Soapstone Machining

by: Andrew Grevstad

Milling Around blog favorite Jeff Rasnake shared with us some recent pictures of a handful of very cool projects he’s been doing in soapstone.  According to Jeff, soapstone mills fantastic on his PCNC 1100 – here’s a few example of the plaques and monuments he has made with soapstone that’s quarried locally near his home in Virginia.

Cutting Soapstone on PCNC 1100

Soapstone POW-MIA

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It turns out that the relative softness of soapstone makes it a perfect material for DIY use.  Check out this article on DIY soapstone countertops from This Old House.  And Alberene Soapstone Company sells DIY kits for kitchens and bathroom vanities.  Check those out here.

These are small compared to some of Jeff’s other soapstone projects.  What really caught my eye is the very clever workholding for the larger pieces, which I’m told are for a park bench to be placed outside the quarry’s business office.

Machining Soapstone on Edge with PCNC 1100

Very tall strap clamps!

Machining Soapstone on Edge with Tormach PCNC 1100

Machining Soapstone on Edge with Tormach PCNC 1100

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Final carving on the edge of the slab.

Sliding Table Fixture for machining Soapstone

This table extension is on casters and moves with the XY motion of the PCNC 1100 mill table.

Sliding Table Fixture for machining Soapstone

Check out the links below to see more work form Jeff:

Jeff Rasnake PCNC 1100 Success Story

Jeff Rasnake Packard Steering Wheel Project

Thanks again for sharing,  Jeff!

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Andrew Grevstad

About 

With over ten years of professional experience in advanced manufacturing systems, digital design tools, and applied software, Andy Grevstad has worked in product development and technical support for Tormach since 2008. Grevstad has received engineering degrees from Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a regular contributor to Digital Machinist magazine and also blogs weekly about CNC milling and related topics on the Tormach blog, Milling Around.

5 Responses to “Soapstone Machining”

  1. Polytech says:

    Interesting application! Is this any special kind of coolant being poured on it? Also, does anyone know if there are any special health considerations in milling soapstone in a shop?

  2. guyhanson says:

    I tried looking soapstone up in the speeds and feeds section :)

    Seriously what is he running for speeds and feeds ?

  3. I’ll ask… stay tuned

  4. Not sure, I’ll ask

  5. Spencer says:

    Do you know how many flute bit he’s using? I suppose this could work on other rock type materials as well?