Features: 1, We are a professional manufacturer of all types of cutting tools, consisting of T. Your use of this website constitutes acknowledgement and acceptance of our Terms & Conditions. This is a hand crafted wood silhouette of Elvis Presley, approximately 8” X 10” in size, complete with frame and ready to hang on the wall or be placed on an easel.
The entire silhouette is hand cut from pine with a scroll saw, placed on a black background to create the silhouette effect, finished with a hand rubbed natural oil finish and frame in black walnut. This is a hand crafted wood silhouette of of Dale Earnhardt, approximately 8” X 10” in size, complete with frame and ready to hang on the wall or be placed on an easel. This is a hand crafted wood silhouette of Dale Earnhardt’s #3 Car, approximately 8” X 10” in size, complete with frame and ready to hang on the wall or be placed on an easel. This is a hand crafted wood silhouette of Hedwig, approximately 8” X 10” in size, complete with frame and ready to hang on the wall or be placed on an easel. I want to start by cautioning you that stone dust can be very hazardous and you must take good precautions against it in any lapidary endeavor (and not just inhalation).
Pick up a (2 inch) pipe plug, the kind with a square bolt head on the end, at your hardware store. Turn it on and start applying coarse loose carbo (tumbling grit) in a water slurry (you can pour thru the elbow) and wear goggles to protect from splash. Work thru the grits once it is round, cleaning the pipe and plug well between them (the pipes can imbed grit, so a steel brush helps). Here are a few contrived photographs (the sphere was already cut) showing some of the details of the process.
Normally you use washer, wheel, washer, nut; with the sphere cutter you put the nut on first and tighten it up against the cup as shown in the second picture. A more conventional sphere cutter has three heads 120 degrees apart, and a motor on each head.
I recently had to cut some circles out of glass and used a soup can and a thrown-together jig to cut through single thickness glass in about 15 minutes a circle. I was unable to locate any plans on the web for making your own tumbler, so I posted this to respond to a commonly asked question. The top of the illustration below shows a (very) rough drawing of a finished tumbler (minus the barrel, which will rest on the two rollers at the left), and the bottom shows a rough sketch of the frame before mounting rollers and motor. And if you want to see a polished example, take a look at the impressive machine Alan Lewis made from these plans.
And if you want to see one of these built by Bruce Mitchell on an industrial scale, check out the monster tumbler at Machine Intelligence.
The simple technique for making a saw is to connect a motor to a blade, either directly or thru a pulley. Because using a pulley and belt drive requires a second shaft, I opted for direct drive on my original home made rock saw.
Replace the cutting portion of the wire with a length of iron or brass strip, and you have a more normal reciprocating saw.
Of course, the quick solution is to buy one of the dry diamond blades contractors use and toss it into your table saw.
Its nothing like an expensive unit (which I have used but don't own), but it does do a reasonable job, and it probably won't damage the delicate crystals a manufactured unit would. Jack Schmidling used to make (and sell -- I have no connection with Jack other than finding his website from a list posting; this is not an endorsement of his wares) his own Faceting Machines. And if you want to make your own castings for machinery you probably need to build a cupola furnace. As you finish each grade of tumbling, dump the grit and mud and water into a bucket and let it dry. Elutriation is the seperation of mixed substances by size (if uniform density), or by density (if uniform size) using an upward flow of water (or some other fluid, including air, but water is assummed). We need to find some rubber or plastic tubing (a section of garden hose?) that can be worked over the bottle top (where the cap was) to provide a flow of water. When working with recycled grits, the finest stuff is probably mud from what was ground with the grit and needs to be disposed of.
Its a little bit of work to get it running and calibrated the first time, but once done it can be used over and over again to give reproducable results.
And if you want to work on different densities, try using it on sand or gravel that is known to contain gold.
The 'Whichita case' is designed to utilize standard size window glass, can be used in horizontal poistion at shows, can be disassembled for auto transportation or storage, ar - and here is the prize-winning hidden feature - it can be easily transformed with the use of pins and three shelves into an upright case for home use between shows. Here is how the case is made and it goes without saying one had better be handy with tools. In fairness I must admit I have never actually made one of these, but the plans seem reasonable; I have only used them, borrowed or purchased, and always thought them to be quite handy.
Polishing can be done with the usual compounds on the smooth surface on the other side of the glass you've been using, but is not easy.
In its March of 1932 edition (pages 144-146), Scientific American published an article titled "Gem-Stone Cutting for the Amateur" by J. I would like to be able to share my copy of this article, but the copyright does not expire to the public domain until 2027 and Scientific American refused my re-publication request; you will need to find your own copy (hint, talk to your favorite librarian about finding a copy via inter-library loan).
You have found this (old) lapidary machine and need a part or manual, or just some more information, to get it going again.
The Addexton Company at 530-666-4817 makes automated cabbing systems, flat laps, and rock lathes.
