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 Post subject: The DARKSIDE Experience
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:44 pm 
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I know it's early, but I'm interested in comments on the new Gearloose lap. I've polished one crown with it, using CeO, and am impressed. For this novice, who almost never uses charged CeO, it seems easier to use than anything other than an Ultralap.

Any tips from the experts?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:25 am 
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Quote:
I know it's early, but I'm interested in comments on the new Gearloose lap. I've polished one crown with it, using CeO, and am impressed. For this novice, who almost never uses charged CeO, it seems easier to use than anything other than an Ultralap.


I would not expect any action for another week or three. The lap has only been out fifteen days, and most people would want to cut a dozen, two dozen, three dozen stones before they would want to put their reputation on a posting.

Over the years, we have all seen the "I cut one stone once using the following proceedure/product, and it worked great" posts that have later disappointed people. It took nearly a year before many believed the BATT would do the job.

Only when there is a body of reproducible results from many people do things begin to really roll, and this is not going to be any different. This is really as it should be, though of course I would like it to be otherwise.(!)

Other than that, my comments should have no value at all. Have you EVER heard a manufacturer or dealer say they have something mediocre? So I will be in line with everyone else awaiting comments, and shall shut up till then.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:21 pm 
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Gearloose wrote:
Quote:
I know it's early, but I'm interested in comments on the new Gearloose lap. I've polished one crown with it, using CeO, and am impressed. For this novice, who almost never uses charged CeO, it seems easier to use than anything other than an Ultralap.


I would not expect any action for another week or three. The lap has only been out fifteen days, and most people would want to cut a dozen, two dozen, three dozen stones before they would want to put their reputation on a posting.


That's the advantage of not having a reputation!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:45 pm 
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Hi lapcorner,

Quote:
Gearloose wrote:
Quote:
I know it's early, but I'm interested in comments on the new Gearloose lap. I've polished one crown with it, using CeO, and am impressed. For this novice, who almost never uses charged CeO, it seems easier to use than anything other than an Ultralap.


I would not expect any action for another week or three. The lap has only been out fifteen days, and most people would want to cut a dozen, two dozen, three dozen stones before they would want to put their reputation on a posting.


Well, I will say that after cutting and polishing this Quartz,
Image
@80.70cts. 26.5x26.5mm. on my XS3, polished with "Darkside™" & cerium, I like the results!
I too use the ultras for Quartz. So lived with less than flat finishes. Good enough for most, however was never really thrilled.
The Flat even polish from cerium on "Darkside™" was pretty amazing for me. I had to really look at it, allot, not used to the flatness and sharp facet edges or junctions on my Quartz gems. Try a larger table like this one, polish came up Pretty quick as well and again nice and flat, (No polish lines,swirls,blemishes etc) just even clean polished surface.

I wanted to try this new Lap specifically for Quartz polished with cerium. I cut plenty of it because it is what sells well for me. Looks like I have my new "go-to" polishing combo for the "bread & butter".

Gearloose wrote:
Quote:
....before they would want to put their reputation on a posting. ....


Well I figure that Honesty is by far the "Finest" reputation. So the above is merely my honest opinion of the results I achieved with this product.
Technique and expectations may differ for each individuals outcome.
For now I will get back to cutting, more testers
8)

John


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:56 pm 
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John -- do you have any experience with the Pol-A-Gem laps?

I find them better than the Ultralap where rounding is concerned and am curious how they compare to the Darkside.

(Great smokey BTW!)

peter

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:26 pm 
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Hi Peter,

Thanks

Quote:
John -- do you have any experience with the Pol-A-Gem laps?

I find them better than the Ultralap where rounding is concerned and am curious how they compare to the Darkside.


Sorry no experiences with the pol-a-gem lap.

I have over the years tried many for polishing Quartz,
Lucite, Phenolic, Last, Fast, some that were aluminum discs with a spray can of cerium to coat, I can't off-hand list the others I have used or tried to polish Quartz.
I guess since the ultras worked for me better than the others, I just got in my rut and never looked further.

