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Author Topic: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit  (Read 236 times)

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Old Timer

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Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« on: July 14, 2020, 05:53:02 PM »

I am trying to resurrect this piece of equipment I got maybe 20 years ago at a rock club auction. The bearings sound a bit dry but no play. I have removed the wheels and have it down to the allen wrench rings before the bearing dust caps. I can move one of them but the other is pretty tight after backing out the allen screw. So first question is am I wasting my time with this thing? I think all I need is maybe bearings, rubber for the wheels and off course sanding belts and a polishing pad. I will need to mount it, set up a drip and get a motor for it (1/2 HP 1750rpm?). The sanding belts look like the fold into the wheel some how which looks different from the new ones I see. I have an old Lortone 10" saw that I use to cut mainly agatized coral geodes so I thought I could polish them with this. I have a lot of geodes from many years of collecting so I got plenty to keep me busy.
With all this hanging around the house from covid I got a little more time for these projects :icon_thumleft:
Thanks for any advice, help, etc.

 lapidary unit.jpg
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lithicbeads

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Re: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 06:20:26 PM »

Those bump wheels need to go. New expando drums are the way to go and the polishing pad on the end is fairly useless in reality. A unit with two expando wheels that are easy to change the belts  is a fine way to go. Slash guards can be made or bought and you will need a water drip system . A third horse motor is also fine You may want to jury rig a belt guard. You have lots of room to move your work around with these units and if the bearing is fine you will have a great tool.
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vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 06:33:56 PM »

Yeah, an old Poly arbor is a great thing to have. The expando drums, trays and spray shields, a small fountain  pump, and the 1/3 hp motor would set you up for whatever you want to do. The silicon carbide belts are inexpensive, so no worries there.

For around $300 you'd have a unit that would cost a lot more if you bought one new.

Old Timer

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Re: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2020, 06:42:22 PM »

Thanks for the advice. Do the bearings require any lubrication? Maybe that is all they need from sitting for so long.
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Felicia

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Re: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2020, 07:19:57 PM »

When I was a kid my dad got a 6 wheel set, 1/3 HP worked fine.This was around 1960/1961. It had an end polishing pad, that worked fine, too. If those sanding wheels are 4" wide, good luck finding belts, unless that width sanding belt has come back, the expando wheel will be a smoother ride, although used that old kind for many years. A lot of inprovements since then. Have a good time with it.
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Stonemon

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Re: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 06:29:16 AM »

Welcome to the forum Old Timer!
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Bill

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Re: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 10:48:06 AM »

Those old Poly units were the very best you could get and are still very desirable.  I run four of them for eight wheels total but have updated them to expandos.  For thunder eggs, bump wheels are fine and you can cut your own wetordry belts.  They are the cheapest way to go.  For geodes though, I would upgrade to expandos to protect fragile hollows.  The polishing pad is still a valid final step.  I would keep it.  You will get smoother operation using multilink belts instead of a standard v-belt.  The bearings are sealed units so there is no way to lubricate them.  If they run free with no play, then go ahead and use them until the noise becomes objectionable.  If you want to replace them, the number on the race is an easy way to go.  Take that to any bearing supplier and they can get new ones.  For the stuck collar, you can soak it in a penetrating oil for a few days and it may break loose.  For the record, WD40 is not penetrating oil.
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Old Timer

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Re: Old Poly Products Lapidary Unit
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2020, 06:29:07 PM »

Thanks for all the great advice. When I was about 12 years old in 1972 we had a rock shop in Jacksonville, Fla. run by the nicest folks, Pappy and Dottie Geiss (I probably spelled their names wrong). They would let me and my brother come in a polish our geodes on a set up much like this one. I think they charged us 2 bucks a day, that probably barely covered the electricity. Great people who started me off on a life long hobby. I have been a digger most of my life and just piled the rocks up (as many of us do). Finely my wife got tired of the rocks taking over so she started a gem tree business using what I did not keep for tree bases. She no longer does it but at least it thinned some of it out a little bit. I mainly hunted mineral specimens in the southeast all these years but living in North Florida the agatized coral was close by. Unfortunately as many here know hunting rocks and minerals has gotten really difficult since we were younger. Very sad. So with less places to dig and the hair getting thin thought I would start doing more lapidary stuff. I now live in Western North Carolina and really need to find someone with a big saw. I have some geodes that are over a foot round that I would like to get cut. If anyone knows a rock shop or individual with this capacity in this area let me know as I would not mind paying to get some of these cut. Thanks again for the help.
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