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#1

xcvator
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From: A Wide Brown Land
Joined: 12 September 2016
Posts: 1,384
Member
26 August 2018 07:37 am

The more I read/see about faceting the more it intrigues me thumbsup
So here come the dumb questions

1/ how good does your eyesight have to be.....can you use magnifying glasses
2/ do you fossick for you stones or do you buy them
3/what sort of faceting machine would you recommend to self learn on
4/ where do you get your cutting patterns from
5/ good books/forums/you tube to look for

Just a bit of background, I am familiar with tool setting in lathes etc and machining to fine tolerances, and I am fairly handy with most power tools and hand tools, and earthmoving equipment.
When things are going right when following instructions I have the patience of a saint, but if it goes pear shaped I can get a bit agro ( ballistic)

Looking at you Lefty and Wally lol

1 user likes this post: StoneTheCrows

#2

Lefty
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Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 1,958
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26 August 2018 08:59 am

I am familiar with tool setting in lathes etc and machining to fine tolerances

If you're a machinist then you are starting with a bit of an advantage already i think thumbsup After all, faceting is basically just machining little tiny rocks cool You'll probably pick up the concepts pretty quick.

1/ how good does your eyesight have to be.....can you use magnifying glasses

As long as they aren't totally shot (ie, macular degeneration or something) then most people probably have eyesight perfectly good enough to facet. I know people who have turned 80 and can still turn out an accurate stone. All cutters regardless of how good their eyesight is use loupes - magnifying glasses. You can wear head loupes, like a strong pair of glasses and you can also use a hand-held one (yes, I still use one of those!)

2/ do you fossick for you stones or do you buy them

I do both. I love fossicking and there's something special about taking a stone you found yourself and turning it into a finished gem. But quality gem rough is also available from suppliers (without the blisters and backaches big_smile ). Glen Huntly is based in Sydney and sells excellent faceting rough, as do a number of others. High quality rough does cost a few $$$ but it's worth it. Of course, synthetic rough is cheap and make great practice material and looks good too.

3/what sort of faceting machine would you recommend to self learn on

I think everyone would probably reccomend something different there, based on personal experience big_smile I have a VJ - they are a top-of-the-range machine but you will always pay for high quality and they are pretty pricey (between $4000 and $5000 new last I looked). I started learning on an old Gemmasta - it would have been 20+ years old but it still turned out a nice, accurate stone. Hall, Graves and Ultra-tec are other well-known brands. VJ only makes the one model but some of the others make several, ranging from a smaller, less-expensive basic model up to flashier and pricier ones. I think the basic models will probably still do a good job and be ideal to learn on. Aussie Sapphire, Gemcuts and Shell-lap are all Australian based suppliers and all carry faceting machines. A well cared for second hand machine can also be pretty much as good as a new one, so long as it's not so old that you can't get replacement parts.

4/ where do you get your cutting patterns from
5/ good books/forums/you tube to look for

There are literally thousands of cutting diagrams/designs freely available on the web. FacetDiagrams.org has about 5000, well over 1000 of which are open and available. Bob's Rock Shop has some good ones, though his website is always running out of bandwidth so if you see one you like you need to copy it quick before the site goes down again hmm The Gemology Project has some excellent ones as well, most of them are more modern designs.

So there's definately no shortage of freely available designs out there! smile Most people start by cutting a Standard Round Brilliant as their first stone. It might look like there's a fair few little flat surfaces to accurately place but as long as you stick to the instructions, everything sort of just falls into place. Other shapes and designs can offer more complex challenges.

The only books I have are by Glen and Martha Vargus - "Faceting for Amateurs" plus one of their collections of faceting diagrams. It was a good book in it's day and still interesting and probably useful but it's getting pretty dated, published in the late 70's I think.

John Broadfoot and Tom Herbst both have instructional books for beginners but I haven't read them. I think there is an "Online Faceting Academy" but you have to sign up for membership. If you have a local lapidary club, you can often learn the basics there - again, you have to join up.

Faceting is a lot of fun and very satisfying (as well as frustrating at times) and I highly reccomend it thumbsup

Cheers

"

5 users like this post: Phoenix76, Billy, xcvator, StoneTheCrows, RM Outback

#3

Wally69
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From: Sydney
Joined: 13 December 2013
Posts: 3,272
Member
26 August 2018 11:27 am

Lefty pretty much covered it Kieth thumbsup

I need reading glasses but a good magnifier is all I need to cut.

Oh... and I quite like the look of pear shape stones. inlove if it all goes wrong, you just need to go back a few steps or follow some instructions to how to rectify a correctable mistake.

1 user likes this post: xcvator

#4

Lefty
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Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 1,958
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26 August 2018 01:24 pm

Wally69 wrote:

Lefty pretty much covered it Kieth thumbsup

I need reading glasses but a good magnifier is all I need to cut.

Oh... and I quite like the look of pear shape stones. inlove if it all goes wrong, you just need to go back a few steps or follow some instructions to how to rectify a correctable mistake.

When a pear goes pear-shaped....... smile

1 user likes this post: xcvator

#5

xcvator
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From: A Wide Brown Land
Joined: 12 September 2016
Posts: 1,384
Member
26 August 2018 09:20 pm

Thanks guys, that's the sort of info I was looking for perfect perfect perfect

#6

Dihusky
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From: Gold Coast, QLD
Joined: 16 June 2017
Posts: 710
Member
26 August 2018 09:59 pm

Lefty wrote:
Wally69 wrote:

Lefty pretty much covered it Kieth thumbsup

I need reading glasses but a good magnifier is all I need to cut.

