I myself was in your shoes less than a year ago but started my research well in advance of two years. There is no doubt patience is a importance quality to have in faceting.
I purchased a facetron and since have purchased new laps for superior polishing. Lightning laps.
I have not taken any classes but feel I have a good idea what I am doing. Look forward to the Single Stone Competition.
Hope this helps…I have learned my machine as you will go through the same pain without training. Anything I can do to save you time please let me know. Mrscottwkelley@gmail.com