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#26

johnful
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Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
08 January 2018 04:26 am

Hi Debbie,

Those look like the dops that came with mine. The set was incomplete and several had been ground on. My dad, toward the end, had macular degeneration and couldn't see too well. I'll ping Zane and see what he has.

You can detach the lamp; it's held on by a single bolt. I did that and found an era base which I attached it to. Now it is independent of the machine and a lot easier to move around for lighting angles.

I have the original water tank and it is definitely wobbly. A bolt goes through a hole on the side of the casting of the tank, with a nut under that to hold it tight in whatever position. there's another nut on the bold above where it bolts into the machine frame. You screw it in, tighten the lower nut, then loosen the top nut to position the tank. Once the tank is positioned, you tighten the top not. I find this very clumsy, so I'm looking at alternatives that still fit within the look and feel of the machine and reuse the cast aluminum tank.

The hard stop is a little wonky, but I've gotten used to it. Mine seems to work fine.

Zane had mentioned in email that my mast had a "quick height release". Apparently this is relatively rare. Your mast appears to be the same as mine from the first photo you posted. Could you post a larger picture of the mast only on your machine?

Thanks

J

#27

Debbie K
Member
Joined: 15 July 2017
Posts: 37
Member
08 January 2018 07:56 am

J:

Part of my problem with the drip is that my "master lap" is a corian lap which is probably thicker than real ones. The tank was too low and I put on a longer bolt which helped a little, but I'm not happy with it.

Did Zane say anything about how the "quick height release" worked? That would be really cool if it were the case, it would save a lot of time. It does look like we have the same machine in almost every way, which is weird because it's not really shown on the polymetric page or anywhere else that I looked. If you need better pictures, let me know and I'll post them.

My machine is on a painted plywood base, so it would be no problem to drill a hole and move that lamp. It's in exactly the wrong place right now; it shines in my eyes, not the stone.

Debbie K1515358575_mast-1.jpg1515358594_mast-2.jpg

Last edited by Debbie K (08 January 2018 08:08 am)

#28

johnful
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Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
15 January 2018 01:15 pm

Hi Debbie,

Worked on it a little bit today, but will likely get it going tomorrow. I had to do a little grinding on the frame for the new Leeson motor to fit. I'll ping Zane about the "quick height release" feature. I really don't know what it is or how it works. Your machine looks exactly like mine. I'll take more pictures tomorrow. I inherited mine after dad passed away in 2008. He bought it used in the early 80s, so I don't really know how old it is. I think it's a great project to refurbish this old machine and keep it going. I'll likely buy a new one (I'm not cash constrained, I work for a silly-con valley company), but would like to get this one going and keep it for nostalgic reasons. The fact that Zane thinks it's rare makes it all the better. I got into faceting after I inherited this machine. I cut a 100ish gems before the motor went out. It's clearly a dying art. In honor of dad, I'll keep it going just a little bit longer. I have a huge pile of rough that I also inherited to keep it going.

J

#29

Debbie K
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Joined: 15 July 2017
Posts: 37
Member
16 January 2018 01:17 am

J:

I really don't know if you are going to find a faceting machine that is much better than this one is; I grouse about the worn out and broken parts on mine, but when everything is working properly I don't believe any other would be much more accurate. The mast is fantastic, the table is machined to be absolutely level and everything is relatively easy and straight forward to adjust. The protractor is one the best manual ones out there; and some models had a dial angle finders on them that I believe attached on the empty area of the rod next to the brake that the head pivots on; Zane may have some of these in stock also. I have considered getting a digital one, but honestly, at this point the things I am making are so basic that it would be wasted on me.

Even when it wasn't working properly, it was apparent on the very first stone I cut on it that I was getting absolutely flat facets, something I assumed I was getting on my other machine but wasn't. When the brake is working properly, the mast arrangement makes it very difficult to over cut as it doesn't bend as much as others do. I've done a patent search trying to find this mast as I was looking for an exploded view because I thought I might have to replace the bearings, and couldn't find it. UltraTec, one of the best machines out there, has a very similar mast.

