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Large grinding and sanding lapidary lathe

This is a request to all the lapidaries on Orchid. I need to build or
buy a large grinding/sanding lathe for the lapidary part of my shop.
I currently use an old CabMate as my trim saw, a two wheel Lortone
lathe with a 100 g diamond wheel and an expansion wheel on which I
fit 2.5" X 6" SC belts in various grits and I also built an 8" flat
lap that will go from 100 g to 50,000 g in various steps. I also have
an 8" and 14" slab saw. The flat lap works well for flats, but I need
a lathe for curved surfaces. I have been looking at various six wheel
(6") models from Kingsley North, Lortone, Cab King and others. I am
also willing to build one, but once I price the pieces and parts, it
cost more than a completed unit. Any thoughts, ideas, experience with
various lathes or just plain advice would be appreciated.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving; now on to Christmas and New
Years.

Thanks. Rob

Rob Mexner

I’ve been very happy with the Lortone stainless 6 wheel 6". I started
out with all SiC belts on expanding wheels but slowly trading out to
diamond. 80, 220 hard wheels, 280, 600, 1200, 3000 ‘soft wheels’.

Keep Calm and Hammer On…

Hi Rod

I use a Lortone 6 in. six wheel arbor with flat pad on the right
end. I chose the Lortone over a Diamond Pacific Genie, because I
like the motor behind instead of in the center like a buffer. Also
the Lortone is not as wide. I also use a flow through water system,
I don’t like the spritzer. I use Diamond Pacific wheel. I have my
Cabmate setup on the right side of my 6 wheel arbor as a small trim,
but can add a flat lap of odd grit wheelsquickly. This works great
for me in my very small shop.

Gene Stirm

Hi Rob, Have you looked at the Galaxy wheels for carving from Diamond
Pacific? You can mount them on any lapidary arbor and cut a 1/2 inch
or 1 inch curve. If you need larger curves check out the suppliers
for the folks that cut granite counter tops.

Diamond Pacific has a sculpture rock lathe, model # 640-34-1000 for
around $3000. I believe some other brands have a model also.

Thanks to all who provided advice regarding my purchase of a new
lapidary lathe (arbor). I settled on a Lortone/Kingsley North 6"
Diamond/Nova wheel package. I bought it from Kingsley North. They
have always been great to work with and were willing to make some
modifications to the machine that I wanted. If you haven’t tried
them, you should. More when I know it. Rob

Rob Mexner