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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 152 - Thurs 7/2/98
2. NEW: Plans for a Simple Plating Machine
3. RE: Workshop Setup Advice Needed
4. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
5. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
6. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
7. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
8. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
9. RE: Using Water with Dremel or Drill
10. Bio: Rachael
11. Bio: Rachael
12. RE: Hydrofluoric Acid
13. RE: Lapidary Shop Tip - Replacing V-belt
14. RE: Lapidary Shop Tip - Replacing V-belt
15. AD: Carving Rough


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 152 - Thurs 7/2/98

Issues 155 and 156 will be devoted to Sphere Cutting. Those

Sphere cutting will probably be the main topic of Issues 155
and 156; those issues are pretty much ready to go, now. Anyone
who wishes to contribute something to that issue should get
them submitted as soon as possible.

Stay cool, be safe and have lots of fun!!!


Subject: NEW: Plans for a Simple Plating Machine

Hello Hale:

I have a question and a few comments. The question involves
finding instructions or directions to make a very simple
plating machine. I am not looking for professional results.
I need something to use for a demonstration of how it works.

Steve Ramsdell

non commercial reprint is permitted
Steve: I don't know of a simple method - probably some of our
members do. But for a complete description of the method of
electroplating on rocks, including a description and plans
for the machine, see Issue #115 - whole issue is devoted to
this, under the subject heading: ELECTROFORMING (METAL

Subject: RE: Workshop Setup Advice Needed

I would strongly recommend a good ventilation system. Dusts
and gases such as those encountered during dry sanding of
rocks and many metalworking applications - soldering,
pickling, polishing, etching, etc., etc. - can be very
dangerous, if not immediately, then certainly over time.
Orchid (a great jewelry listserve) has recently had a good
thread on this subject - check out the archives at

The following address, from the Orchid archives, is a great
list of other web sites with safety information:

Even if your workshop is just for limited casual enjoyment,
there's no excuse to avoid proper safety precautions.


Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels

On 29 Jun 98 15:03:04 -4:00, you wrote:

>>Has anyone else dealt with this problem? Aside from the pump
>>from the Genie, is there anything else available that would
>>work as a free standing unit for pumping water from a small
>>pan to a grinding wheel?

A garage sale or salvation army water pic is a fine little
water pump. You need to rig a drip from the drain pan or
other water source into the feed tank of the water pic, and
then modify (distort, flatten, etc.) the squirt nozzle on the
water pic so it sprays more than just shoots a jet. But it's
not a problem to do, and ended up costing me all of about 10
bucks the last time I needed to do it.

The other, classic, way, of course, is the drip tank you've
apparently rejected. Many of the older machines I originally
learned to cut with were designed to be fed either with a drip
tank, or via needle valve controlled water drips attached
right to a plumbing water supply, the same way you'd tap off a
water line to, say, run the ice maker on your fridge, or the
humidifier on some furnaces. Often, though, users wouldn't
want the permanent connection, so some 1/4 inch copper tube
soft soldered into the bottom of a coffee can, and then
attached to a bracket a foot over the top of the machine, or
even on angle irons attached to the machine, provides a
gravity flow to the needle valves controlling the actual drip.
This really does work quite well, is simple and direct too.
Even easier is a simple syphon fed line, controlled by a fish
tank type air valve control. The valve fits into plastic
tube, one end is just into the top of a gallon plastic milk
jug (a little duct tape keeps in in place), and the other
goes, well, wherever you need it. This has the advantage that
the jug just sits on a shelf elevated enough to provide the
needed gravitational advantage, and it can easily be taken to
the sink to fill or clean. Cost is just a couple bucks for
the valve and tubing, at any pet shop.

This arrangement, by the way, is the current version normally
used to supply the "faucet" water drip used on the Ultratec
faceting machine. Not a cheap machine, and this scheme is not
used for mere economy, but simply because it's easy and works
as well or better than anything else they've tried. As to
water dripping near power cords or the like? The drip is IN
the machine, no matter what you're doing to get it there.
Your cords should always be arranged so as to be safe from a
little water on the floor. That's just gonna happen now and
then, no matter what, even with the Genie. At least it does
with mine...

