What to Know When Choosing a Flat Lap
Choose A Flat Lap To Fit Your Needs
We have a wide variety of flat laps available that work excellent on either glass or stone. Ranging from small, table-top models, to large floor models, you can find a unit to suit every need. Consider these questions before purchasing a unit:
- How big are the pieces I’ll be working?
- How much room do I have in my shop?
- What type of material will I be working with?
Once you have answered these questions you can begin to shop for the right machine to suit your needs.
Covington’s Maxi Lap units come in a variety of styles to suit the needs of both glass and stone workers. These units are available in 8” and 10” sizes and have a full lap face for grinding.
These are small and a great choice for a table-top or workbench. The unit fits neatly into an 18” x 24” area. The motor mounts directly to the back of the unit and a simple pump and bucket system can provide water to the grinding area.
The aluminum grinding heads screw onto the arbor shaft. There are 8 different systems available, which ensures a fit for most small lapping needs.
Covington’s Beveler & Grinder Units are professional-grade machines designed to grind and polish glass and stones quickly and cleanly. These units have a Blanchard-ground, mild steel plate that accepts magnetic-backed diamond discs. These units are available in 12”, 18”, and 24” sizes. You also have the option of single speed or variable speed.
What are the benefits of the variable speed option?
For one, the ability to slow down the plate speed for polishing minimizes
polish waste. Also, the plate is reversible, which allows the user to spin the plate in either direction based on preference. Many owners also believe that by having a bi-directional plate, you can get a longer life on your diamond discs because you can hit the diamonds from both directions.
16" Flat Laps
These come in both single and 2-speed options. These traditional-style units use loose grit and a steel plate to lap your pieces flat. You create a grit slurry on the lapping head and grind your piece directly on the plate’s surface. These units tend to be more messy than the diamond units because of the loose grit slurry. They spin too slow for diamond discs to work, so that is never and option.
These units are a great choice for the hobbyist who desires to tune into their lapidary roots and gain a closer relationship with the stone or glass. Since lapping takes more time with this model, people find it to be a relaxing and enjoyable option.
The Crystalmaster™ units come in 6", 8" and 12" sizes. The 6" is economical and easy-to-use, making it great for hobbyists and first-time users. The 8" and 12" units are perfect for the professional, allowing for larger pieces to be worked.
Hi-Tech Diamond offers 2 low-cost lap machines in the All-U-Need model. As the name implies, it comes with an accessory kit that has all you need to get started. There is a Rock & Mineral version and a Glass & Crystal version.
Hi-Tech Diamond also offers 2 unique designs in the Slant Cabber. That model is also available in both Rock & Mineral as well as a Glass & Crystal version.
Covington Maxi Laps and Beveler/Grinder Units utilize diamond discs for the most efficient grind and polish. The Diamond Maxi Laps come with your first set of diamond discs required for grinding and the additional discs needed for polishing.
The Beveler/Grinders do not come with a set of discs because there are a variety of options available and different types of work pieces might require additional steps. We can confidently recommend a 4 step disc system for people who wish to grind and polish glass. The standard 4-disc grinding system includes:
- One 100g diamond disc
- One 270g diamond disc
- One 325g resin bond diamond disc
- One synthetic felt polishing pad.
- Cerium oxide for polishing glass.
There are other polishing compounds available if you will be polishing stone work pieces.
The Beveler/Grinder units accept a variety of accessories such as diamond cones and domes. These items are great for grinding and shaping inside curves. People particularly like them for working the inside edge of glass bottles. The accessories do not come with the male-to-male brass adapter needed to attach them to the plate’s center.
The Crystalmaster™ units have optional Companion Kits that supply the needed grinding discs, polishing pads and diamond compounds.
Water Hook Up
Covington’s Flat Lap units accept 1/4” plastic tubing for their water hook up. We usually recommend using a submersible pump and bucket system for fresh water supply to the unit. We also recommend having the dirty water drain into a second bucket, separate from the fresh water input. This eliminates the chance of cross-contamination from the used water.
Covington’s water pump is an inexpensive choice for connecting water to the unit. This pump features a quick press-to-connect brass adapter to connect the
1/4” tubing to the pump.
The Maxi Laps and the Beveler/Grinders also feature a press-to-connect on their water manifold, making water hook up very simple. The pump is submersible which means you simply place it into a bucket of water to begin pumping.
The only Covington units that do not accept this type of water system are the 16” Single Speed and Two Speed Flat Laps. These units come with a small canister to hold water and slowly drip the water onto the plate. Having a constant flow of water from a pump would wash all of the loose grit and slurry off of the plate, eliminating the ability to grind.
The Crystalmaster™ units have recirculating or direct water supply connections. A submersible water pump can be purchased separately and comes included with the 12" optional companion kit.
Hi-Tech Diamond All-U-Need and Slant Cabber machines come with gravity-feed water supply systems but you can add the Pro-Flow Water Cooling System for additional water capacity. There are different options for the All-U-Need and Slant Cabber.