Slipping Faceting Head Angle Problem

Here is another fix for the Omni-e as sent to me by another owner, Christa Starr (thanks and sorry for the delay in posting!)

Her problem was that it seemed her encoder was broken, as the angle would change whenever she hit the hard stop, even though the angle adjustment knob was tightened properly and the fine-angle adjustment screw was tight as well.

In the end, it turned out that both her and my Omni-e faceting heads don’t have anything between the angle plate and the main faceting head block to keep it tight. Christa said hers has a plastic washer inside, but I just checked mine and there is nothing.

A bit of masking-tape later, her faceting head angle is now secure. She plans on changing it to proper gasket tape in the future. As for me, the masking tape works well enough so it’s going to stay for the moment.

Here’s some photos and her commentary.

I thought the encoder was broken because every time I tapped the head against the hard stop / fine angle adjustment knob the digital angle readout would change.  Everything was locked up tight, I’d even bent an allen wrench making sure the fine angle adjustment couldn’t move.  I sent Gearloose a picture of my encoder.

The Omni-e digital encoder with the cover removed. Courtesy Christa Starr

The Omni-e digital encoder with the cover removed. Courtesy Christa Starr

He insisted that the encoder pictured was used in cars (i.e. lasts forever) and shouldn’t be the problem.  So I took closer look and when I was tapping the quill my stone was slowly but surely marching down towards the platen, and eventually hit it even though it should’ve been locked.

So the angle readout was actually right.

I opened up the head and there was just one plastic washer inside. 

Removing the Faceting Head Angle Adjustment knob

Removing the Faceting Head Angle Adjustment knob. Courtesy Christa Starr

This is the plate that holds the Omni-e faceting head angle in position via friction with the main faceting head pivot block. Courtesy Christa Starr

This is the plate that holds the Omni-e faceting head angle in position via friction with the main faceting head pivot block. Courtesy Christa Starr

Jon realized that the metal was sliding down because no matter how hard I tightened the set lock knob, the plate (the piece sandwiched between the set lock and the main pivot block) wasn’t held tightly enough against the pivot block to stop it from slipping.  He suggested covering the inside of the plate and the inside set lock with masking tape to increase the amount of friction between the parts.

Detail of the Angle Adjustment Plate and the Faceting Head pivot block (that holds the quill). Note that there is nothing between the plate and the block to increase the friction to hold the head at the right angle. Courtesy Christa Starr

Detail of the Angle Adjustment Plate and the Faceting Head pivot block (that holds the quill). Note that there is nothing between the plate and the block to increase the friction to hold the head at the right angle. Courtesy Christa Starr

Quick solution - masking tape on the Angle Adjustment Plate and Angle Adjustment lock knob. I personally just put tape on the Angle Adjustment Plate and not the knob. Courtesy Christa Starr

Quick solution – masking tape on the Angle Adjustment Plate and Angle Adjustment lock knob. I personally just put tape on the Angle Adjustment Plate and not the knob. Courtesy Christa Starr

It worked.  🙂  Next step is to replace the masking tape (a hail mary hack) with actual gasket tape.  

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Crap Customer Services from Bay Centerless

Well, I hate to do this but I’m getting totally frustrated and pissed-off with manufacturers who just have no idea about customer service.

Back in the beginning of October I sent in a request to Bay Centerless, in Hollister CA, inquiring about 0.300″ centerless-ground brass or stainless steel stock to have made into dops for my Omni.

My initial inquiries were answered quickly by George Zirbes, who on their website states he’s the CEO. He suggested that he could provide finished dops rather than stock rod – so I engaged in a few more emails detailing exactly what I was looking for. He got a bit weird once I sent him a photo of the dops – he was quite concerned about being implicated in assisting me steal someone else’s design. So we modified the designs slightly to make them uniquely mine, and then proceeded to determining the materials. And then he was to send me a quote for a set of 16 flat/cone dops in various diameters. And then…

Nothing. I sent him a couple more emails over the next couple of weeks (we’re into mid-November now). No response. Nada. Dead air.

Finally, in frustration I sent him a final email in mid-February saying that I was upset that he didn’t have the courtesy to reply even if it was to say he wasn’t interested in the job any more, and that I hope he treated his other customers better. That got an immediate reply – saying he’d check into what happened to the quote email and he’d get right back.

It’s been a month now, and no reply. So, after spending a month working with him to define the product and everything, he dumped me and refuses to respond further.

You all know what I think of companies with bad customer service, so here’s another one for the Wall of Shame. I would suggest that you can find a better company to do business with than Bay Centerless.

