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Building a project is the fun part; finishing isn’t even so bad, but let’s face it — sanding bites. Any tool that can help you get the ugly part over faster is worth it. If you’re working with small or odd-shaped pieces, the Flex-I-File may help.

You can use the Flex-I-File for either dry or wet sanding. The abrasive is attached to mylar ribbon 1/4″  wide by 4-1/4″ long. Loops on the end of the ribbon slide over the ends of a 4″ by 4-1/4″ aluminum frame. The flexible frame holds the ribbon taut and allows the ribbon to bend around the work piece.

There are several options for purchasing the Flex-I-File. You can buy a $12 starter set on the website which includes 1 frame and six assorted ribbons, a $25 variety pack at Micro-Mark which includes three frames and 16 assorted color coded ribbons, or you can buy frames and specific grit ribbons separately.

Flex-I-File [Corporate Site]
Flex-I-File [Micro-Mark]

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5 Responses to The Flex-I-File

  1. george says:

    ha ha, i made something close to that back in the late 70’s to use crocus cloth with. never thought it would be a needed tool for the public.

  2. Chuck says:

    AIM-54 Phoenix, FTW.

  3. wing nut says:

    Funny how I just put some of those very same missile pieces together. Tomcat all the way, even when surrounded by law darts (F-18).

  4. fred says:

    We’ve made up wooden sanding frames for some time out of ¾ inch thick Baltic birch plywood. Cut what looks like a hacksaw frame our with a jig saw. The frame should be about 1 to 1-1/2 inch wide all around. We use ½ inch wide sanding belts that are sold for our Makita 9032 sander – but you can cut belts form other sources. The length of the belt will dictate how wide (opening) you need to make the frame. The handle-grip area can be scalloped out for finger grips using an oscillating spindle sander or drum sander to suit your hand. All other edges can be eased at a sanding station or by hand. The spot where the sanding belt turns over the frame – needs to be radiused to prevent the belt form failing. The frame gets 2 holes bored into it – front and rear. The rear hole has a slot cut from the base of the frame to thread the sandpaper strip up into the hole. It is held in place by a peg. The front hole has a slot cut into it on a downward slope. A tapered peg with a crosswise slot is used to hold the front of the sandpaper strip and turned to tension it. We put a small wooden knob on both pegs for convenience. I can’t say that we invented this – as someone saw it in an old book on shop made woodworking tools and jigs.

  5. carlos says:

    fred… can you link a picture? I’m having a hard time visualizing. I think your description is terrific but I really am a drawing/diagram/sketch kinda guy.


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