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.