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I'll try to get one sent to you. If you don't get it, we'll have to wait for Amanda to get on. I'm new at this stuff, so still learning the ropes. Give me a few minutes and I should be able to send a new one to you.
Still ongoing .... A guy on the GemologyOnline forum was posting about it not long ago. He waited a YEAR before he finally got his faceting machine -- and he was across the pond. Someone on that forum posted that they had seen him in Tucson this year and got the low-down. Doesn't seem to ever end for those folks.
Don't know what would light a fire under them, if anything, but I know there was a death in the family, some health issues and a move to a new location. Lots of folks complaining about their response time and customer service nowadays.
By mesh discs do you mean the resin sanding discs? If so, you don't even need to soak them. Just peel them off carefully if you want to reuse them and stick another one on. Feathering adhesive will let you peel and stick back on a number of times before you have to put new adhesive on.
There aren't very many faceting folks on this forum, so I would suggest you hop over to the Gemology Online forum at http://www.gemologyonline.com/Forum/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=8 and ask there. There are a lot of faceters on that list who probably would know the Imahashi attributes and drawbacks. You could also try the USFG list in Yahoo Groups.
I think it's fine. They color code the discs by grit size for ease of use. I would guess it's just the smaller grit holding on to the silver color. Shouldn't be a problem and will probably wear off with some more use.
The rubber pads are pretty permanent once you apply them to a disc. I have never taken one off (never needed to yet), so just swapping out the actual cutting discs would work. If you were going to use just one disc and keep changing the cutting discs, I would not peel off the paper on the PSA backing of the discs and just use the feathering adhesive on the backs. I use the feathering adhesive for applying my leather polishing discs to a lap.