And the folks I bought my used Genie from didn't like the
existing air pump, so they've used an aquarium pump. The
little vibrator ones are, as you noted, a bit too small. But
you can get aquarium pumps that use piston pumps. The one
they used has a little belt drive affair from the motor to
dual pistons. Forget the manufacturer, and it's packed up
now, as I'm happy enough with the Genie's native pump for now.
But I know they're available. Cost, last time I checked, is
about 50 bucks... These are pumps designed for larger tanks,
so you're not going to find it in the K-mart pet section...

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe
Seattle, WA USA

Non-commercial republish permission granted.

Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels

This is my first time to reply.  I hope I do it right. Our
main business is cabs; we sell cabochons for a living.  Bob
makes the cabs and does some faceting. 

The water from our well is too cold in the winter so he uses
a bucket (5 gal.) with a fountain pump in it.  He has copper
tubing attached to the top of the grinders with small twist
spigots for water adjustment.  The thing about copper tubing
is it will bend to where you need it.  The drain tubing
(Plastic) goes back into the bucket.

He has used this for years and it works great for him.  In the
winter he can put warm water in the bucket and not freeze his
hands.  We live in the desert. It is still considered desert
even though we have lots of crops grown around us.  This water
comes from the river here in Idaho and we like to preserve the
water so we can water the garden more.

P. S. I am so glad to find this news letter.  I have read all
the others but they really were not what I was looking for. 
Great to hear about things that are relevant to what we are

Micki Bleily(I'm the one who does all the
corresponding and web work)
Bleily's Gems

Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels

Howdy Ben,

Although I haven't tried it (yet) I have read that 'Water
Piks' can be bought at garage sales and used to spray
lapidary equipment.

And, yes, I'd like to see the Genie contraption. ;^)

1 Lucky Texan

Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels


Once again I would suggest a pump from a home A/C (evaporative
cooler) for supplying water to your unit. By sweat soldering
copper tubing and reducers together you can attach to the pump
outlet on the one end and still only have a 1/4 in. tube going
over your shield. By drilling a hole in the top of the shield
and adding a brass valve, you can control the flow.

This type of pump is cheep to use, easy to adapt to a lot of
equipment and last for two or three years or more. The cost of
the pumps last time I checked, about a week ago, was about
eight dollars. That was for the 5000 CFM Model. They will sit
in a pan about 4 1/2 in. deep and supply all the water you

The name of the company that built the one I'm looking at now
is American Excelsior. Sorry I don't have an address for them,
I'll see what I can do about getting one for the next issue.

Craig Nielson

Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels

Another comment is about the water on wheels problem. I use
the Crystalite Ringleader. This unit has a submersable pump
that lifts the water to the wheel. I don't know if they still
make the unit, but the pump should be available.

Another system that might work is the garden fountain pumps.
They are making small pumps for bird baths. These should
deliver all the water you need to run more than one wheel at
a time. The valves and tubing should be available in any
large hardware.

Steve Ramsdell

non commercial reprint is permitted

Subject: RE: Using Water with Dremel or Drill

I had three rounds of letter-writing with Jill Camp, Customer
Service ( at Dremel, on the question of
using water with a Dremel tool or FlexShaft for lapidary
cutting. All letters are reproduced below, in
'Question/Answer' format, separated by short lines.
To: Dremel Customer Service

Question (Q)
I run a mail list for lapidary, entitled Lapidary Digest.
Yesterday the following query was received:

