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Flat lap and other homemade tools

I tried sending this yesterday, but it bounced. Probably due to the
size of the attachment. I too enjoy designing and making my own
tools when I can. Several years ago I resurrected my interest in
lapidary and dusted off the trusty CabMate. The problem with the
CabMate and other single spindle tools is that you can’t easily
change media. Since most of the lapidary work I do is flat, I
decided to buy a flat lap as it would also allow me to do more
traditional cab shapes. The problem of changing media still
persisted. After a lot of research, I discovered a system that would
allow me to apply PSA backed media to steel discs that could be held
in place by a magnetic pad attached to the spinning flat lap. To
change media, you simply pull off the magnetically held disc and
media, and apply another disc to the magnetic pad and off you go. I
also found some very aggressive diamond plated steel discs with an
open construction that could be applied to the magnetic pad without
another steel disc. I can now go from 100 grit to 100,000 grit in no
time at all. This system completely removes the frustration of
changing out media and lets you focus on the frustration of getting
the stone polished. It is also very compact. You need to make sure
that the stainless steel discs are magnetic enough to be held in
place while the lap is spinning. You also can’t double side the disc
with different media on each side as the magnetic force needed to
hold the disc in place is diminished by the thickness of the media.
In other words the stainless steel disc needs to be in direct
contact with the magnetic pad. My system is 8". It just as well be
6" or 10". Sources, at least at the time, were Covington
Engineering, TBW, Kingsley North, Graingers, and the local hardware
store. In the end, I have no idea what it cost me. I added a close
loop coolant circulation system that allows me to reuse the coolant
passing it thru a gravity separation stage to remove grit from the
previous pass. I put together a PDF that shows pictures and
commentary. This is what I tried to attach yesterday, but it
wouldn’t send. I have posted the PDF on my website

if you want a closer look. Click on the Flat Lap tab. I really enjoy
looking at other people’s DIY projects. Please keep sharing them.
Thanks. Rob

Rob Meixner