Honestly, the only thing I would change about this machine would be to add a reversible engine. I haven't yet encountered a stone that I think I needed to use this function on, but I know they are out there. If I didn't have this machine, I would want the one that Lefty has as it makes sense to me. http://www.vjfacet.com/Products_VJ_Facet.html

Please let me know what Zane says about the quick release; it sure would save a lot of time. Since you wrote about it, I've looked at mine and couldn't see anything that looked like it would release the height adjustment, but sometimes I'm just incredibly dense.

I got some aluminum last week and am planning to make a new brake and upgrade my cheater; the plastic is working but I think metal would be better. If and when I do, I post photos.

Debbie K

Last edited by Debbie K (16 January 2018 01:28 am)

#30

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
16 January 2018 10:35 am

Hi Debbie,

The motor has two wires, red and black. It's a DC motor, so to reverse you switch them. I could have sworn that before replacing the motor, mine turned clockwise. When I got everything in today, I connected red to red and black to black and it now turns counter clockwise. I was thinking about making it reversible after that. All it would take is the right kind of toggle switch to reverse both wires. I'll look around for one. I'm pretty sure it won't be expensive. Under $10 I'd bet. I'll call the local Grainger tomorrow and see what they have.

The motor was a little "fatter" than the old one. I had to modify the chassis a little bit with a dremil tool and cutting blade. Once I got it all lined up, I used some half inch stainless 8 -32 screws with star washers to mount it.

1516059275_top.jpg

1516059292_bottom.jpg

1516059306_little_metal_shaved_off.jpg

1516059321_all_the_pieces.jpg

1516059334_wrench.jpg

We'll see how it goes next weekend.

J

#31

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
16 January 2018 11:41 am

One of the favorite things I cut with this machine was an amethyst heart. It has a coloration flaw, but I incorporated it into the design. Looks like a mended heart.

1516063275_finished_amethyst_heart.jpg

1 user likes this post: 7.62marksman

#32

Debbie K
Member
Joined: 15 July 2017
Posts: 37
Member
16 January 2018 12:43 pm

Very pretty! I love amethyst, fortunately I have a bunch of good, facetable grade in almost every tone and saturation of purple.

I found this on Grainger https://www.grainger.com/category/toggl … t%3Dsubset
I don't know which, if either, would work.

Also, Zane may be mistaken about the quick release on our model of mast. I found this a while back https://www.google.com/patents/US3992821 which does have a quick release function when I did my patent search on the Prismatic months ago. It seems to be based on this patent from 1904 https://www.google.com/patents/US3992821. I never found a patent for the one we have.

Mine rotates counter-clockwise. I thought that was right because it's a right-handed machine; the Graves was left-handed and it rotated clockwise.

#33

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
16 January 2018 02:48 pm

Hi Debbie,

Still waiting to hear back from Zane on the quick release feature. For the life of me I can't figure out how it works either. He may have been mistaken.

Mine is a right handed machine as well. For the switch, I think it needs 6 terminals on the bottom. in the center, you would connect the red and black wires. on the top, red to red black to black. On the bottom, red to black and black to red. When you flip it up, it would be counter clockwise. When you flip it down it would be clockwise. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to switch direction while it was still turning. I saw one on Grainger for $4.95, but I'll check it out and confirm tomorrow. I'm thinking drill a hole next to the fuse to mount it there.

I'm actually left handed, but learned to facet (along with a lot of other things) right handed.

The Amethyst came from a location about 25 miles from where I live. There's a lot of nice spots to collect amethyst/emerald/aquamarine/sapphire/ruby/tourmaline/epidote/rutile all within an easy day trip from where I live. The strangest find I ever made was in my own back yard. I had bought a bit a gravel for landscaping. After finishing up, I noticed one really clear sort of odd green/yellow stone near the water spigot. Turned out to be a 45ct Topaz. The gravel came from Phoenix City Alabama, where this sort of alluvial topaz is known to be found. I haven't cut it yet. I'll take a picture and post it.

