Lapidary and Faceting Equipment

Learn about the tools and equipment involved in lapidary arts.

Lapidary and Faceting Equipment

  • Choosing a Faceting Machine 

    Well I am back again fresh from Tucson, with bags of information to distribute but first let’s continue where I left off. THE QUILL A small addition to the subject. When I started some decades ago, most machines were designed for the quill to…

  • Choosing a Faceting Machine by Sumner 

    In many ways buying a faceting machine is like buying a car. You probably would like the fanciest and fastest car on the road but would settle for a second hand one you could buy on time with payments you could afford. Buying a faceting machine…

  • Faceting Machines – Comparison Chart 

      NAME Adjustments easy to read, painted or engraved Variable Speed Splash Pan Protractor precision & reliability Torque & RPM Lap Size 8” 6” or both Size & Weight Price of Accessories Customer Serivce Overall…

  • Faceting Machine Survey 

    We recently took a survey of the kind of machines used by members of the Faceter’s Digest. Our survey doesn’t have scientific accuracy, but the information is still of interest. I thought Graves would have been the most used machine, but it scored…

  • How to Make a Digital Readout for Your Faceting Machine 

    (Editor’s Note: This is a first in a series of articles. Future articles will apply to specific machines, where this first one is general.) Design principle. A Digital Panel Meter (DPM) can measure angles to 0.01 degree if a precision…

  • Retrofitting The Lee Faceter for a Digital Readout 

    (Editors Note: This is the second in a series of articles on how to convert your faceting machine to a digital readout. The last installment was general. This and following will give detailed instruction for specific machines.) The machine is…

  • A virtual tour of the Ultra Tec Faceting machine factory in Santa Ana California?

    Here is a virtual tour of the Ultra Tec factory… Some of you may know that I was a featured Kraft Master at the 2003 Kraftwerks held in Ontario California. I have a series of very interesting articles, with lots of pictures of the other Kraft…

  • Facetron Faceting Machine
    Just Ask Jeff: Buying a Faceting Machine? What Machine?

    Buying a Faceting Machine? What Machine? These are my opinions… Other people may have differing ideas. I have cut at one time or another on almost every major faceting machine. Some I liked and some I hated. I know people that are just…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Buying a faceting machine and do not know what else you need?

    Buying a faceting machine and do not know what else you need? Ok, here is a list. You will find that sooner or later you will end up buying most of these things. But I have marked the ones you really need. These Prices are Jan 2009. Prices may…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Buying a used faceting machine? Some things to look for…

    Buying a used faceting machine? Some things to look for… OK, this is a big subject and I am sure that some of my opinions will differ from other peoples out there, but here is what I think. If you can find a good used faceting machine it is…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Review: Graves Faceting Machine

    Review – Graves Faceting Machine Keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and experiences, other people may have different ones. I have used all of the faceting machines I review. Almost all faceting machines have some problems. Major to…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Review: Facetron Faceting Machine

    Review – Facetron Faceting Machine Keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and experiences, other people may have different ones. I have used all of the faceting machines I review. Almost all faceting machines have some problems. Major to…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Review: Ultra Tec Faceting Machine

    Review – Ultra Tec Faceting Machine Keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and experiences, other people may have different ones. I have used all of the faceting machines I review. Almost all faceting machines have some problems. Major…

  • Just Ask Jeff: What do I do if I think my machine is out of alignment?

    What do I do if I think my machine is out of alignment? Send it to the manufacture! Unless you are a very experienced mechanist and have worked on faceting machines, do not touch it. This kind of job needs to be done by somebody that knows…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Questions you need to ask when buying a digital Faceting Machine?

    Questions you need to ask when buying a digital Faceting Machine? As any faceter looking to buy a new faceting machine has learned… There is a new digital world out there. Many old names in the faceting machine business are updating to…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Review: OMNI Faceting Machine

    Review – OMNI Faceting Machine Keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and experiences, other people may have different ones. I have used all of the faceting machines I review. Almost all faceting machines have some problems. Major to…

  • Product Review, Ultra Tec Faceting Machine 

    Summary The Ultra Tec has been referred to as the BMW of faceting machines. We had one tested by three people who own other brands. Overall, everyone was impressed with the quality and accuracy of the machine. Only one of the evaluators was…

  • Living With Your Faceting Machine 

    Choosing a faceting machine is a daunting task. The money involved is substantial and most people do not have the opportunity to try the equipment before laying down their money. One serious pitfall for the novice is the quality of advice they…

  • Lap Testing 

    In an attempt to improve my faceting, I have been trying various laps and polish combinations, to see which produces the flattest facets and the sharpest facet edges. The present series of experiments was designed to test three laps under similar…

  • Polishing Laps and Techniques 

    Polishing is a Mystery One night I cut and polished the pavilion of a spinel. It went real smooth and there was nothing remarkable about the process. The next morning I had other activities planned, but it was raining so I sat down to finish the…

  • Retrofitting The Graves Faceter for a Digital Readout 

    The Graves is unusual in that it appears to have been designed “with a clean sheet of paper” to be manufactured in large quantities, using mass production methods such as permanent-mold castings. Being a more “finished” unit, there is less…

