First I would like to state that a skilled faceter can cut a great stone on most any machine. But the more accurate the machine, the better the repeatability and the faster that great stone can be cut. Repeatability is the machine’s ability to repeat like-facets in the same row without having to keep pausing to visually inspect each facet. That time spent visually inspecting each facet translates into labor $ lost. So anyone who plans to cut professionally needs a machine with very good repeatability.
I have bought and sold a lot of old collections. And in doing so have handled literally scores of machines of various brands and models. And have hands-on experience with most all of the U.S. faceting machine brands produced during the last forty years.
IMO the three U.S. made brands of machines with the best repeatability are Fac-ette, Ultra-Tec and Poly-Metric (the Sintillator “88” model).
The Poly-Metric machines are made by Zane Hoffman. Zane is the son of the man who used to make the Prismatic brand of machines and is well known for his quality craftsmanship, and for offering among the best customer service in the industry, plus for being an all around nice guy!
Of Poly-Metric’s three models, the Xrystal-tec “99” is their mid-range machine. When weighing it against the other similarly priced mid-range machines on the market, I don’t think you could go wrong with the Poly-Metric Xrystal-tec “99”.
By the way – welcome to the USFG and to the faceting community!