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Glass Lapping Wheel

Glassblowers use a lapping wheel to grind flat surfaces on glass. This piece of equipment is useful when making a ground finish on a flat flange.

A glass lapping wheel

Lapping wheels have a rotating wheel covered with an abrasive slurry or diamond abrasive pad. The wheel pictured to the left is covered with an abrasive slurry consisting of a mixture of carborundum (silcon carbide) and water.

The V-trough positioned above the wheel holds the abrasive grit in this setup. Abrasives are available in different grit sizes - the higher the number designation the finer the grit and the finer the finish on the glass.

Another view of the glass lapping wheel, highlighting the slurry trough.

The consistency of the abrasive slurry is determined by the amount of water mixed with the grit. The valve just above the V-trough controls the water flow and, along with the angle of the trough, controls and delivers the mix to the rotating wheel below.

As you may have guessed - this work can be quite messy. Be sure to wear protective goggles and an apron. Your equipment may also need protection!

Lapping a flange on the lapping wheel.

The glass to be ground is held firmly by hand on the rotating wheel. Heavy downward pressure is not necessary nor advised, however constant and even contact with the rotating wheel is.

The glass should be moved in a figure 8 pattern across the wheel surface, occasionally rotating the glass during the lapping process. This procedure will aid in getting a flat, even surface on the glass as well as ensuring you do not develop "wear' spots or zones on the lapping wheel.

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