J

#34

Debbie K
Member
Joined: 15 July 2017
Posts: 37
Member
16 January 2018 03:38 pm

I'm in Houston, no rocks here, except things that have been trucked in. I did happen to find a really good piece of shrinkwood in a bunch of landscaping rocks outside of a nursing home here once. You are so lucky to be able to go rockhounding and pick up something worthwhile; whereabouts are you? The only gemstones near here are in Mason, Texas, about 200 or so miles away; mostly clear topaz if you're lucky enough to find one. Lots of agates near the same area, but the only other rocks near by are petrified wood about 75 or so miles away.

I learned to facet left-handed and am having a difficult time adjusting to a right-handed machine even though I'm right handed. I'm almost ambidextrous; some tasks I can seem to only do with my left hand, like driving and faceting.

I was thinking of drilling out by the controller or fuse, too, if the switch idea would work. I'll let you figure it out as electricity and motors, controllers and switches mystify me. I'm pretty good at mechanical things, just not electricity.

Debbie

#35

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
16 January 2018 04:29 pm

Hi Debbie

I live in a suburb of Augusta, GA. I'm 45 miles from Graves Mountain. About 40 miles from Jackson's Crossroads. 25 miles from Germany Creek. 40 miles from Long Cane Branch. 60 Miles from Cunningham Farm ... etc... etc... etc... It's a good location to live.

Speaking of Agates, I have accumulated quite a bit of Savannah River Agate over the years. Nice colors and filled with fossil shells. I don't cab much; I mainly collect it as display specimens. The little vugs or cavities are filled with druzy quartz.

Surprises come along all the time. One time about 5 years ago a new road was cut a few miles from where I live. I noticed the material looked a lot like some a bit further north where I had found almandine garnets. I asked the crew if I could have a few pieces and they let me take "as much as I wanted". Turns out it was filled with deep red (almost black) garnets the largest of which was about half an inch in diameter. I have a whole bag full of them and they do look gemmy. I'll cut a few one of these days.

Of course I get out to Graves Mountain frequently. I have a fairly good collection of large rutile crystals. Some are as big as your fist.

J

#36

Debbie K
Member
Joined: 15 July 2017
Posts: 37
Member
17 January 2018 01:45 am

One of the most beautiful faceted stones I've ever seen was a rutile https://www.gemsociety.org/wp-content/u … 00x610.jpg . Most of the ones I've seen that have any clarity have a red cast to them and don't look like this. Have you ever found one good enough to facet? It would be cool to facet the stone with the highest dispersion of all. I also love the rainbow hematite from Graves Mountain.

I rely entirely on rough that I buy or is given to me. We only have two shows a year that are actually gem and mineral shows; the others are fine minerals and jewelry/bead shows. But we have a fantastic rock club here that is open 4 days a week, and as members die, retire or move, the club will often dispose of their collections. I've gotten some really good rough through my club's sales and auctions.

Have you gone to William Holland? I have several friends that go almost every year. I think they just like the camaraderie; they've taken most of the courses already. They've tried to talk me into applying to teach a carving class but it's such a long drive and it really doesn't pay that well. Carving classes have to be so small to be any good and then they get too expensive for the individuals...

Thanks for the pictures of the Prismatic; when the time comes to replace my motor I won't be too afraid. If you put in the toggle switch please do a step by step; I will probably do the same if it works for you.

Debbie

#37

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
17 January 2018 04:31 am

Hi Debbie,

The material from Graves Mountain is very dark. I usually cut a flat back and just cut a crown on it. Very metallic looking. When you cut it, the swarf is red.

J

#38

Wally69
Member
From: Sydney
Joined: 13 December 2013
Posts: 3,272
Member
17 January 2018 07:35 am

I am enjoying this thread, lots of new knowledge and a bit of adventure being thrown into the discussion.

Keep it up thumbsup

#39

Whisp
Member
From: Nowra, NSW
Joined: 10 March 2017
Posts: 421
Member
17 January 2018 10:59 am

Wally69 wrote:

I am enjoying this thread, lots of new knowledge and a bit of adventure being thrown into the discussion.

Keep it up thumbsup

You and me both, I love seeing what other people do and how they go about solving problems as they arise. It's great that there are still people that can and do their own thing without constantly jumping into a forum and expecting to be spoon fed for every small thing that crosses their mind.