Since I tried and now use a "Batt™" to polish many Gem materials with Diamond with Super results, I was intrigued with the possibility of a "new" lap to polish with oxide namely cerium for my Quartz.

Mr. Gearloose has produced several winners, so it was natural to try this one, and at 85./lap why not? I figured that I could always use it with Diamond if the Cerium finish was not to my liking. Guess you can use it for both and alternate between Oxide & Diamond?
I like the Cerium results, so no Diamond on this one! :D

Look forward to hearing others thoughts!

John


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:22 pm 
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Quote:
Guess you can use it for both and alternate between Oxide & Diamond?
I like the Cerium results, so no Diamond on this one!


It's the user's call. You can switch back and forth, though, from oxide to diamond polish 50K or finer, because the polish particle sizes are compatible. Wash off the oxide with detergent like 409 or Fantasik, rinse, and spin dry. Give it a light wipe with a WD4 tissue to depolarize it for diamond, then go ahead.

To switch to oxide, wash off the oils and rinse as above to polarize the lap for oxides..etc.etc.

As long as you stick to the polish sizes you are fine. Never mix coarser and finer grit sizes though. It will bite you sooner or later.
If keeping a lap dedicated to oxides furnishes a comfort and convenience level, that's understandable. I only use oxides for problem quartzes, myself...though some people say ALL quartzes are problems. :lol:

I think it will be entertaining and amusing when you try one with diamond.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:47 pm 
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I have been using the Darkside for 2 months. I have cut sapphire, tourmaline , garnet , beryl, zircon and spinel. Cut preform on 600 Bat , cut facets on 1200 bat, pre-polish 3000 darkside and 50 K Darkside finish polish. I have not used oxides on the Darkside. The finished stone is excellent, I cannot find any difference from using all Batt laps for pre-polish and polish, which I have been using for 2 years. If you are not to fussy, the 3000 finish is great. The Darkside seems to hold the diamond very well. I also use turbo Fan A 5 which also is a great lap for polishing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Try cutting a whole stone and you be the judge. Dave


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:17 pm 
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A note on polishing with CeO on the Darkside. I was seeing some edge rounding, until Gearloose told me to go light. It needs very little oxide, only a mist of water, and very light pressure. I was using too much pressure.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:05 pm 
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Hi AlBalmer,

Quote:
A note on polishing with CeO on the Darkside. I was seeing some edge rounding, until Gearloose told me to go light. It needs very little oxide, only a mist of water, and very light pressure. I was using too much pressure.


Just finished a Good sized Clear Quartz (finished gem posted on "off the dop" thread), cut it from 260 to 600 topper (brand new not even broken in) then straight to Darkside with Cerium for polish. I would normally have gone to 1200 before polish, however this was a "test" and it worked Great!
Image
Here is mid pavilion polishing, mains done, Barion girdles done in contrast to 600 Facets still to polish. I also loaded up with plenty of Cerium I mean PLENTY.
I pushed pretty hard, and got flat finish with nice sharp edges, so guess it also depends on size of facets being polished as to amount of pressure required. The table of this finished Oval must be a couple square inches surface area, it took a bit more effort than the other facets :D .
Polish is super!

John


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:16 pm 
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About how long did it take to do that?

I would be especially interested in a guesstimated breakdown on how long to cut and how long to polish and also how long to polish the table facet.

I currently use the spectra myself but I am always interested in better and faster.

Ever used the Lightning lap on the cerium side? (I have not but I am curious.)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:52 pm 
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Hi John,

Quote:
About how long did it take to do that?


Whole stone start to finish?

Truth........not as long as when I was using a worn 600 which is probably more like a 3000 or finer. Maybe 5 hours total if you take account for beer breaks. (This was a "test" for fun) ':smt067' Sunday day Off? Right BTW Vikings Won today hurah!


Quote:
I would be especially interested in a guesstimated breakdown on how long to cut and how long to polish and also how long to polish the table facet.


