Gears that don’t move?

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  • #48182
    watchfixer
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 13

    How in the world does a person get the gears to stay in place? After I set one end of the axles back in the body of the watch, then try to put the top plate back on, everything moves out of place. Just bump one gear, they all move. Any suggestions??? I also ordered a 10x stereoscopic magnifier that looks like what surgeons use. It is a pair of glasses with loupes for both eyes that can be adjusted on the frame. It also has LED illumination for each loupe. The seller has two models, one is 10x, the other is 20x. If I like how the 10x is, I will be ordering the 20x also. I’ll post a review on here once the device comes in. I’m sure that everyone has a problem with magnification. I got my first watch working! I’m currently on my second one, but got held up trying to find out what a Yoke Spring is, and where it goes. I had to browse internet for two weeks to find something on it. I think I know now. Also, I downloaded 45 books from google books on watch & clock repair & making. All of them were FREE!!! Although, the books are very old, I guess the principles are still about the same as they are today? So far the BEST book I have found, which I paid money for is called “Simplified Mechanical Watch Repair for Profit” by Dan Gendron. This book has the best explanation of watches out of anything I have seen anywhere! After reading the book twice, now everything is starting to make sense! I highly recommend getting this book. But still, every book or site still lacks big time on beginners information. Such as… sharpening screw drivers and what tool to use. No one really shows any videos on how to sharpen them. Such as, no one really shows how to get the top plate back on without gears moving. I would think that with this technology being around for such a long time that their seems to be no clear or detailed instruction anywhere. Am I the only one encountering these problems. I also discovered on my first watch how important it is to take pictures, and do very detailed drawings, labeling parts as they go in to parts bins. Am I over looking something here, or in the videos, on these kind of things?

    #51093
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    I had the very same problems with clocks in the begining, one reason why I bought Bobs online course. I would spend hours trying to find out what some of the substances used in horology were. Crocus paper is a prime example, try and find that! As bob said in his video, read as many books as you can, I cant say there is one specific book I would recomend because every book has a certain amount of content which helps to make things clearer. What a great idea for our own horological dictionary, If every member put in a description of an item they had to investigate once per day we would soon have something very useful, not sure how bob would go about making it easily searchable though?
    example;
    Crocus Paper – A very fine abbrasive paper used for the final fine polish of metal objects, currently very hard to find a supplier and there must be some form of modern alternative. Used by calligraphers for cleaning pen knibs – (well, used to be used by them until it had stopped being made).

    Thats funny, just checked on google and now info is coming up, Meadows and Passmore do an alternative and the nearest thing is grade 4/0 emery paper! The last BHI meeting I went to had one of the guys giving a talk, going on about using it as if it was an everyday thing. Still having trouble finding info on left-handed hammers, Sky hooks and a long weight. :)

    #51094
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Let me start by saying I am no expert and the gears you talk about do want to move, especially in wristwatches I have been working on. What I do is get them set then put top plate on. When doing that look first and there is usually something that will help you line things up. After that I find one or two of the gears are fairly easy to get set. A couple of them can be a bear at times but if you look at the movement from the side you will see how they are leaning. After that I kind of keep gentle pressure on top plate with a finger and then gently manipulate them in place with small screwdriver. After time you will feel them set. Be careful not to break pivots. There may be better tricks but thats how I manage. I had a link on how to set the drive train on an accutron that had this technique pictured but I can no longer find it. If you search accutron drive train repair you may be able to find it yourself.
    Charles K

    #51095
    watchfixer
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 13

    Just setting the gears in place is bad enough. If I accidentally bump one they all move. I haven’t even gotten to the part of putting the top plate on when I can’t even get the gears to stay put in the bottom. I’m sure that if I were dealing with a pocket watch it would be so much easier, but I’m not! I have about 10 watches where the movement is no bigger than a quarter, and the smallest about the size of a dime. I was hoping that putting oil in the holes would maybe cause the axels to stay in place, no such luck. I will eventually get the thing put back together, it will just take hours, just like on the 1st watch that I did. I was just wondering is their an easier way to do this?

