Rock Art => Faceted Gems => Topic started by: Debbie K on July 23, 2017, 02:48:08 PM

Title: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: Debbie K on July 23, 2017, 02:48:08 PM
I'm posting this picture for Rick to see; he sent me some ultralaps. I found that the cerium worked best on this amethyst.

It's a bad faceting job; I was using a pattern that had angles that would never work out right so I stopped and polished what I had. The cerium worked really well on this Nambian amethyst; I thinking the other two will work on other materials.

I also used the copper laps at 1200 and 8000. I'm finding that 3000 doesn't work well for me at all for some reason. I'm better off working with 8000 for longer than using it.

Just wanted him to know that I'm actually using them!

Debbie K

P.S. The grayish spots are inclusions, not scratches. I didn't notice them at all until I took pictures. The veiling at the top was always visible, but not the stuff in the middle. Of course, nothing looks its best magnified 50 or so times!
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: hummingbirdstones on July 23, 2017, 07:50:47 PM
Ovals are notoriously difficult to cut -- especially for someone teaching themselves.  I think you did an awesome job on it.  I personally, have never cut one.   :laughing6:

Don't know if you're aware of this database, but there are gobs are faceting designs on here that are free to use and it's great eye candy to look through them!

Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: gemfeller on July 23, 2017, 08:51:52 PM
Good job!  I second what Robin said.  Ovals aren't easy and it's brave of you to choose one as an early project.  The amethyst has terrific color and I'm glad the Ultralap helped solve the polish problem.  I think cerium is a good choice for any quartz; it's usually what I use.  Alumina seems to do a better job for me on garnets, tourmaline and a few others though an old stand-by is Holy Cow! which, I was very sad to learn, is no longer being made.

It looks to me like you have a lot of natural faceting talent if you can produce an oval like that this soon -- especially since you were able to make mid-course adjustments to create a finished stone from a design that didn't seem to be working out. Keep at it -- it gets easier with experience.  BTW, amethyst can be a difficult stone to "read."  Much of it has uneven color distribution and trying to keep the best color in the culet while working around fractures and inclusions can be a challenge. 
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: edgarscale on July 25, 2017, 07:00:00 PM
i have never faceted before but i gotta say you did a great job :thumbsup:
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: Debbie K on July 31, 2017, 02:04:30 PM
Here's another one that I actually finished. It's a really simple 6 sided stone; I seem constitutionally incapable of following diagrams so I'm just doing what I feel like doing.

When I take photos, I see tiny scratches that I can't see any other way. I should take photos before I remove these things from the dop. :undecided:

I made this one with the copper laps and the ultra and cerium that Rick sent.

Debbie K
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: gemfeller on August 03, 2017, 07:54:31 PM
Looks as if you're progressing very well.  It's a little hard to judge your stone from the image but photographing faceted gems is something of an art  in itself.

Yes, cathair scratches show up very well in photos and sometimes it's hard to inspect stones carefully while still on the dop.  I keep a 10X loupe handy to check facets as I go but sometimes the scratches get hidden with polishing agent, finger oil, etc. making it very hard to see them.  That's especially true if you use oil as a lubricant at any stage.  A trick I sometimes use is to clean facets with a drop or two of lighter fluid on a microfiber cloth before inspecting them. 

If you have the ability to improvise facets "on the go," that's great if the stones turn out well.  If you can't follow diagrams because of machine problems that's another thing.  I'm not familiar with your Graves but since it's old I wonder if it has a 1/10th-degree angle splitter?  Even if it does many current computer-generated designs call for angles much finer than that and you end up eyeballing them anyhow, but at least with the splitter you get a little closer.  Some of the new digital angle machines can be very precise.

Keep at it; you're doing great.

Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: Debbie K on August 04, 2017, 06:36:58 AM

The Graves doesn't have a 1/10 splitter. It is a Mark I, and I believe it is an original one.

