Forums Faceting Machines Getting ready to purchase a machine

9 replies, 4 voices Last updated by  blucrsr 1 month, 2 weeks ago
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  • #3510

    blucrsr
    Participant
    @blucrsr

    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.

    #3513

    bbgems
    Participant
    @BBGems

    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.

    #3520

    QuailRiver
    Participant
    @QuailRiver

    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!

    #3521

    blucrsr
    Participant
    @blucrsr

    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…

    #3537

    QuailRiver
    Participant
    @QuailRiver

    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 Cashatt

    #3548

    blucrsr
    Participant
    @blucrsr

    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.

    #3549

    scottwkelley
    Participant
    @scottwkelley

    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.

    #3558

    blucrsr
    Participant
    @blucrsr

    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?

    #3559

    scottwkelley
    Participant
    @scottwkelley

    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.

    #3591

    blucrsr
    Participant
    @blucrsr

    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…

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