Are you thinking of cutting gemstones? Do you have the right tool to perform this task? If your answer is yes, then you are in the right place.
In this article, I am going show you how to cut gemstones with a Dremel.
A Dremel tool is appropriate for any kind of tasks. For this task, we have to select the right Dremel tool.
Some of the choices for this work are Dremel fort-flex, Dremel 4300 electric tool, and Dremel 8220 cordless tool. For the drill bits, we can choose one of these bits, Diamond points, and Diamond wheel points.
Now that we know which Dremel tool and the bit to use.
Let us consider the type of gemstones to cut. We may have hard gemstones stones, uncut gemstones, and gemstones with a particular cleavage. You have to consider all this before cutting. This is because these inclusions are important for the task ahead.
At this time, we have the necessary tools to do this task. I am going to take you through a step by step guideline, on how to use a Dremel tool to cut gemstones. Here is the procedure to follow.
Step 1: Preparing the Dremel Tool
The first thing to do is inserting the diamond bits onto the dremel tool. To insert the bit, place it at the end hole of the dremel. Slide it back slightly, then secure it with a collet nut, by tightening the nut.
If you are using an electric Dremel tool, ensure that it is switched off before inserting the bit. You may also use a mandrel, which is a shank with a threaded head for the cutting process.
Step 2: Preforming the gemstone
Before any gemstone is taken for cutting, it has to be formed into a particular shape. While in the process of preforming, take into account any inclusion in the gemstone.
This includes its hardness, cleavage or any colored spot. The inclusions have to be removed first, during the preforming process.
Grind the stone into a basic shape, using a 260 grit diamond cutting lap. The speed on this lap is at its highest for efficient preforming.
To cool the gemstone, place water on the lap. By now the shape might not be perfect. There might be a dip on the part that will be considered as the table.
Heat your dop stick and wax to enable the cutting process to be smooth. This means you have to dop your gemstone.
The gemstone heats up to create a better bond between the dop stick, wax and itself. The stone is not placed in the doping process for long. Since it may crack or create damage.
Once the gemstone has completely bonded with the dop stick and wax, place the gemstone on the diamond cutting lap. Change the lap from 260 grit lap to 600 grit lap. This will enable a slower cutting process and create the required shape.
Step 3: Cutting the gemstone
Once the outline is finished and a good shape is achieved. We head on to the cutting process.
Turn on the Dremel tool. Secure the gemstone onto a vise or clamp. It is not advisable to hold the gemstone in your hand.
This might result in injuries. The speed of your Dremel is set at moderate, so that you may not damage the bit, the gemstone or the motor.
At an angle of 45 degrees make straight and detailed cuts. Start at a lower speed and keep adjusting the speed until you create a flat table.
If the gemstone is a little hard make several passes in order to cut it. Make several straight cuts at this angle to achieve a 90degree table which is even.
The next step is cutting the main crown facets. Change the angle and cut out the main crown facets. The facets might not meet each other perfectly. This can be corrected during the polishing stage.
Remove the diamond bits when the Dremel is turned off. You can do this by pressing down the shaft lock button. Do this while turning the collet nut. The bit will loosen and you can place another bit. We are removing the diamond bit since it’s not the same bit that will be used for polishing.
Step 4: Polishing the gemstone
In this stage, we attach the lowest grit onto the Dremel tool. Turn on the Dremel tool. Using the grinding tip, grind the entire surface. Grind away the rough edges evenly by making the tool at a flat angle against the gem. Switch to 800 grit bit and continue the grinding process.
Use the finer bits to progressively grind the gem. This will polish the crown facets and the table. Use a cloth to polish the facets. Once this is done you are now able to polish the girdle.
The last stage is polishing the girdle and cutting the pavilion. Using the Dremel tool, cut the pavilion out be careful not to distort the facets. To polish the girdle. We use a paste of 8k diamond powder. The polishing of the girdle takes less time at this stage compared to if we started with it.
You will note that the polishing would not be done on the whole of the gemstone. This is because while cutting the pavilion much of the material is lost in the cutting process. The finished pavilion will have all the facets meeting perfectly. The gemstone is completely done at this stage.
You can also polish the gem with an oxidized solution and a soft cloth. The gemstone will sparkle since all imperfections that were left in the cutting process are completely removed.
Now you know how to cut gemstones with a Dremel. The Dremel has been known to perform various functions with proficiency and steadiness. It is not any different with cutting gemstones.
For the best results ensure that polishing is done with great account to detail. Also, while cutting take your time and create various cuts such as emerald, diamond and pear cuts.
After following the set procedure, you will never go wrong while cutting gemstones and unleashing the sparkling beauty and magnificent colors.
The header image on this page is provided by Lawson’s Gems who have also made this excellent tutorial that you may find very useful: