Forums Laps Plated Toppers


  • Plated Toppers

    Posted by Mary Rafferty on November 2, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I ordered a 600 and a 3000 plated topper from Kingsley North to use on the local rock club’s faceting machine. This past weekend the club had its fall show and we bought the machine along to demonstrate faceting.

    It has been years since I have used a new plated lap. I decided I liked the dyna laps many years ago, more recently used Marsh’s D’lite laps, and currently using charged Batt laps for cutting and prepolish of most materials. Okay, maybe it has been decades since I had a new plated lap on the machine.

    Anyway, I was shocked at how coarse these two laps were cutting. The results from the 3000 lap was still so rough that I could not get a polish. After a while, I just gave up and cut in the facets to show the basic mechanics of the process to those who came by. After two days of using the 600 lap to rough in the stone and the 3000 for placing the facets, I was able to prepolish with an additional 1200 d’lite I brought from home.

    Is this normal, to-be-expected behavior from plated toppers? Or did I just get a very bad batch?

    caseytrump replied 3 years, 5 months ago 9 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Alan Balmer

    November 3, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    The 600 should give a course finish, but good enough to get the meets close. Sounds like it isn’t doing that.

    Unfortunately, the 3K topper may be typical. Even solid 3K plated laps are not very good. Personally, I’d stick with a charged lap for prepolish, though I haven’t tried the D’lite.

  • Mary Rafferty

    November 3, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    After working it for the two days, the toppers seemed to have calmed down a lot. I am not sure if it was enough. Will find out more over the next couple days when I get back to the partially done stones.

    I remember I had a 3000 plated steel lap years ago and wasn’t impressed enough to replace it. I agree with you that the charged laps are definitely preferable in most cases. I have found the 1200 D’Lite lap works better for quartz prepolish for me than does the charged Batt lap I use for most other materials.

    I was constrained by a budget. If the club gets more interest and people start using the machine seriously, then hopefully they will either invest in their own laps or the club will be in a position to get a couple of Batt laps for use after folks get past the basics of the process.

  • Allan Beck

    November 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Sounds like those toppers could use some work from a boule of synthetic corundum to calm them down…

    Your experience is identical to mine – got some “quality” toppers, 180, 260, and 400. Couldn’t tell which was which (no markings on laps), so tried to see be grind pattern. All three cut at the same rate and with the same coarseness of grind marks!!!

  • gemmakermz

    October 18, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    mary, allan, what machine are you using? i teach faceting, been cutting for 53 yrs as a hobby and demo’d shows, and worked for crystalite in 70’s. i use only metal bonded(plated) diamond wheels since they came out in late 60’s. we use what ever grit will get to our basic pre faceted stone, ready for pre-polish and truing of facets. i have 1200,1500,3000, but have them use the 1200 for best results on larger stones and the other 2 grits for tiny stones. i have stacks of all kinds of different type polishing laps which we no longer use. we use basically one lap– the TIN lap. AND i NEVER EVER recommend scoring a polishing lap, bad news. we cut with fast speeds and plenty enough water but when it comes to polishing– the exact opposite. we use the tin at VERY slow speed and use 50,000 diamond powder as polish. extremely slow drip of water. you want to make a slur/mud of the diamond on the lap and not sling the polishing agent off with speed. one, a 15 mm stone, it only takes 5 or so seconds to polish perfectly a facet from a 1200 grit lap. i had a friend just buy an ultra tec and had been faseting a few yrs ago on a graves. when i had him try this polishing method he was shocked how fast he was polishing his stones. think about it and if your machine has variable speed give it a try. it will do 90+ % of your stones. i have crystalites tin lap but bought 2 batt tin laps they work great with diamond powder. the powder can be bought fairly cheap from china and only takes a little on the end of your finge to polish many facets.

  • scottwkelley

    October 22, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I have yet to use over a 220 grit from kingsly north and have found all the laps from 80 to 220 to be very aggressive but efficient to getting to my 600 resin lap for polish, thanks for letting me know that I need no more metal laps Mary.

  • tkishkape

    November 9, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Guess I need to dig deep and procure a BATT lap. I’ve been wanting one for years. I currently try to polish on a ceramic lap, but am having trouble with scratches.

  • Lowjiber

    November 24, 2018 at 12:17 am

    I have one of those 3000# toppers from Kingsley. It cuts like a 360#, but I haven’t used it all that much… break-in may help. I’m currently using it for pre-form in the hopes that it will “tame down” a bit.

  • gabbyg

    January 20, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I am brand spanking new to Faceting, My UltraTec has yet to ship. But I am excitedly getting prepared. Am I wrong or correct in thinking we need a separate lap for each type stone? I mean, multiple 600’s. Or such. And when you say TIN lap, do you just mean Aluminum or a brand? And how many Masters do I need? I so wish there were a club near me, Morgantown MS.

  • caseytrump

    February 3, 2021 at 9:46 am

    When first starting out as a new facetor I would recommend a 360, 600, 1200, 3000, 50K for polish. This series is great for just about all gem materials at the novice and intermediate levels. For your most accurate cutting I would recommend bonding each of these laps to a master lap. Either aluminum or solid metal. This can be done by purchasing topper laps that already have a bonding agent or a sticky back. You can also attach them using rubber cement. You can use c-clamps and wooden blocks to put-on even pressure for a proper bonding. Be sure to have a pilot hole aligner so the laps align correctly. No need to buy seperate laps for different materials until you get to cutting emeralds or other expensive materials. Old worn out solid metal laps are perfect for a master lap with new plated toppers and correct adhesion. Once bonded they can usually only be used once though. Bonding topper laps using this method will provide much more accurate faceting.

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