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Polishing wheel options


I’m looking over options for a polishing wheel. I don’t want to buy
the kind I’ve seen in the workshop where I take classes – a bench
style with collector – because I don’t want to produce harmful dust
inside my home. I have a separate room for jewelry-making, but I want
to keep the air quality as good as possible, so I’m considering
polishing out of doors.

Everything I see at Rio’s site are standing models for use on a
table. I could set up a small table outside under our very high
deck. But another option I’m considering is using an electric drill
with polishing-wheel attachments. It seems to me that the biggest
disadvantage would be uneven hand pressure taking off too much

As always, thank you!

All polishing creates dust. Any form of wheel will produce dust in
the air. Vibration, magnetic, or tumble polishers, where the medium
and object are enclosed together, still produce dust, but it it
doesn’t escape from the enclosure, and is often held in a liquid
(water?). A polishing lathe (the posh name for a motor and wheel
mounted on a bench or pedestal) with dust extractor is what you
need. It still produces dust, but the extractor sucks it up like a
vacuum cleaner, so it doesn’t stay in the air. Using an electric
drill seems a poor idea to me. A pendant motor with flexible drive is
very useful, but it also puts dust into the air.

Regards, Gary Wooding

Hello Lorraine, The reason polishing machines have “collectors” is to
keep the cotton fibers out of your lungs. Use a collector even if you
work outside. The collector will allow you to reclaim the metal that
is rubbed off during polishing but just think of the health issue if
you like. The fibers can, over time, cause an ugly death. I’m sorry
to be so blunt, but it is a serious issue. For the rest of it, you
can change tools much faster on the tapered spindle of a standard
polishing machine. If you have long hair be sure to tie it back when
you polish.

Tom Arnold


Polishing is something you might need to do several times during the
fabrication of a piece. Not too fun to be running outside every

Get a GOOD dust collector, not one of the jokes which use a furnace
filter. And for even less dust vent the exhaust outside. Not a cheap
solution but you only have to do it once.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing