DIY Rockhound Flat Lap Machine

Filed under: how to? — Gary January 21, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

A complete grinding, shaping, smoothing and polishing lapidary unit.

This is a cool site you should check out.  He lists maps of every state and places to rockhound in each of them.  He built a cool machine and fully explained how to make one yourself.  Try it out…

make your own / DIY Flat Lap machine

make your own / DIY Flat Lap machine

Information on the construction of my 8 inch flat lap for faceting/general use.

General Description

After doing a bit of research, I decided it was time to attempt the construction of a flat lap.  My main interest was in accuracy for use in faceting with the added ability to be used as a general purpose lap.  To address the accuracy issues, I chose to use a direct drive system which eliminates the variables caused by belt stretch.  Also, I thought that a DC motor would be the simplest to apply a speed control to and also had the benefit of being easily reversible in direction.  My choice for a motor was a 3/4 HP 130 volt DC ball bearing, permanent magnet motor that was originally constructed for use in an exercise treadmill system.  Since I was able to find matched components in surplus, I also opted to use the speed control used in the same treadmill. The housing for the lap is constructed from 8″ x 1″ dimensional Poplar lumber.  The top is constructed from 3/4 inch Lexan since it is a very rigid and stable material, though my primary choice would have been tool grade aluminum plate.  Price was the main consideration for choosing Lexan which I ordered from McMaster-Carr.  I purchased the motor and speed control from Surplus Center and the Lexan from McMaster-Carr.  The lumber and other hardware came from Lowes.

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