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


Who ended up your favorite teachers in university? If you believe back, I’m sure you’ll notice that the types who produced the most significant impact on you did not just train you a checklist of predetermined details. Relatively, they taught you how to take in new facts and consider for you.

Earlier mentioned: Andy demonstrates a lot of methods to use a ball bur, like how to develop “alligator scale” texture.

Metalsmith Andy Cooperman suits this instructor model beautifully. In his individual words and phrases: “My job as a teacher is to open up doorways for men and women and get them to think a small outside of the box.”

master the flex shaft with Andy Cooperman
Andy Cooperman is known for making use of his flex shaft in resourceful approaches, this kind of as creating a pebbly texture on steel to roll towards a softer metallic. He enjoys educating his learners to find inventive, unconventional strategies to issue solve with equipment like the flex shaft.

Andy stays accurate to his philosophy even in his two on the internet workshops for mastering the jewelry flex shaft. Alternatively of directing you move by phase, he takes you through a series of different techniques to spark your have discovery into how to get benefit of the flex shaft.

Let’s get a peek at just a handful of illustrations of distinctive means Andy wields his go-to instrument.

Texturing with the Ball Bur

In Learn the Jewellery Flex Shaft: Volume 1, Andy covers a good deal of territory, such as much more kinds of burs than I at any time imagined existed. One of these is the marvelously functional ball bur.

To see Andy’s mastery of the ball bur in motion, verify out this excerpt from his quantity 1 workshop (now out there in a distinctive value bundle grasp course with volume 2):

To build the search of alligator scales, he demonstrates using the bur to make indentations in steel. If you roll it out in opposition to a little something delicate, these types of as sterling, you are going to be ready to see a fantastically lifted sample. This is how Andy made the pebbly area on his series of Fibonacci Pins.

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

Routering with a Cylinder Bur

Together with its many other abilities, the cylinder-formed bur can be applied like a router. Arrive from beneath the work and fluctuate the speed as you lower 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 terrific for creating notches for prong options, mating two parts, and lots much more.

Notching with Separating Discs

Separating discs are amid some of Andy’s private favorites. These wheels slice just about nearly anything: metal, glass, stone, bone, and plastic. Be risk-free have on a mask and security glasses though you perform.

Separating discs are great for chopping notches. Whilst they can be applied for useful applications these types of as sizing down a ring or building prong settings, separating discs with a spacer between them can generate decorative picket lines in a piece. Numerous discs stacked jointly will make wider notches, valuable for mating two parts.

master the flex shaft
The hammer handpiece gives the pressure when you target on precision. Stippling and stone placing are just a handful of factors it is useful for.

The Lots of Talents of a Hammer Handpiece

In Learn the Jewellery Flex Shaft: Quantity 2, Andy wastes no time ahead of diving into additional ideas and tips. Because the means to swap out handpieces is one particular of the flex shaft’s best strengths, Andy introduces you to on of his favorites: the hammer handpiece.

This software permits you to balance drive and accuracy devoid of compromising either. Praising the good quality and affordability of the Amount 15 Foredom hammer handpiece (affiliate website link), Andy demonstrates setting a stone in a hefty-walled tube by putting all over the edges at reduced speeds.

He also demonstrates how to produce superb stippling with a tougher-than-metal carbide stylus in the hammer handpiece. Traditionally finished with a hammer and punch, stipling with the flex shaft enables you to concentration only on accuracy as the device provides the pressure.

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

What is a Pit Pounder?

You can purchase rotary burnishers, margin rollers, and the like, but building your very own is straightforward enough. Andy purchases steel eye screws or eye bolts at a components shop and removes the zinc coating by making use of a snap-on disc or a rubber wheel.

After taking away the zinc, you will have your own pit pounder! You can use it in your Foredom #30 (affiliate website link) to burnish and compact surfaces, squeezing steel into the pits. Because the pit pounder will allow you to see via it as it spins, you can enjoy how your piece is altering.

This pit pounder can also be made use of as a standard hammer, as it has a bit much more drive than a hammer handpiece for specific cases. In upsetting (also known as edge forging), you pound the edge with a hammer to thicken it and supply a good complete.

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


Generally with the flex shaft, the get the job done stays stationary when the tool spins. On the other hand, Andy reveals you how to flip that around, placing your get the job done in the handpiece and keeping your software continuous. 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 heart punches or burnishers. In a system named swaging, Andy demonstrates how you can squeeze the tube with spherical-nose pliers to reshape the steel. No material is lost—rather it is compressed.

These six examples are just a glimpse into how Andy Cooperman appears to his flex shaft to creatively remedy troubles. Learn significantly additional in his workshops. Alternatively, examine out Interweave’s on the web workshops for on-demand entry to an at any time-expanding library of programs.

Go be artistic!
Tamara Kula

Originally printed on January 18, 2019. Updated April 5, 2022.

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