Amber-Werx, at 75 Forest Lane, Wolcott, CT 06716 (203-879-1912) manufactures the EZ-Kutter line of lapidary equipment and accessories. Anand Engineering Works at 72-A, Diamond Bazaar, Trichy - 620008, India (91-431-704101) makes Faceting machines and accessories. Barranca Diamond Products Inc., in Wolcott, CT, manufactures the EZ-Kutter line of lapidary polishing equipment.

Cab-Master was acquired by Diamond Pacific Tool Corporation some years ago.Cab-Master made the Cab-Master Tool, a slab grabber.
Contempo Lapidary was acquired by Diamond Pacific Tool Corporation (800-253-2954) in 1997.Contempo Lapidary in Sylmar made combination lapidary units and saws. Crown Lapidary Equipment Company in San Marcos, CA, made a multi unit with four diamond wheels and two buffing stations, and the Crown Bead Mill. Crystalite Crystalite made Demon machines (the Demon Master had a 6" diamond blade and wheel) before going out of business. Diamond Pacific Tool Corporation in Barstow, CA, makes a complete line of diamond lapidary equipment. Fulmers Fulmer's Quality Lapidary Products, of Seattle, WA, made a 15" flat vibratory lap before going out of business. Glen Engineering af Everton Park, Australia made Topaz Tec faceting machines until they went out of business in 2003. Highland Park was acquired by Contempo Lapidary around 1985.Highland Park made combination lapidary units and saws. Imperial Gem Instruments at 2455 23rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (310-450-8725) makes Alpha Taurus faceting machines and accessories. LWD Engineering at 56 Heysen St., Weston ACT 2611, Australia (02-6288-7752) makes the Drabsch faceting machine.
Millers Falls was acquired first by Ingersoll Rand and finally by the Gorilla Glue Company around 1950. Polaris Tool and Machine Polaris took over Rock's line (Bull Wheel, etc) from Maxant, and the Cab-O-Matic line, in 2007.
Poly-Glo Poly-Glo made "GEA TEC" multiple wheel (4") grinding units with changable (diamond?) grinding rings before going out of business. Part of Scott-Murray was acquired by Diamond Pacific Tool Corporation (800-253-2954) some years ago. Stone Master Stone Master in Kansas City, MO, made four wheel grinding units before going out of business. Tagit in Pico Rivera, CA 90660, made the Gy-Roc line before turning it over to Gemstone Equipment Manufacturing. VJ Engineering at VJ Engineering, 200 Frenchville Road, Rockhampton NTH 4701, Australia (079-28-2119) makes the VJ faceting machine. If you can help me identify or trace the history of other makers of lapidary equipment that are no longer in business (acquired or not, what they made, when, etc.) please let me know.
Commercial equipment is as much a part of our lapidary heritage as is homemade equipment and should not be forgotten. And if I have missed any current manufactures, please send me details so I can add them too.
Drill and tap thru the center of the square bolt head so it will fit on your (vertical preferred) spindle.
I'm right-handed but was holding the camera in that hand, so you will see my left hand; pretend the pictures were reversed. Not shown is the other hand using a paint brush to put grit and water on the sphere - it was holding the camera instead.
You can read about making and using one of these in Rock & Gem Magazine's April and May 2004 issues. BTW, I always recommend looking closely at manufactured equipment before building; if you want diamond heads for your homemade sphere cutter you need to see what Wes is offering, whether you build or buy, as it should give you ideas. A jig to hold the can steady on the rock (or glass) helps in getting it started - it will ride in the cut groove after that. Crushed iron can also be used, but is slower than carbo and limits the hardness that can be worked. Note that the frame needs to be rigid, the rollers need to be parallel, and should be at right angles to the sides of the frame. Polishing works with a butter smoothing like process that fills the scratches with the higher surface. I also made a dry saw using a carbide cut-off wheel instead of a diamond blade (which are now available in wet and dry versions). It can either be continuous, like a bandsaw (which you might be able to adapt by putting the blade on backwards and use the smooth edge with grit), or reciprocating (back and forth).
They can handle the relatively soft sawdust that will get into the bearings, but abrasives, rock dust, or metal shavings would destroy the bearings. The alternative is the type of machine used by amateur astronomers to make optical flats; some of these may be adaptable to lapidary work, but they do not seem to be the answer.
No complete plans, but his descriptions and pictures would get you a long way towards building your own.
Amateur astronomers like Jack meet the same polishing issues (in glass) we Lapidary do, but at much higher tolerances; the same for their equipment. We will then mount the bottle with the cut off bottom up, and the hose connected top down, over a large pail or bucket (the hose should make a U turn and come back up over the bucket so drips don't end up on the floor). Put down a new bucket, increase the water flow slightly and you get the next grade of grit. Since this is probably mud, you can dispose of it (but not on your garden, it might contain toxic minerals). Its the finest grit that has been broken down far beyond the grades you can usually buy commercially. Between the faucet (which will be wide open) and the bottle the hose must be reduced in size. And you may never need to buy anything other than coarse grit again, because tumbling with coarse (or any other grade) produces the finer grades as the grit is broken down.
