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 Post subject: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:54 pm 
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Hey all -

So far, my strategy for polishing has been to use Cerium Oxide powder on a scored phenolic lap. The polish is pretty decent (even if my hand at it is not) but the problem I'm running into is that it's an absolute mess.

I keep a ramekin nearby with a mixture of Cerium Oxide and water at about the consistency of toothpaste. I use a finger to apply a small coating to the phenolic lap (Question 1: Is this terrible for me?) run my stone over whatever facet I'm doing, wipe the stone with a paper towel, adjust the angle and repeat as necessary.

By the time I'm through the pavilion though (particularly with problematic stones that don't really want to polish too well) I'll have bits of powder EVERYWHERE. It's on my faceter, it's on my workbench, I've got bits of clumps where I've wiped the stone everywhere - a finger on my left hand is coated, and typically pretty sore. Question 2: What strategies do you employ that prevent this stuff from getting everywhere? I haven't found anything suggesting cerium is particularly toxic online, but if I move on to Aluminum Oxide - it seems to be a bit more toxic, so I need to make sure that I'm operating in a clean(er) environment before I move on to anything harder than quartz.

Question 3 is - how do you properly dispose of Cerium Oxide? I mean when I rinse out my ramekin once I'm done - I'm nervous about putting this stuff down the sink. It's so fine that it sticks to surfaces pretty readily, I don't want to eventually clog my pipes.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:09 pm 
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An image of your polish setup might be helpful for us to see what your dealing with. Are you using a splash guard of any type? etc.. And you have posted about this in other threads. Look at your "View your Posts" link in upper right of page.

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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:42 pm 
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Oh in that other thread I’m talking specifically about girdle polishing. For this I’ve got a splash pan - this is just general advice I’m seeking on how to keep things clean. I’m wondering if it’s something about not own technique, or if it’s just common to get bits of CeO2 everywhere when polishing.

I can post photos of my setup though — will do so later on tonight.


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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:56 pm 
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No need, I misunderstood. But yes it can be messy. I think cutting quartz can be one of the worst. Most of the time you are grinding a lot of material creating a lot of waste, cheap rough not worrying to much about waste. I preform pretty much everything before it sees the faceting machine on a arbor unit. Find some oxide manufacturers on the web and read the MSDS sheets if your concerned about the harm of oxide polishes. For your drains I would check your local ordinances for disposing your waste. I recycle or have drying buckets in the shop where I let the fluids evaporate and then there are just solids. If your az in azrugger is Az. you shouldn't have a problem with evaporation. And I am making an assumption here.

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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:07 pm 
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Sounds like you may be using too much oxide, running too much water, and spinning the lap too fast. This uses a lot of oxide because the water floats it off the lap, and the speed flings it everywhere.

Polishing should be done on a slow turning lap, with just a thin film of oxide, just misting with water, not dripping like you do when cutting.

For polishing quartz you may find the Ultra lap, Blue Spectra compound to be a cleaner, faster polishing solution

Under options choose "Spectra"

https://www.rockpeddler.com/product/8-ultralaps/


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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:01 am 
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I've seen people on youtube use a spray bottle. I might try that instead. You're right - I've been using the drip, and it's a struggle to keep that at the right flow rate.

I am also probably using too much slurry. The first lap I tried polishing with is an unknown lap marked "polishing" that I put the cerium oxide on top of. I noticed after my first gem that if I didn't keep enough oxide on it, I'd get some bad scratching.

I ordered the phenolic laps on Ebay, and they work like a dream scored them, sanded them, but yeah, I'm probably still using too much slurry. I'll try using significantly less since I've been using as much as I needed on the metal lap. Misting will probably mean I'm applying less often, and therefore touching the Cerium Oxide less. If there's less on the lap, it probably means the gem will "Scoop" less material off of the lap as well which has been a real source of contamination for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:43 am 
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I have used a kind of plastic lap in the past and was not happy. Now I have a Matrix lap and use the Gearloose oxide stics. Just a thin film and then spray the lap when I feel its too dry. Lap Speed is the min. the machine alows. How much pressure ? Sometimes more, sometimes less.

Martin


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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:33 pm 
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1bwana1, et al,

When polishing quartz (heck, anything); if using a mist, post the polish how do you clear the swarf/remnants as a practice? Change over to a running drip to flush it, or clean the lap with 409 (especially when using a dual band with pre-polish outer and polish inner)?

To be honest, since I've switched over the the sticks, I haven't had much throw of compound. However, I may be doing it wrong since I still have to worry about the water spray with a slow drip.

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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:14 pm 
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I use cerium on a tin lap to polish quartz, garnet and several other types of stone. Sounds like you're using far too much compound. I just dip a finger in a premixed batch and trail it on the lap, no drip. It usually brings up a polish fast with a very small amount of cerium. I can do a pavilion using one small section of paper towel for clean-up, with very little mess in the catch pan.

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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:52 pm 
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Bob Hodges wrote:
1bwana1, et al,

When polishing quartz (heck, anything); if using a mist, post the polish how do you clear the swarf/remnants as a practice? Change over to a running drip to flush it, or clean the lap with 409 (especially when using a dual band with pre-polish outer and polish inner)?

To be honest, since I've switched over the the sticks, I haven't had much throw of compound. However, I may be doing it wrong since I still have to worry about the water spray with a slow drip.


Just wash the oxide of the lap with soap and water before putting away.

The only time I use a dual lap is with diamond compounds, so never have to wash. I just put a small amount of whatever oil/or water on a small piece of paper towel and wipe the swarf off as the lap spins. I dry with a paper towel the same way, When the the smudge on the paper towel turns from black to light grey, I am done.


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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:52 pm 
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1bwana1,

Thanks, that helped. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Cerium Powder... everywhere.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:50 am 
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I just want to throw out a huge thanks to everyone - switching to a spray bottle and significantly less polishing compound on my phenolic lap has made this whole process significantly more pleasant. I was just over-doing it overall.


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