A new Diamond Cabochon machine part 1

A new addition to our stable of homemade Lapidary machines, this one will be a 4 wheel cabochon machine using for rubber expanding drums fitted with REZ belts which will be charged with diamond paste of different mesh.

The Cabing Machine shaft full view
Full view of shaft

Just thought I would let you all know that we are building a new cab machine, this one will be a lot different to our first creation of a few years ago as it will only use diamond as the cutting medium.

It will have four rubber expanding drums which are 8” diameter and 3” wide, these will be fitted with REZ belts, to all intents and purposes they are the same as the silicone carbide belts that you would use, except they are impregnated with resin instead of silicone carbide. The resin “holds” the diamond onto the belt which is applied as a paste and you use lapping fluid to thin the paste to help spread it over the surface of the belt.

Details view of cabing machine shaft showing threaded end with nut
End view of shaft

We have found this very cost effective when compared to buying a set of diamond wheels simply because when the cutting action becomes dulled, you just recharge the belt and don’t have to change an expensive diamond wheel.

As out original machine will do all the rough work through to 600 grit silicone carbide, the new machine will follow on from there and in many cases I don’t think that polish will be required, it certainly wasn’t on some Lapis we did as we got a mirror finish straight off the Rez belt.

Cabing machine shaft showing flanges in detail
View of the flanges

This will also be a “clean” machine as does not require water, instead you occasionally give the wheels a burst of lapping fluid to keep things lubricated and as you don’t hold the stone against the wheel for as long as you would with a wet machine, things don’t get too hot.

The stage we find ourselves at right now is that we have a shaft which is 24” long and 1” diameter. It has a left hand thread on one end and right hand thread on the other, a 2,3,4 pulley fitted, two ball bearing sealed pillow blocks and 4 pars of 3” flanges, so it’s just about ready for assembly. This assembly was machined and supplied by Andrew at ABC Polishing so thanks Andrew a great job.

Cabing machine shaft showing 2,3,4 pulley and bearings
View of the 2,3,4 pulley

We have just received the four expanding drums from the USA and we already have the REZ belts and diamond paste.

Next job is to make the supports for the bearing blocks and a base for it all to sit on. This machine doesn’t need hoods over the wheels and pans to catch the water as there will be none, so we plan to sit it on a base and make a cover to go over the whole machine for when it’s not in use to keep dust out.

I also had a single phase motor that I was going to use for this machine, but it died so have to order a new one soon.

I will keep updating as the machine progresses through the build and report on its performance once it’s operational.



Great day at the craft fair today

Yes today was a great day at the craft fair, it was well attended and I got a few nice comments about the hessian we bought recently to use as table covers on my stand, it went very well with the rocks and trees.

I met a very interesting chap who wanted to have a chat about a lump of rough flint I had on my table which I had placed next to the flint pendants we had made, it was there to demonstrate where the pendants had originated from. Anyway this chap told me his father had lumps of flint in his back garden, piled up and they are about 6″ thick or more and asked if I could use some, the answer of course was yes please. Anyway he said he will bring some to next craft fair in July and I promised to make him a nice paper weight as a thankyou.

Later in the day a young lad and his mum came to the stand and they spent a long time looking at the tumble stones, this young lad really knew his stones as well, he told me his favourite was Amethyst, that was until he spotted a lapis Lazuli cab I had on display his eyes just lit up and he wanted to know all about it. His Mum asked him if he wanted to choose a few tumble stones for his collection, so while he was doing that I had a rummage about in my “reserve” box of tumblestones and found a Lapis specimen, it had quite a bit of calcite in it so wasn’t really going to be used in Shalini’s jewellery, anyway after he had chosen his stones paid for them I gave him the Lapis for free, he was over the moon as was his Mum and they both said they will be back to see me in July at the next fair, good job we have a few kilos of stones tumbleing at the moment.

So all in a long day as organisers, but a good day because of the people I met!



Stamford Artisans Guild Craft Fair 15th May 2011

Just wanted to let you know that we wil having a stall at the Stamford Artisans Craft Fair on 15th May 2011 which will be held at the Stamford Arts Centre between 10Am and 4PM.

We will have a range of cabochons available for jewellery makes and tumblestones of various types and of course our tree sculptures, also a few of our unique Ents will be making an appearance as well. For those of you that don’t know, Ents are the walking talking trees that appeared in the Lord of the Rings.

Look forward to having a chat if you can make.

Oh almost forgot to mention, this a free entry event





Rough Rock Shop is back

We took the rough rock shop down as we realised there was a software error that indicated items were out of stock when they weren’t. We have figured out what the problem is and will monitor it while build the new shop, this doesn’t create a problem in the transaction process or anything like that. If an item is showing out of stock, please try back the next day as we will manually reset the stock levels every morning until the new shop takes over. Thanks Dave