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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:16 pm 
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Precision Gem, I got the BATT charged with 600 diamond from a couple of Arya Akhavan's posts where he recommends this for beginners. He recommends a sintered lap as the ideal, but that's outside of my budget right now.

Is there anything inherently wrong with a BATT with 600 powder, aside from the contamination concerns? I see people use them often for prepolish, so is there something about cutting that makes them less than ideal? Please forgive my ignorance here.

Thank you,
Thomas


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:52 pm 
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I think it may come from some of the overseas YouTube instruction/demonstration videos. It is common to use charged copper laps in the high production cutting shops overseas. The Crystalite type plated laps wear out too quickly in that environment.


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:41 pm 
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I was also thinking that Gearloose doesn't really advocate the use of his 325, 600 & 1200 cutting diamond lines, but offers it to those whom may want to use it. So a person new to this may see on the site here and Gearloose, hearing all the glorious reviews on the Batt lap that why not get a 600 Cutting, with a Batt and have a lap that will last over time.

I agree as well on the youtube faceting gurus of new and old, international and domestic, but they never really touch on the finer points of laps and mediums used. Like stated just see it being used.
I have copper laps as well that were charged with 600 & 1200 and thought if they were good enough back in the day then why not. But when I stopped using them I noticed that I wasn't seeing that out of nowhere mystery scratch go shooting across the biggest facet on the stone most of the time "The Table", or the back of a cabochon. Ohhhh where the h#ll did that come from.

I also think that a Batt is a little to soft for a cutting lap, at least for me, i'm a big guy, fat hands and fingers and heavy hands.

Like Precision stated the other choice would be a sintered, you really have to dig deep in the pocket these days for them. I have CrystalMet purchased when they were still available and even then they were $400-$600 each, a well worth it investment over the long run. Just checked the abrasive-tech site and they do show 120 and 1200 in 8 inch over $700, I do not use the 1200 I own, it has issues I just do not want to deal with so the 1200 Standard in my opinion out shines it and I can buy six of them to one CrystalMet sintered. Zane at Poly-Metric sells a good grade solid metal lap called PolyPro they are imports and they fall in the $70 dollar range, they are a heavy lap solid steel but the diamond is well graded and very flat.

Just some insight on the subject from my perspective, sorry if I'm rambling.

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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:40 am 
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if budget is an issue, I think toppers are ok and can give good results. I use them as I don`t have too much time for faceting. So my choice are 320, 600, 1200 topper and then Zinc+ and 8.000 Diastick from Gearloose or lately a copper plated lap for prepolish and then a Matrix for polish.

Martin


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:04 am 
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here is my latest stone faceted with laps as above. Disregard some glue spots which I just discovered on the image.


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:24 am 
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forgot to mention. clear Quarz, 16,6 mm 12,3 ct


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:51 am 
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In addition to the Crystalite standard laps, Like Greg I do have two sintered laps.

On is a course lap that I use for removing material, establishing the outline, and roughing in facets on bigger sized stones. Cuts super fast and leaves a good finish without subsurface damage. It should last a lifetime.

My second sintered is a two zone lap. The outer ring is very fine and leaves a finish roughly equivalent to somewhere between 1200 and 3000. It cuts fast, so I use it to cut in facets, and prepolish at the same time. The inner band is Gearloose Diamatrix composite. I use 60K diamond on it. Cut the facet on the outer band, and final polish on the inner band. This is a real time saver.


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:42 pm 
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capcuadrate wrote:
here is my latest stone faceted with laps as above. Disregard some glue spots which I just discovered on the image.

Very good job Martin. You should also post in the "Off the Dop" thread where more will get to see your work.

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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:59 pm 
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ThomasW wrote:
Precision Gem, I got the BATT charged with 600 diamond from a couple of Arya Akhavan's posts where he recommends this for beginners. He recommends a sintered lap as the ideal, but that's outside of my budget right now.