NB: This post is a natural product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

1 user likes this post: Gilly47

#40

johnful
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Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
18 January 2018 03:43 am

Hi Debbie,

This is the one I found at Grainger. I still have to go pick it up. It's snowing (in the deep south) now, so it'll probably be tomorrow or Friday before I go get it.

1516207373_toggle.jpg

#41

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
18 January 2018 04:15 am

Hi Debbie,

I have not been to William Holland yet. I have a hard time finding the time due to work. That said, I belong to the Augusta Gem and Mineral Society, which gives out two "scholarships" a year to William Holland. Many of the club members have been there.

J

#42

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
18 January 2018 05:12 am

Hi Wally and Whisp,

I tinker a lot. So much so that my wife won't call a handyman but insists I do it. It eats a lot of my time that is not otherwise consumed by my silli-con valley tech company day job. What little time I have left, I focus on hobbies like rock hunting and faceting.

I also like to find my own gem collecting locations instead of the "usual" pay to dig places. Not to knock the pay to dig places like Jackson's crossroads, but I prefer taking a different path. I generally start with www.mindat.org and go from there. If the land is along a body of water in the US, it's generally US army corps of engineers land and easy to get a prospecting permit (for free). That's how I found the amethyst location near my house. In the 50s, when they built the interstate system, it was noted in mindat. A little research with geological survey maps from the period, and I was able to find the spot it in a road cut. The amethyst heart is cut from that material.

Here's another amethyst find, still in the ground ...

1516213255_amethyst_-_thompson_ga.jpg

Note: in mindat, look for mica. Where there's mica, there's lots of other good stuff. You can narrow from there. The ground where the amethyst came from is covered in flecks of mica. Look for old abandoned mica mines. In Burnsville NC, you find emerald there, among other things.

J

Last edited by johnful (18 January 2018 05:29 am)

2 users like this post: Wally69, Mackka

#43

Wally69
Member
From: Sydney
Joined: 13 December 2013
Posts: 3,272
Member
18 January 2018 08:38 am

Sounds like a few of us have the same mindset, I am a civil engineer by day but tinkerer at all other times.

Have been chasing sapphires with my brother a couple times a year for the last decade and developed a passion for understanding the geology. I have been hunting for gold and other gemstones locally (within 500km) for the last 4 years and caught the relic bug along the way. Recently unearthed my first pocket of smokey quartz and have learnt to facet, so now I am totally hooked.

Thanks for the insight. thumbsup

#44

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
18 January 2018 11:58 am

Hi Wally,

You find any good sapphires? I have some sapphires and some rubies from North Carolina. Mostly on the small side. Many are display quality crystals and a few are facet grade.

J

#45

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
18 January 2018 12:31 pm

Hi Wally,

I also have a lot of old material collected when I was a kid growing up on the west coast of the US. I "inherited" a lot of it when my dad passed away. One summer, when I was 12 I think, we went to Plush Oregon and collected sunstones. I have a few quart jars of them. Here's some of them, yeah that's a dinner plate:

1516239025_sunstones.jpg

J

#46

Wally69
Member
From: Sydney
Joined: 13 December 2013
Posts: 3,272
Member
18 January 2018 10:38 pm

Wow - not familiar with sunstone J, looks like it was a great day out.

Travelling for work ATM, will get a few photos together of some of my more interesting sapphires when I get home.

Still after the big clear trophy cutter, although every flash of blue has been a good moment and the odd thumb sized bomb has indicated we should find a good one one day.

#47

Debbie K
Member
Joined: 15 July 2017
Posts: 37
Member
19 January 2018 02:33 pm

J:

How's the switch install going? I'm delaying starting on machining the new brake and cheater, as I'm going to a metal supply place next week and hope that they have some rod that's closer to the right dimensions. I have a big hunk of aluminum, but no real accurate way to cut it; just a table saw and chop saw which are difficult to get perfectly square. We had icy roads here; a really rare winter storm, Houston practically never gets them but this was the third time this year we had sleet/snow. There's still some ice on things, but the roads are clear, but my trip to MetalSuperstore got delayed.

