A lapidary machine is used for grinding, shaping, and polishing lapidary stones into cabochons that go into various ornamental trinkets and jewelry. It is a valuable device for a lapidary – or a lapidarist – to cut and refine gemstones into exquisite pieces. These cabbing machines have a row of carbide wheels that keep rotating as the lapidarists hold the rough between their fingers – or simply use a dop stick to attach the material. This enables the lapidary rough to be twirled on all sides so that it gets equally sanded and polished for a consistent effect. Driven by a motor, the machine is equipped with cooling mechanisms to help you streamline your work and achieve reliable results for your assortment. Lapidary equipment ranges from industrial gem grinding machines to small-scale home units that hobbyists use.
One of the all-time favorite brands among experienced gem cutters is the Pixie lapidary machine, and it is a one-stop solution for several lapidary pursuits. With the help of a dop stick, you can transform your stones from coarse rocks into fine, polished gems without any interruptions in the process. Compared to traditional machines that are antiques only by age, users of Pixie machines enjoy the smooth operation without having to pause in between to change the belts or attach new wheels. Pixie has stood out in its star-studded performance due to a clean and efficient setup that is easy to maintain and use. Thanks to Pixie’s small footprint and modern design, you can happily bid farewell to your old, monstrous machine that looks like it definitely stumbled out of a horror movie and fell into your studio – with a clang.
Components of a Pixie lapidary machine
Developed by Diamond Pacific, the Pixie machine is relatively lightweight and compact compared to other lapidary equipment. It does not employ any plumbing mechanism, which means less work on your part in terms of cleaning. There is minimum dust dispersal, and the machine pump is simple to manage as it does not get clogged by any grit. The portable machine can fit on any countertop area near a power outlet, and it is designed for high performance to shape and polish your stones in a hassle-free way.
The Pixie lapidary machine has a high-torque 1/8 HP motor that delivers superior results every time you use the machine. Its power and efficiency reach optimum levels for neatly grinding and polishing various gemstones. The motor is equipped with a circuit interrupter to keep the machine safe for using – and to protect the user against electrical shocks.
The behind-the-scenes mechanisms are all hidden by a molded housing case that contributes to the overall compact design. It is this housing that helps the lapidary machine function as a portable, lightweight, and efficient device. The entire setup is attached to a Formica laminated baseboard and weighs less than 30 pounds. There are splash guards on the large, molded pan and it can be detached easily for maintenance. The housing measures 19″W x 14.5″D x 10″H.
Pixie lapidary machines have a row of 6 diamond wheels, measuring 4 inches each, for grinding and polishing the stones. As they rotate on the machine, they provide fast and productive results full of consistency and perfection. Opal specialists often have a mutual preference for Pixie machines, as these quality tools make some of the most worthwhile investments as a lapidarist. The brand’s Galaxy and Nova wheels can be changed and re-mounted using wheel adaptors. Generally, there are 2 Galaxy metal-bond diamond wheels for grinding, featuring 80 and 220 grits. These carry out rough grinding and then finer shaping of the stones.
There are 4 Nova resin-bond diamond wheels for sanding and polishing, featuring 280, 600, 1200, and 3000 grits. These are responsible for scratch removal, pre-polishing, and final polishing stages. All in all, the 6-wheel arrangement is designed for durability and longevity, eliminating the need for frequent replacements, which is a quite time-saving benefit in all kinds of projects.
The lapidary machine has a built-in cooling mechanism – the Spray Mist system – that comes with a disc geyser for laps. This is an effective coolant system that sprays a fine mist towards the array of wheels for keeping the machine cool and ready for continuous use.
A 15-inch flex stem lamp is attached to the lapidary unit, and it can be adjusted flexibly to illuminate your workspace. The overhead light is also useful for sufficient brightness when you scrutinize your gems for details after each round of sanding and polishing. The unit can also accommodate a second lamp as well as magnifiers for added convenience in your workstation.
The machine also comes equipped with a 4-inch 14,000-grit Nova disc, a cab rest, a geyser base, and a water aid sample bottle. The package also includes safety goggles that you must always wear during lapidary stages to protect your eyes from any airborne fragments.
Benefits of using a Pixie lapidary machine
The standalone unit is quite complete and versatile on its own, and it does not require any extra connections like plumbing. This also makes it easy to clean the system and the pump, since there is no additional struggle with clogged dirt and dust along the pipes. The setup can be removed to ease the cleaning steps and help you keep the machine ready to use whenever you want.
Thanks to the brand’s compact design, Pixie lapidary machine has a small footprint that is perfectly user-friendly for on-the-go contexts. You can simply pick up your machine and carry it in your RV, connect it to your hotel, and work at your full freedom.
The highlight of a Pixie unit is its compatibility with various – specific – accessories that you can install for different lapidary results. These resourceful add-ons expand the scope of any project and help your experiment with new possibilities as a lapidarist. They all need to be compatible with Diamond Pacific specifications, and some of these accessories include:
- Diamond Pacific Galaxy wheels for grinding
- Diamond Pacific Cerium Oxide wheels for polishing with minimal mess
- Diamond Pacific Galaxy Convex Carver wheels to make custom jewelry
- wheel adapters for swapping the wheels easily
- trim saw kits for trimming down slabs and preforms
- jeweler’s buff kits for adding finishing touches to custom jewelry
A rolling stone gathers no moss – but it gathers some shine!
Lapidary machines are truly worthwhile additions to your studio, both in commercial and hobbyist interests. There are different online stores from where you can purchase this most-coveted lapidary unit along with compatible replacements and accessories. Some of these online stores are:
- Arrowhead Lapidary and Supply – Wellington, Ohio
- The Rock Peddler – Sudbury, Massachusetts
- SUVA Lapidary Supply – Kokomo, Indiana
- Stone Age Industries – Powell, Wyoming
With the help of a Pixie lapidary machine, you can launch your own Etsy brand and enjoy making elegant collections that leave a stardust trail in your studio. You can handcraft special gifts and create DIY centerpieces for your home décor. The Pixie unit makes a good travel companion, so your hobby goes wherever you go, and it is a great way to get the feel of clear-cut results without needing to struggle with bulky, outdated equipment.