I get this question at least a couple of times a week – people want to get started in faceting and they want to get the “best” machine…
If I were a new driver, and I came to you and asked “what is the BEST automobile?” – what would your answer be?
If there really were one “best” then wouldn’t everyone buy the “best” one, and the non-bests would go out of business?
The reputable manufacturers I know all think their machine is the “best” – and they should: They’re excellent engineers and machinists who take pride in their designs and workmanship – and what their machines do. That’s why there are actually several creative interpretations of “best” – both in cars and in faceting machines.
Like cars, once you get past the clunkers and lemons, the distinctions are in the details of personal preferences. And, each one is a compromise of SOMETHING because *I* didn’t design and build it – based on my latest needs and habits.
For around town, I’d like an electric plug-in car; but hauling mining equipment is better done with a diesel pickup. And, I don’t care about the sound-system – I want an adjustable seat and a quiet ride.
It’s the same with faceting machines. I use the one I use because of all the compromises available, it fills the more of my personal likes – and has less of my personal dislikes – like the difference between the Dodge diesel and the Ford.
Instead of looking for “the best” faceting machine – look for the “best” one FOR YOU and your needs. If the company has been around for a decade or more; if they appear to have a significant market share; and if you can get the manufacturer on the phone, the machine is probably reasonably serviceable – and accessories, part,s and service are probably available.
Past that, find someone who cuts on the machine you’re researching and ask them what they like – and what they’d change – and why. Go to Tucson, or another show, if you can, and put your hands on a model – kick the tires – check the finish and fit of the components – and move the controls around to see how the thing works. That experience should be like climbing inside a Rolex – everything snug and smooth – no rattles or wobbles.
Price for such a machine is going to begin very close to $2,000.00 these days, and go up from there – and if you ever visit one of the factories you’ll see what goes into making these beautiful instruments.
If you happen to find a used machine, and you’re new to faceting, I recommend sending the machine to the factory for a refurb before cutting on it. Most manufacturers will do a really generous tune-up for a bargain price.