I've seen five variations on this writeup, but all agreed on 'Whichta', and the dimensions -- but this was the only one in the 'public domain'.
Most liquid shoe polishes also work if you rub hard enough to wipe the stone clean on every pass (best with diapers).

If you have large flat surfaces, like a slab (of, say, petrified wood), a cut thunderegg or agate, or a cut geode, you would like to polish there is an alternative.
A better solution is to find honeycomb foundation stock at a beekeepers supply or feed store. But if you are doing large flat polishing by hand, you might better find a local astronomy club and talk to their telescope and 'flat' makers about technique. The article is worth the effort it takes to find a copy for its outstanding clartity in presenting the fundamentals of the lapidary craft.
Co., in Burlington, Wisconson, made the Gem Maker in the 1960s and 70s . They made the old 'Bull Wheel' flat polisher from 1997 (when Ray Rock died) to 2007, when they focused on honey and wax processing, and sold their lapidary line to Polaris. Millers Falls made grinding arbors (and a lot of other {power} tools, all highly valued by antique collectors now) beginning around 1868 before ceasing all operations after they were bought out. Of Lyman Products at 475 Smith Street, Middletown, CT 06457 (800-243-7163), makes ultraviolet lights, diamond products and gem finishing equipment, Faceting machines and accessories, and metal finishing equipment. Most commercial equipment is prized, and passed on from lapidary to lapidary, often across generations.
T Saw Blade for Cutting Wood (ZYRC-15),Diamond Cup Wheel (M10),Diamond Cup Disc (M06) and so on. It is a rough tool that can be used for cross-cutting branches (maybe up to 6 inches in diameter) down to size. Put your lumpy ball on the plug (that is on the spindle, bolt end down and round edge, which should be cup shaped, up) and hold it down with one end of the brass elbow. I found a motor that let me fasten the blade directly to the shaft, mounted it on a platform, and built a table over it (with a slit for the blade) with wood.
And please remember that all machinery is dangerous (especially if home made) and take proper precautions (especially eye protection).
The laps or grinding wheels need to be 'true' round with well centered mounting to avoid wobble when spinning.
If you do lapidary, you can learn a lot by finding out how astronomers grind mirrors, make lenses, flats, and other optical elements out of glass. Elutiriation lets you regrade this mixture and recover the tumbling grits, by grade, for reuse. Set the bottle on a flat surface, and place a book next to it so you can lay a marker on the book, turn the bottle, and draw a level line around it near the base.
Use two sections of hose, and connect them placing a washer with a small hole in it in the line like a shower flow reducer. The thin beeswax sheet with the start of the hexagonal wax cones is a great polishing surface. Howard (of Rocks and Minerals Magazine) that appears to have been key to the creation of the lapidary hobby in America. Chestnut Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701 (714-542-0608) makes Ulta Pol and Ulta Tec faceting machines and accessories. Also pick up a brass 90 degree elbow of about the same size (its easier to hold than a straight pipe). The two pipe ends should make a 15 to 30 degree angle - you'll quickly find the right angle, and rock it a bit as it works. The carbo I used was collected from tumbling loads for recycle and was a mix of all grades. At least one source you can buy it from can be found on my Links Page, and others are available by using your favorite search engine. You should get a very fine stream of water coming out with at least 60 psi of pressure (I have been told hydraulic effects can increase this up to 200+ psi).
You may never need to buy anything other than coarse grit again (grit is broken down to finer grades during tumbling). Cut on the line with a sharp blade (be careful you don't cut yourself), and trim as needed to make it reasonably level. Most ore is denser than the matrix rock, so crushing the rock and elutriating it will seperate the rock from the ore. Start by giving it a once over with an emery stone to take any sharp points off the surface.
This widely read article described how to make lapidary equipment and use it to cut and polish 'gemstones'.
Box 550, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 (910-256-9248) makes GemMaster faceting machines and accessories. North, Pompano Beach, Florida 33069 (800-327-9103) makes Mark faceting machines, lapidary equipment, and accessories. If all you get is a fog, your hole is too small, or is not smooth (or is plugged with sediment from the pipeline). When the glass and rock surface have an even 'frosting' you can move to the next finer grade of grit.
Slather polish (teaspoon to a cup of water) on the surface with a paintbrush, and start polishing (harder with geodes than slabs). T are suitable for cutting and processing with all kinds of wood, borad, aluminum(non-ferrous metal), metal and plastic and so on.
When it starts to dry you should be able to wet it a couple more times before needing to re-slather with polish solution. 3, We develop and design drawings and samples according to the chient's detailed requirements until finally confirmed. Coal tar pitch or rosin, as used by astronomers to polish telescope mirrors, works even better, but is less available than honeycomb foundation.

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