Using and Maintaining Flex Shaft


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Using & Maintaining Flex Shaft

Many of you are new to the technology advancement in drain cleaning by employing flex shaft cable (picture of flex shaft cable) with a sheathing that doesn’t rotate covering the shaft. For those not familiar, the shaft turns at speeds up to 15 times faster than standard cable machines. Besides the speed of the cable, the sheathing allows the operator to attach a camera to the sheathing which allows you to see what you are doing. In terms of time, that means that you can spend seconds cleaning an area completely as opposed to minutes or hours in blind conditions. With that background, let’s look at where to apply this technology.

50' x 3/8"

The product was first applied to removing scale that accumulates in cast iron pipe. Using a chain knocking device attached to the end of the flex shaft would allow the operator to spin the chain at speeds of up to 3500 RPM’s. This speed would destroy the scale and detach it from the wall of cast iron pipe. Many drain cleaning specialists modeled their business to perform this work for home owners, commercial customers and other plumbers. Most found that the process removed so much scale that they needed to address handling the debris to get it out of the buildings and into the sewer mains where it could wash away downstream. Some of the same contractors found that they could apply the same technology to remove roots and a whole new industry was born working its way into the conventional drain cleaning market. So what’s available to address drain cleaning?

The ¼” (6mm) Flex Shaft can be used for kitchen sinks, urinals, and other small diameter pipe for conventional cleaning with small chain knockers centered with various small devices to keep the cable and knockers centered in the pipe. The shaft is usually encased in a reel driver by a drill.The 5/16” (8mm) Flex Shaft can be used for descaling up to 4” lines and accepts a 6mm or 12mm camera to see what you are doing. These units are usually driven by a 3000 rpm 2 speed hammer drill. They are also used for driving the Quik Coating machine for adding a permanent protective coating to the cast iron or clay lines to prevent future scale or root intrusions. You can purchase the shaft bare using your own drill to drive it or buy with will reel, clutch, and drill driver.

The ½” (12mm) Flex Shaft is available in shaft only or an encased reel, clutch and drive motor. These units are designed more for lateral lining tap opening cuts or collapsed CIPP liner removal. The encased units are motor driven.

Maintenance considerations to maintain the health of the Flex Shaft are as follows.

  1. During operation, small pieces of sheathing should be cut and cover the exposed sections of shaft. This process minimizes the shaft from kinking when it binds in a pipe.
  1. Depending on usage, you may want to remove the shaft and soak it in 15W motor oil overnight. For heavy users, this should be done once every 30 days.
  1. Disinfectant should be used when retracting and storing the cable. You can clean the cable as you add it back to the reel or externally treat it after it is on the reel.
  1. For those wishing to add lubricant for each use, our SLIC product is an excellent lubricant (picture of SLIC) that is water soluble and can be used by pouring it between the sheath and the shaft.


There you go. Most all you need to know about Flex Shaft. For more information call Pipe Lining Supply at 888-354-6464 or write to

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See us there for the Quik-Coating system as well as the Quik-Shot™ CIPP lateral lining system that’s revolutionized the lateral lining industry. Miami Convention Center, August 29 and 30, 2018. For more information check out this website for

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1-888-3LINING (888-354-6464)