Forums Beginner Questions Opinion Needed on Best Faceting Machine to buy

11 replies, 7 voices Last updated by gemmakermz 3 years, 3 months ago
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    • #3225

      RockinVet
      Participant
      @RockinVet

      Would someone please tell a newbie which is the best type of faceting machine and why.?

    • #3226

      Alan Balmer
      Keymaster
      @alanbalmer

      Ask a dozen faceters, get a dozen different opinions. Just about any of the machines currently being produced will do a good job. What have you looked at so far? How much do you want to invest?

      It’s a good idea to get familiar with the hobby first. I don’t know where you’re located (please fill out as much of the profile form as you’re comfortable with), but there may be a club or another faceter in your area.

    • #3269

      gemmakermz
      Participant
      @gemmakermz

      rockinvet and alan you right alan when you said how much is a person willing to spend. i’ve been cutting since 1965 and demo’ed machines for the makers at gem shows. i’ve cut on nerely every machine out there. i began on an o’brien (a controlled jampeg, then a M.D.R., then an ultra tec., and demo’ed others. you have to be seriously interested in faceting to jump into it but it is a very satisfying hobby and you can make money with it. i teach faceting and do so for free and i only recommend two machines. first i consider the ULTR TEC the best built and refined. i have one built in the mid 70’s and still using it, its held its accuracy for 42 yrs. but new machines are pricey but worth it for the long run. the other is the RAYTECH and when teaching has some desirable flex-abilities and lower in price. i just bought another ultra tec new unit with digital read out for angle and use it too to teach. i personally have 2 ultr tec’c, 2 lee faceters, 1 MDR master, 1 korean made., 1 raytech, 1 o’brin portable, and a B&I gemmaker with a faceting head unit with it 32 index head.

    • #5562

      gemmakermz
      Participant
      @gemmakermz

      i’ve got to add now i have 4 ultra tecs, 4 raytech-shaws, 3 MDR masters, several versions of the lee machine, 2 o’briens and more that my students can try and see what they like but most still like the ultra tec and raytech-shaw. and your not likely to go wrong if you can find a complete used machine in good condition. i would suggest if your right handed get a left handed machine and visa versa you’ll have less stress on your arm and shoulder.
      gemmakermz@cs.com

    • #5573

      Lowjiber
      Participant
      @Lowjiber

      @gemmakermz… While this is an old thread, I’ll double-down on something you said above. I’m left-handed and find that life is much easier on my body if I cut with a right-handed machine. Good Tip!

    • #6439

      gemmakermz
      Participant
      @gemmakermz

      and for anyone out there,,, if you have a machine and need things for it if you can’t get them from maker or ebay or out there, please contact me. i’ve been able to make some parts and materials for machines. and theres a lot of older machines no longer made that are incomplete and i’ve made what was needed. i’ve mad dops for some. oldy but goodies are out there and affordable to get started on and when one desides–yes– they want this as a hobby life stile work up and save for their final machine. faceting is faceting and all machines have the same basic functions, and once you understand what you are doing you can use any machine.

    • #6465

      Tom Mitchell
      Keymaster
      @tommitchell

      In my teaching experience I have had the opportunity to use almost every machine made. I personally own an Ultra Tec and a Raytech Shaw. Both do an excellent job. I do most of my cutting with the Ultra Tec and I prefer it to all other machines that I have ever worked with for its accuracy and precision. I am also an Ultra Tec Rep, so I may be a bit bias.

      With that said, my recommendation is to take a couple lessons before you decide on a machine and don’t buy something just because someone else likes it or recommends it. Do your research, find out what most people like, find a way to use the type of machine that they recommend before you make your decision. Then save your pennies and buy the best you can afford.

