Isn’t dry sanding dangerous to your health? I have heard that dry sanding should be avoided because of the dangers of breathing the rock dust…
This is true – YOU SHOULD NEVER BREATHE ROCK DUST. That doesn’t just mean while running a dry sander but in all other circumstances where rock dust is in the air. This said, to operate a dry sander safely you should NEVER BREATH THE DUST. The Ultimate Grinder should be used in a well ventilated area AND you should always wear an approved respirator and safety glasses. Please refer to our recommendations for setting up your Ultimate Grinder.
Is the Ultimate the only tool that I need for a polished face?
No – you will also need a polishing wheel in your shop to do the final polish. Any sander does not perform the final polish. The finish produced by a proper sanding is considered a pre-polish.Why is a sander needed?
A sander is used to first flatten the surface removing the marks left by the sawing operation. Once the saw marks have been removed from the face of the mineral face, like sanding wood, finer grits are used to remove the sanding marks from the previous step. Once all scratches have been removed the final step is polish. Polish is done on a different tool such as a felt or leather covered slow rotating polishing wheel or lap.
What does Planarize mean? Planar is defined as to be flat or to lie in the same geometric shape. To planarize a surface then is a verb meaning to make a surface of one plane or to flatten a surface. The word planarize has been popularized by computer chip manufactures that use a process known as “planar”. In these process steps a rotating flat lap type of disc is used to physically grind down microscopic protrusions from the silicon wafer created by previous processing steps. These planar steps are critical in the manufacture of integrated circuits that rely on wafer surfaces of a single plane allowing further processing.
When we apply this terminology to polishing a rock face with the ULTIMATE we are using a high speed rotating flat disc with a grinding media (sand paper) to remove protrusion from the surface and creating a flat surface with a single plane. This planarized surface then is more reflective as there are fewer surface variances that scatter light yielding a polished surface and highlighting the beauty of the stone.
Why is it called the Ultimate Grinder? Isn’t it a sander?
Yes it is a sander. The removal rate of material from hard rock surfaces equals that of many rock grinders.How do I set up the sander?
As a guideline the best height for the shaft which in most cases is the same height above the floor as your elbows. You may need to adjust the height from this starting point to meet your needs. It is best to eliminate any bench top decking in the area beneath the expanding drum. This minimizes the risk of a rock getting trapped between the rotating expanding drum and the bench top. Once you have your permanent location simply screw the Ultimate to your bench top using the 4 mounting lugs provided on the frame. Many people you use the Ultimate have rigged it up so they can easily move it outside for sanding on those nice days. Hint: A metal 55 gallon barrel with a plywood deck makes a good temporary
stand for you Ultimate.
Can I use the Ultimate for sanding wood?
The Ultimate was designed to sand hard rock surfaces. It runs at too high of a speed for use as a wood sander. Also the harder silicon carbide grits used for rock polishing do not work well on wood. The Ultimate could be converted for use in a wood shop but it would require retrofitting to reduce speed and use of a different set of sanding media.
What else is needed before I can use this sander?
The Ultimate is supplied with 1 set of belts and a 40 grit disk. You will need replacement belts and disks as you go along. You will need an approved respirator and reliable safety glasses. The Ultimate should be set up on a stable base in a well ventilated area.
How do I prepare the stones for sanding on the Ultimate?
A perfectly polished stone face is the result of the successful completion of a series of steps. The success of each step depends on the proper completion of the previous step. Attempting to polish a poorly sanded rock will result in a very unattractive finish. Sanding poorly cut stone results in excessive time, materials and heat damage to your stone. So your rock and mineral specimens should be cut on the appropriate saw that will produce a fine cut. A good polish starts with a nice cut from a sharp and true running diamond blade. More discussion on cutting hard agates is found on the internet.
DO NOT try to sand down poorly cut stones. This will cause excessive wear on you and your sanding belts and lead to frustration and heat damage to your stone. Poorly cut stones should be re-cut with a sharp and true saw or ground flat with an aggressive diamond grinding wheel. The best method to prepare rocks for sanding is to use a flat lap to remove saw marks.
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DO NOT DISPARE: One of the great things about the ultimate is that it will sand down all but the most poorly cut stones. Some patience and operator finesse is required but this is where the ultimate shines.
DO NOT try to sand oil contaminated specimens. All oil contamination of the cut rocks should be thoroughly removed by an environmentally friendly method before sanding. We find that a gentle baking at 250 degrees for several days works for most oils and material. Some petrified wood that is very porous may take significantly longer. Other methods for drying oil out of a rock include boiling in water for several hours. This method is faster but more difficult than using your wife’s oven (NO! don’t do that) to bake your rocks for several days.
DO NOT EXPECT that the ultimate will sand all minerals at the same rate. You will find that the sanding rate is not necessarily controlled by the hardness of the material but more by the mineral family. For example calcite which is much softer than agate sands much more slowly than agate.
Have more questions about the Ultimate Grinder and what it can do? Send us your questions and will get right back to you.