Cut 4 hours, polish 1 hours ( including table facet 15 minutes +/-) Most of the facets polished out in under 60 seconds from 600 (pre-polish) to done.

Quote:
I currently use the spectra myself but I am always interested in better and faster.


Better & Faster? For myself personally, both.

Quote:
Ever used the Lightning lap on the cerium side?


No never tried that one. Happy for now, unless I can be shown better? :D

I do believe that since I have been using my XS3 faceting machine, I have for the first time in 20 + years been cutting Flat Flat facets. (this is stone # 3 on XS3 so speed and results may improve in time). So equipment in my case is a major part of recent success. All Happy! :D

John


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:33 am 
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The obvious difference between the Cerium Oxide Vargas, or Pol-A-Gem lap sold by Jerry Newman and the Cerium Oxide coated Lightning Lap sold by Marsh Howard is the colour. Pol-A-Gem is pink and LL is white. Although the accepted standard CeO is the white or 'french' the pink which is normally shunned by faceters has none of the characteristics of the powder.

The not so obvious difference is the LL CeO coating is very thin and intended to be temporary. It is suggested that the lap be maintained with added white CeO. I found that CeO works just as well on the uncoated side so if it does wear off or get removed somehow it won't make that much difference to the way the lap works.

The Pol-A-Gem is identical as far as I can tell, in both the time to obtain a polish and the amount of facet edge rounding. To compare I would say they are both certainly much faster than a lucite lap and with less facet rounding.

For a dedicated Quartz lap I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Pol-A-Gem. It has a coating thick enough to allow resurfacing, it runs cooler than the LL and it functions efficiently 99 percent of the time with the addition of nothing but water.

The Lightning Lap has so many other tricks up it's sleeve it shouldn't be considered as a dedicated Quartz lap.

I have had miserable results with those floppy film laps which if they didn't rip to pieces they always rounded my facets horribly and seemed to take forever doing it.

I've had satisfying results with Aluminium Oxide on my 200k diamond BATT and can't help wondering if or how a Darkside would be an improvement.

Tony.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:56 am 
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Quote:
I've had satisfying results with Aluminium Oxide on my 200k diamond BATT and can't help wondering if or how a Darkside would be an improvement.


Same here. I had told a couple of my commercial testers, "It's not a BATT™, and I do not expect the edges to be as sharp, so it is not going to replace the BATT™."
The purpose of the new lap was to DO SOMETHING about these #!*&# tin prices, and to get away from the charging process that has often been frustrating for some new faceters.
However, being heavy-handed, myself, I was using too much pressure on the Darkside™. So, I got a phone call from one of the cutters, "What are you talking about? I am going to show you some stones today. I am not even using my BATTs any more."
(I found that somewhat..well..insulting. This was supposed to be an easy-to-use affordable lap, not a replacement for anything. It was supposed to give people an alternative to a chargable metal lap.)
A tester who runs a faceting school has bought more than a dozen of them to date for the user-friendly aspect of them.

It would make me sad to stop making BATT™s. They were my first hit, and I have the process and tooling down so it is enjoyable to make them.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:21 am 
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TheGemDr wrote:


The Pol-A-Gem is identical as far as I can tell, in both the time to obtain a polish and the amount of facet edge rounding. To compare I would say they are both certainly much faster than a lucite lap and with less facet rounding.

For a dedicated Quartz lap I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Pol-A-Gem. It has a coating thick enough to allow resurfacing, it runs cooler than the LL and it functions efficiently 99 percent of the time with the addition of nothing but water.

Tony.


Thanks Tony, that is a help! I wish you had tried the Darkside too so I could hear what you have to say about it too! I honestly don't care if my lap costs me $30 to even $100 more if it produces faster or better results.

For that very reason I think I am going to get a BA5T for what I am currently doing with a BATT (topaz polishing) as they say it is faster and just as good, the only downside (that I have heard) being a bit more upfront cost. But since I do this for a living time is $!

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