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Cabbing

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Macknight
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« on: March 24, 2016, 02:52:33 pm »

I'm interested in cabbing and making jewelry. I have a two-tub Lortone tumbler and a rock hammer. I'm retired and on a budget.

I'm also disabled due to multiple myeloma. Should I look for used equipment or buy new? Where should I look?

I've got nippers, a spare barrel (for polishing only), a dremel and diamond bits on my wish list so far. Both types of cab grinders are pretty expensive for me. What type should I buy?

Where's a good place to buy jewelry clips and chains?

Thanks in advance.
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 03:33:24 pm »

If you are handy and not in a rush you can buy an arbor from a lapidary supply and mate it with a 1/3 or half horse continuous run motor . You can make or buy splash pans  and with a bucket for a water drip you are ready for wheels. With a 80 or 100 grit diamond wheel on one side and an expando drum with silicon carbide belts which you change out so you have a grit progression you are ready to cab. Used equipment is extremely popular  and most old equipment was overbuilt and easy to fix.Not much over built lapidary equipment made now unfortunately.
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jakesrocks
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 05:22:24 pm »

Hi Mac. Welcome aboard.

The easiest thing, and least expensive would be a vintage combination machine. Machines show up on ebay & other places all the time. With a combination machine you'd have a trim saw on one end , and grinding, sanding and polishing capabilities on the other. Another plus is many combo machines don't take a lot of room to set up.

Not trying to push this machine. It's just for an example of what to look for. I found this on ebay in just a few seconds of searching. Just look under vintage lapidary machines. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-MDR-M-D-R-Lapidary-Saw-Grinding-Polishing-Grinder-Machine-/252329351218?hash=item3ac0005832:g:EOUAAOSwxp9W8eYS

Don
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A day spent without learning something new, is a day wasted.

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Macknight
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 09:25:14 pm »

Perfect. I'll start watching EBay closely. This looks like fun. In the meantime, I'll work on my grinding and polishing.

I can pick up a Dremel and some bits right away for minor grinding and hole drilling. I already read some tutorials here on hole drilling. Very handy.

Thanks for the assistance.

I'm a decent amateur photographer,as you can see on my web site. I'd be glad to answer any photography questions anyone has.
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Hummingbirdstones
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 09:34:50 pm »

Hi Mac and welcome to the forum!  Also keep an eye on Craig's List for your area for a cabbing machine.
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light house jack
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016, 10:20:59 pm »

In my opinion, that EBAY machine is way over priced at $300.00.  Watch for estate sales, look for a nearby rock club and of course, Craig's list.  I have purchased six wheel machines for that price or less and you can get a new trim saw from Harbor Freight for around $50.00 and just add a new lapidary blade. The machine in that EBAY add is just too limited in what you can easily do and if you have to replace wheels, bearing and the blade you really have paid too much.  I tell my students to search for a machine in driving distance and go inspect what you are buying. No added cost for shipping and you can likely even try out what you are buying. I have seen more than once folks who purchased a Genie on EBAY then by the time they purchased wheels which would work and sometimes pumps or a capacitor they could have purchased a new machine.
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Macknight
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 05:22:28 am »

Thanks Light house Jack. I'm not in a hurry, so I'll take my time looking around.
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jakesrocks
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2016, 08:36:31 am »

Mac, another thing to watch is your local news paper. Lots of rockhounds in the Pacific North West. Watch for estate sales featuring rocks & machines. Some of my best scores have been from estate sales.
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2016, 08:44:17 am »

Absolutely watch estate sales.  We've gotten some really good deals with estate sale buys.  Also, if you have a local auction house, watch those too.  You never know when something will turn up!
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Debbie K
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2016, 10:06:40 am »

Mac:

You need to get the flex shaft that goes with the Dremel. That way you keep the motor away from any water.

Harbor Freight sells a cheap assortment of diamond bits http://www.harborfreight.com/diamond-point-rotary-bit-set-20-pc-69653.html. You can either set up a water drip to work under or do what I do, just dip the piece you're carving in a shallow dish of water.

I don't have any new cabbing equipment. You can sometimes get the old machines cheap, but you often have to put quite a bit of work into them.

If you come across an old one, turn it on and see if it runs true. Sometimes the arbors are out of whack. If it has a diamond wheel that has any life in it, great! Even the cheap ones are pretty pricey. The Expando wheel is fantastic, and you can make your own diamond belts for a fraction of the cost that lapidary sites ask for them. Search for "Hysol" on this site; I gave instructions a few years ago on how to make them. If the machine has an Expando, check the rubber to see if it's still in good shape. Likewise, listen to the motor.

I wouldn't buy a machine that had a bent arbor, and yes, I have seen them for sale. It's too difficult to find a replacement and too expensive to have one turned. I have some motors laying around, so if it had no motor or a bad one it's not a deal breaker. They're pretty easy to find at garage sales. With an older machine, it's almost a given that the bearings will need to be replaced. Buy plenty of penetrating oil, you're going to need it. That, and rust inhibitor.

One thing to think about: If the manufacturer is still in business it makes it ever so much easier to find replacement parts. I have a machine that was made by a lapidary shop in Arkansas that's probably been out of business 40 years and the spacers and wheel nuts are impossible to find. I had to get really creative, and frankly, I don't like working that hard.

I strip mine, paint them and seal them with fiberglass. I hate rust.

I've done this on the cheap, too, and I now have more tools that I can even use. Let friends and family and even casual acquaintances know that you're interested in doing lapidary and grinding rocks. They may have had an uncle that was, too, and sometimes when rock-hounds die, families don't know what to do with their stuff. Trust me, you will start finding things. Look at the offerings on EBay, Kingsley North, Lortone, etc., to get an idea about what to look for. But most of all, have fun!

Debbie K
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Macknight
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2016, 10:39:04 am »

Good advice. Thanks. I'll look around. I'm not in a hurry, as I need to perfect my tumbling technique.
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