Professional Jeweler Archive: 3M(tm) XR and Scotch-Brite Wheels

November 2003

Professional Bench/Tool Tips

3M™ XR and Scotch-Brite Wheels

These tools have multiple applications and are designed to last longer and to operate cleaner

3M™ XR Wheels

3M XR wheels, formerly known as XK wheels, are ideal for sprue removal and smooth deburring with minor surface reduction. You can create a channel in the wheel for repetitive multiple-part processing. The XR wheels, which replace stone wheels, have superior edge retention and last up to four times longer. You can use the side of the wheel as a lap to produce crisp edges. In addition, the wheels generate less waste.

XR wheels are available 6-by-1-by-11/4 inches and 6-by-1/2-by 11/4 inches with medium-hard and fine-hard surfaces. This 6-in. wheel is shown with a 3M tapered spindle adapter.
I used the XR wheel to remove the sprue and then went around the high surface of this 14k white gold ring. Sprue removal was quick and generated little wheel waste. Surface reduction was minimal, and I created flat even surfaces in less time than hand filing.
In addition to the 6-in. wheels, the XR abrasives are offered as mounted points and used with a flexible shaft at the bench. The shapes are good for finer detail.

3M Scotch-Brite Wheels

3M Scotch-Brite unitized wheels improve precious metal surface finishing without significantly changing the shape or dimension of the piece. They’re available in myriad sizes and shapes, and their applications are suited for light deburring, blending and prefinishing. They run cool, resist loading and help prevent undercutting while providing consistent, uniform finishes as fresh abrasives are continually exposed to the work surface.

Shown is a general selection of mounted unitized wheels. They are offered in a variety of shapes, grits and sizes. The top row is a kit of permanently mounted points in a variety of shapes available from Stuller. The center row shows Cut and Polish, General Purpose and EXL unitized Scotch-Brite wheels.
Using a unitized bullet cone from the Stuller kit, I was able to remove minor surface irregularities from this 14k yellow gold earring casting. The small pointed shape allowed me to access the inner circular area without damaging or gouging the outer surface.
Here I used a 3A-very fine 3M general purpose unitized wheel to smooth and even the top surface of this 14k yellow gold ring shank. I was able to evenly smooth the rough casting without significant surface reduction.

3M Buff and Polish Wheels

Buff and polish wheels are designed to take the place of felt wheels. They hold more compounds, cut faster and last longer. They can be used with a flexible shaft at the bench or at a polishing machine.

Buff and Polish Wheels are made from synthetic fibers and are very durable. This 3-by-1-in. wheel is medium hardness.
Here I used the 3M Buff and Polish wheel with Foredom’s Platinum Blue compound to brighten the top flat surfaces of this 14k yellow gold ring.

3M sponsored this installment of Tool Tips. For general information on 3M products or for a list of distributors, call Rich Bohr at (602) 432-5547.

Stuller provided some of the featured wheels and points and is a prime source for a full range of 3M finishing products. For information call Andy Kroungold at (337) 262-7700, ext. 4194.

– by Mark B. Mann

Technical Contributions by Andy Kroungold, Tool and Equipment Expert from Stuller, Lafayette, LA

Photographs by Mark B. Mann

©2003 Visual Communications

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications