Ultra Tec Faceting - FAQ
-- Answers to users' frequently asked questions
Index - Sections
Faceting Machine Upgrades - General
The Keyed Spindle Upgrades
Digital Angle Display (DAD)
The V5 Configuration
Fantasy and Concave Machines
Calibration & Repairs
Right and left handed machines
People at Ultra Tec
Techniques and Materials
Buying a Machine
1. Faceting Machine Upgrades –
the years there have been many upgrades-some of them apparent, and affecting the
way the machine is used, and some less apparent, affecting the internal
Q. Can my machine be upgraded?
A. Yes. Any
upgrade can be made to any Ultra Tec. We keep to our long-time pledge to
never make machines "obsolete" - that is, we will not design an upgrade that cannot
be retrofit to an existing machine. But,
of course, upgrades are more or less critical in terms of operation, and are
more or less expensive, so it is up to you to evaluate and decide.
MAJOR upgrades, in order of their introduction, are these:
1) the Keyed Spindle System; 2) the Digital Angle Display (DAD); 3) the
V5 Mast configuration. They are
individually discussed below.
Q. Does it make sense, if I have an old
never-upgraded machine, to install the three major upgrades?
A. All three?
Probably not – all three would cost about 70% of the price of a new
Mast, and the new mast would have the many not-quite-major
upgrades done over the years – so if you need all three, a new Mast makes
2. The Keyed Spindle System Upgrade
– introduced 1991
Q. My machine has the old “Dop Chuck”
retention system. Can I, and should I get the current Keyed Spindle System?
A. Yes – this has
proven to be an excellent upgrade. It provides better dimensional accuracy than
the preceding Dop Chucks – and better long –range stability and reliability.
The Keyed Spindle positions the directly-inserted dop, controlling both
radial position and depth of insertion. It
allows for removal of the dopped stone and later reinsertion to an exact
position. The Kit includes the
indexed Transfer Block and the short extension Tabling Adapter-both significant
features in themselves. – A
significant detail: in about 1997,
most Ultra Tec faceting machines had been upgraded to the Keyed Spindle, and the
demand for them practically vanished. With
that situation, Dop Chuck production was halted – so, the chance of getting a
replacement Dop Chuck is very close to zero.
I do get the Keyed Spindle System, system, can I install it myself?
A. Yes. But,
our recommendation is to have it done at the factory.
Disassembly of your old Spindle can be stubborn
- after all, your assembled Mast has been that way since before 1991.
If you have the installation done at the factory,
there’s no additional cost for it, and you will benefit from getting a
free calibration and adjustment at the same time.
Q. If I get the Keyed Spindle System, can I use my old
Dops (I see that the keyed Dops are different)?
A. Yes. The new Dops
have a 45° chamfer at the rear. You
can add that angled end yourself - you just need to grind an
"eyeballed" 45° onto the old Dop -- the angle is not at all critical,
you can miss by a lot, as long as you grind it flat.
3. DIGITAL ANGLE DIAL
Q. I have an Analog Angle Dial on my machine - should I upgrade to the
there’s no “urgency” about it, but the improvement is dramatic.
The DAD is a major upgrade.
The DAD eliminates a possible angular setting
error, providing a more consistent and accurate setting (with your old
analog Angle Dial, you are probably familiar with going back to recheck the
setting, often more than once. With
the DAD, you set it once – no guessing, no squinting --exactly on target and
easy to read.
The DAD -- easily, surely and repeatably -- is set to a hundredth
of a degree position, .01° – (you will find that most recent gem
diagrams do specify angles to .01°).
With a DAD, the ease and assurance in setting that .01° angle –
translates into both comfort and speed.
Q. Can I install the DAD
you can. Many people have purchased
the DAD Kit and self-installed it. To
see the instructions on how to install and calibrate the DAD, please click here. On the other hand, we do like to recommend your doing it at the
factory -- if you do, there’s no extra charge for the assembly, and along with
it comes a free adjustment and calibration.
Q. Can the DAD be mounted on an older
Ultra Tec Faceting Machine?
A. Yes! The DAD can
be retro-fit to all Ultra Tec Masts – however old it may be. You can
see a picture of a 40 year-old machine retro-fitted with a DAD (installed by the
owner) in the January 2009
Q. If I get the DAD, will I
still use a Dial Indicator Attachment? And, what about the Stop
Indicator, which seems to be similarly affected by the functions of the DAD?
A. You can leave
both the Dial Indicator Attachment and the Stop Indicator in place
– they will work (if you “like” seeing the Dial Indicator action, leave it
there – it’s an “old friend”). But the DAD
makes the Dial Indicator Attachment and the Stop Indicator redundant
– the DAD does it all!
