attracted a large number of customers thanks to the number of accessories provided as well as the value for money it provides.
The 135 W motor provides plenty of power that can get any job done with ease.
It is also equipped with a 6-speed control system that allows you to choose speeds from 10,000 RPM all the way up to 35,000 RPM.
A great ventilation system ensures that your machine does not overheat during use.
This tool has a streamlined design that allows you to get precision jobs done with ease, especially over longer periods of time.
However, it is slightly on the heavier side, requiring more effort when it comes to operating the tool single-handedly. However, multiple grips included in the accessories kit ensure easier use.
Overall, this tool is a great buy for those looking to buy their first rotary tool.
It makes for the perfect gift for DIY enthusiasts with an interest in engraving and carving. Professionals can also purchase this tool thanks to its powerful performance.
PROs and CONs
- Toolless accessory switch
- Numerous accessories for greater versatility
- Pistol grip for better stability included
- Smooth operation thanks to ball bearings
- Easy to use, even for a first-timer
- Lacks torque
- Angles formed between tool and flex shaft lead to inaccurate cutting
- Confusing instructions in the manual
- Difficult to use for single-handed precision due to heavyweight
4. POPULO Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
On first glance, the POPULO Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft may seem too good to be true because of its affordable pricing and large number of accessories.
However, this tool offers great value for money and solid performance, which is why it is the last product to feature on our list of best flex shaft rotary tools.
This product comes well packaged in a carrying case along with over 100 different accessories that make it a great option for those looking to perform a variety of tasks.
It also has a five-speed option that ensures one can easily switch between quick material removal or precision cutting.
It has an easy-to-use and lightweight design that allows users to use it for single-handed precision operations for longer periods of time.
The addition of a USB charging port allows for this model to be charged anywhere. This makes it a very convenient option for those looking for a portable model that is easy to carry around.
However, professionals may not be satisfied with the performance of this tool, especially due to a lack of quality in numerous components.
PROs and CONs
- USB charging with charge indicator
- LED light offers better sighting of workpiece
- Pen grip allows for precision jobs
- Multiple accessories for versatility, good for cutting and polishing
- Poor customer service, especially on warranty related queries
- Numerous users reported issues with battery life
- Low quality spindle lock and flex shaft, susceptible to breaking
- Susceptible to overheating and sparks in the vent
- Instructions lack clarity
5. Dremel 4300-9/64 Versatile Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
When it comes to rotary tools, Dremel is one of the pioneers in the field that has always had a loyal customer base thanks to its legendary products.
The Dremel 4300-9/64 Rotary Tool Kit holds true to this tradition, offering features and performance that never lets you down.
The motor offers powerful performance that allows you to use the tool for a variety of jobs.
With multiple speed options between 5000 RPM and 35,000 RPM, one can use this tool for grinding, polishing, and engraving work.
Despite the tool being on the heavier side, one does not feel the strain while using it for longer periods of time thanks to the minimized vibrations.
Features like the universal 3 jaw chuck with toolless accessory change and LED lighting accessories make this a great tool to use even in less than ideal conditions.
Ultimately, this tool offers dependable performance that never drops over extended periods of time. This justifies its cost, which may be on the higher side for customers on a budget.
However, this tool is a great buy for DIY enthusiasts with their general purpose use as well as professionals looking for precision and performance.
PROs and CONs
- Dependable and powerful performance over the long run, great investment
- Comfortable to grip and use for precision work, minimal vibrations
- High quality accessories
- Good customer service
- Expensive and heavy
- Poor quality case, cluttered and inefficient space utilization
- Heavy for miniature work
Flex Shaft Features to Look For
It’s always best to keep your budget in mind when you are looking into buying something whether it is for your home or workplace. However, it’s important that you don’t just buy anything because it is cheap.
Sometimes saving money can cost more if the quality of the product isn’t up to par which means that you will have to spend more money later on replacing parts or fixing something that was broken.
This article will show you some things about these tools that could affect their performance so make sure that you know everything about what you are getting first before shelling out any cash.
