› Forums › Faceting Machines › Getting ready to purchase a machine
September 23, 2017 at 7:02 pm #3510
Hello. I just joined the USFG hoping that there would be some “hidden” forum that wasn’t available to non-members where discussions happen. It appears that is not the case. I’m guessing the “hobby” of faceting is dying out based on how slow all the forums seem to be. Or maybe people just don’t participate. It seems you can’t ask about certain machines on most forums without a shouting match breaking out. So this might not be allowed, but I’ll try anyways. I am getting ready to purchase a new Poly-Metric Xristal-Tec 99 for my first machine. Are there any users of this machine here? Any words of wisdom? Any thoughts on why this might be a bad decision and my money is better spent somewhere else? I plan to cut gemstones as a hobby with the intention of entering contests eventually. I also have a friend who designs jewelry that would be interested in purchasing them in the future. All feedback is encouraged. Thank you.September 26, 2017 at 6:10 pm #3513
I wish I had some advice on the Polymetric faceting machines, but I cut on Ultra Tec. I feel the same way as you….there seems to be very little action on this website and the articles are 6 months old, so I just wanted you to know there are some of us out there! I have heard that the Polymetric are very good machines and I guess the only thing I can reccomend if you are newer to faceting would be to look at the features of each one that is still on the market and compare that to what you have cut on (this is assuming you have already cut stones in a clsss or other). I have only cut on Ultra Tec and Facetron and I eventually purchased an Ultra Tec with Digital Angle Dial. I live in San Diego, CA and the UT offices are close to me, so I have had fantastic customer service with Ultra Tec with little or no down time. I would highly recommend Ultra Tec from my own experience, but again, I have only cut on a few machines to base this on, so if the Polymetric has the features (which from what I have seen, are many) that you desire and a few others offer their experience with it, you will make the right choice. I have cut gemstones as a hobby and sold many to very happy customers. I have also entered competitions and have many first place awards in a relatively short time of cutting.September 29, 2017 at 8:19 am #3520
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!September 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm #3521
Thanks to both of you for taking the time to reply. I’ve gotten into other hobbies and dropped much more money without all the second guessing. I’m at the point now where I’ve decided the “99” model is probably a great machine to purchase, but would paying an extra $1210 for the “88” be that much better of a machine? Or even would $2165 more on the Ultra-Tec be a better investment? I’ve seen plenty of people say the cost of the machine quickly goes away once you start buying rough! Hmmmmm…October 7, 2017 at 4:31 am #3537
I should have asked this in my last post before responding to your O.P. rather than making the assumption. But have you had any experience faceting yet? If not then before purchasing any machine I would recommend trying to find a local gem & mineral club, or recreation center, or community college that offers faceting classes.
I have been surprised at the number of faceting machines and accessories that I have found in the estates of folks who went out and bought a brand new machine and a good assortment of laps and cutting rough who then only cut a few stones before deciding that faceting wasn’t for them, or another interest captured their attention. And then their barely used faceting machine and laps set in their basement for years until after they passed and their family liquidated their estate.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love finding collections with barely used machines and laps to purchase, but I would strongly advise, if possible, that everyone try to get a little hands-on experience faceting before making such a costly purchase.
But if you do already have some experience faceting and the hook is set, and if price is not an issue, then my advise would be to buy the best machine that you can afford.
Larry CashattOctober 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm #3548
Thanks again, Larry. There is nothing around my area, but I have cut 2 stones now after attending “intro to faceting” style classes. I might just wait until the next season of classes start at William Holland to get a few more cuts done and then truly decide how I want to proceed.October 10, 2017 at 2:23 am #3549
Wow, what an adventure you have taken as a hobby and wanting to compete too! I use a facetron…the laps you use are just as if not more important than your machine.October 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm #3558
Scott, do you find your Facetron accurate/repeatable when cutting diagrams with 0.1 degree accuracy? Do you wish it had a digital angle gauge or do you learn how to set your angle indicator accurately?October 10, 2017 at 9:10 pm #3559
I understand what you are saying and have to use faith in counting and doing the same thing the same way. I use the half point as the reference and the even end. I do wish there were little lines to be dead accurate but so far I am confident when returning to my facet that I am on mark.October 27, 2017 at 2:20 pm #3591
Well, I just wanted to update this thread and say that I just purchased a used Facetron machine. While reading thru this thread I realized that I purchased this machine from Larry/QuailRiver who made a couple replies above. Small world. The machine appears to be in great shape and was recently upgraded to the new dial gauge indicator and calibrated. I’ve got a 600 grit lap for cutting, BATT and 3K for pre-polish and Darkside with 60k diamond or CeO for final polish. Also got both faceting books from Tom Herbst. I’m going to dig thru the member list here and look for some people selling rough. And we’re off…January 20, 2018 at 7:05 pm #3857
I own a Graves Mark IV. I love it. It seems that Graves is having trouble delivering machines. One of my students at William Holland bought a machine 7 months ago and has yet to get it. They have great machines but beware of their delivery problems.January 21, 2018 at 11:12 am #3858
Congratulations on the purchase of the Facetron. I think you will find this to be a great machine to work with. In so far as your original post, I agree that there does not seem to be a lot of action in the forums. Not sure why this is so exacly except that Facebook may be the preferred medium for many facerers to have discussions these days.
Good luck finding decent rough. I tried the Ebay route with limited success; one or two really good buys out of a hundred purchases with the rest being OK/marginal to downright fraudulent. Haven’t searched out the member list here, you will probably do much better that way, especially for quality.September 3, 2018 at 4:16 am #4939
hey guys i’ve been cutting for 53 yrs i’m 78. you said it looks like the hobby is dying— sadly maybe– i’ve met hundreds of people that would like to take up faceting, whats killing it is the cost of the machines, the prices of $3000-$6000 for a GOOD new machine the average person can’t asfford; even the lap’s are pricey but i buy laps for beginners and oldtimers from china, 8″ laps for $12-15 each including shipping for the grits we use and a hell of a lot more diamond on them. i have at my home about 20 diff faceting machines of all brands which i teach on. my favorite is my 1974 ultra tec still working hard and accurate, 40 plus yrs and cost me $385.. 2 yrs ago i also bought the latest digital model over $4000 it too is worth it. the only two machines i personally recommend is the ultra tec and raytech-shaw which is lesser cost. anyone feel free to contact me, i also teach– for FREE– firstname.lastname@example.orgSeptember 4, 2021 at 2:50 pm #8110
well her i am still here now to be 81 shortly and still teaching still making things for faceting machines and trying to help where i can and still say the only new machines is ultra tec and raytech/shaw and i would say the same for used but with a little help /guidance any machine will work to get started, you just have to become aware of the different quirks each has.September 30, 2021 at 1:35 pm #8142
I have a Scintillator 88 for sale all index gears, laps transfer gigs, extra belt, dops, saw plate adapters all for $2500. Machine is like new condition, works well. I’ve cut on many machines.since the mid 80’s and find Zane’s machines work very well.
Contact me.at:. email@example.com Chuck
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