Forums Faceting Machines Hot, Hot, News from Ultratec….Must See!!!!!

  • davidechols

    January 12, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    I think this is a good move on Ultra-Tec’s part. Lowering the price with a solid looking machine that is competitively priced against Facetron. I like the looks of this machine. I am not a fan of a digital machine. Eventually the electronics will fail like all electronic devices do whereas the analog machine rarely gives any problem. Also not a big fan of the crank mast either. There is no doubt that Ultra-Tec has made a quality, long lasting machine for decades. I feel like this new version will be a winner too. I would use it as a soft stop machine with the dial indicator where there would be no flex problem whatsoever.

  • Alan Balmer

    January 12, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Note that this is only an introductory offer. I haven’t seen anything that tells how long it lasts.

    I’ve used a digital readout on two Mk5 machines since 2007, with absolutely no problems with the electronics. I would not buy a machine without a digital readout. It’s not true that “all electronics devices” fail, any more than it’s true that mechanical devices never fail. The electronics in Voyager 2 are still working after 35 years.

    I too cut with a soft stop, but the 0.01 degree digital readout makes it a lot easier.

  • davidechols

    January 13, 2020 at 11:37 am

    It is not fair to compare Military, and I will assume Nasa, equipment to consumer electronics. One component in such equipment can cost as much as a digital readout. I based my statement having an electronic background. Components in consumer products are rated for hours and or years before failure. Most are less than 5 years. Another factor I considered before purchasing my Facetron over the Polymetric digital machine was how quick electronic components become obsolete and become unattainable and very hard to find. I believe Jon Rolfe has made that statement for his excellent head. Parts being unattainable. All being said though I would expect that a digital readout will last plenty long enough for most people. But I would expect failure at an earlier date than the older analog machine.

    I am old and set in my ways and old folks like me have a tendency to say old is better. I like the appeal of having a digital display vs mechanical though. My newest signal generator and oscilloscope are digital. All I was trying to say is there is nothing wrong with the analog Ultra-tec. My Ultra-tec was made in 1980 and is plenty accurate enough. I do not think accuracy will suffer using a quality made older design over a digital machine.

  • Lowjiber

    January 13, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    I ordered one with the digital encoder yesterday.

    At 73 years old, I hope to be able to report back here in ten years that it’s still going strong. LOL

  • davidechols

    January 13, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    I am 70 years old and I feel like it will probably last as long as us. I see old 20 year old electronic equipment still working just fine.

  • Lowjiber

    January 14, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    @davidechols, I hope we’re both around to see twenty years. LOL

    Frankly, there are a ton of UT V5 machines around the world and I’ve never heard of an encoder failure yet. UT is using the same encoder on the VL and even sell one as an after-market mod for the older V2 machines.

    I have a Polymetric Xrystal-tec 99 with a digital encoder/display that gets a lot of use, and it hasn’t even hinted of a failure.

  • brellan217

    January 14, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    @Lowjiber Please let me know how well the machine works. I have wanted an Ultra-Tec to replace my Facetron for a couple years. If you can report back good things I may well bite the bullet and buy one.

  • Lowjiber

    January 15, 2020 at 11:16 am

    @brellan217 Will do. Joe Ruban sent an email yesterday saying that the “ship date” would be Feb 7th. It’ll take a couple of days to travel via FedEx to Las Vegas. I’ll post some initial pictures and impressions and follow up with actual performance thoughts after my first cut with it.

    (I’ll add that Joe said they would have some at the upcoming Tucson show for people to lay their hands on.)

  • brellan217

    January 15, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Oh, that’s cool. I wish I would be able to make it to AZ. Thank you for being willing to show all that about your new machine. I can’t wait for it to arrive 🙂

  • Lowjiber

    February 16, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Just an update…

    My VL was delayed. New ship date is Feb 21st.

  • rainanoelle

    February 21, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Mine is supposed to be ready around 3/16. Have you been getting updates from UT Lowjiber? My order just continuously says “processing,” though they replied to my email asking about it. I am trying to be patient, but my Lee is not accurate enough for competition faceting (well, maybe if I were really experienced, which I’m not) and I have stones I need to get to work on soon! 😃

  • Lowjiber

    February 22, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Here’s the text of the email I received this morning (2/22/2020)…

    “Your VL machine is scheduled to ship in the next few days.

    You will receive a tracking # when it does.

    Best Regards,

    Rob McKean

    Ultra Tec Mfg.
    1025 E. Chestnut Ave.
    Santa Ana, Ca., 92701
    T: 714.542.0608 x15

  • Lowjiber

    March 1, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    The VL arrived yesterday after a couple of “delays”. I’ll give credit to Ultra Tec… they kept me informed during the process with emails and two phone calls.