If possible, try using one at a friend’s place to get an idea of how it works.
It may also be helpful if you watch some videos or read some reviews about the product that you want before buying anything.
- Flex Shaft Heads: There are several types of flex shaft heads on the market today but they aren’t made equal. Not all of them will fit every tool so it’s important that you figure out what type of drive your model uses before making a purchase.
There are six basic designs right now. They include 1/4 inch Hex, 3/8 inch Square Recess, 1/4 inch Square Recess, Side Drive, Round Shaft, and Diamond Shank.
Each one has its own use so knowing which one is compatible with your rotary tool can help you optimize its performance.
You should also check to see if any of the accessories that come with the head would work on your model just in case you want to try something new later down the road.
- Flex Shaft Attachments: Since these tools are mainly used for detailing and finishing, it’s best that you look into buying one equipped with several attachments so you can complete multiple tasks.
Some of them include sanding drums, bristle brushes, polishing pads, and many more.
If there is a kit available then you’re looking at about $80 for everything which isn’t bad at all as long as what comes included will be useful during different stages of your project.
It doesn’t matter what model you get as long as it has everything that you need to complete your tasks.
If there is a kit available then it’s best to go with that one because the manufacturer already made sure of its compatibility and contents for easy use.
- Flex Shaft Tips: Flex shaft tips come in different shapes and sizes too so make sure that you find one like the size of your burrs or cutters before buying anything.
When working on big pieces, round burrs will make things easier but when working on tiny details, flat cutters are needed.
There are also several materials used when making these tips so take note if yours uses tungsten carbide, titanium nitride, or diamond coated rods for cutting action.
These tips also need to be lubricated so it’s best that you invest in a good flex shaft lubricant and always keep the tip clean and dry.
- Flex Shaft Warranty: As is the case with most rotary tools, Flex Shafts aren’t made equal so make sure that you find something with an extensive warranty if you opt for one of those instead of old fashion flex shaft heads with different spindle attachments.
If possible, look for 2 to 3-year warranties which are pretty common among big companies who want their customers to trust them when buying Flex Shaft products.
Finding the right rotary tool will depend on what kind of tasks you need it for but if all you need is something small then a Flex Shaft rotary tool will be more than enough to get the job done.
Since Flex Shaft tools are mainly used for detailing then it’s best that you invest in one with several attachments like sanding drums, bristle brushes, polishing pads, and many more.
These can all fit inside an accessory kit which is always available when buying new Flex Shafts.
The flex shaft has become a popular choice among modelers because of its lightweight design and ability to reach difficult areas without making your wrist tired.
One of the most popular flex shaft kits on the market today is the Dremel 4300-5/40 Rotary Tool Accessory Kit which comes with everything you need to start working on any detail or finishing task around your house.
Different types of flex shafts and what they can do
In my workshop, different types of flex shafts are used. There are two basic kinds: universal-use and specialized-use. The universal-use ones can work with any power tool–they just need a little help to do so.
They require an additional external device called a collet to be connected in order for it to receive power from the machine’s output spindle and transmit it to the tool itself.
Universal-use flex shafts have standard tooling that allows them to fit into specific tasks.
These devices come in varying lengths, but they must stay within certain guidelines or they will not properly connect to the tailstock spindle.
The majority of these devices only go up to three feet. A few go up to eight feet.
Universal-use flex shafts are commonly used in the dental industry, where drills, polishers, and other grinding tools must be connected to the machine without interfering with the user’s work or harming patients.
Universal-use flex shafts can also be used for engraving, sanding, and screwdriving tasks in all kinds of different applications.
They can even be used in fabrication shops when no power is available for the tool they are using at the moment yet need it for another task not too far away.
Specialized use flexible shafts serve one purpose–the one they were designed for.
The shank on these devices has a hexagonal shape instead of being round like regular tooling and universal-use flex shafts.
The hexagonal shape means that it can be connected to other hexagonal shanks, such as those on wrenches and drill chucks.
Specialized use flex shafts don’t have a variety of different tools like universal-use ones do; they only have one tool.
