Do I really need faceting add-ons like dial indicators, strain gauges, down lights, digital read outs?
In most cases, the answer is absolutely not!
Have you ever heard the expression that. All the different types of fishing lures are to catch fisherman, not fish. Well basically the same thing applies. However, that does not mean that some of these “add-ons” are not nice and helpful, some of them are. You do not need any of them to cut nice stones, that can be accomplished on a decent quality, bare faceting machine, no whistles and bells are needed. A lot of new faceters feel that they need all of these techno “add-ons” and if you start adding them up, depending on how you go, they can cost a substantial amount of money.
The best thing to do, is to buy just a standard machine (save your money) and learn how to use it properly. Then as you get some experience cutting, if there is an “add-on” that you want to try go ahead. You may find that you really like it, and it helps you cut better. But as a new cutter, if you buy these things up front, you may discover that you spent a lot of time and money on things that you really do not need or have a use for. I know quite a few people that bought these things with their machines, and after cutting a while, have completely removed all of the “add-ons” as not needed. I should point out that almost all of the pros I know, do not use any of these type of devices, and often cut award wining stones, this should tell you something.