<<I read that carving stone should be done under a steady
drip of water and that drilling should be done under water.
What are the rules for using water around a Dremel -- I will
be doing gems, not large 3d carvings. I will mostly carve
bringing the stone to the stationary Dremel but also use
the flex shaft at times. How do the rules differ for a
drill. Is mine more dangerous because it has a metal
housing , not plastic?>>
Carving stone generally requires some type of water/liquid
wash. Fluid will ruin our tools, as the centrifugal force
will send the liquid up the shaft of the tool. This
procedure is totally different application for tools other
than Dremel and is not recommended. We are not aware of the
effect a wash or bath will have on other manufactures
Q..I imagine your comments also extend to using the Dremel
on stones while under a mist of water. Is there any safe way
to work on stones with diamond tools (which require cooling)?
Any way to shield the motor from the water?
A..Unfortunately, there is no way to shield the motor from
water. As we indicated earlier, the water (whether it be a
wash or mist) will travel up the motor shaft inside the
housing of the tool.
Q..Is it OK to use the Dremel with the flex shaft for
carving gemstones under a mist of water? What are the
A..There is no safe way to use water with any Dremel tool.
The tool is electrical and regardless of the flexshaft
water will still travel up the motor. Water will also
prevent the flexshaft from staying lubricated with its
proper cooling agent which is basic wheel bearing grease.
If water is used with a flexshaft it will wash away the
Jill Camp
I guess that is the final answer -- there is no safe way to
use water with any Dremel tool!

Subject: RE: Bio-Rachael

Dear Rachael:

I read your post with interest and found a few things I could
help you on. I like Lapidary Journal too. Some of their
featured artists make some really far out jewelry that will
only appeal to a small segment of the population, but it is
surely interesting to see what is the latest. Fads in
jewelry seem to change as fast as clothing styles.

Considering carving: There are a lot of soft stones that you
can start with for carving. Some of them can be carved with
steel tools. For instance, soapstone. Perhaps this would be
the way to start out and then work into the harder stones
later. Pipestone, limestone, and dolomite are also fairly
soft. And on top of that, it is possible to obtain these
stones sometimes from outcroppings where you will not have to
pay for them. Much of the excess stone is often removed first
using a rock saw.

You asked about diamond files. My experience in carving is
limited, but I have observed that the carving classes I have
observed have used diamond files for hard to reach areas and
for removing small amounts of material to make pieces fit
together. As you get into the more intricate carvings with
harder material you will find that a flexible shaft machine
is invaluable. It is just as quiet as a sewing machine and
costs less.


Subject: RE: Bio-Rachael

On those occasions when I am asked how noisy a faceting
machine is I usually say never noisier than a sewing machine
and often quieter. HOWEVER, on occasion, my cursing while
faceting has disturbed the dead.

1 Lucky Texan

Subject: RE: Hydrofluoric Acid

I worked around Hydrofluoric Acid, in an Oil Refinery, for
years. It is bad stuff. If you get it on your skin, you have
to wash for long periods of time, then scrub the area very
hard and then comes the bad part. You have to go through a
series of injections, because the acid truly does go to the
bone. The treatment is very painful and lengthy. Be extra
careful with HF. It is a killer.

Bill Pattillo

Non commercial republish permission granted.

Subject: RE: Lapidary Shop Tip - Replacing V-belt

have been successful in replacing V Belts with O Rings. Go
to a supply house that has O Rings and get one that is of
diameter to fit the pulley and big enough to go around the
drive and work pulleys and then cut the V Belt to
be a little shorter that the belt would be. Using super glue,
make square cuts on both ends, super glue the ends together
and bingo, you have a replacement belt. If it is too loose,
cut again and shorten the belt. It works for me.

Bill Pattillo

Non commercial republish rights granted.

Subject: RE: Lapidary Shop Tip - Replacing V-belt

One comment involves the belt problem. Another solution is
the old link belts. They are getting harder to get, but they
do last. I used them on Poly arbors with great success. I
found that you should readjust them after they have been on
for a time. They do stretch. Granger carries them. (I have
nothing to do with Granger).

Steve Ramsdell

non commercial reprint is permitted

Subject: AD: Carving Rough

Hi all, we currently have a large supply of soapstone that we
are offering for only $3 per pound. This is an easily carved
material which is great for beginning carvers. If you would
be interested in a 5 pound sample of this material, please
contact us at: We also stock a wide
variety of cabbing and carving rough from A to Z. If you are
interested in a particular material, please feel free to
contact us anytime.

Everyone have a great day,

Paul Ahlstedt
P. T. Ahlstedt Mining and Mineral Exploration
Dealers of rough and cut gemstones and quality mineral
specimens since 1993
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