May 23, 2022


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

Who had been your preferred lecturers in university? If you assume back, I’m sure you’ll detect that the ones who built the most important effects on you did not merely educate you a listing of predetermined details. Alternatively, they taught you how to get in new info and imagine for oneself.

Earlier mentioned: Andy reveals lots of techniques to use a ball bur, together with how to build “alligator scale” texture.

Metalsmith Andy Cooperman matches this instructor product completely. In his very own words and phrases: “My career as a instructor is to open doors for men and women and get them to consider a small exterior of the box.”

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Andy Cooperman is recognized for working with his flex shaft in inventive methods, these kinds of as developing a pebbly texture on steel to roll against a softer metallic. He enjoys educating his pupils to find artistic, unconventional ways to challenge clear up with instruments like the flex shaft.

Andy continues to be true to his philosophy even in his two on the web workshops for mastering the jewellery flex shaft. Rather of directing you phase by move, he requires you by a collection of assorted tactics to spark your individual discovery into how to get edge of the flex shaft.

Let’s just take a peek at just a number of examples of distinctive methods Andy wields his go-to instrument.

Texturing with the Ball Bur

In Grasp the Jewellery Flex Shaft: Volume 1, Andy covers a good deal of territory, such as extra sorts of burs than I ever imagined existed. A single of these is the marvelously functional ball bur.

To see Andy’s mastery of the ball bur in action, look at out this excerpt from his quantity 1 workshop (now readily available in a exclusive worth bundle master course with volume 2):

To develop the look of alligator scales, he demonstrates utilizing the bur to make indentations in metal. If you roll it out against anything comfortable, these kinds of as sterling, you’ll be able to see a beautifully lifted pattern. This is how Andy produced the pebbly floor on his sequence of Fibonacci Pins.

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Andy demonstrates how the cylinder bur can, between other issues, make a pin capture or a groove in a style.

Routering with a Cylinder Bur

Together with its a lot of other capabilities, the cylinder-formed bur can be used like a router. Come from beneath the perform and fluctuate the speed as you minimize in. This is how Andy manufactured the capture on his Fibonacci Pin and the grooves on his Hummingbird Tongue ring.

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Separating discs are terrific for making notches for prong settings, mating two parts, and lots far more.

Notching with Separating Discs

Separating discs are among the some of Andy’s private favorites. These wheels slash approximately nearly anything: steel, glass, stone, bone, and plastic. Be safe wear a mask and safety glasses though you get the job done.

Separating discs are fantastic for cutting notches. Whilst they can be utilised for sensible uses these types of as sizing down a ring or creating prong configurations, separating discs with a spacer amongst them can create ornamental picket lines in a piece. Several discs stacked alongside one another will make broader notches, handy for mating two parts.

master the flex shaft
The hammer handpiece supplies the drive whilst you concentrate on accuracy. Stippling and stone location are just a few things it’s practical for.

The Quite a few Abilities of a Hammer Handpiece

In Grasp the Jewellery Flex Shaft: Quantity 2, Andy wastes no time just before diving into extra guidelines and methods. Since the ability to swap out handpieces is a single of the flex shaft’s biggest strengths, Andy introduces you to on of his favorites: the hammer handpiece.

This instrument makes it possible for you to equilibrium force and accuracy without compromising either. Praising the high-quality and affordability of the Selection 15 Foredom hammer handpiece (affiliate backlink), Andy demonstrates placing a stone in a large-walled tube by hanging all-around the edges at low speeds.

He also demonstrates how to develop excellent stippling with a tougher-than-metal carbide stylus in the hammer handpiece. Typically finished with a hammer and punch, stipling with the flex shaft lets you to aim only on accuracy as the equipment gives the drive.

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Andy would make his personal pit pounders from metal eye screws or eye bolts. They can be employed for burnishing and compacting surfaces and even for upsetting.

What’s a Pit Pounder?

You can invest in rotary burnishers, margin rollers, and the like, but making your have is easy adequate. Andy buys metal eye screws or eye bolts at a hardware shop and eliminates the zinc coating by working with a snap-on disc or a rubber wheel.

Right after eradicating the zinc, you will have your very own pit pounder! You can use it in your Foredom #30 (affiliate backlink) to burnish and compact surfaces, squeezing metal into the pits. Considering the fact that the pit pounder enables you to see by means of it as it spins, you can enjoy how your piece is altering.

This pit pounder can also be applied as a typical hammer, as it has marginally more pressure than a hammer handpiece for specific circumstances. In upsetting (also known as edge forging), you pound the edge with a hammer to thicken it and deliver a pleasant end.

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


Commonly with the flex shaft, the work stays stationary although the instrument spins. Even so, Andy shows you how to flip that all over, putting your perform in the handpiece and holding your device constant. 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 spherical-nose pliers to reshape the metallic. No substance is lost—rather it is compressed.

These 6 illustrations are just a glimpse into how Andy Cooperman appears to be to his flex shaft to creatively resolve complications. Master much extra in his workshops. Alternatively, check out Interweave’s on-line workshops for on-desire access to an at any time-expanding library of courses.

Go be innovative!
Tamara Kula

Initially printed on January 18, 2019. Up-to-date April 5, 2022.

Permit the Flex Shaft Open up Doorways for You!

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