I would like a response from any who are experienced in using
pneumantic tools for stone setting
Well, I didn’t have the money for the Gravemeister, but I got a
system 3, which is just a pneumatic handpiece, regulator, and control
pedal. It’s pretty good for the money for what I do, occasionally I
use if for setting work, but I usually drive a small chasing tool
with a hammer. For bright cut, I use it about half the time. I’m
pretty used to working gravers by hand. But from what I’ve learned,
the Graver Max is a better bet price wise and it terms of power and
versatility of all those. Now I understand there’s an upgrade to the
Gravemeister that gives it flexibility equivalent to eh Graver Max.
Doesn’t seem much point in going to the Graver Mate considering it’s
limitations and the small difference in price. But with the Graver
Max, you need a separate compressor. The standard contractors
compressors are noisy as all get out and the quiet Junaire type ones
are real pricey. I remember seeing in Wal Mart, a "quiet"
compressor, apparently like the kind in your refrigerator. If you
can find it, it might be worthwhile, otherwise, put the compressor in
the basement and run a line up. Now I’d like to get into using the
carbide gravers, but you’ll have a time sharpening them without a
Power Hone sharpening system. (also on my wish list). Meanwhile,
don’t waste money on the regular gravers, get the yellow tang high
speed gravers. Harder to sharpen, but they cut much better. I shape
mine up with a 2 sided India stone, then go to a white Arkansas.
After that, I use the 3M micro film abrasive sheets. I have 3 little
glass plates, about 3 X 5 inches. I use spray adhesive to glue down
800, 1200, and 2000 grit respectively to these plates. I use honing
oil on everything. I go through all of these grits, then finally,
using a piece of card stock on a hard flat surface, I drag the graver
over it after I’ve rubbed the card with some green rouge. I polish
the bottom, sides, and cutting leading edge to a mirror finish. I
take a small wad of cotton, place it in a bottle cap, and drop a
couple drops of Oil of Wintergreen on the cotton. I periodically
touch the point of the graver to the cotton as I’m working.
As to the assorted handpieces for the Graver Max, Gravemeister,
etc., I’ll leave it to others to recommend those. I’d suspect you’d
want a medium weight Bolino style for bright cut as well as a heavier
handpiece for driving down bezels and channels.
I have an employee who had screwed up his thumbs by doing exhaustive
sweat shop labor bright cutting. I was afraid to let him go back to
working with a foredom tool, thinking the vibration would aggravate
his condition. So I ponied up and bought the NSX E-Max micro motor.
Nearly $1,000! But I’ll tell you, after you work with that puppy,
you’ll flat out throw rocks at a flex shaft tool. The NSX E-max is
the one to get, since it has the reduction gear attachment. I
haven’t tried the other brands, which are cheaper, but I was nervous
that they wouldn’t have the torque to run larger stone setting burs.
I’m really glad we got that E-Max. It runs really smooth and true
and it’s so quiet you can hear the bur cutting metal. I think it’s
one of the best ways to minimize Repetitive Stress injury to hands
and wrists. Eventually, I’m going to have all of us working with
them, and I’ll get a Graver Max and Power Hone too. Then the Meiji
microscope, then the pulse welder, the electro melt. . . then . .
David L. Huffman, tool junkie