  • Retrofitting The MDR Faceter for a Digital Readout 

    This will be a challenge because the MDR machine uses adjustable needle bearings on the trunnion assembly, so there is no shaft on which to mount the potentiometer. First, in order to be able to mount the digital meter and housing close to…

  • The History of the Beale/Woolley Depth of Cut Indicator 

    Marcus Beale and I took classes together at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, Virginia not knowing we shared interests outside the classroom. It was after Marcus and his wife Marie opened up a retirement business, the Amherst County…

  • Bob Lynn – CAM/CAD with Solidscape

    Bob Lynn – CAM/CAD with Solidscape This is the first seminar I was able to sit in on Saturday morning. This is cool stuff, if you are a jeweler and not involved with learning and using this technology… You should be. This stuff is going to do to…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Care and treatment of Laps

    Care and treatment of Laps I am mainly going to be talking about steel cutting laps. But most of this will apply to all laps in general. A complaint I hear periodically is that “there is something wrong with my laps…” Usually people think that…

  • Gem Cutting Abrasives
    Gem Cutting Abrasives In Grit, Mesh, and Microns

    Basically, grit, mesh, and micron are three different ways to measure particle size. For lapidaries, this is important because particle size defines the coarseness of gem cutting abrasives, such as polishes, cutting compounds, and laps. What Do…

  • polishing laps - score marks close up
    How To Score Polishing Laps

    Why Score Polishing Laps? In my experience, scored polishing laps work better and faster. I’ve cut a lot of gemstones and tried polishing just about every way imaginable. Of course, you’ll hear different opinions, but all the old pros I know…

  • Just Ask Jeff: What is my opinion on laps? What do I use?

    What is my opinion on laps? What do I use? OK, I have a lot of people ask me what my personal opinion(s) are on laps. So here is what I think, remember that other people may have different experiences, but these are my personal…

  • Just Ask Jeff: What is a Spectra (Ultralap) Lap? How do I use them?

    What is a Spectra (Ultralap) Lap? How do I use them? Ultralaps are a plastic polymer sheet of film (3 mil) that come in 6″ or 8″ diameter. They are charged with a very high grade of oxide polish. They come in quite a few polish types, AeO2…

  • “Andalusite” by Moha112100 is licensed under CC By-SA 3.0
    What Is A Dichroscope And How Is It Used?

    A pleochroic gemstone displays different colors when viewed along different directions of the crystal. A dichroscope is a handheld tool for viewing the different colors or shades of a pleochroic piece of rough. This makes it an essential part of…

  • Just Ask Jeff: How do I clean dops?

    How do I clean dops? There are several ways to clean dops. For starters I usually leave the wax on the dop(s) unless dirty or I have over heated the wax and I think it has lost it’s temper (bubbled/smoked it). I leave the wax on because it is…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Do I really need dial, indicators, stain gauges, down lights, digital read outs?

    Do I really need 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….

  • Just Ask Jeff: What are sintered laps and are they worth the money?

    What are sintered laps and are they worth the money? OK, a sintered laps is a type of lap that basically is solid diamonds all the way through the lap. The diamond is bonded into the actual metal of the lap and the entire laps is made of…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Contaminated Laps? Bort Charging Laps?

    Contaminated Laps? Bort Charging Laps? Ok, you are cutting and polishing happily away and then… Suddenly out of no where you are getting scratches across your facets. It is usually a really nasty series of scratches, at least for me. This…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Do I need a ceramic lap and how do I get it to work?

    Do I need a ceramic lap and how do I get it to work? Praying and ritual sacrifices might help… In general people either hate ceramic laps or love them. I have had mixed results and find a zinc or tin lap is much easier for me. If you are cutting…

  • topaz - oxide polish
    Should I Use Oxide Polish Or Diamond For Polishing Gems?

    I’m frequently asked by novice gem cutters whether they should use oxide polish or diamond for polishing gemstones. I do have my opinions, based on many years of experience. First, I want to be clear about the type of materials I cut, because…

  • Product Review, Sony Cyber-shot 

    I have been thoroughly dissatisfied with my previous digital cameras. A few times I have thought of upgrading, but my research was discouraging. In the rush to add more features, battery life was low and the cameras were complicated and difficult to…

  • Product Review, GemPro 50, Digital Scale 

    The least expensive digital scale for gem use is now the GemPro 50. It sells for around $150, which is quite a bit less than anything else on the market. I tried one and was pleasantly surprised. It weighs to 50 carats in .01 increments. I…

  • Just Ask Jeff: What Faceting Equipment do I need to get started?

    What Faceting Equipment do I need to get started? This is a question that I get asked frequently, as you might have guessed. What is basics to one persons may be extra to someone else. But I will go over what I think a new cutter should start…

  • Hyper-Edge 1500 1
    Product Review: Hyper Edge Gem Faceting Laps

    I read a lot of books on faceting when I was a beginner and I still do. One of the things that stuck with me was Jeff Graham saying something about his favorite lap was a worn-out 1,200 grit lap. It was not until I wore out my first 1,200…

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