Making a Foredom flexible shaft rotary tool stand

Like most gunsmiths, we use the Foredom flexible shaft rotary tool for many tasks around the shop. While rotary tools can get you into trouble if you aren’t careful, the ability to grind and polish small areas in difficult to reach areas, allows these small flexible-shaft tools to perform some tasks you can’t do by hand.

Once you get a Foredom tool, locating it seems to be a problem. Equipped with a hanger, our initial installation was a large hook bolted to the wall. The downside of this was that the work had to be fairly close to where the motor was mounted and work flow was affected. Looking around, we found that a number of more complex (and expensive) hanger systems were available. Looking at the pile of 1″ black pipe that I had in the corner of the shop, I decided fabricating a stand would be the way to go.

In this post we’ll take a look at how I made the hanger for my Foredom.

The tool I am making the hanger for came from Brownells. It is a model SR-8D set, we use it often and it’s become indispensable around the shop.

I decided to make the hanger system from 1″ black pipe and fittings. This was largely due to the fact that I had a bunch of extra pipe and fittings on hand. Rather than cut and thread the pipe, which is fairly labor intensive; I decided that for any shorter pieces, I’d bore the pipe fittings on the lathe and simply slip it over the pipe and then weld them in place. If you own a machine shop this is far easier than cutting 1″ National Pipe Thread (NPT) male threads. If your buddy had a pipe threading machine, that may be the way to go.

I bored my fittings with only one pass on my Precision Matthews PM-1440GT lathe with a large boring bar. A part like this “T” was bored in two passes, one from each end.

I cut a number of fittings to allow them to pass over the pipe. Here is a flange and two T’s. The flange will secure the vertical pipe to the workbench, while the “T” fittings will be used to hold the motor and the tools.

I fabricated two arms that would act as tool holders. These are short sections of 1″ pipe approximately 18″ long. I welded one end to a “T” and the other to a cap. If you know how to weld, you’ll notice I’m more of a grinder than a welder!

Each arm holds many 1/8″ shank tools. I drilled 3 rows of holes spaced 1/2″ apart along the top of each.

To ensure that I welded the fittings square to the pipe, I used a straight block as a makeshift square.

To mount the motor to the stand, I bored a straight coupling and welded a cut off eye-loop to it.

I then attached the motor’s hanging bracket to a 24″ long piece of pipe that was welded to a “T” fitting. To hold the motor at the correct height, I bored a 1″ coupling and slid it on the vertical section of pipe. I then welded this in place.

The vertical section of pipe for the stand is about 8 feet long. It needed a stable base to hold it. I decided to bolt the bottom to the concrete floor and pass it through our workbench top. I used a self-feeding drill bit to drill through the counter top.

I then bolted the flange to the top.

I checked the upright for plumb and anchored the bottom flange to the floor. This is a rock solid method of attaching the stand to the bench.

Here is a view of the finished stand. Note the two arms that hold the various 1/8′ tool bits.

In addition to the tool being able to swing 360 degrees around the vertical upright, the motor can slide along the arm.

Another view of the tool storage.

To top off the stand, I machined an aluminum plug to hold a Luxo magnifying lamp. These lamps are available at Brownells and are indispensable in the gun shop.

A look at the finished stand. In its current location the Foredom can reach three different work stations, all equipped with vises. Plus, the bits are all available and if we need more light, we simply swing it into place.