It is attached to the flexible shaft instead of being fastened onto the main power tool body itself, so there’s no need for collets either way.
Specialized use flex shafts are commonly used in industrial settings because they don’t get in the way of any surrounding machinery or obstruct any work areas and can be attached quickly without having to mess around with external devices like collets.
They come with two different types of speed ranges: high speed and low speed.
High-speed flex shafts give users a wide range for when they need to use their tools in intense, high RPM situations.
Low-speed ones are useful when operating a tool at a slower pace or in a situation where the user needs more control over the torque being used.
When it comes time to replace devices on these flexible shafts, though, there’s no universal way to do so–each device has its own unique attachment size and shape depending on what it is and what size end mill it uses to create whatever type of hole or shape is desired.
A grinder cannot be connected directly to a universal-use flexible shaft because the end cap that covers the connection point for the universal-use flexible shaft is too large.
Universal-use flex shafts are meant for drills, polishers, grinders, and other types of tools that have a round base to them.
Because grinders are larger than most power tools, they cannot be connected directly to universal-use flexible shafts without any interference or damage occurring.
The grinder’s end cap must be removed before it can be connected properly–not doing so would result in damage to the device’s motor area.
Specialized use flexible shafts are only meant for one device–the cutting tool that they connect to. The tools on these flexible shafts cannot be removed or replaced with any other tools.
There is no universal way to do so either. Each attachment has its own unique size and shape, so the right-sized cutting tool must be selected in order to fit properly onto the device’s body.
An electric drill cannot be connected directly to a specialized flexible shaft because it is too large in comparison to the specialized use of the flex shaft’s connection point endcap.
Putting an electric drill on this type of flexible shaft without modifying it would result in damage occurring inside of the motor area where power enters.
Universal-use flex shafts require collets before they can be operated with most power tools. The cutting tool that will be placed onto universal-use flexible shafts must first have its shank’s taper removed before it can be attached to the device.
Universal-use flex shafts are meant for use with drills, saws and other types of power tools that have a round base to them.
Specialized use flex shafts don’t require collets because each attachment has its own unique size and shape, so there’s no way to change these devices without having to replace them completely with another one–there is no universal way of doing this.
These devices come with two different speed ranges: high speed and low speed.
High-speed ones give users a wide range of speeds where they need to use their cutting tool in intense, high RPM situations.
Low-speed ones are meant for slower speeds and more control over the torque being used.
Grinders cannot be connected directly to a specialized use flex shaft because the end cap that covers the connection point for these devices is too large in comparison to most grinder’s shank sizes.
Specialized use flex shafts are meant for cutting tools–not grinders or polishers–so it is not a good idea to attach an electric grinder onto a specialized use flexible shaft without modifying its end cap first.
When it comes time to replace devices on these flexible shafts, though, there is no universal way of doing so–each attachment has its own unique size and shape depending on what it is and what size end mill it uses to create whatever type of hole or shape is desired.
Universal-use flex shafts require collets before they can be used with most power tools, drill presses, and other devices.
With these types of flexible shafts, the cutting tool that will be attached to the device must first have its taper removed before it can be attached.
Universal-use shafts are meant for drills, saws, and all other types of power tools that have a round base to them–not grinders or polishers because their endcap is too large in comparison to universal use’s connection point endcap.
Specialized use flex shafts don’t require collets because each attachment has its own unique size and shape, so there is no universal way of doing this.
Grinders cannot be connected directly to a universal-use flexible shaft because it is too large in comparison to the connection point’s endcap–the one that covers the device’s connection point for power tools, drill presses, and other types of devices.
Universal-use flex shafts are meant for cutting tools–not grinders or polishers–so attaching an electric grinder onto these flexible shafts without modifying its endcap first isn’t recommended.
However, there is no universal way of replacing these attachments either, because each attachment has its own unique size and shape depending on what it is and what size endmill it uses to create whatever type of hole or shape the user wants.
How to use Flex Shaft Rotary Tool Properly
A flex shaft tool can be found in most artist studios and at many schools. It is a small rotary tool that looks like a drill bit has very small pieces attached to it.
