Confused by Chuck? Puzzled by RPM? Here’s e-file lingo explained…

There are a lot of words associated with e-filing, and they can be confusing. Learning the lingo and terminology can give you more confidence in your e-file practice and, in turn, give your clients more confidence and reassurance that you know your stuff.


An e-file is an electric nail file. The ‘E’ stands for electric or electronic. Sometimes known as an electric file, drill or nail drill.


The torque is the power of the machine. Without this, it doesn’t matter how high your RPM is, if there is low torque as soon as any pressure is applied, regardless of speed, it will stop or skip. You will also notice an audible decrease in pitch on the machine. If this occurs, it indicates low torque.


RPM stands for rotations or revolutions per minute. It basically tells you how fast it can spin.


All e-file bits have a grit, which describes how coarse it is. Sanding bands are the same as files and are coated in a material like sandpaper, which creates a grit-like coarse surface. Like sandpaper, sanding bands are graded according to how much grit they contain per square inch. For carbide bits, this is graded on how many teeth they contain per square inch.


The shank is the end of an e-file bit that is grasped by the chuck of an electric file. The cutting edges of the bit contact the hand piece, and are connected via the shaft with the shank, which fits into the chuck.


The opening of the handpiece where the shaft of your e-file bit slots into. This opens and closes and locks the bit safely in place during use.


A lot of nail techs think the power control unit (aka ‘the box’) is where the motor is, and don’t appreciate the value of the hand piece. The hand piece (the portion you hold in your hand) is the most important part of your e-file. It’s where the actual motor and all the expensive parts and technology reside.

Control box

The power box — or battery pack, if you’re using a portable model — is just the power control that provides the right amount of electricity to your handpiece and allows you to turn it on and off and control the speed.

Forward and reverse

This describes the direction that the bit turns when it is in the handpiece. Work on forward when working right to left and on reverse when working left to right.

Love Katie B x

Discover more about the Katie Barnes E-file by clicking here.

By Editor