When used with machinery, compressed air tools and implements are referred to as pneumatics. Often used in factory settings, pneumatics are often centrally powered from a compressor and used to power a number of devices at one time. Common pneumatic tools can range from the power of a jackhammer to the delicate spray of an airbrush. Cheaper and safer to use than electric tools, compressed air tools are commonly utilised in stone carving.
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While jackhammers are best known for their use in road construction, smaller versions of the loud chisel-tipped tool are used to shape and form stone. Essentially a chisel mounted on a piston, a pneumatic hammer is driven by compressed air fed into the device. The piston, driven by the escaping pressurised air, slams the chisel in and out with intense force.
Air Hammer Drill
Unlike the pneumatic hammer, the hammer drill holds a bit that turns as the compressed air is forced through the piston. Drill bits used for stone work are made of carbide and resist wear. Diamond coated tips can be used on dense stone. The hammer drill combined the thrust of an air hammer with the grinding action of a drill. Most air hammer drills provide around 2,000 blows per minute and are capable of drilling half-inch holes in stone, brick or masonry. Air hammer drills are also known as "rotary hammers", "roto-hammers" or "impact drills."
Pneumatic polishers are available in a variety of sizes and designs. The standard polisher has a long, extended handle for leverage and a spinning around a flat surface. Harder stones may require the use of pneumatic centre water feed polisher, which allows for wet grinding, which keeps the dust down and removes particles. Grinding pads come in a variety of grit, with the most coarse having a lower number and the finest pads having high numbers.
Stone carvers working with alabaster or soapstone often utilise a die grinder, which has a precision tip with diamond-coated burs. Excellent for detail work, the die grinder can get in and out of crevices with relative ease.
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