Forums Laps Are inexpensive plated laps as good as more costly plated laps?

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13 replies, 6 voices Last updated by  gemmakermz 1 month, 3 weeks ago
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  • #2874

    Sjscat
    Participant
    @Sjscat

    Hi,

    There is a lot of imported plated laps out there unlike when I first started cutting cabs years ago.

    Are the crystalite laps really better than the import laps? Also, are the steel backing plates on some better than the aluminum plates?

    I just getting into faceting. I would like to avoid expensive mistakes.

    Many Thanks,
    Sid

    #2875

    Alan Balmer
    Keymaster
    @alanbalmer

    Hi, Sid

    I can’t speak to the import question, since the only imported plated laps I’ve used are toppers, and I don’t expect a lot from them.
    Of the Crystalite laps I have, I’ve found that the “solid steel” laps are a bit flatter than the “standard”, aluminum-based laps. However, that’s based on a sample size of about 2 of each, so it doesn’t mean much.
    I’ll be interested to see other replies.

    #3302

    gemmakermz
    Participant
    @gemmakermz

    here we go and i’ll prob make some of the u.s.a. makrs mad. in the 70’s i worked for crystalite/ pacific test specialties for jack greenspan the pioneer in metal bonded(plated) laps and i made the flat plated diamond laps. i am still using some of mine now and i demo’ed them at lapidary shows with the boss. there are a lot of new laps coming in from china. in American made we weighed a exact amount of diamond per lap and no more. i’ve bought a few of the china made and they don’t spare the diamond, the laps are loaded. they are on thin steel laps so you will need a master lap under and flex the center to edge carefully in right direction to use or get some inexpensive master laps from guy in texas and their selling the double back disc’s tape in china for 2-3 dollars in 6 & 8 inch i’ve just done so and way, way, cheaper than U.S. laps. i bought a set of 3 laps, a 120, 400, and 1200 6″ for a total including shipping of $16. and they are mush faster the those made here. i bought a 2″ x 8″ ring/grinding wheel 80 grit for $85 and it rips through the rough stones. a U.S. made is 1 1/2″ x 8″, is over $300 and not as much diamond. i’ve since bought more sets and seperate 600 grit 6″ to make sets of 4 and it was $5/lap and some 8″ for bigger faceters. i teach faceting the quick and easy way and have 7 different brand machine for student to try but still only recommend the ultra tec first place and raytech second for accuracy and flexibility.
    michael inski, 7302 w. yellowstone, kennewick, wa.99336 1-509-783-9337, gemmakermz@cs.com

    #3397

    tucsonbear
    Participant
    @Tucsonbear

    I bought some of the Chinese plated laps on Amazon from Hans Lapidary, and have to say I’m pretty happy with them I bought 100, 260, 600, 1200, and 3000 grit toppers in 8″, for far cheaper than American made laps. As noted above, they are heavily loaded with diamond, and are very aggressive cutters. The only problem I found was a bump near the edge of the 1200 lap, which makes girdling a problem, as the bump is within about 1/2″ of the edge. I just use the inner area on that lap.
    I still have a worn out dyna lap in 1200 that I use for prepolish, but it is so slow I won’t be using it much longer.
    Bottom line….I will be buying some more of the Chinese laps!

    #3409

    scottwkelley
    Participant
    @scottwkelley

    Okay I am going to weigh in here. I have a china topper that I thought was a 3000…not it is a 300 or 320…but very aggressive. to break it in I cabbed on it for awhile and went from there to my 1200 to 14000 with an awesome polish. I feel in love with this lap as I was able to shape quick without to mush subsurface as the 1200 steel, inland lapidary topper, well worn in took the stone into the next stage quick.
    Now I use the lap for shaping and first cutting,
    But I have yet to here anyone mention Kingsley North lapidary supply.
    They are located in Norway Michigan and offer everything the Faceter needs, at a good price. http://www.kingsleynorth.com
    I just purchased their 8″ top for $25, all grits are that price. I will give you the report after I use the 80 grit ripper.

    #3410

    tucsonbear
    Participant
    @Tucsonbear

    I need to modify my previous comment. I think the coarser grit Chinese laps are awesome preformers and the 600 grit is great for fine cutting. After the 600 grit, I switch to a worn 1200 Dyna lap for prepolish. I think the finer grit Chinese laps are too aggressive for prepolishing. That may change after I get some more wear on them. Might have to cut some sapphires to wear them in a bit more.

    #3411

    scottwkelley
    Participant
    @scottwkelley

    got any agates? 9 on the mohs and they are fun to polish. But I agree, I am using the china one to establish my cuts and I wore it in cabbing first with hard stones from lake superior. But the lap is used for cutting facets now as it has broken in. Talking with Mike from here who has used them said he believes the china laps have twice as much diamond as do USA laps, we will see.

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    #3413

    tucsonbear
    Participant
    @Tucsonbear

    I am in Tucson, have agates coming out my ears. Tell Mike he is being conservative.
    I am teaching my wife to facet, using a box of citrine. Wearing in the 100 grit lap preforming. Just checked Amazon, the 8″ 100 grit topper is going for $17, so I need to order a few more!

    #3417

    scottwkelley
    Participant
    @scottwkelley

    Let me know how that rip saw works, I am looking foreword to my 80 grit as I have some huge quartz to facet and the 80 grit should make it happen a little faster I hope. Ordered last night and it has shipped already…who will get their lap first…you or me?

    #3418

    tucsonbear
    Participant
    @Tucsonbear

    Hey Scott, use for rough preforming only, the 100 grit tends to chip facet edges, and I can only imagine the 80 grit is worse!

    #3419

    scottwkelley
    Participant
    @scottwkelley

    agreed preform only!

    #4943

    gemmakermz
    Participant
    @gemmakermz

    hi again need to correct my name spelling from above its michael (mike) zinski. glad to see others agree with me. i have been getting 3 disk sets in 6″ like 120 400 1200 and another set 240 600 3000 both sets at $14 each including shipping and getting from china (lapidarytools) 8″ from $12-$15 for grits from 100-1500 and 3000 be careful with the 3000 i have injured one but can still do some wild finish cutting on it, on average about 2 weeks for delivery.

    #4952

    Jon Rolfe
    Participant
    @jonathan lrolfe

    It is no surprise that the laps made in China are more diamond-loaded. China is an aggressive and serious producer of HPHT synthetic diamond. The prices really crashed from when they were being made here. We more or less screwed ourselves more than ten years ago when the EPA established hefty fines for the improper disposal of Watts or Electroless Nickel plating solutions. My company and many others either shut down their Nickel plating lines, or offshored the plating to places that could dump it in the river. The Chemistry is the same no matter where it is made.
    Usually plated laps should be considered disposable. When new, tey are very aggressive, and have ocassional rogue diamonds that get loose and scratch. Then they quiet down and are very good products. At the end of their lives, the nickel is eroded by swarf, and they begin to lose diamond, and the diamond has dulled as well. When they get this way, remember how little you paid for it, and discard it. There’s no such thing as a “well-worn” lap. If it’s worn it’s not “Well”. It’s terminally ill. H ave you ever seen a “Well-dull” knife?

    #5004

    gemmakermz
    Participant
    @gemmakermz

    i dont know about the foreign laps but the early laps were plated on to copper or copper plated disc’s. for these, there not worn out till you see the copper. plated direct on steel probabley not till you see the shiny spot of steel showing through. till then always usable. there are 2 things that can dull down your lap, embedded clogging of material and chattered or rounded diamond. you can usually improve performance by dressing them. for very coarse up to 400 grit use an old 220 grit silicone carbide grinding wheel, use high speed,LOTS of water and presser and this will clean out cuttings and remove a little nickel exposing fresh higher diamond points. fir finer wheels i use a 600 grit silicone carbide stick the same way, also sometimes man made sapphire or glass including obsidian will help improve fine wheel/disc performance. i have some china made laps that both students and i have had stones pop off and dig the lap, do a bit of sapphire on that spot and we’re still using them jut fine.

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