Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Looking4] All in one gem cutter, grinder and polisher


#1

We are all in different places financially but we share the same
love and passion for our jewelry making career/hobby - how lucky is
that!!

This question may have been posed before - I am fairly new to this
forum. I’m researching the purchase of a table top All In One -
cutter, grinder and polisher to make my own cabs. Any comments as to
what model I should consider?

I learn a lot from reading all your postings. Thanks everyone.

Angela C.


#2

I use the Inland Swap Top. I have used it in my shop for the past 4
years and am pleased with its operation. I have had a small problem
with the motor, but Inland has honored its 2 year warranty, and
replace the faulty motor for not cost.

John


#3

Angela I got my first All u Need twenty five or more years ago. I am
stillusing the same 6 inch unit. Wouldn’t be without it. I also have
used it in the 8 inch size, but sold it to to a student. Right now I
teach Channel Inlay and have two Ameritool units, a 6 inch and an 8
inch. I won’t change your desire to have an All In One - very
similar, but if you can afford the 8 inch buy it. Like I said I am
still using the 6 inch All U Need for my own personal Channel
projects.

Good luck.
Rose Marie Christison (Rosie’s 'Riginals)


#4

I bought an Inland All In One from Rio several years ago, but was
unhappy with its quality, so I returned it. This started a journey
that I am still on to design and build my own lapidary equipment. My
motivation, other than curiosity and being a tinkerer, was that I had
made silver and gold jewelry for years and was limited by having to
select standard sized stones and build jewelry around them. I also
inherited hundreds of pounds of rough from my father who was a
lapidary. Most of my lapidary work is free form and has many flats.
The equipment that you buy or make will be somewhat defined by the
shape of the finished stones that you cut. Study the catalogs, read,
and most importantly, talk to others, yes that old man behind a
table at at a gem and mineral show may be a wealth of to
you, so go to these shows. Take a look at my work on my website
www.robmeixner.com to see the type of lapidary work that I do. Then
email me and I will send you pictures of the equipment that I have
made or purchased to do it. Good luck…

Rob Meixner - Jewelry


#5

Angela,

I Bought my All-U-Need lapidary machine more than 10 years ago. I
use if for my inlay work and cutting turquoise cabs. I have never had
a minute of trouble with it and I’ve used it almost daily since I
bought it.

It’s not the greatest for heavy duty production cutting of harder
stones like jaspers and agates. I use a vintage Star Diamond with a
60 grit sintered diamond wheel for that. And people who are used to
cutting on grinding wheels instead of a flat lap sometimes have
problems adjusting to the different techniques required. But for
light duty cutting or inlay you can’t beat it. It’s pretty much self
contained and doesn’t spray water all over the place. The water feed
and drain cups provided will only last a year or two. I’ve since
replaced the water feed with a larger container using ice maker water
supply fittings and tubing for a drip system. All parts are available
at a local hardware store or big box home improvement store. I
replaced the drain cup with a longer plastic hose and a 5-gallon
bucket.

I built a special cabinet for my All-U-Need flat lap and take it to
shows so I can do inlay demos. If there’s not 120V available I have a
deep cycle battery and voltage inverter which will run my flat lap
and a dermal all day long on one charge. There are some pictures of
my setup on our Facebook page.

In my opinion the All-U-Need is an excellent light duty machine. One
day I hope to buy a some wholesale and bring them with me at shows to
sell. People are intrigued by the portability of the machine.
Especially people who travel in RVs.

I recommend Kingsley North as a supplier and I would go with the 8
inch model as opposed to the 6 inch. It’s only a bit more and
sometimes that extra two inches come in handy.

