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Choosing a polish machine brand

Hi there,

I could really do with some advice.

I am looking for a polish machine in a hurry! but, because I am not
from here I am not familiar with US brands.

At home in Ireland I used what you call a European style machine.
European style polishing units differ from American polishing units
in 2 important respects: the polishing motor is encased in a sheet
metal enclosure, and the dust collector blower is located beneath
the polishing motor. The sheet metal enclosure prevents dust
particles from being drawn into the polishing motor. The position of
the blower, below the polishing motor instead of behind it, reduces
the amount of bench space required for the machine. Additionally,
the dust extraction grate is located beneath, rather than behind,
the polishing spindle to take advantage of gravity.

I searched the web and found an American company that makes them.
Pepe tools. The machine has everything I need! It has a double shaft
spindle and even a dust collector all contained in an attractive
blue compact unit but, I do not know the company or if their
products are of good quality. Its all looks good but, I could be

Essentially, I need a bench top unit with a dust collector. I have
up to $700 to spend. It would be the icing on the cake if it had an
emergency stop pedal or lever and splash guards or the ability to
add them.

I do not know if Ganoksin allows public company reviews. but, if you
do I would really appreciate the feedback.

All the best

Buy a good Baldor polishing motor and a set of spindles. You will
also need buffs and polishing compounds. Build the dust collector
from plywood and do the electrical work yourself. It is easy.
Finally, don’t forget the dust collector. I have used everything 900
cfm blower blowing the exhaust outside, and currently a dust
cyclone. The beauty of the dust cyclone is that I can collect the
bad stuff and recycle it. Take a look at the Rob’s Shop Page of my
website (url below) to see how easy this is. There is more than one
way to do this and you don’t have to buy what you see in the
catalogs. But, put your money into the motor. More if
you want it. Rob

Rob Meixner


Thank you for your reply.

One major problem that I did not mention is that fact that my
workshop is in the spare room of my rental. So I am a little limited
when it comes to sticking large holes in the walls to add dust
extraction systems but. there is a window…

I hear you Rob! having seen your set up in your workshop I am
seriously considering doing some DIY. It looks fairly easy. I would
love a Cyclone but, at the moment I cannot afford it… Let me have a
think about this. I could really do with saving some money thats for

Thanks a million!
Nice workshop by the way!

All the best

Hello Tina

Here is another option. Consider a combination of tumbler(s) and the
3M bristle wheels on a bench motor with two spindles. Neither
generate a lot of dust. Although I have a Baldor motor in a housing
with forced exhaust through afilter, I find I use it very little.
The bristle wheels are safer too. Read Judy Hoch’s little booklet on
mass finishing handmade jewelry using a tumbler. Very modest cost
and a great resource for

Judy in Kansas, who is rather lazy and likes to let her tumblers
slave away while she does other things.

The nice thing about a cyclone is that you don’t have to cut a hole
to exhaust air. That way you aren’t blowing air that you paid to heat
outside (import this winter in central NY). They also allow you to
collect anything that can be reclaimed in a nice neat plastic bag. My
cyclone cost less than $100 and it is designed to be used with a shop
vac. I use a small blower because I have it and it is quieter than a
shop vac. I am a DIYer by choice as I find the design and building of
what I need as much fun as making jewelry. The money it saves is
secondary. I am retired and jewelry is a hobby for me, so I can also
afford the time. This might be different if it was the source of my
income. Please do something to collect the dust and dirt created by
polishing as it can literally kill you if you breathe it. Also wear a
dust mask and eye protection regardless. Good luck. Rob

Rob Meixner


Thank you for your steady guidance. I hadn’t realized the cyclone
was so inexpensive. I can most certainly afford that. Ok, I am
convinced! I really want a safe environment to work in that at the
same time does not mess up the spare room at my rental property. Can
I pick your brains on exactly what I need to do to make it happen?
Please tell me the exact detail of your polishing operation, I am
all ears.

