› Forums › Faceting Machines › Graves Mark 5XL or Face from?
Tagged: Faceting machine, facetron, graves
September 24, 2016 at 2:32 am #2827
I have cut stones for over 30 years but I have never learned to facet. I am strongly considering the Facetron and the Graves Mark 5XL. Can anyone throw some light on this for me? I work in quality systems and appreciate tools that do what they are supposed to do. However, is the Facetron a better machine? If so, why and is it worth twice as much?
SidSeptember 24, 2016 at 3:05 am #2828
Sid – I’ve only been faceting for 11 yrs now, I learned on the Graves Mark 5 & fell in love with faceting.
I would definitely suggest the Facetron. My instructor/mentor has been using his Facetron for over 30 years and facets professionally, his full time job. I purchased a Facetron 4 yrs ago after my first machine an Omni-e bearings flooded out. I have never been happier. The Facetron is an exceptionally well built machine, the family owned Jarvi company has fantastic customer service, you can call or email them at any time if you have questions and they will get back to you almost immediately.
I did have a problem with the bearings in my motor after the warranty expired, contacted them, they replaced the defective part and I only had to pay for shipping & return and they did this free of charge even though my warranty had expired by 3 months.
As regards to the Graves, my mentor along with a couple of other members that I know of, who have acted as agents selling Graves, have had problems with Graves customer service as to no response to orders long over due for machines or parts even after contacting them repeatedly. This has been going on for a year or more.
You get what you pay for, so my suggestion go with the Facetron, a great machine, keyed dops for easy alignment, and most of all fantastic customer service.
Just my thoughts, I have no financial interest in either company, nor do I act as an agent for them.
GlennSeptember 24, 2016 at 3:29 am #2829
Thank you Glenn. I appreciate your thought out comments.
SidSeptember 25, 2016 at 3:26 am #2835
Just a couple of comments: First, while “you get what you pay for” is a common claim, it isn’t necessarily true. Paying twice as much won’t get you twice the performance or utility. Second, every machine I know uses keyed dops, but most faceters I know don’t find them particularly useful.
Availability, on the other hand, can be a issue. I would suggest that if you can find a dealer who can supply one, get the Graves and spend the rest of the money on rough. If not, and you don’t want to wait, get something else. Facetron is a good choice, as are Polymetric and Ultratec, and probably others I’m not familiar with.September 26, 2016 at 9:37 pm #2837
I teach faceting at William Holland School of Lapidary Arts and consequently have much experience with most faceting machines. Of the common machines in use today my least favorite is the Facetron. There are so many things that will frustrate you if you get one that I would discourage you from looking in that direction.
Of the two machines you mentioned, I would suggest you consider the Mark 5 over the Facetron. You are already familiar with how it works and all you would have to do is get used to the Digital Display. But the Digital Display has some idiosyncrasies that you need to be aware of. First it reads the angle every second or so, which can get frustrating whey you are trying to approach a meet point. It is not constant reading. Also, it is battery powered and when the battery charge gets below 50%, it starts giving you erroneous information.
If you are looking to upgrade I strongly recommend that you save your pennies and plan to buy an Ultra Tec. You can upgrade to the Digital Angle Dial at a later date. Ultra Tec is by far the most accurate machine out there. Yes it is also the most expensive, but you can always buy one used and then upgrade it to Digital. This is the only machine that I would recommend you purchase used. Please stay away from any other used machines. With any other used machine you may be just inheriting someone elses headaches.
Best of Luck.
Tom MitchellSeptember 26, 2016 at 11:14 pm #2838
The only used faciting machines I see are on ebay and there is no way I am going to buy a used precision machine sight unseen.
Tom: what do you think of the Raytech Shaw units? Or a Graves Mark IV?
Sid SteinhaeufelSeptember 27, 2016 at 3:40 am #2839
Tom, you say “First it reads the angle every second or so, which can get frustrating whey you are trying to approach a meet point. It is not constant reading. Also, it is battery powered and when the battery charge gets below 50%, it starts giving you erroneous information. ”
Mine certainly appears to be constant reading. It certainly isn’t every second or so. I wonder if Gearloose would comment on this.