    I haven’t had a chance to cut anything, as I was busy getting everything set up. The machine comes with a thirty-page, spiral bound manual, and the engineer in me had to read every word… LOL

    My first impression is that this thing is built like a tank. Everything comes calibrated from the factory, so it was ready-to-go right out of the box. A perfectly-machined calibration block was included for the Digital Angle Display (DAD) with the instructions detailed in the manual. I tested everything anyway and found everything perfect. The speed controller is preset to 0-1850 RPM… I even tested it with a timing light and found the entire range exactly as described in the manual.

    The machine came with twelve dops… pretty typical. However, I wanted to replace my old set of Graves dops with the keyed ones that fit the quill of the new machine. I purchased the entire set of thirty UT dops and found them to be amazing. For example, the cone dops have an extra “cavity” at the bottom to protect the culet when transferring. The supplied transfer jig is machined from one piece and is going to rival the Polymetric fixtures that I currently use… very well designed.

    One major change from previous UT models is that the “rubber” splash-guard has been replaced with a plastic one. It still fits into the drain “funnel”, but appears to be an improvement… time will tell.

    I just took two quick snap-shots yesterday… posted below. I’ll report on the first cut impressions in a few days.

  • Lowjiber

    March 6, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Here’s what I think after cutting one stone on the VL…

    Let’s get the one Con out of the way first… There is no splash guard for the splash pan! As you can see from the picture above, the “traditional” rubber-like splash pan has been replaced with a solid plastic one. The new one still uses the same “funnel” as previous Ultra Tec machines (V2 & V5). The pan fits well and is easy to install/remove… no issues there. However, there is a 4.5″ wide area to accommodate high angles… girdles, etc. There is no removable splash guard for this area! I sent an email to Rob at UT saying that they need to provide a removable guard, as swarf at any angle of cutting can still get on the mast assembly, and he said he would “forward the suggestion to the UT engineers”.

    Now, any faceter in his right mind can fix that. I simply attach a flexible piece of plastic sheet to the splash pan with small clips. My point is that such a device should be included with the machine… Something one expects from UT in my opinion.

    The list of Pros is a mile long…

    Let me just summarize and say that everything is perfect. The machine is really “tight” from a tolerance perspective. The DAD is far superior to my other digital machine in the shop (Polymetric). As one can see in the above pics, I had UT add the dial depth-of-cut indicator to my VL… Not a necessity, but a matter of personal preference (One could accurately cut just using the DAD.)

    Mast control is excellent when compared to other non-UT machines I’ve used. Everything is smooth and accurate… this old engineer checks everything. LOL

    I’m particularly impressed by the speed controller. I put a digital light gauge on the lap and found the controller to be as advertised… Liner from 0-700 RPM and slightly exponential from 700-1850 RPM. Since the machine does not use a drive belt, one can simply flip the switch to “Off” and the controller will return to the previous setting when turned back “On”. That may raise an eyebrow or two, but a belt-driven machine can throw a belt off if the controller is not turned to zero slowly… You’ll only do that once. LOL

    The machine comes with a 30 page user’s manual. Now, an experienced cutter really doesn’t need it, but only an idiot would not read it. A beginning cutter will find it quite thorough as every aspect of using the machine is well detailed.

    The cheater, excuse me the Index Adjuster, is very tight. I’ve had cheaters slowly move out of adjustment with other machines… something that can be troublesome at best.

    Like previous (V2/V5) models the quill on the VL is short… That’s why the previous machines provide a “handle” to control the cutting. I was surprised that the VL does not have that handle. It doesn’t bother me as I’m a lefty who controls the cut by holding the stone with a right-masted machine anyway. For a right-hander, the addition of the “traditional” handle would be nice… I expect UT to make one available as some cutters will demand one.

    A word about the indexed dops… I’ve never trusted them. For years, I’ve used a hodge-podge collection of non-indexed dops. The VL comes with twelve assorted indexed dops. I decided to “get with the program” and ordered an additional set of thirty indexed UT dops. The transfer fixture that comes with the VL is well-built and will accommodate the index alignments. Of course, I didn’t trust it, but after transferring my first stone (read the instruction on that LOL), I found that the index worked perfectly… no “cheating” necessary.

    The UT dops themselves are very nice. The cone dops have an extra deep hole drilled at the bottom of the cone to protect those sometimes delicate culets. Nicely done.

    That’s my “report” for now. Bottom line is that I’m very pleased with VL.

    Happy Faceting…


  • rainanoelle

    March 6, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for the update, John. I am now hopefully around 10 days out from shipment of mine. Your post makes me even more eager to get my hands on it!


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