Foredom Flexible shaft rotary tool

I picked up an old Foredom bench top flexible shaft tool today. It's a model "DD", it came with the foot pedal rheostat, and a #30 hand piece. It's dirty, but it works.

So here is the question: does anybody use a flexible shaft rotary tool over a hand held rotary tool?

The handle is a smaller diameter, and it's lighter. But the trade off is having to deal with being tethered by the shaft. I guess I am going to have to clean it up and try using it.

Original Post


Foredom was always considered the best of the motor tools. The only problem I've had with flexible shafts is that they (the shafts, not the motors) tend to get very hot if operated with a sharp (90 degree) bend while working. I try to position the motor head so that the shaft is as close to straight as possible. I think they are supposed to be disassembled and lubed regularly.

Is their lubricant graphite based? I've been using a powdered graphite that I think I read somewhere was good. But maybe not considering the heating problem!


Thanks to Pete and Jim for the replies.

I don't know what they use for lubricant.
I see Foredom brand shaft lubricant offered on EBay.

I don't think the one I purchased had been used or lubricated in a long time. First thing I did was put some oil in the oil ports on the motor bearings.  I had not lubricated the shaft yet. The rubber shaft jacket has a crack in it right where it leaves the motor. I found a new genuine Foredom replacement sheath for $15 on Ebay and purchased it.

CharlieS posted:

I see they market a lubricant specifically for the flexible shaft.
What do you use on yours?

I have had mine about 40 years and never lubed the cable. Maybe I should.

I have mine hanging from a beam (tree trunk) in my low ceiling basement. The motor can swing freely so normally there is minimal bend when I am using it. Another advantage over a Dremel is it will run at slow speed, better for using wire brushes or deburring with rubberized abrasives (Craytex). I think Foredom makes a stand that will hold the motor at a horizontal if you want to use it sitting at your work bench.


I've had three cable drives, all got borrowed and died in the borrower's hands porting automotive heads. (Dwyer, Dremel, Craftsman). Gramps had a Dayton I think.

I like the cable over a handheld unit though. It gets into places a hand motor can't.

Keeping the cable straight decreases friction, and wear as well.

Graphite is messy, in it's place, I've moved mostly to a Boing plane aleron  dry lube spray, teflon based, dries to a very thin milky waxy coating, not cheap ($15-$30 a decade ago) "T-9". This stuff is like magic at times. Penetration while wet, dries fast. Even unexpectedly freed up things Aero, crow, and PB Blast could not. Plastic safe too.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


I cleaned up the  motor assembly  this morning. It has some battle scars, but overall, it looks pretty good. I have a message into Foredom because my unit doesn't match the explosion diagram they have posted for a type "DD" unit. Mine must be older.

I decided to go ahead and order a tube of Foredom branded flex shaft grease. One jewelry supply outfit on EBay has it listed for only $2.98.

Next step is to clean up the foot pedal speed control. When I tried it at the sale, the motor ran as soon as I plugged it into the control. So I peaked inside last night. It reminds me of the old style prewar train transformers. a wiper arm slides across multiple contacts that are connected to fixed, heavy duty nichrome wire coils. I think that the only way I will use the foot pedal is connected to a GFI or arc-fault circuit.

I got a few other nice items at that sale: a sheet metal punch set, a set of Lufkin "V" blocks, and a Stanley-Yankee Angle Vice.

I have a couple of Dremel tools and a flexible shaft.  I usually use my Dremel 8220 battery powered tool, gobs of power and no cord at all.  If I'm using the flexible shaft, I use the Dremel 4000.  A great feature of the Dremel 4000 is that it has speed control, so it doesn't bog down with a load, very slick. 

I wouldn't turn down a Foredom at a good price, but I've never felt the need for one.

Dremel has upped their game with more choices and even better made products. If I didn't already own a Foredom tool I might not buy one today but now that have it I would never part with it. 40 years with zero maintenence, not many products can do that today. Oh, I did order a tube of grease from the same outfit as Charles did.


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