If you should decide to try for yourself, here’s Bay Centerless’ contact info:

Bay Centerless Grinding
1690 Lana Way Unit B
Hollister
California 95023
USA
http://www.baycenterless.com

Now, if anyone has any suggestions on another supplier I can work with to actually get some dops made for under $40 each, I’m all ears…

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Avoid Sierra Gems – Unethical Ripoff Company

Okay, it’s been a while since something has gotten under my skin enough to deserve a post. But this weekend it was pointed out on the Gemology Online forum that Sierra Gems is trying to rip off customers as well as Jon Rolfe (aka Gearloose) by creating a product that is very similar in look-and-feel as well as using the Gearloose.com old product information copy for it.

Gearloose.com does not white-label or otherwise make products sold under other brand names.

At their site here, Sierra Gems are selling “Diamond Stick 60K Grit”polish in a dispenser with a label and dispenser that is very similar to the Gearloose Lapidary 60K DIASTIK diamond polish.

THIS IS NOT THE GEARLOOSE DIASTIK!

What makes it all the more galling is that the Sierra Gems rip-off uses advertising copy that was plagiarized from an earlier version of Jon’s DIASTIK diamond polish product information page, as well as text on the label that is almost a direct copy of the real diamond polish.

This is not the first time something questionable has pointed out about Sierra Gems, nor is it the first time they’ve plagiarized product info from Gearloose.com for products that are not from Gearloose.

I strongly urge anyone who’s considering buying from Sierra Gems to reconsider and find a reputable dealer. They have shown that they are not an ethical nor good-standing member of the faceting community. A consumer boycott would send the message.

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The Omni-e Dop Problem

So this is something I haven’t written about yet, but has dogged me for years. It affects all owners of Omni-e, Patriot and Tom Thumb faceting machines as well.

It’s almost impossible to find anyone who sells dops for theses machines. And you can’t buy any dops other than the standard 4 sizes in round, cone and v-dop. So much for custom dops for tourmaline/emerald or trilliant cuts.

For whatever reason, Jersey Instruments chose 0.300″ (or 7.62mm) as their dop diameter, completely at odds with all other manufacturers and the defacto standard. This means that you can’t buy any of the myriad 0.25″ dops and use them in the Omni-e, Patriot or Tom Thumb faceting machines. With other machines, the manufacturer at very least supplies a variety of sizes and shapes of dops that you can buy by the piece – not a complete set – so you can enhance and replace your dop collection as required. Not so with the Omni-e, Tom Thumb, or Patriot faceters. It’s all or nothing. And only in the 0.300″ and lower diameters that Jersey Instruments deems all you need.

**Note: I did meet a fellow a few years ago who purchased a custom quill from me, only to discover that his dops were not 0.300″ like all the other Omni-e faceting machines. If you are unlucky enough to have one of these aborted models, you really are out of luck for getting replacement dops. I have no idea how many of these mutant machines are out there.

There is currently no manufacturer for these dops other than Jersey Instruments, and getting them is difficult at best. There are only a couple of dealers that have them for sale, and they’re only sold as sets and in the limited size range that Jersey provides. And if my experience is any indication, the quality of these dops is hit-and-miss – the diameters vary and they slop in the quill, and some of them arrived to me bent fresh out of the box. Your ability to do meet-point faceting is severely challenged by these quality problems.

Alldops.com was a great source while he lasted, but unfortunately he’s been out of business and out of contact for over 4 years now.

So what are your alternatives? Very few. I’ve been chasing around the internet trying to find anyone who is willing to manufacture dops for reasonable prices – I’ve been quoted anywhere from $40 to $140 EACH! Contrast this to about $10 or less for dops for other common faceting machines like the Facetron, Ultra-tec, Polymetric, Graves, Alpha-Taurus…

One of the reasons the cost is so high is that it’s impossible to find 0.300″ brass or stainless steel rod which would make fashioning these dops simple and cheap. All I’ve been able to source are tool steel rods in close to 0.300″ (0.302″ or 19/64″) – they probably will suffice, but as someone laughed, I’ll be the only faceter in the world with dops that rust.

I am in discussions with someone on the possibility of making a batch of dops specifically to address this problem. They won’t be cheap, but I guarantee you that they will be top quality. And they won’t cost the $40 to $140 per dop I’ve been quoted so far.

Stay tuned!

-Allan

 

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New Tourmaline Site by Bruce Fry

I’ve been helping Bruce Fry make his own website featuring his outstanding collection of tourmaline. So for the past month he’s been very busy creating posts about each stone – his impressions, cutting experience and commentary around its provenance and colour.

