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Everything You Need To Know About Cabbing Machines

Everything You Need To Know About Cabbing Machines

Cabbing machines have multiple purposes such as cutting, trimming, grinding, and polishing. Many people purchase one because it’s necessary to those of any skill level hoping to make beautiful lapidary art and jewelry. Before you begin shopping for one, ensure you understand everything you need to know about cabbing machines. This way you can get exactly what will suit your needs.

What Is Cabbing?

The process of cutting stones to form various shapes is known as cabbing. During this process, the rough material you cut is called “cabochons”, or “cabs” for short. Additionally, cabbing machines are quite popular because they allow for multiple tasks, including:

  • Cutting or trimming
  • Grinding
  • Polishing

How Do You Use a Cabbing Machine?

As you begin cabbing, there’s a specific process you’ll follow to cut and prepare stones with accuracy to ensure a beautiful piece. Begin by making sure you understand the different cutting techniques and safety hazards. Some gemstones are harder than others, and the material's hardness impacts how hard it is to work with. If you are just beginning, make sure to start with softer materials because it will result in an easier finishing process.

Whether you’re buying your material or mining it yourself, make sure you understand the appropriate methods for cutting it. After you’ve selected your material, it’s time to start trimming your gemstones. This can be done with a trim saw or a cabbing machine saw-attachment.

Once you’ve trimmed the stone and gotten it close to your shape, it’s time to go through the grinding process. During this step, you’ll shape the gemstone and then begin to remove any scratches on the material so you can smooth it out and then polish it. When you begin polishing, make sure you apply the right diamond paste to the cabbing machine's canvas, felt, or leather pads.

Expert Tip

You may want to use a CabKing cabbing machine if you are just beginning, as it allows for various tasks such as trimming, cabbing, and flat lapping all in one machine. This machine has proven go be the most efficient machine, at the best price for all starters!

Choosing a Cabbing Machine

There is a wide variety of different cabbing machines on the market. Some are very large and heavy, which comes in handy for professionals and industrial cutting, while other can be light and mobile. There are two major types of cabbing machines. The first is called a combination unit. A combination unit allows you to preform multiple actions on the same machine. For example, Covington's 8in Deluxe Combination Unit gives you space to make trims and slab geodes as well as cab gemstones. Combination Units are very versatile machines and they can be very useful when you want multiple machines within arms reach.

The second type of cabbing machine is a traditional cabbing machine like the Diamond Pacific Genie or the CabKing 6. These tend to give you the best performance when cutting because they are engineered specifically for cutting cabochons. They provide adequate amounts of space between wheels to give you room to work without nicking your hands on the opposing wheels. They are usually built with 6 spaces for cabbing wheels. Which makes the finishing process much easier because you can go through more stages while polishing.

The Diamond Pacific cabbing machines are the highest quality cabbing machines on the market and come with the highest quality cabbing wheels on the market. Cutting Edge Supply always suggests these machines to any experienced cutters.

The Diamond Pacific Pixie is going to be the lightest weight cabbing machine. It is perfect for professionals, hobbyists, and even kids! (We always suggest adult supervision when teaching kids how to cut cabochons.) The pixie cabbing machine can sit in the front seat of your car and can easily be transported from place to place. This makes it great for anyone who travels around to rock shows, goes to rock clubs, or lives in multiple locations.

Water Systems:

The water systems in cabbing machines are going to be one of the biggest thing you see change between different companies. There are three water systems on the market right now.

The CabKing has the most efficient water system. It is a pump that sits in a bucket of clean water. It pumps the clean water from the bucket onto your wheels, and then the dirty water drains out into a different bucket. This is most efficient because it cuts down on cross-contamination between wheels. It also make it very easy to change the water and depending on the bucket sizes you are using, it can pump water for hours before you ever have to stop to refill them.

The second water system on the market is a simple drip system. Water gets loaded into a bucket above the machine and gravity feeds the water on the wheel. Most of the time, after that, the water goes into a bucket on the ground.

Finally, the last water system is what you will find on the Diamond Pacific cabbing machines. Water sits in the bottom trays of your cabbing machine. Then when you turn the machine on and sprayers will sprits water upwards onto your cabbing wheel. This method prevents over-saturation of your cabbing wheels. Too much water on your cabbing wheels and they tend to run out faster. However, we suggest cleaning your trays often so that you do not pick up contaminates on the bottom of your trays. The sprayers will pick up the contaminates and spray them on your wheel, causing it to be very difficult to get the polish you desire once you get to your fine wheels.


Cutting Edge Supply specializes in high-quality, tested, proven products. So making a purchase off Cutting Edge Supply ensures you will get a durable product. All our our brands make machines that are going to last for many years to come.

From past customer reviews, we have found that the Diamond Pacific product line has had the least amount of issues after 5+ years of usage. However, the Covington cabbing machines come in a close second place. Covington machines are completely made out of metal which in turn results in a very stable and durable machine. Covington, hands down, has the best machines for industrial use.

Cabbing Machine Add-ons

CabKing as well as Diamond Pacific offer add-ons to their machines. The add-on can turn your tradition cabbing machine into a combination unit within minutes! Then it can be easily changed back to a tradition cabbing machine. The add-on is a trim saw attachment the fits onto 1/2 of your machine. Once you have purchased the add-on, you will never have to worry about getting a trim saw again! It saves tons of space and is very convenient. The price is also much better than buying a whole new trim saw.

Cabbing Wheels/Belts

The type of cabbing wheels you buy can be just as important at the actual cabbing machine. Nova Cabbing wheels are the highest rated cabbing wheel on the market. It’s durability, effectiveness, and quality is unmatched! Nova cabbing wheels come in a range of different sizes and grits. We suggest using the #280, #600, #1200, and #3000 if you are just starting out.

In conclusion

Creating jewelry and lapidary art requires special equipment, including a cabbing machine. It allows you to carve gemstones with a smooth dome shape, which can be used for necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more! Understanding everything you need to know about cabbing machines ensures you will feel satisfied when you make your purchase. Shop at Cutting Edge Supply for a cabbing machine that will fit your needs!

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