I have some sunstone, too, that looks like what you showed here. It took a long time and just the right light to see that most of them had some schiller. I've put off faceting any of them until I get better. I messed up a perfectly good anthill garnet yesterday, mostly because of the unreliable brake. I never seem to hit the brake, as it were, and standard brillants are always just a trifle out of round. I seem to take 1 step forward and 2 steps back with every stone I facet; I'm embarrassed to show any of them.

Think I'll take a break from it for a while and go back to carving; it's what I'm good at. I need to get my confidence back!

Debbie

Last edited by Debbie K (19 January 2018 02:34 pm)

#48

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
21 January 2018 10:05 am

Hi Debbie,

The local Grainger had to order the switch. Hope to have it this coming week.

You have to look close at the Sunstone to see the schiller. The darker the color, the more they seem to have. I've cut a few; I'll have to find the pictures. They come out fairly nice. Oddly, when you cut them, they have a sort of slippery feel on the lap that reminds me of soap. It takes some patience. I did a few "Charles Covill" style squares, and an oval or two.

On the brake, the knurled screw is the fine adjustment. Mine was a bit loose. I put a dab of the wife's fingernail polish midway on the threads and let it dry. Now it works like a champ and doesn't slip a bit. It was just enough to "fill in the gaps" and make it a bit tighter after all those years of wear. The polish is softer than any of the metal parts so it shouldn't hurt them.

1516488981_hard_stop.jog.jpg

One thing I noticed on mine is that when you swing the stylus across the lap, the side closer to the operator seems a little "higher" than the side further away. I think the way to adjust that is here, but I haven't tried it yet.

1516489324_adjustment.jpg

There's a nut you can loosen on the inside toward the stylus, then gradiated markings as you turn the assembly clockwise or counterclockwise. I think I would turn mine slightly counterclockwise (and tighten it again of course) to correct the "swing" problem.

J

#49

Debbie K
Member
Joined: 15 July 2017
Posts: 37
Member
21 January 2018 12:11 pm

J:

Yes, mine was set at zero, but it wasn't truly zero. I found that it was off about 1/2 -3/4 a degree. I really like this ability to change the orientation; if for any reason the lap gets out of level due to warpage of the base you can adjust out the difference.

The fine tuner on mine is fine; it doesn't slip or move. I marked mine off in 1/10th degrees just for fun. Since I never took shop or had a dad that knew how to do anything, the vernier scale had me mystified. I had to look and look for an explanation for how the thing worked, mostly because I didn't know what it was. If you don't know the name of something, it's hard to find out how it works, but I figured since it had one it must do something.

The brake is the problem; it will not tighten down enough to hold on the axle without using pliers. I think that the aluminum has worn down on the inside of the brake which has made the distance of the gap just a little too large to allow it to be tightened. I have to say, I liked the straight-forward brake on the protractor that the Graves machine has better than this one; it never slipped. But the extra large protractor on the Prismatic along with the fine-tuner gives one the potential for much more accuracy, if only it didn't slip. I've been trying to figure out another approach to a brake that's better than what is on this machine; I'm still thinking...

My cheater was broken in two, which is why I had to make a new one. I plan to make one out of aluminum soon and when I do, this time I'll do a step-by-step and take pictures. I was surprised how easy it was to fabricate the one I made before out of plastic.

Interesting thing; practically the only time I use the cheater is on the table, primarily due to poor dopping transfer. The machine holds all the angles so well with practically no fluctuation that I almost always am hitting the facets in the same place even when I go up and down the mast. On the Graves, I was using it constantly. Which is why I'm trying so hard to get the thing working properly; it could be such a great machine.

Debbie

#50

johnful
Member
Joined: 27 December 2017
Posts: 26
Member
22 January 2018 11:40 am

Hi Debbie,

Before you fabricate a new brake, there's a screw on the bottom side that goes into the course adjustment knob which is on the top. Try putting a little thin washer in there and see if it helps. If it does, you can take the screw out, grind it down slightly so its a little shorter, then put it back together. Sounds to me like things loosened up enough that the screw is hitting the end of the hole in the coarse adjustment knob. It's worth a shot.

J


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