Please have a look and leave him some comments.

http://www.brucefrytourmaline.com

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Return to the Intertubes – eNom Sucks

Well, after over a year’s absence Omnifaceter is back on the internet! I am happy that this resource is once again available to those need to adjust and repair these machines.

I was forced to change the domain from omnifaceter.com to omnifaceter.net because my domain registrar, eNom, has basically stolen my domain and refuses to transfer, release or renew it.

Long story short, my web host was hacked and as a result the eNom account was locked. Now eNom refuses to allow my web host access to the account, and will not transfer the domains to a different registrar. So I have no way to renew or transfer the domain to a place where I can use it.

This has been going on since at least July last year. Short of legal action, eNom is not going to give me my domain back. This is out-and-out theft as it’s pretty easy for me to show I owned the domain.

Avoid eNom like the plague.

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Back Online

Sorry, I’ve been offline since January 7 due to a hack attack on the site. It was a rather amateur attack, but bad enough in that it forced me offline for a bit until I had time to look at the site and ensure nothing had been compromised.

Luckily the site content was not tampered with or damaged, so the site is now back to full operation.

Not the best way to start 2012!

-Allan

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Fasscher Design for Tourmaline

A couple months back I found an interesting photo in this thread on the Gemology Online forum. The stone was a colourless YAG garnet in a design that looked very similar to an Asscher cut but with a simple pavilion.
http://gemologyonline.com/Forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=14348&p=148768&hilit=#p148768

I was inspired to re-create the design which I’ve dubbed Fasscher for “Fake Asscher”. It is optimized for Tourmaline (RI 1.62) but it should work for RIs higher than Tourmaline also. You can download the PDF or the GemCAD file by clicking on the links:
http://www.omnifaceter.net/designs/Fasscher.gem
http://www.omnifaceter.net/designs/Fasscher.pdf

I cut this in two different Nigerian tourmaline. The nice thing about this design is that it’s rather flat and the crown steps can be varied in height to accommodate thin tablet-shaped rough as pictured below. Note that the colour of the rough lightened considerably once I cleaned off the rind and garbage on the outside of the stones. For the green, the c-axis is the top view (greenish) while the a-b axis is the bright cyan. The pink c-axis is a bit orangy with orange-pink a-b axis. The photos are pretty much unre-touched – I only adjusted the exposure to get the saturation closer to reality.

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Before Cleaning and Preforming - Side View

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Before Cleaning and Preforming - Side View

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Before Cleaning and Preforming - Top View

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Before Cleaning and Preforming - Top View

 

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Preformed - Side View

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Preformed - Side View

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Preformed - Top View

Nigerian Tourmaline Rough Preformed - Top View

The results? Not exactly the same as an Asscher, but when viewed at a distance it’s a pretty close call. The stones are almost flawless – the pink has a tiny healed fracture near the girdle (please excuse the fingerprints and bits of glue still stuck to the pavilions).

2.05ct Nigerian Mint Tourmaline

2.05ct Nigerian Mint Tourmaline, 7.5 mm square

3.39ct Nigerian Pink Tourmaline, 9.4mm square

3.39ct Nigerian Pink Tourmaline, 9.4mm square

Enjoy!

-Allan

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Gemstone Suite #2

In addition to the tourmalines that I posted earlier, here’s a pic of the other stones I managed to cut this past year.

Pakistani Peridot, Strontium Titanate, Colour-Shift Garnet, Mahenge Spinel

Cut Gemstone Suite #2 – Pakistani Peridot, Strontium Titanate, Colour-Shift Garnet, Mahenge Spinel

Clockwise from top left:

2.67 ct Pakistani Peridot; 6.40 ct Strontium Titanate; 2.95 ct Pakistani Peridot; 1.07 ct Colour-shift Garnet (current peach to violet pink), 1.22 ct Mahenge Spinel

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Tourmaline Suite

I took some pictures of the stones I’ve cut in the last year. This is a group of tourmaline from Afghanistan and Nigeria. Colours are pretty much spot-on with what I was seeing. Photo was taken in cloudy daylight. (no colour manipulations were done to this photo)

Faceted Tourmaline Gemstones from Afghanistan and Nigeria

Faceted Tourmaline Gemstones from Afghanistan and Nigeria

Clockwise from left:

3.2 ct Afghan Indicolite; 3.78 ct Nigerian Rubellite; 2.35 ct Nigerian Dravite; 1.04 ct Nigerian Pink (colour-shift orange-pink to bubblegum); 1.41 ct Nigerian Teal; 1.44 ct Afghan Blue; 1.83 ct Nigerian Mint

 

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