DIY Polish box for your Baldor motor Do you have lighting in the box?
I would like to add a window at the top of the box, its good for
polishing whilst standing. If I place a lamp over the window it
should give me enough light and help me avoid having to add the
electric’s in the box. But… then again. I might just add light in
the box.

The Baldor Motor

What model have you got? What spindles should I buy? Is it possible to
add a variable speed pedal to this motor? I really want to have the
ability to stop the spinning spindles if I really have to.

Cyclone and blower

Is this the only dust collector I need? Does it take up much space?
How did you set it up? Did you add a hole for the hose in the back,
bottom or top of your polish box ? Did you add a filter?? Like I
said, I am not from around here so, I really do not know where to
buy anything. where can I get the hose? or does it come with the
Cyclone kit? I like the idea of cutting back on noise. What blower
do you use? Your set up sounds really good, I would like to
replicate it if I can…

So many questions, I know… : -) sorry but, I want to get it

I really appreciate all your helpful advice Robert. I hope to hear
from you soon

Wishing you a lovely day!

Snow is melting in Connecticut! My first winter in America and it has
to be said. the longest winter of my life!! ha! ha! We never get
weather like this in Ireland. Im happy to be here all the same.
Beautiful country and great people.

All the best

I agree with Judy. I love the 3M bristle wheels. They are so much
cleaner, and they get into every nook and cranny of my pieces.

Janet Kofoed

As far as motors I always used RedWing. Use 3 of them in a trade
shop for 15 years and never a problem.


Thanks Judy,

I will look forward to reading the booklet. It most certainly is an
interesting idea!

You are so good for getting in touch.

All the best

I will try to take some pictures that address your questions about
the dust collector. As for what motor to buy, look at any of the
ususal tool houses (Otto Frei, Rio Grande, Gesswein and more) and
really read and study what they say about motors and the spindles
that they need. This is fairly direct and should not be a challenge.
None of the larger motors are variable speed. I polish very large
heavy pieces and, as a result, need a heavy duty motor. You may be
able to use a less powerfull model than I have. You may also only
need one spindle rather two. I only use one and there may be a
savings going to a one spindle model. Don’t be shy about calling the
tech support people at these places as they will usually give you
good advice and not just try to sell you something. Whatever you buy
should last a long time. The first motor that I inherited forty
years ago still works fine, but I bought a new one about fifteen
years ago. Put your money into a good motor, the rest you can build
or have built. Again, I am a DYIer, but this is not true of
everyone. The Pepe and Durston polishing box is a nice compact
solution and may be all that you need, especially in an apartment.
You will have to change or clean the filter often. Regardless, wear
a dust mask and eye protection. I will post additional pictures on
the Rob’s Shop Page of my website. It may take a few hours. Stay
tuned. Rob

Rob Meixner


Thank you for all your help and I have plenty of ideas
to move forward with now. Very good advice all the way, I really
appreciate your taking the time to help me and keeping that in mind,
I do not want to take up any more of your time. Thank you! I think I
will stick to one spindle, it does save a lot of money.

Wishing you many happy hours in your most excellent workshop!! Ill
check your photo’s a little later.

Deepest appreciation and thanks.

Several years ago we retired the old beast, monster bag dust
collector polishing system, and purchased the Quatro Pro system.
What a difference! This beast actually does filter the dust out!

I have never had a shop stay as clean as the one we have now,
because of the filtering efficiency of the Quatro system.

They are not cheap, but the cleanliness they provide is simply
amazing. In roughly 40 years at the bench I have used a myriad of
machines and filters, even venting one directly through the shop
wall, and nothing I have ever used has filtered the air this well.

The clear plastic “boxes” over the spindles, and the lighting system
alsomake for good visibility, although I do intend to upgrade to the
newer LED lighting strips that I saw when I was at Stuller’s Bench
Jeweler Conference last fall.

The polishing motor has two speeds, and plenty of power for most
jobs, although I have had times I slowed it way down, by pressing
very hard on a heavy job.

My employer is absolutely thrilled by the fact that this polishing
system makes keeping the showroom a lot easier than it was with the
old machine.


