This article is about how to make your own flex-shaft guard using a soft drink bottle.

I have never liked wearing a mask when I am using my flexible shaft. I have always held my breath and blown out. Though I seem to have survived, I still think I am breathing some dust from rubber wheels, and have wanted to find a way to breathe clean air when grinding. My solution: I wear a snorkel and breathe through my mouth while grinding. I find it so much easier than a mask, and the air is clean!
David Clarkson – Point Reyes Station, CA

We think David has come up with the most creative solution to the annoying and potentially hazardous problem of breathing dust from polishing and rubber wheels used with your flex-shaft.

Another solution is to make a guard to fit your flex-shaft handpiece. This guard can easily and economically be made from a water or soft drink plastic bottle.

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First, cutoff the top portion of the bottle. Then, cut a section off the side to create the hood.

Next, you need to make the inside diameter of the neck of the bottle the same size as the diameter of your flex-shaft handpiece. If the bottle’s neck is too small, cut a slit through it so that you can spread it open. If the bottle’s neck is too large, cut a section out as if sizing a ring.

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Next, carefully heat the bottle’s neck over an alcohol lamp to soften the plastic. Heat only the neck of the bottle, not the rest of the guard. When heated, the plastic will turn opaque white. While soft, slid the guard onto your flex-shaft handpiece to form the plastic tightly around the handpiece, and allow to cool. The guard can easily be slipped on when needed or off when you do not wish to use it.