DAD shows the gradual approach and
final arrival at the target angle, reading out all the way. It also has a
buzzer (optionally on) that signals reaching the target angle.
Q. When I get the DAD, what
do I do with the old analog Angle Dial?
A. Save it. It
will be a “spare tire”. Don’t
expect that you’ll ever need it – it’s something like the spare tire in
today’s automobiles – so infrequently needed that they don’t supply a
“real” tire anymore (we’ve even had 3 cases where new DAD-equipped machine
buyers bought an analog “spare tire” – Have any of those been
Q. What is the warranty on the DAD?
is a 5 year pro-rated warranty. If
Ultra Tec confirms that replacement is needed because of malfunction, the old
DAD is traded-in, and the replacement made under the following schedule –
If DAD replacement is needed during…:
1, no charge;
2, no charge;
3, 30% of current price;
4, 50% of current price;
5, 75% of current price.
This was based on four years of experience, during which
the DAD has proven to be very reliable. How
many replacements over that time? One
– and it was a no-charge, that DAD being a bit under 2 years in use.
V5 Mast configuration – introduced
Q. Is the V5 configuration a departure from the tried and true Ultra Tec
A. Actually it retains all of the basic concepts that
were embodied in the original design (which are still “tried and true”) but
it is a leap forward in firmness and speed – to such a degree that the new V5
designation has been applied.
Q. The V5 upgrade represents a very big change – seven major components
involved – does it make sense to install the upgrade to an old V2?
A. The cost of the V5 upgrade is about 1/3 of the price
of a new V5 Mast – so, financially, it makes very good sense.
Of course, you should be satisfied with the performance with the existing
performance of the “front end” (the radial angle setting, the Angle Stop,
the Quill, etc) – before proceeding. If
you have doubts about it, discuss it with us.
5. Fantasy and Concave Machines – introduced
Q. I’m not a faceter, yet – but I’ve been thinking about it.
But I want to know: if I get a Classic Faceting Machine, will I later
“have-to” get a Fantasy Machine? – will I be embarrassed by doing
“just” classic faceting?
A. You don’t “have-to” – and you may well not
“want-to” become involved with Fantasy cutting.
Our current estimate is that about one in six classic faceters will also
go into fantasy or concave cutting (that’s an uptick from our original one in
ten estimate – but we’re still guessing).
Sure, some classic faceters are kept back by the additional expense, but
in most cases, it’s not the expense, it is more a question of desire.
In general, the classic faceter is happy with what he’s doing (and
several professional classic faceters have even expressed a distaste for fantasy
cuts – saying that they lack the purity -- the very classicism
of what is now called classic faceting). Those
were award-winning well respected cutters talking – proud of their work.
They are not, and you would not be embarrassed by doing “just”
Q. I love the look of fantasy and concave cut stones – but they look
incredibly complicated and difficult to do – do I dare to get into it?
A. If you are someone who can successfully do classic
cutting, there’s no doubt that you will find that extending to fantasy and
concave cutting is comparatively easy. There’s
a little more thinking involved, but the process is the same (grind – polish).
It is good if you are someone who likes to use your imagination – and
has artistic instincts – because that’s where it tends to take you.
Q. How do I know that I will like Fantasy
A. Well, think back to when you got into faceting in the
first place. It’s a lot like that
was - if you think you will like it,
6. OWNERS MANUALS
Q. I lost my V2 faceting machine Owners Manual. How can
I get another copy?
do sell hard copies of the owners manual, just contact us to find out how.
You can also download a copy of the current manual by clicking here.
We do not have manuals
dating back to the old Dop-Chuck times (lost during the conversion of old-time
hard-copy files to digital computer files – sorry – but the current manual
will provide most of the information you need)
Q. New Dops - The current Dops have an angular cut at the rear. I
know this functions an alignment feature for the current Keyed-Spindle design -
but, can I use these new rear-chamfer Dops in my older machine – in a Dop
They are a little bit shorter, but they will work OK.
Q. Old Dops – I have Dops
that date back to the time that I used Dop Chucks – with no rear end chamfer.
Can I use these no-rear-end-chamfer Dops in a current Spindle?
You can use them, flat backed as they are. If
a non-chamfered Dop is removed and reinserted, you’d have depth-of-insertion
control, but not rotational positioning. You
can pretty easily add that rotational-positioning feature by adding the rear
chamfer to the Dop – you just need to grind an "eyeballed" 45° onto
the old Dop -- the angle is not at all critical, you can miss by a lot, as long
as you grind it flat.
8. CALIBRATIONS AND REPAIRS
Q. Do I need to have the Mast calibrated
A. No. But, consider calibration if there's some
problem that you see, or if you suspect some damage. In that event, contact us
and we'll arrange for the work.