Oh... and I quite like the look of pear shape stones. inlove if it all goes wrong, you just need to go back a few steps or follow some instructions to how to rectify a correctable mistake.

When a pear goes pear-shaped....... smile

Or this can happen cry :

1535280059_edge-bubble.jpg

My wife and I were happily cutting away today, I was working on a very exacting piece of Brazilian Smokey and my wife a nice piece of colour change TV glass (has risks!!), the cut is the 'Mini Square Barion 3' by Alex Wolkonsky, she had completed the pavillion with its 24 facets and was well in to the crown when I hear a few words which cannot be repeated. A small bubble in the glass had given way and left a gaping cavity in the corner.... major recut on its way mad mad

There is another interesting thing here that the photo has shown which my wife hadn't noticed, the girdle, just above the dopping smears, is also full of air bubbles, only visible to the macro lens and under a 10x loop.... Oh the joys of our art yikes !

It happens to us all, so be prepared for it... it's part of the learning curve as are many other frustrations, accidents and disasters... but we still love it inlove

1 user likes this post: Billy

#7

Lefty
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Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 1,958
Member
27 August 2018 07:03 am

Oh noes, don't you hate that when it happens? cry You do all those hours of work and then suddenly you're faced with having to rub the whole lot out and start over from scratch argh

Good to see she's persisting with it - with thick glass-screened tv's now a thing of the past, tv-ite may become rare and valuable cool lol

#8

xcvator
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From: A Wide Brown Land
Joined: 12 September 2016
Posts: 1,384
Member
28 August 2018 12:59 am

Next question, can you use a flat lap machine or does the grinding part have to be a special unit

#9

Lefty
Member
Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 1,958
Member
28 August 2018 05:20 am

xcvator wrote:

Next question, can you use a flat lap machine or does the grinding part have to be a special unit

You can probably use nearly anything but a complete, purpose-made faceting machine probably trumps everything else when it comes to accuracy. I'm not an engineer but I would think that the position of the platen (the part that spins and that you sit the actual cutting and polishing laps on) relative to the head would have to be extremely finely and precisely engineered and balanced to in order to achieve the degree of accuracy needed to satisfactorily cut complex shapes to a high degree of precision - which is what we expect from a modern machine.

Mind you, some people become very adept at using age-old technology - I saw a Brazillian bloke cut quite a nice looking stone on a beaten up old jam peg machine, which is basically a flat lap with a mast and peg board with holes drilled at different angles in it, where you stick a long dop stick in the holes. Lots of freedom to do free shapes and the stone really did look very nice - but it was very simple compared with what is typically cut here today and I think you would have to develop a high skill level in order to get it as neat as this bloke did.

I think your best bet is to start with a fully purpose-made faceting machine - I'd hate to see you set yourself up for dissapointment when it comes to the results. With time and practice you'll be turning out some schmick-looking stones from a good machine but a home made set up might not have the potential for the sort of designs you'll be wanting to ulitimately cut.

Seeing as you're a machinist, you'll have a better idea than I do about how to make parts and put them together, I'm just not sure what you'd need to build a highly accurate faceting machine. I once visited the little "factory" that makes the VJ machines and what was inside looked half like a typical metal fabrication shop and half like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise!

That's just my opinion anyway - if you're going to build something, it probably is helpful to first be familiar with actually using it first.

Cheers

2 users like this post: xcvator, StoneTheCrows

#10

Mackka
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From: Brisbane
Joined: 18 February 2014
Posts: 4,409
Member
01 September 2018 09:13 pm

May have been mentioned before but what is the expected loss in grams from a stone during the cut?
Mackka
.

#11

Lefty
Member
Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 1,958
Member
01 September 2018 09:33 pm

Lots sad

I wouldn't count on getting back more than about a third of the origninal rough weight, can often be even less. Stones rarely come in an ideal shape (diamonds are an exception I think) and there is a,ot of waste in an awkward, irregular shape. And then they may have included areas too bad to leave in that account for a fair amount of weight to be cut away.

Further, every type of transparent stone has a critical angle which must not be breached (there are exceptions to that rule, such as when you want to inscribe a picture inthe bottom) - there,s only so far you can fan out a design to fit wide, shallow rough, depending on the type of stone.

It's so,ething you have to learn to accept early on in faceting - yields are low, generally speaking.

#12

xcvator
Member
From: A Wide Brown Land
Joined: 12 September 2016
Posts: 1,384
Member
17 April 2019 09:13 pm

I'm back again with questions, I am am very close to making a simple 8 inch slant cabber, it will be cheap, light and portable and fairly easy to make. But, perhaps I should stop thinking, what about faceting a bit further down the track ?
Now I understand you only get what you pay for, and there is no way this little black duck can afford a lazy couple $k for good faceting machine, so what about something like this with an 8 inch disk, big enough for cabbing but is it good enough to do basic faceting

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Gem-Facetin … 568ac6ec25

#13

Wally69
Member
From: Sydney
Joined: 13 December 2013
Posts: 3,272
Member
17 April 2019 09:33 pm

I saw a YouTube video on the cheap Chinese machines. Can't remember the guys name, but he suggested a few simple modifications and the stone he cut looked great.

Left me thinking they were value for money. gettimg hold of a set of dops for them was my only real question mark.


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