Dear Tool Timers,
Here is the last of my polishing tool times.
Since 1971 when I started making jewelry I have saved scrap and bench
sweeps. When I could save polishing crud and filters I did. Every
three of four years I would turn all this in for a dollar value or
metal. Each time I turned in scrap I got between $200.00 and $800.00.
I’m lousy at math but I figure it to be at least $2,500.00 for all my
efforts. I know in the last 15 years my polishing refinings have been
a healthy amount. Remember I spell polishing MONEY. Don’t think your
sweeps and dust collections don’t add up, they do.
For a repair shop and small manufacturer, the double spindle motor
and hood for about $370.00 would do an OK job. I’m right handed so I
don’t care for the spindle sticking out the left side of the motor.
Changing the laps, brushes and buffs as I do I don’t need that extra
left spindle. The single spindle & dust collection unit for $270.00 is
the first system I ever purchased. I used it for several years and
sold it for about half of what I paid for it. The down side of these
units is that there is only a small part of the filter air flows
through and they fill up fairly quick. The filters can be flipped and
used twice. I also found a furnace supply that sold them a lot cheaper
than the jewelry suppliers. These filters from the jewelry suppliers
are about $13.00 or so. For a first polishing and dust collection
system, the single spindle unit should work fine until you outgrow
The production polishing set up I have purchased several times over
the years is the following:
The small Handler filter bag dust collector with two 3 inch hose
intakes coming out of the top. This unit is available with a silencer.
I believe the Gesswein unit # 60B is this unit. It costs new with the
silencer about $600.00. It is easy to clean with a shop vac and I have
never had any service concerns. I have had as many as four of them in
various shops I have set up. This fits under most work benches and
connects with 3 inch dryer vent hose. I have tried the flexible metal
dryer vent hose but it kinks up too much. The plastic 3 inch hose is
inexpensive, available anywhere and cheap. Inside the unit are cloth
bags that help trap the dust particles. On the side of the unit is a
shake down lever. These units should be cleaned regularly. I try to do
mine about once a month. This is the smallest hose type dust collector
I have seen in the jewelry industry. I believe the dental labs have
some different styles but I have never used any of them.
The polishing bench I have always built. At most hardware store you
can buy shop bench legs and a four foot kitchen top. This would be
about $45.00. On the top are two different types of dust collection
hoods. The first hood is on the right side of the bench. This fits a
right spindled motor. This hood has a hole at the bottom. This is a 3
inch hole to fit the hole size of the dust collector. Cut a hole into
the kitchen counter top and secure the hood down with two small screw
in the front corners. The location on this hood should be at a
comfortable work location. I rest my forearms on the front edge of
this counter top. Below the hole I put a blast gate to open this hole
or close it. The blast gate is attached to the bottom of the bench.
The better blast gate are aluminum and available from any wood workers
supply. >From the blast gate the dryer hose goes directly to the dust
collector. I put two 40 watt bulbs in this unit. I have seen this hood
new for about $80.00.
The other hood is for a horizontal split lap polishing motor. The
light for this unit is a single bulb spring arm lamp. Hood and lamp
again about $85.00. Again there is a blast gate at the 3 inch hose
The only motor I will buy now are the 1/2 horse powered 3,450 rpm
motors with the screw on spindles. I name brand is Baldor. The screw
on spindles run more true that any other motor. They are a sealed
motor and never need any maintenance. I have never wore any out. I
have five in my shop now and ten at the college I teach at (these are
about 25 years old and still as good as new). They are available in
220 3 phase volt but the wiring is a lot more expensive. The screw on
spindle makes it easy to change the motor into a grinding wheel or put
a drill chuck on for holding various wheels. The spindles are not made
by the motor manufacturer so I buy four or five and see what one fits
the best and send the others back. The right spindle motor I prefer
for all brushing and buffing. The other motor on the bench is for
horizontal split lapping. This motor is a left shafted motor using
left shafted spindles. It is actually mounted under the table with the
spindle sticking through the table at an angle. If you see a picture
of the split lap unit, this is what I am talking about only I always
mount my own motors. They are more comfortable that way.
Many safety comments Have been mentioned so I won’t go into a lot.
First is eye protection. Wear some sort of protection. Anything!
Second is hand protection. I have had rubber finger tips pulled off,
but they come off easily. So for me I’ll stay with the rubber finger
tips. They also allow a good feel of the piece when polishing it and
keep my hands a little cleaner. They are available in many sizes so if
you see them try them on for fit. The sizes start at #14 and go down
to 11 in half sizes also. If you have a hose unit that works properly
you may not need a mask. I was in a larger jewelry manufacturers shop
today and one polisher had the heavy duty Rio double filter mask on.
The other six polishers didn’t wear any. The hose polishing unit they
had would just about suck the work out of your hands. There’s tons
more polishing available but here was a little start.
Next week I’ll get back to some small unusual stuff.
TR the Teacher