6 Ways to Explore Flex Shaft Possibilities with Andy Cooperman | Jewelry

Mark A. Carlson


Who have been your favored teachers in faculty? If you think again, I’m positive you will detect that the ones who produced the most important impression on you didn’t simply teach you a list of predetermined factors. Alternatively, they taught you how to consider in new info and believe for on your own.

Higher than: Andy demonstrates many techniques to use a ball bur, such as how to make “alligator scale” texture.

Metalsmith Andy Cooperman matches this instructor product perfectly. In his have terms: “My task as a trainer is to open doorways for persons and get them to consider a small outside of the box.”

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Andy Cooperman is recognised for working with his flex shaft in artistic techniques, such as building a pebbly texture on steel to roll in opposition to a softer metal. He enjoys training his pupils to uncover innovative, unconventional approaches to issue solve with applications like the flex shaft.

Andy continues to be true to his philosophy even in his two on line workshops for mastering the jewellery flex shaft. Alternatively of directing you action by phase, he takes you by means of a sequence of assorted approaches to spark your personal discovery into how to choose advantage of the flex shaft.

Let us take a peek at just a several examples of special techniques Andy wields his go-to tool.

Texturing with the Ball Bur

In Learn the Jewelry Flex Shaft: Quantity 1, Andy handles a good deal of territory, such as far more kinds of burs than I ever imagined existed. One particular of these is the marvelously multipurpose ball bur.

To see Andy’s mastery of the ball bur in motion, test out this excerpt from his quantity 1 workshop (now offered in a special benefit bundle learn course with quantity 2):

To build the glance of alligator scales, he demonstrates using the bur to make indentations in steel. If you roll it out towards something soft, these types of as sterling, you are going to be capable to see a superbly raised pattern. This is how Andy made the pebbly surface on his sequence of Fibonacci Pins.

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Andy shows how the cylinder bur can, between other items, make a pin catch or a groove in a structure.

Routering with a Cylinder Bur

Alongside with its several other abilities, the cylinder-formed bur can be used like a router. Come from beneath the operate and vary the pace as you minimize in. This is how Andy made the catch on his Fibonacci Pin and the grooves on his Hummingbird Tongue ring.

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Separating discs are wonderful for developing notches for prong settings, mating two items, and a good deal much more.

Notching with Separating Discs

Separating discs are amongst some of Andy’s own favorites. These wheels cut almost something: steel, glass, stone, bone, and plastic. Be safe and sound use a mask and protection eyeglasses though you operate.

Separating discs are wonderful for chopping notches. Although they can be used for practical functions these kinds of as sizing down a ring or producing prong options, separating discs with a spacer involving them can generate ornamental picket strains in a piece. Various discs stacked alongside one another will make wider notches, practical for mating two pieces.

master the flex shaft
The hammer handpiece gives the power while you emphasis on precision. Stippling and stone setting are just a couple of points it’s helpful for.

The Lots of Abilities of a Hammer Handpiece

In Learn the Jewellery Flex Shaft: Quantity 2, Andy wastes no time right before diving into additional tips and tricks. Since the ability to swap out handpieces is one of the flex shaft’s biggest strengths, Andy introduces you to on of his favorites: the hammer handpiece.

This tool enables you to balance force and accuracy without compromising both. Praising the high-quality and affordability of the Variety 15 Foredom hammer handpiece (affiliate hyperlink), Andy demonstrates environment a stone in a hefty-walled tube by hanging all around the edges at small speeds.

He also demonstrates how to develop amazing stippling with a more challenging-than-steel carbide stylus in the hammer handpiece. Customarily finished with a hammer and punch, stipling with the flex shaft allows you to concentration only on accuracy as the equipment provides the pressure.

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Andy tends to make his have pit pounders from steel eye screws or eye bolts. They can be applied for burnishing and compacting surfaces and even for upsetting.

What’s a Pit Pounder?

You can buy rotary burnishers, margin rollers, and the like, but generating your own is quick adequate. Andy purchases steel eye screws or eye bolts at a hardware retailer and removes the zinc coating by using a snap-on disc or a rubber wheel.

Soon after removing the zinc, you are going to have your personal pit pounder! You can use it in your Foredom #30 (affiliate hyperlink) to burnish and compact surfaces, squeezing steel into the pits. Considering the fact that the pit pounder will allow you to see via it as it spins, you can view how your piece is shifting.

This pit pounder can also be made use of as a typical hammer, as it has marginally much more drive than a hammer handpiece for particular predicaments. In upsetting (also referred to as edge forging), you pound the edge with a hammer to thicken it and deliver a great complete.

master the flex shaft
The flex shaft can even be made use of like a lathe to flare rivets or swage tubes.


Usually with the flex shaft, the operate stays stationary although the tool spins. Nevertheless, Andy demonstrates you how to flip that about, placing your do the job in the handpiece and keeping your device steady. In this way, you can use your flex shaft as a lathe.

You can make flared tube rivets by inserting tubes into the flex shaft and shaping them with centre punches or burnishers. In a method identified as swaging, Andy demonstrates how you can squeeze the tube with round-nose pliers to reshape the metallic. No product is lost—rather it is compressed.

These six examples are just a glimpse into how Andy Cooperman appears to his flex shaft to creatively solve problems. Learn much additional in his workshops. Alternatively, verify out Interweave’s on the internet workshops for on-need access to an at any time-escalating library of programs.

Go be resourceful!
Tamara Kula

Originally published on January 18, 2019. Up to date April 5, 2022.

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