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Author Topic: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?  (Read 678 times)

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OurEarthlyDesigns

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Hello All,

Thanks for your help in advance. I was doing some lapidary work at my local rock club, but now I have moved off grid, and am nowhere close to a rock lab. I miss cabbing!

I'm looking into buying some tools, and was hoping I can give some specs of what I need, and you all can weigh in and give me your suggestions. I would greatly appreciate.

Here's the info
I'm hoping to create cabs and slabs.
I do not have my own house, so I don't want a ton of really big tools to move around.
I don't have a crazy budget, and am thinking about selling my mountain bike to fund it (approx. $2000).
I rock hound and find lots of different rocks that I would like to be able to cut and polish. Some big, but I understand if I can't do cuts on those - I have plenty of smaller sized material to keep me busy for years
I'm thinking of either the genie gem maker or cab king as a possibility since you can put the trim saw, flat lap, and polisher on it.

What are your recommendations? Will the trim saw attachments work well to create slabs in addition to trimming? Is there a cheaper option than these?

Again thank you in advance. I can't wait to read your recommendations, and get back to cabbing.

Michael


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Michael
Our Earthly Designs
Santa Rosa Ca

lithicbeads

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Re: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2018, 09:12:10 PM »

Tough one .This will take some thought.
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OurEarthlyDesigns

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Re: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2018, 09:23:42 PM »

Tough one .This will take some thought.
I appreciate it.
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Michael
Our Earthly Designs
Santa Rosa Ca

hummingbirdstones

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Re: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 07:03:33 AM »

How far off the grid are you?  Santa Rosa has an awesome looking workshop:  http://www.srmgs.org/workshop.php

I understand wanting your own equipment, but if the workshop is close enough, maybe you can access it while you're accumulating your own equipment.  Even if you could make a trip every once in a while to slab your larger material, then you could look for a used machine (my preference is a Genie) to do your cabbing on.

Your other option is to build your own cabbing machine if you're a mechanical type person.  There have been a few people who have built their own on the board here and if you go through the old board's archives (home page, all the way at the bottom) there's a few threads.  The only problem there is that there are a lot of pictures missing from when Photobucket held everyone's pictures hostage for money.
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Robin

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Re: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 10:41:23 AM »

     Buying one very good piece of new equipment can be a great idea. I purchased a lot of used equipment over the years and it was helpful. But after I purchased some new machines I spent more time creating than fixing. I also built my own flat laps and other machines after I found out how I wanted them for what I did with rocks. Sometimes store bought is not just what you need. You will not spend time trying to figure out and fix problems on old equipment. You can get straight into learning how to cut slabs and make cabochons. I would even say you may want to start with slabs you have purchased. You can cut a lot of rocks to find a few good slabs.
     The difference in learning to cut cabs on good jasper and stuff full of cracks and pits is huge. Try and find some rock that is a consistent hardness and does not undercut. Any local rock show will have a lot of inexpensive slabs that are suitable for learning on.
    Find a mentor or fellow rock cutter in your area if at all possible. I use to take an older rock hound, Joe Love, on rock trips and learned tons from him as well as the Gresham, OR rock club.
PS:  Many clubs have free slabs available from members, even here on the forum some days.   So much to learn,  good luck
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OurEarthlyDesigns

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Re: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2018, 12:25:02 PM »

How far off the grid are you?  Santa Rosa has an awesome looking workshop:  http://www.srmgs.org/workshop.php

I understand wanting your own equipment, but if the workshop is close enough, maybe you can access it while you're accumulating your own equipment.  Even if you could make a trip every once in a while to slab your larger material, then you could look for a used machine (my preference is a Genie) to do your cabbing on.


I'm about 45 minutes outside of any gas station, and the nearest gas station to me is in Clearlake. I actually belong to the Santa Rosa club. Its nearly 2 hours away, and the difficult thing is that I could drive 2 hours, and somebody be on the saw. But I'm with you. It's a consideration.
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Michael
Our Earthly Designs
Santa Rosa Ca

lithicbeads

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Re: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2018, 12:57:31 PM »

If I was in your position I would buy a poly arbor and a set of pans  and get a proper motor and make a machine. A expando drum on one side and a small array of diamond wheels to change out on the other. Changing out wheels is no biggie, I did it every day for 35 years. Si9c belts in the coarser grits are a bargain  but I would get diamond soft wheels from  and including 600 grit.600 , 1200 and 3000 will get the job done on hard rough.I use a tile saw, mk myself for trimming and small rough. Perhaps just buy slabs initially and get a small inexpensive trim saw and mate it to a motor.Being handy helps .
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lawsonland

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Re: Need some help picking out a cab machine, trim saw, flat lap, combo?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 09:54:55 AM »

Hi,
My wife & I just started and I purchased an 8" cab machine off ebay from a company in china. It was $1300 complete (also had them include a flat plate for the end and several diamond flat laps). Has individual water control (I set it up to house water for constant fresh water) stainless steel hoods and non-wood base. It was a $1000 less than a similar "name brand" machine. and the "name brand" machines had plastic hoods, MDF or particle board/wood bases which are not ideal for water. I think it was a good decision for what I received.
We have been using it since mid-Feb and it is a very good machine. I also got a 7" tile saw to cut slabs with. I was using a diamond tile saw blade, which worked fine, but got a thin lapidary blade to be able to trim with less waste.
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