That sounds like a great system, what is the brand name?It sounds
just like what I am looking for. Love the clear plastic boxes over
the spindles too!

All the best

Check out the Quarto Line of products on the Stuller web-site. we
have the standup version as well the DC unit and attaches to your
bench top unit.

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
Stuller Inc.

If anyone needs any on the unit specs. Please let me

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
Stuller Inc.

The Dura-BULL 1/2hp Space-Saver Polishing Unit with Enclosed Hood,
400cfm is a very well manufactured unit and is sealed very well. This
has the enclosed hoods and the collector below. It is a great option
and will keep your environment very clean. They are also made with
pride in the USA. Check Rio’s Item #: 336436

Phillip Scott
Rio Grande, A Berkshire Hathaway Company

Two comments on this self-built buffer question. First, I disagree
that a “good motor” is a good idea for all of us if that means a
Baldor or similar.

Their buffer motor would be north of $300 with shipping and their
polishing motor north of $400 in my Google search. On both economic
and ethical (reduce, reuse, recycle) grounds, for non-continuous use
I’d scrounge a grinder motor and outfit it with spindles. In my area,
scouting garage sales, pawn shops, flea markets, etc., these motors
are $25-$35. If you contemplate a later upgrade, just make sure it is
the same width as the expensive motors so both fit your hood. If
you’re starting out as a single or two person shop, how long are you
going to run a buffer?

I have a Baldor that came to me used on a lapidary unit and it runs
too hot to touch the housing. Got it from a friend who sells used
lapidary equipment and has equipped and taught at a lapidary school
for years. FWIW, he says all the Baldors on lapidary machines run
hot, don’t worry about it (It’s their buffer motor). Lapidaries run
these motors for hours on end. So heat in the bearing area wouldn’t
put me off of cheap or expensive motors.

Whether this is normal or not, they will run for many, many hours
hot. They don’t get hot and burn up next week. Reviews on the HF
Chinese buffers don’t indicate they are burning up, some report using
them for years intermittently. If you’re luck at scrounging, you’ll
turn up one from Taiwan with low miles, made before China took over
all the business. is Baldor really made in the States any more?

While where you spend your money and where you economize is a
personal decision, I’d put off an expensive motor purchase and buy
some cool hand tools myself. Think a cool saw frame (you know the
brands), a great speed control for your flexshaft or some more great
hammers. But my proclivities are showing. Somebody else might get an
ultrasonic or upgrade their casting stuff. Point is few craftspeople
need a continuous duty buffer that is going to run all day, every
day. Now I’ll sit back and wait for the horror stories on Chinese
buffers that exploded. if there are such. My contention is that these
motors are not precision tools and they can be mass produced across
the Pacific and work OK.

As far as variable speed on the buffer, the 1/4 to 1/2 HP buffer
motors do not run with a variable speed control. These motors lose
torque at low speeds on reduced voltage using a rheostat and at some
point the capacitor in the capacitive start mechanism will start the
motor cycling. Check with the motor manufacturers (such as Baldor),
but I don’t think variable speed operation is recommended, even with
a SCR controller. A universal AC motor or a DC motor is needed for
variable speed operation. Probably not what you would want for a
typical buffer used mostly with 6 inch wheels. Of course, with a box
like Rob’s you could swap in various units…

Have fun and make lots of jewelry as cheaply as possible (BG),


Several years ago, I bought a bench grinder from Harbor Freight –
yes, Harbor Freight – I intended to use it as a temporary measure
until I could get my old Baldor (whose shaft became bent when I
dropped it!) fixed.

While I don’t use the grinder heavily, it has continued to be even
smoother than the Baldor! Were I to buy another grinder, I believe I
would go for the HF, with one caveat – check the motor for
smoothness IMMEDIATELY! And take it back if it is in the least bit
rough! Check it in the store if you can!

That motor is currently on sale for $49.00, reg price $59.00.

I have no affiliation with HF, other than having bought some good
tools and some bad tools from them over the years.

Out of curiosity, I just picked up the phone and called my local
Baldor distributor. Baldor motors are still made in the US!