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December 10, 2018, 10:31:28 pm
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Faceting & Flat Lap Machines - Quality R Who?

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Author Topic: Faceting & Flat Lap Machines - Quality R Who?  (Read 601 times)
3rdRockFromTheFun
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Arfzzz...


« on: June 11, 2013, 04:39:59 am »

For the one or two people on the planet who don't know, runout and I are like this:

 crackthewhip

It seems that in order to obtain a flat lap that is vibration free enough to facet well one must breach the $500.00 price zone. Fair enough (not really but perhaps 'that is just how it is kid, suck it up'), so what brands, machines etc do give a smooth ride and are there any that can handle a bit of top pressure. The latter part of that stems from my inability to imagine faceting anything weighing upwards of an oz or two, though perhaps I am wrong - you tell me?

Myself and a few others have been secretly conspiring to go rogue and dominate planet earth, where, with our rogue'ish super-powers we intend on forcing superman to run from home to home across the entire planet spinning platters true enough to set an atomic clock by. NO - NOT REALLY - you'd have to feed him...

Seriously though, machines - $500 and up - stability & sturdiness (flexibility is always good as well) -- can anybody toss some names or links into the black pit of ooze for me?

Thanks!
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Mark
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 05:19:54 am »

Just to make sure i am hearing what you are asking from way across the country and my hearing isn't as good as it once was, due to all the Heavy Metal music, do you want to facet gemstones like aquamarine, garnet, sapphire, etc.?  And if you are looking to facet the "crystal" gemstones, do you want a "real" faceting machine or are you trying to do the job with a flat lap that is mainly for smoothing slabs or specimens and doesn't not have the gears, arms, etc., that faceters required for precision?

Mark
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3rdRockFromTheFun
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 07:09:00 am »

Myself I'm wanting to lap on hard discs without the vibrations. One of the people I've been talking with IS wanting to facet. We're both looking for basically cheap as we can get away with on a quality lap. Don't care how it looks - just want a baby-bottom-smooth ride that can take a bit more abuse than just faceting would probably demand.
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Mary Ann
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2013, 11:18:52 am »

Frank, have you looked at Al Sesona's Intarsia grinder?
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2013, 12:35:34 pm »

 For the flat lapping old faceting units work well. If you can find one without the mast you would probably get it for a song . Replacement motors for these are not cheap so you want to be sure it is in working condition .
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3rdRockFromTheFun
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2013, 05:08:30 pm »

Mary Ann - no, I sure haven't (even heard of one of those)! I am VERY intrigued by this. Will google it but if you know a 'best' or favorite link by all means I'm interested. Does it by chance polish too.

Frank - can I trouble you for a few names? Graves? Facetron? (those are real questions - not rhetorical)?

Thanks!
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2013, 06:20:21 pm »

 At this point I think there is only the Facetron left of the faceting machines that I found worked for me. A faceting machine is an odd machine as you do whats called cheating where you cut a bit off the setting because something did not work out exactly correctly. How you cheat is different on each machine and some set ups did not seem natural for me . The  mechanism for raising and lowering the mast is something else that can be aggravating over the course of a long day as well  and they do differ . There are other issues but if it is a quality machine the actual mechanics on all should be fine so it is a matter of preference on details. I loved the facette but my motor burned out and faceting got chinese at the same time so I have yet to fix it. I have the facetron which I also love but the facette was so weird it was great.
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Mary Ann
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2013, 08:11:40 pm »

Mary Ann - no, I sure haven't (even heard of one of those)! I am VERY intrigued by this. Will google it but if you know a 'best' or favorite link by all means I'm interested. Does it by chance polish too.

Thanks!

Ron Gibbs had a picture of it in an old thread here. I'll see if I can find it. The subject of the thread was something like "if money was no object....." though compared to other machines this one is a bargain. I used one at William Holland when I visited.
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Mary Ann
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2013, 08:16:59 pm »

Okay, here is the link. The picture shows it with the faceting attachment but the basic vertical lap can be purchased alone and can be added to. He has many attachments, etc.

http://gemstone.smfforfree4.com/index.php/topic,1019.0.html (you have to scroll down to Ron's post.
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2013, 08:25:12 pm »

If you want a solid machine for flat laps and you can deal with the 1800rpm speed and the vertical orientation the Titan is capable of taking 6 inch faceting laps on it's left side. They have a special bubbler to delivery water to it also.
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3rdRockFromTheFun
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2013, 10:06:48 pm »

Wow, thanks!

I'm not sure if I could work vertical or not Frank. I don't see why I couldn't get used to it, but I admit I toss my faith to gravity quite often so the muscle-memory curve would surely mark up the wall for awhile at least. For anybody who doesn't lap and doesn't get that - it's the old thing where you drop something and overcompensate when going to catch it and end up sending it whistling through the air by somebody's head (and never somebody you don't like).

I liked the micro trim saws for some reason  dunno

The Intarsia grinder - vertical lap. I presume you find it stable and smooth Mary Ann. I'll add that name to the list (we're going to be putting effort into specifically looking for used equipment (which might still get expensive - but cheaper than new I'd hope).

Thank you Frank, esp for the cheater info - I have no idea what that is really but I bet one of my friends that laps may have at least heard of it. Hard to say as I never thought to ask ;)

It's so tempting just to flip my bench grinder vertical and put a lap wheel on it. I notice that for $29.99 I can get (on special) a nice 6" grinder. No thrust bearing but hey - that doesn't stop Inland.
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 10:18:43 pm »

  Even if you are fortunate enough to have a set of matched laps  each lap wears in slightly different ways so the facets end up being off a bit , usually only a very little but that little bit can easily be carried to the polish stage.As polishing is less aggressive than other steps it is very hard to use that stage to change the shape of the facet , to take a little more off to the right or left so you have the cheater. On a faceting machine you have a dividing head like machinists use and you only get certain choices of settings. The cheater allows you to use partial settings so that you can try to align the slightly misplaced facet so that it addresses the polishing lap dead on so the polish is efficient. Of course this just polishes a slightly off facet most of the time but at least it is fully polished after using the cheater. You can also use the cheater to drift in the facet , to slightly recut it with the polishing step to fix a minor misalignment .
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