      My recommendations in order of preference are Ultra Tec, Graves, Jersey Instruments Tom Thumb, and Raytech Shaw. Every machine has its pluses and minuses. Ultra Tec has the most pluses and the least minuses and now they have a new machine that is even competitive with the price of a Facetron. Note that I did not list Facetron among the machines that I recommend. They’re pretty, but…

    • #6470

      James Clark
      Participant
      @jamesclark

      I agree that you should try as many machines as possible – and take a few lessons if available before making your purchase. You should also take into consideration the type of cutting you plan to do. Are you strictly going to cut as a hobby, plan to sell your cut stones, or possibly enter competition.
      I began faceting in 2000 using a Graves Mark IV. This was a hobby for me and I enjoyed it very much. While I still have my first machine, since 2002 I have been cutting on a Facetron. The criteria applied to my decision to buy the Facetron did NOT include “pretty”, although I really don’t mind looking at it. My final decision was made after numerous recommendations from a number of accomplished cutters, discussions with a number of manufacturers, and some time on the machine.

      In 2002 my interest turned to competition. That was the year I became aware of the USFG Single Stone Competition and decided to have my work evaluated. That being said, I have been fortunate over the years to get involved with the USFG, as a member, officer, BOD member, Competition Committee member, and judge.

      On the USFG SSC entry form there is a space to list what type of machine you use. Through the years as a member of the Competition Committee I had the opportunity to track the number of responses for each machine — not every entrant provided that information. From 2007 through 2018 three machines dominated that list. Facetron was the most used machine in every competition (other than 2014 and 2019 which I don’t have the stats for). Graves and Ultra Tec alternated for second.

      Clearly they are all good machines. Keep in mind that success with ANY machine depends in large part on how much effort is put into developing your skills. The machine is only part of the process.

      This year Jack Freeman and I both scored 100 on a stone cut for the 2020 Australian International Faceting Challenge. Jack cut on an Ultra Tec. I cut on a Facetron.

      Keep faceting, and stay healthy.

      Jim Clark

      And Tom, A Facetron is more than pretty … much more.

    • #6471

      davidechols
      Participant
      @davidechols

      Congratulations James for the 100 at the 2020 Australian competition. Having competed there myself I can say they have a very high standard for judging stones. I consider you the best cutter the USA has ever had not to disrespect Jack’s talent as well. My best for the Australian contest was a 98.04 which I was very proud of.

      I also cut on a Facetron now. I still have my Graves and Ultra-tec but prefer my Facetron. Talking about best faceting machines opens a can of worms. All the better machines are capable of cutting a competition stone.

    • #6472

      Alan Balmer
      Keymaster
      @alanbalmer

      I became aware of the USFG Single Stone Competition and decided to have my work evaluated.

      Jim doesn’t mention that his work has been evaluated as Grand Master three times. Definitely worth listening to. 🙂

    • #6473

      davidechols
      Participant
      @davidechols

      Al and I have had a disagreement on digital faceting machines vs analog in the past. I want to say now that I was probably wrong. With the advancements in electronics a digital machine should last decades and I can see the advantage of having a digital display vs an analog machine. This is not to say that I would not still buy a Facetron over a digital display one.

    • #7118

      gemmakermz
      Participant
      @gemmakermz

      ya guys it still comes down to one real thing, its not the machine, IT’S YOU– the machine holds the stone, its you that is the cutter. in final judgement it’s you that decides how far to cut, where to place the facets, how the meets really are and how good the polish is. the machine CAN NOT decide that and through time,practices, and skill development we achieve our goals if a new bee finds he or she has the desire, yes go for it step by step and we can cut on any machine with great results. i was in Wa.D.C. at a federation show when a lady won the faceting trophy, i saw the stone and met the lady and she was totally blind. in tuscon one year i met and talked with a lady that won the award that year and her hands were terribly crippled and distorted by arthritis . it is still the cutter and their determination to achieve. sorry but i have not ever competed but those that have seen my work definitely don’t complain. we should all be ready and willing to help new bees to get going— ok thats what we’re really here for/about, a love of faceting. i’ll help anyone that asks.

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