Q. If I suspect the need of a calibration,
adjustment or repair – what should I do?
us (email – firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 714 542
0608) – and we’ll discuss it with you. Your
“problem” might be something for which we can give you instruction.
If we decide, however, between us, that sending the machine (or just the
Mast or the Base) is the best course of action, we’ll send you a Return
Material Authorization (an RMA), which represents paperwork for documenting and
carrying through the needed action.
Well, obviously, it depends on the extent of the problem. Before
you send the equipment, we will have discussed the matter, and have come up with
a estimate – so, before sending it in, you’ll have an idea of cost – and
will have given an OK for a certain amount.
The most typical bills – calibration and adjustment - are $150 to to
$250. If there are major problems --
necessitating disassembly and part replacement, costs, on the average, rise an
additional $250. We can almost
always detect the presence of a “major problem” at an early inspection
stage, at which point we are only about $50 into it—at which point we’d
notify you with a more exact estimate, for you to say stop or go-ahead.
& LEFT-SIDE MACHINES
Q. Does Ultra Tec offer faceting machines
that have Masts mounted to the left as well as right-mounted Masts?
A. Yes, the “argument” continues, but experience has taught us, that regardless of the arguments, a user becomes adjusted to either side – it really doesn’t matter
Ultra Tec offered a right-left option. But,
from 1999 to 2008, accepting the “it really doesn't matter” theory, we
decided to produce only Mast-on-right machines (it simplified our inventory).
But we learned (again) to stay out of arguments, and we brought back the
left-side option. Ultra Tec again
offers the customer a choice of a right or left – an option that existed from
1965 to 1998.
10. People at ULTRA TEC
Q. If I call Ultra Tec, does a “real person”
A. Yes – we’ve
stayed away from automatic answering systems (there is a voice mail to leave a
message when it is not business hours). There is a very capable team here able
to assist with your all your technical or delivery questions.
Q. What’s the best
way to deliver my message.
A. The telephone is
great – but email is probably the most effective.
It is monitored every day, early and late.
A “general” email to email@example.com will be directed to the
Q. Is Joe Rubin still
A. Joe, who still
writes most of the Sometimes Bulletin is - what he calls
- "retired", which means that he works almost daily at his home
computer - and is in the factory, about one day each week.
If you feel that you need to speak to him personally, we’ll get him to the phone, or
he’ll call you back. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Is there any Accessory that I must
A. No – although
most new machine orders include the Lamp and
several Index Gears (96 comes with
the machine, and available, in order of popularity: 64, 72, 80, 120, 77, 32).
There is a list of accessories – all “special purpose” – see if
you need or another.
12. TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS
Q. For dopping, Ultra Tec recommends
Loctite 404 – is that the “best” dopping material?
A. Quite a few years ago we experimented and came up
with Loctite 404 as being the best “super glue” (cyano acrylate) to use.
All “super glues” are not the same – Look at the Loctite lineup and you
will find many (406, 460, 495 etc) specification-controlled items. What
you are getting when you go to the hardware store and buy a generic “super
glue” is a non-specification controlled item – likely the bottom of the
various barrels, mixed together and so not completely predictable in its
don’t know if using 404 is truly “the best” technique – but it works
consistently well for us, and consistent performance is important (we avoid
arguments about “better” techniques – they may well be, but, we’ve used
Loctite 404 and put that concern aside)
don’t have to buy it from us. You can find it cheaper elsewhere (we buy
a small quantity and mark it up). I recommend getting the small .33 oz.
container – it looks tiny but it will do quite a few stones – usually, you
only use a drop or less. Put the date on the bottle and throw it out when
it is a year old (a very good reason for not getting a big bottle). Keep
it in the refrigerator.
dopping it’s a good idea to wait and allow it to set up completely. You can work
with it after 10 minutes or so, but a wait of a few hours is much better (or
13. SECOND HAND MACHINES
Q.I've seen a 2nd hand Ultra Tec faceting machine for sale - Should I buy it ?
A. While we still feel that the 2nd Best machine on the market is a "used" Ultra Tec, most second hand machines are a distant second. Joe Rubin went into some detail about this very subject in the the article Why you should NOT buy a used faceting machine (pdf)
14. BUYING A MACHINE
Q. Its time for me to buy the World's finest faceting
machine - How do I go about buying an Ultra Tec ?
A. Ask us for your local Sales
please speak to the nearest person to you. We have a growing team both in the
USA and Internationally. If you don't see anyone local, contact us and
we'll be pleased to help. All orders are placed with the factory, ensuring that
your price is always the same, whoever and wherever you are.
Note: We hope that we've answered most of your questions
in this FAQ, regarding our faceting machinery and accessories. If you
still have questions, please e-mail us at email@example.com
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