The battery does have to be changed occasionally, but for my usage, it’s about once a year, and much less with a lithium battery. Also, it doesn’t really give you erroneous information, it just starts getting jittery, making it quite obvious that the battery need changing.September 27, 2016 at 3:47 am #2840
Sid, the Mark IV has cut many prize-winning stones, but it has its weak points. The main problems can be remedied with Dave Woolley’s modifications to the fine height adjustments, and ease of use is greatly enhanced by installing an inexpensive Beale-Woolley meter. If you find one in good condition, you can certainly cut good stones on it, but I think you’ll be happier with a more modern machine.October 1, 2016 at 11:17 pm #2844
I placed an order for a Graves Mark 5XL today. Who knows how long it will be before I receive it but it seems a logical choice. I love the Ultra Tec but $4500 for the analog version is a lot of money. I will not buy a used unit without knowing who owned it and how it was taken care of.
I am a Quality Engineer in the Automotive world. I know how pricey it is when precision instruments need repair and how an old unit, without parts, is an expensive chunk of metal. I knew better than to buy a unit that does not have a manufacturer around anymore.
Thanks to all for the comments.
Now to accumulate more rough……
Sid SteinhaeufelOctober 21, 2016 at 5:16 pm #2880
Here’s some information that you might be interested in. Couple years ago thereabouts, I purchased the graves Mark five XL from Tom Maxwell. my experience is as follows. When I received the machine the bearings were loud and rumbling so I had to return it to Peter Erdo, Owner of Graves. He replaced the machine entirely. However it was not level so having a great deal of industrial experience as a machine adjuster I attempted to make that adjustment. Without very much pressure one of the three adjusting lobes snapped off so I had to send it back again, which he fixed for me after quite a long wait. And then I determined that the mast was not perfectly straight and Tom sent me a new one for 20 bucks plus freight. Now about two months ago it started growling and squeaking again so I called up Peter at graves and he said to put it in a box along with a note to what I wanted done and he would get right to it. Shipping was about $60. As I said that was two months ago and I still don’t have my machine. I have spoken to him numerous times. He has told me everything from it shipped three days ago to I’ll do it tomorrow to I’ll do it right now, repeatedly. As far as I know I have never said anything to him out of the way, I am just a customer. I have been very patient. Presently he just doesn’t even answer the phone most of the time nor does he return any calls or texts. Regarding the machine itself I don’t believe it’s very well-made. It has numerous faults and I would not buy it again. I am considering driving down there to demand my machine back. Is about a 5 Hour Dr. from my home. I was thinking just like you of saving some money and I sorely regret it. Good Luck.
James@georgiagemstones.comOctober 21, 2016 at 5:33 pm #2881
Just a few more comments on the Mark five. If you can cut a quality stone on that machine you can probably do pretty good using a wooden stick and a post. While that it is possible to do so and I have done so many times, it is very tedious and time-consuming. So if I ever get my Mark five machine back from graves I will certainly entertain offers. I have made my own machine which is very accurate, a lot simpler and easier to use and a whole lot cheaper!October 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm #2882
Thanks for the compliment. I never considered myself a really outstanding faceter, but I’ve somehow managed to cut a great many quality stones on my Graves 5XL over the last nearly nine years, so maybe I am the best! I don’t even find it “tedious and time-consuming”, except insofar as cutting a stone on any machine is time-consuming. I’ve not encountered any of the problems you describe, either on this machine or my other 5XL which is less than two years old.
Kudos for building your own machine. I hope it serves you well.October 21, 2016 at 8:10 pm #2883
if you want a third one let me know. I did just receive a notice form UPS that it was coming Monday. I will be patenting my machine soon and will put it on you tube when ready to demo.October 21, 2016 at 8:13 pm #2884
I was wondering about “being the best” part. Are you a Grand Master? If so did you cut the competition stone on the Mark five? I was thinking of calling my machine “The Grand Master”, what do you think?October 22, 2016 at 1:43 am #2885
Sorry if my sarcasm is too obtuse. I thought you were saying I must be a master to cut quality stones on the Mark 5XL. I had never before considered myself that good. I actually did cut all the competition stones on the Mark 5XL, but just for fun, I don’t do competitions. I’ve cut all the competition stones for the last few years.
My advice to anyone needing a machine – if James puts his on the market cheap – grab it!
Let us know the patent number. Should be interesting reading.
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