I’ve recently purchased an UltraTec V5 and I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival. In the meantime I’m turning a spare bedroom into a workshop and I have a question regarding people’s experience with the workbenches that their faceting machines actually sit on.
Should I be concerned with a table’s weight or construction materials and could these affect vibration that would impact the polishing stages of faceting?
Lastly, given the time I hope to spend next to my machine, should I be looking for a table of a certain height (or featuring adjustability). My gut says ergonomics is an important aspect of faceting but I’ve only been find workbenches for watchmakers and jewelers that address this specifically. Are the needs of faceting so general that any sturdy table will do? Thanks in advance for your time and advice.
I built mine with a piece of countertop from Menards and a pair of kitchen base cabinets. That way I controlled the height by placing things underneath the cabinet or using top cabinets if your chair is short. Then you also get storage for stuff also. You can email me if you like and I can send you pics. I bought sctratch and dent cabinets and a miscut countertop. Cost can be very reasonible or as big as you want.
I started faceting in earnest in 1996 on an UltraTec V2 and I’ve known Joe Rubin for years since. UltraTec is a very good machine and you shouldn’t have a lot of trouble with vibration during polishing if you put the machine on any reasonably sturdy table. One thing to watch for is that UltraTec uses a rubber drive cone to transfer motion from the DC motor to the platen and after years of use and aging, the rubber gets hard. When the motor then sits idle, one or more flat spots can develop on the cone and running the machine at any fast speed creates quite a racket. That said, even when my cone was defective, the machine still polished well. However, if your machine is noisy, this is probably the cause and you should spend the money for a new drive cone…they are easy to install, just turn the base over and loosen the four screws which hold the motor and the hex screw that holds the cone on the machine. Replace the cone and then snug up the motor so that the cone contacts the platen’s drive disk before retightening it.
As far as the table height, it’s a bit of a compromise between having the dop at the right height to inspect the stone while cutting and having your hands more or less level with your elbows so that your shoulders are relaxed while manipulating the quill. Some folks like to rest their elbows and/or forearms on the table while cutting…some people do recess their machine bases into a table, while lots of others merely set the machine base on a normal height table or desk. Another recommendation would be to use an adjustable, ergonomic chair which has an adjustable height seat, adjustable angle back and adjustable arm rests as well as a foot rest if you are up too high to rest your feet on the floor.
My best advice would be to use the machine for a while on a normal height table with a very adjustable chair and then take stock of what your body is telling you about what to do next as far as elevating or lowering the machine, etc. Most folks will use a standard Optivisor or similar head magnifier, while others, often converted diamond cutters, will use a 10X hand loupe at every facet inspection. The magnification you use may influence how you position the machine.
I use an ex office table which allows me to adjust the height of the table and the adjustable chair allows me to set my thighs at the right height. As royjohn said, you need to listen to your body, time flys by when faceting and it is easy to lose track of how many hours you’ve had your ass planted on the chair so having both an adjustable table and chair allows you to establish the optimal position for your body.
Don’t make the table too small either, you need light/s, racks for your discs, a jug of water for topping up the reservoir, location for your diamond powder, and of course a mounting like a typists copy board for mounting your cutting diagram. Your table surface vanishes quickly and that’s without a location for your dopping station.
Good luck putting it all together.
Check out the corner computer desks at an office supply, also a comfortable office chair. I have used both for over 30 years, with chair replacement about every 10 years
Thanks to everyone for the advice and tips from your various experiences. I’ve not decided on anything yet. I should have realized that if I’m attracted to the order and exactness of faceting, then I’m also prone to the same tendencies regarding the workspace. I’ll admit I can make some decisions more difficult than they should be.