Flex shaft tools can be used for anything where someone needs to apply pressure in a delicate way, such as engraving or shaping materials such as glass or metal.
Knowing how to correctly use this simple but versatile tool will allow the user to complete projects without harming himself/herself or damaging any of his/her equipment.
Like with pretty much any power tool, there are safety precautions that need to be taken. Before using the flex shaft, carefully read the instructions that came with it.
If there is any confusion or questions regarding how to use the tool, contact someone more experienced for help or watch some tutorial videos after reading this article.
Safety Precautions to keep in mind before using the flex shaft rotary tool
#1. The first thing one needs to check when he/she is about to use a flex shaft is whether all of his/her equipment is working correctly.
The most important piece of equipment needed for this type of work is a foot pedal which controls the movement of the rotary tool without requiring constant attention from the user’s hands.
There are two types of pedals: forward/backward and clockwise/counterclockwise. When starting out, it’s best to only use one direction until you are familiar with how much pressure can be applied.
#2. Something else to check is the flex shaft itself. It needs to be kept clean, oiled, and replaced when needed. Keep track of how many hours you use the tool each day so that the rotary tool can be replaced before it wears out or breaks down completely.
#3. Another safety precaution one should take is to make sure that there are no body parts in the way (fingers, hair) before operating.
Flex shafts rotate very fast and accidents can easily happen especially if they are used by multiple people at once without proper training on how to operate them properly. Make sure you follow all safety procedures listed with your high RPM equipment.
#4. When using a flex shaft, always observe its position in relation to your hand and where your body is at all times. One should never extend his/her arm fully when operating a rotary tool.
This can result in injury from the machine getting pulled or from cutting oneself on the object being worked on.
For example, holding glass too close to one’s face while sanding it may result in someone getting glass powder stuck in his/her eyes which could lead to blindness if not properly treated.
Also, try not to touch any of the moving parts with your fingers as that can easily lead to cuts and scrapes which slow down the work process and require medical attention later on. Always use the tool with a foot pedal to avoid this from happening.
#5. If your work demands that you use the flex shaft for several hours each day, it is advisable to take breaks every now and then so that fatigue does not set in quickly. Stretching also helps keep the body healthy.
Proper Use of Flex Shaft Tool
Once all safety precautions are taken, it’s time to start using the rotary tool itself.
The ideal objects to soften or shape are metal rods or tubing with smooth surfaces since they can easily be held by hand while being worked on.
#1. Buttons, coins, and many other household items are not recommended to use since they can be too small or too fragile to hold comfortably. It is best to practice on objects that will still function but just need a little touch-up work done.
#2. Since the flex shaft speeds up and slows down very quickly, it works by attaching different attachments at the end which determines what type of output will come from it such as engraving one shape versus something else entirely.
This tool works by rotating extremely fast so if you try to press hard against an object you’re working on, your hand may jump backward and lead to injury especially with objects that are closer to the rotary tool itself.
#3. When using an engraving attachment, move the rotary tool in a single direction across the object being worked on while pressing lightly so that it leaves an even surface behind.
#4. With sanding pads, move them back and forth after applying some water or oil-based lubricant to get rid of all of the scratches left by the sandpaper underneath it.
For polishing attachments, it’s best to drag away from one’s body in order to avoid any dust build-up in the eyes which may lead to temporary blindness in some cases depending on how severe it is.
#5. Most Flex Shaft Rotary Tools come with different attachments for polishing, engraving, and sanding so experiment with them to see what works for you before using it on any important objects.
Most people do not know how to properly use these tools because they are not familiar with their full capabilities which is why they bought it in the first place.
Make sure you do your research on each attachment it comes with as some are more dangerous than others if used incorrectly.
Keep in mind that every object being worked on requires a separate special technique depending on what type of results one wishes to accomplish which may change throughout the duration of one’s work session.
Thank you for reading and always keep in mind that safety should be placed above anything else when working with machinery such as this one which can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly. Enjoy!
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