As I read through the other answers, I had a few thoughts which may be useful to you. When it comes to sourcing rough, great deals seldom are. If the rough you purchase is being shipped from India, even with laboratory certifications, you can be 99% certain that the Ruby, or emerald you bought at that great price, is actually micro fractured Quartz that is then soaked with the appropriately colored oil to make your ruby red, or your emerald green. A little acetone will remove all the color and your great deal won’t look so good. The dealers mentioned in an earlier answer are reputable and decent ruby is always expensive. It’s generally the old case of. “you get what you pay for.”
I believe the equipment from Sri Lanka is all of the hand piece type, rather than a machine with a mast. I’m not sure of that, and I have never used a hand piece, but I can’t imagine them being as easy to use, or as accurate as a mast type faceting machine. I also use an Ultratech V5 with the digital upgrade, and I don’t think a better machine exists. Just my opinion.
As far as advice goes, I am a believer in working your way up to cutting the expensive materials. As others have suggested, I would recommend you start with quartz. It’s cheap and easy to polish with mistakes you will make not injuring your pocket too much. Once you’re comfortable with that, I think it’s a good idea to graduate to Garnet. Many beautiful varieties and colors are available, plus you can get large, very clean pieces to cut without spending a lot of money. Once you have stopped making too many mistakes, it’s my opinion that you should got a few sapphire prior to attempting to cut a ruby. I’m sure you already know that sapphire and ruby are the same material (corundum), so the cutting and polishing experience are pretty much identical. Some less than top color sapphire can be purchased at very reasonable prices and you can learn all the nuance associated with making a nice gemstone out of corundum rough.
The last piece of advice I can offer you is what I consider to be the most important thing to remember when faceting any stone. Until you have honed your skills, and gained a fair amount of experience, GO SLOW! I can guarantee you, once you cut it off, you can’t put it back!
Good luck to you sir!