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 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.
If I were to get a small metal lathe is there any reason I couldn’t make my own dops out of standard brass rods?
I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to do so.
The dops on my machine are 7.62mm/0.300″ in diameter. Finding precision ground rod in that diameter is difficult to say the least. I’ve had to resort to having custom lathe work done to replace some of my bent dops which can be quite expensive.
If I had the space and time, I’d probably buy a small lathe myself as it would be cheaper than the custom work.
However, long term my plan is still to replace this Omni-e with a machine that uses standard 0.25″ dops which are readily available from other manufacturers and are quite inexpensive.