Rick Copeland


#6

Hi Angela C., I started as a lapidary (of sorts) in the late 60’s
and when I moved into using power equipment, I started with what was
later called a Rock Rascal. This little machine has a 6" trim saw on
one side and a place for a grinding wheel on the other side. The
grinding wheel, can be replaced with successive grits, and small
drums, again smaller and smaller grits till at last a polishing
wheel. The main difference between this and the flop top is vertical
versus horizontal. I have to admit that, it wasn’t till I read this
posting that I realized where the market for Inland’s product was.
After reading the answers from some other members, it seems that they
are perfectly happy with their machines. Looking at Rio’s catalog you
can certainly see there is a huge variety of machines available.
Kingsley North’s Lapidary catalog will give an even larger selection
(probably TOO much for the novice), but the prices are a little
better. My problem with the machine being put forth here is; there is
no torque. I think a fair (from a lapidary point of view!),
comparison would be a Dremel compared to a Foredom. You can use your
foredom with a variety of bits to cut cabs and carve small pendants.
There is now a huge variety of diamond bits that were not available
back in the day. That would probably save you the most. In fact, fire
agates and opals sometimes “require” the use of small bits to follow
the contours of the color. If on the other hand you actually want to
cut stones in a larger, faster way, the vertical wheel allows the
face of the wheel to be accessed, along with the side (or flat). You
can find used machines on eBay, that are a much better product if you
or your friends are capable of a little machine work. There is a
machine called a Cabmate, made by Graves that is a step up from the
previously mentioned grinder. Be aware that there is water on all
the wheels, discs, etc., all the time, there will be an accompanying
mess, even with Inland’s product. I am new to this forum, so I am not
sure of the protocol, but I rebuild older quality machines. I always
have a variety of saws, combos, and grinders available. Having said
that, what prompted me to answer was, I have also been a jeweler for
about 40 years now (had to do something with all those rocks I was
cutting), and the other member’s answers have made me realize that
from a jewelry point of view Inland’s might suffice. The question, as
always, is what are you plans in the future. Is this just a side
issue for a future jeweler, or are you feeling the call to cut and
carve stone? It is quite a wonderful feeling, to carve stone. Just
like when you forge your first piece of metal and feel the
collaboration with that new life form, so the stone is alive, waiting
to share with you! Thomas III


#7

Thomas,

I have and recommend an All-U-Need flat lap which is made by Diamond
Tech (I think) different from the Inland machines.

I wouldn’t recommend Inlands to even light duty hobby users. I’ve
never heard of anyone who was happy with an Inland a few months
after they bought one. Mostly complaints about the motor being under
powered and failing.

Rick
(who cut 30 cabs of Morenci turquoise on my All-U-Need flat lap last
night)


#8

Thanks Rick, I should have been more specific. The swap tops I have
seen were an Inland product, and apparently with that product we are
in agreement. I also have a horizontal machine, (Crystalmaster), I
still prefer a vertical configuration for speed and many other
considerations. Congratulations on even having enough Morenci to cut
30 cabs in a night, it was a shame when the Brown family gave up the
lease. I am losing the original thread, but it is nice to see some
lapidary talk out here. Probably since I started all those years ago
with hand carving soapstone that I crawled up a mountainside to
collect, I am a bit prejudiced, but in the discussion about
"construction versus" the stones are left out. A true purist, (Jeff
and Susan Wise, etc.) creates the piece from design to polish. Just
an opinion. ThomasIII


#9

Thomas,

It was pure luck and good relationships with my rock dealer buddies
that allowed me to score over 5 pounds of rough Morenci this summer.
A dealer friend got it when he bought a rock collection from an
estate. They bagged up the small stuff in 3 and 6 ounce lots which I
snatched up because I could use it for inlay. They told me they held
back 1.5 pounds of bigger stuff and the next show we did together I
bought that lot too.

I wasn’t sure what happened to the supply of Morenci since the
Morenci copper mine is still operational. Morenci’s always been one
of my favorites and it was plentiful up until the 1990s. I hadn’t
heard of the Brown family concession. I had heard that the copper
mining company that owns the Morenci mine changed to a leaching
process to extract the copper and the were processing everything
including turquoise to remove the copper. But like anything in the
Turquoise business a good old wives tale makes for selling leverage.

You can pretty much get any of the old southwestern US turquoise if
you have enough money. Ernie Montoya, of Sunwest Silver, has a vault
that is what turquoise legends are made from…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan


#10

Thank you everyone for your comments. I can’t believe you all took so
much time to relate your opinions and experiences. One of the reasons
why I love this site so much. What I take away from all your comments
is I better do my homework before buying anything.

Angela Croutze :slight_smile:
Emerald Eyes Jewelry