A friend lent me his old Prismatic, which has a great protractor and a splitter, too. But the cheater housing is cracked and using it yields entirely unpredictable results. I emailed the Polymetric guy last week and he hasn't responded. So yesterday, I finally got the quill and mast assembly apart and tried repairing it. I epoxied it back together and reinforced it with a metal plate but it recracked as soon as it was tightened. I am going to have to mill a new one; I'm debating about using nylon or aluminum. It needs to be strong and flexible, and either of those are a bear to thread. I don't know if the nylon would strip out when you tighten the screws. I could cast it out of bronze, but I think that would be too much weight.

The last stone has one or two "bent" facets due to the cheater; it either moves not at all or a whole lot. I finally resorted to Marks-a-lotting every facet to see how far the cheater was going. The Graves cheater was much easier to work with.

Other than the cheater, I'm impressed with the Prismatic. It's nice and level, has a variable speed motor, the protractor and fine adjuster are great, and it has the dial height adjustment like a Facetron. But the cheater is a mess and it has to be dealt with.

Debbie K
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: gemfeller on August 04, 2017, 10:34:30 AM
I've never used a Prismatic but from all I hear it's a great machine.  I've also heard many good things about helpful support from Zane Hoffman, the owner.  If you can get the cheater issue resolved I think you'll discover you're on a whole new level of faceting technology.
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: hummingbirdstones on August 04, 2017, 07:23:15 PM
Debbie, if you can, call Zane instead of emailing him.  He'll be happy to help you out -- I don't think he checks email on a regular basis (he's a pretty busy guy).  He will however, call you back if you leave a voicemail if he doesn't answer and he will talk faceting or faceting machines with you for as long as you want to.
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: Debbie K on August 04, 2017, 07:51:03 PM
Thanks for the feedback; I had heard good things about him and was kind of surprised that he didn't respond. I'll try calling him next week. Maybe he has some of the housings as I'm sure that the plastic has broken on them before.

I talked to a machinist today and might be getting together with him in the next couple of weeks to mill the part; he makes precision race car components and is willing to help when his schedule will allow. If Zane can make the part or has them already, that certainly would be easier.

Rick, you're right about the machine. I could tell the difference in the flatness of the facets immediately. Everything looks crisper. It's difficult to overcut due to the mast construction and the protractor and angle adjustor are great. Seems pretty level, though I did notice a slight variation when cutting the girdle but much better than the Graves.

I'll call Zane the first part of the week and see if he can help.

Debbie K
Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: Debbie K on November 01, 2017, 01:56:14 PM
I haven't been able to get on to the forum for nearly 2 months, and wanted to update you guys.

I did talk to Zane and he is very nice. He has the part in stock, but I went ahead and made one out of Delrin and it works much better than the broken one. I probably will buy the part from Zane eventually, and may even send the machine because that isn't all that is wrong with it. The angle brake was slipping which was solved by dimpling the shaft with a nail set and putting an oversize wing nut on it, but the nut interfered with quill being able to rock all the way back which was dangerous and also interfered with getting a good look at the stone.

Still, it's worlds better than a Graves even with all the problems. I am able to get to 1/20th of a degree reliably and am getting used to it being a right-handed machine. I really prefer the left-handed ones; and I'm right-handed!

This is the latest stone I cut; had problems due to a faulty transfer but finished it anyway. I doesn't look too bad to anyone but a jeweler or faceter! It's a weird amethyst with yellow-brown and purple streaks; not quite an ametrine. Unfortunately, I got a little "end-grain" on the table as the streaks were running top to bottom. But it's kind of pretty anyway. It's about 10mm by 5mm.

Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: gemfeller on November 01, 2017, 02:16:52 PM
Nice one.  I have some big chunks of amethyst with that unusual color.  Sometimes it's visually hard to tell the cut stones from some similar-colored tourmalines.  Transfers can be a pain; we all have war stories to tell about that.

Was sorry to hear of all your flood troubles.  But it looks like you're back in the saddle.  Glad to hear that your new machine is working ok for you. 

I really like the design of your stone and I'm sure it really is a sparkler in hand.  Keep it up!

Title: Re: For Rick: Ultralaps
Post by: Pusscat on November 18, 2017, 11:25:18 AM
Wow...quite inspirational! Keep posting!