Is there anything inherently wrong with a BATT with 600 powder, aside from the contamination concerns? I see people use them often for prepolish, so is there something about cutting that makes them less than ideal? Please forgive my ignorance here.

Thank you,
Thomas


Contamination isn't the issue. You are going to wipe the stone before going to polish. The issue is the time you spend charging the lap, cleaning the black sworf off it. The charge will slowly wear down over the course of a stone or two and the cutting speed will be altered. I think Arya made a lot of instructional posts when he was first cutting, with only a few stones under his belt. I know I watched a few of his videos and don't agree with some of his methods. Maybe he has changed by now.

One thing you will learn is that everyone has their own way of doing things that seem to work for them. Some people love polishing on a BATT lap, others find it only scratches their stone.

I use a 1200 and 600 sintered lap. For me speed in cutting is more important than the cost of the lap. One stone can pay for the lap. Like I said before, the equipment is the cheap part, the rough is the expensive part. People who have been cutting for some time, and cut and sell stones will tell you they have spent hundreds of thousands on rough.

I can't really comment on topper laps, I have never used one. But I did use a Cyrstalite steel 600 lap for over 10 years, cutting a few thousand stones on it. I would hate to think of how much time I would have spent cleaning and charging a BATT with 600 diamond on it.

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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:24 pm 
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capcuadrate wrote:
if budget is an issue, I think toppers are ok and can give good results. I use them as I don`t have too much time for faceting. So my choice are 320, 600, 1200 topper and then Zinc+ and 8.000 Diastick from Gearloose or lately a copper plated lap for prepolish and then a Matrix for polish.

Martin


By all means Martin.
A Crystalite Standard is a topper lap pre affixed to a master lap. My comments about toppers didn't apply to every topper lap in the market, I have used topper laps of all makes in my lapidary work and faceting for many years. The grading of diamond used in the manufacturing of toppers can vary drastically between them it only takes a few loose or stray diamonds on a lap to cause grief. I have purchased topper laps where this is actually the problem. The other thing I have purchased are toppers that a warped and when you tighten down on the master you can see they are not flat. That doesn't mean they are all that way. Individual budgets play a big part of all our tool sets. I started faceting and lapidary with a small budget as well my tools were all used 70's and 80's machines still have many of them and use to this day.
I had a used arbor unit I restored and thought I would upgrade the wheels to a Nova wannabe for a third of the price than actual Nova wheels, I was set to go I saved over 650$. Then it was time to try them out, whowww what a feeling of the Monster Truck Indoor Dirt Rally. Imagine the feeling of placing your hands against the tire of these trucks spinning at 1725 rpm. Got flat spots yep lots of them and there big too.. Then they tell you that you have to wear them in first before they work, what they actually mean is you have to break (wear) them in (out).
As you move into more costly rough that nightmare stray diamond can be the matter of making a little money or loosing a lot of time and money. One large scratch across the table or pair of joining facets of a smaller stone of expensive rough can be a matter of re-cutting the whole stone to fix and that means loosing weight and size.

Anyway I wasn't advocating that toppers are all bad in any way.

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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:40 pm 
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Thomas, was this 600 diamond powder or a 600 diamond compound. Because powder floats in air suspended and if not careful can get almost anywhere near where you open and use the container, where compounds are more controllable. I have not not watched many of the ultra-tec videos your speaking of.

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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:53 pm 
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glhays, the recommendation was to use a DiaStik, not powder - my apologies for the confusion. So the Crystalite Standard is a topper bonded to aluminum, and the Solid Steel are simply steel laps with embedded diamond? Do I have that right? I see some disdain for topper laps, it looks like I should focus on the Solid Steel?

Precision Gems, I would love to buy a sintered lap but the extra spend would put this out of my budget until the later future. The recommendation for a 600 diamond with BATT came from late 2019.

So it looks like my new recommended list (thanks 1bwana1, glhays and Precision Gems) is:

325 plated (Crystalite brand - Solid Steel?)
600 plated (Crystalite brand - Solid Steel?)
BATT lap with 3000||8000 diamond compound for pre-polish
Darkside lap with CrO2 and 50k+ diamond compound

Does that look about right? I'm looking for the most minimal set that will get me the most coverage right now.

Thank you,
Thomas


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:50 pm 
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Browse to https://store.abrasive-tech.com/Catalog.aspx?CatalogID=68

Crystalite "The Standard" yes a topper adhered to a master aluminum lap, but they are high quality laps. I use the 1200 in lue of my $550 1200 sintered lap, it has a quarter(money) size section about a half an inch in from the edge where it apparently has some bad diamond that didn't first appear until down the road, so even the expensive ones can have issues.

Solids are heavy laps and yes diamond plated, I do not use or have used Crystalite "Solid" but have a set of PolyPros from Poly-Metric a little less quality than the Crystalite brand I assume, they work just fine and have had a long time just like Precision mentioned they can last a long time with care and keeping them dry when not being used.

My suggestion would be

260 or 360, 600 Crystalite "The Standard" if buy direct they are going to run you $175-200 each. Solids are pretty much the same with Crystalite. Why I went with PolyPros about a third that price. Like Precision also said we all have different standards and methods. Like someone else said you will eventually end up with a museum of laps unless you go deep in the beginning with quality.

Batt for 3k or 8k, remember there is an option with Batts as they are a dual sided lap, but not all think its a good idea to use both sides with different sizes.

I would not go the Darkside with cerium as many newbies find them very hard to get a polish with, they do work but you really have to have them dialed in to get them to polish quickly, but maybe think about the Matrix or Dominatrix, you can still use cerium oxide and or diamond, and the Matrix is probably better choice to start.

Seriously think to include one of any of these Batt, Tin+, Zinc+ for 50-60k diamond on its own.

Your budget is going to dictate your choices here.

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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:01 pm 
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So I've seen some comments about toppers and based on a quick look at prices, it sounds like a master lap + toppers should be relatively cheap and allow me to get a more granular range of grits (260,325,600,1200) for an equal price to my previous list.

Does anyone have any quality topper brand recommendations? Is this a bad idea?

Regarding Dominatrix, I am a bit leery of doing a banded lap first starting out because I think it would make it too easy to slip up, given the 4" radius. Perhaps I'm overreacting, but it makes me nervous that I'll ruin a stone. Is that unjustified?

Thank you,
Thomas


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 Post subject: Re: Interested in the hobby, greetings and questions
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:00 am 
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I just wanted to chime in with some experience stories as well. When I started faceting, much of my knowledge came from this forum including Arya's videos. I started with a batt and 600 diastik thinking that I had really learned from my elders and jumpstarted my ability to cut amazing stones.

Looking back, I honestly think that was the worst piece of advice I was given. Aside from contamination possibility which was never really a problem for me, cutting on a 600 grit embedded batt lap takes FOREVER, like hours longer than the 10 minutes of cutting 8 mains from rough should.

Also when you are a beginner, you don't have a good sense of how to charge a polishing lap or how long things should take, so for me it was quite easy to get into a horrible workflow that took unnecessarily long hours, wasn't efficient, and wasn't really cost effective either because topper laps do a good enough Job for beginners and are so cheap they're practically disposable. The money used for Buying an extra batt lap for 600 would be better saved so you can buy a sintered lap once you know you are really going to stick with cutting.

Just my 2 cents. Currently using a 320 plated or topper to a 600 sintered to a dominatrix with 3000k on batt and 60k on the matrix part and its really fast, really easy, and gives a good polish. I added a darkside for oxides and might add a Dia Z+ for harder stones because I think the dominatrix is a little slower than I wish. With 2 polishing laps you can do everything really well and really fast.

Good luck

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