    On another note, the stereoscopic magnifying glasses, that I mention in my previous post, are crap! I’m going to have to modify the frame so I can individually adjust the aiming. While looking at an object with the right eye, the left eye is aimed about 1/2 inch to the left of what the right eye is viewing. I’m going to build a new frame with adjustment screws, 4 of them 90 degrees apart, so I can turn the screws to move the lens. Once I get this taken care of it will end up being a great $15 investment. These mag glasses are just cheap junk from China that someone here in the USA is selling. As it comes out of the box it is unusable, unless you keep one eye closed, which defeats the purpose of buying it to begin with. It would just be nice to be able to use both eyes, and when I am done modifying it, I will be! Once the mod is done, I will post pictures here.

    #51096
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    I also work on smaller movements. One trick is to place larger wheels first. Start with center wheel. It goes all the way through movement and will stay in place. Then just go in order and put escapement wheel in last if possible. For me center wheel helps keep others stable. Don’t know about using the oil to hold shafts in place. Didn’t mean to imply that it was easy. The smaller the movement the lighter weight the gears the harder it is to keep them in place. Maybe Bob knows a better trick he could share. Might try rodico on outside of bottom plate to hold pivots in place as they extend through jewel a bit but then I would worry if all rodico could be cleaned out afterward. Also would worry about what side of jewels you oil particular watch from as rodico would clean it out. I just thought of this so it’s probably not good idea but I’m sometimes fearless or dumb so if I was practicing on my own watch and couldn’t think of anything else I would give it a try. The escapment wheel is always the one that wants to move on me. I just did an eta 2836 and that one was the dickins to keep in place and to line up with top plate. Sorry I wasn’t much help.

    Charles K

    #51097
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
    • Total Posts: 594

    This is my first post to this forum.
    I bought Bob’s lessons a couple of years ago now, and have been slowly advancing ever since.

    I would say that you are on the right track in that you are reading all that you can on the subject, as it will help you to put all of the pieces of watch-breaking together for you.
    It will also help to decipher old terms ( Like Arutha discovered ) into newer materials that have replaced the old mediums.

    Now to your problem,
    I would not use oil to hold the train wheels in place. You only want the slightest amount of oil in each jewel cup, and to get enough viscosity “drag” to hold them, you’d have waaaaay more than you want as a final result.
    Charles is right about the Rodico as well,..too great a risk that you would leave some behind.

    Awhile back, I found some old tools on EBAY that included a couple of old curved wire tools with ornate brass handles
    I realized after awhile that they were slim enough and curved to reach inside between the movement plates so that you could “nudge” the wheels into place.
    I’ve since seen other versions, some were labeled “pinion setters” or “pinion tools”.
    Screwdrivers can work,.but they can also leave small marks on the shafts if you aren’t careful.
    I start like Charles does,..with the center wheel,..then trying to get the 3rd, fourth and escapement wheel to drop in.
    A lot of this is trial/error. You will develop methods that work for you better than another.
    Watch to make sure that you aren’t relying on special tools too much, unless you need to .
    A good loupe, and good lighting are “key” in this industry.

    When all else fails,..Bourbon helps to steady your hands !!!!

    Best of luck,..hope some of this helped.

    Randy

    #51098
    jim1228
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 75

    Hello,
    This would be my suggestion on this subject. I get all the gears in place making sure that they are not upside down. Otherwise one will knock the other out of place. Once i see that they are all seated, i carefully place the plate on over the gears lining it up the best i can. Then, (I don’t recommend this to everyone unless you have good steady hands) I pick up the movement and bring it just under my lamp getting the best light possible. I use a 5X loupe and a #5 dumont tweezer. Dumont #5’s have a very fine point. I very slightly barely touch each gear manipulating them into there pivot holes. The reason i hold it in my hand rather than do it with the movement on the table is, it makes it easier for me to rotate the movement giving me a better view of all the gears. One important rule for me is: The moment i get the strong feeling of frustration,i put everything down and walk away for a while. Alot of times when i come back and try again my focus seems to be more in tune and before i know it, i get it. You might have to walk away more than once. 😆

    Good Luck
    Jim

    #51099
    watchfixer
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 13

    I think everyone is missing what I am saying… Just putting the gears in place on the main body of the watch is the first problem. If I even bump one gear with another both of them get knocked out of place. I have 4 gears that I am trying to place. I managed to put them all in the pivot holes twice. However, if I even make it this far they still get knocked out of place when trying to put the top plate on. If only I could find a way to make the gears stay in place on the main body then maybe I might be able to have half a chance of putting the top plate on.

    I’m going to make a miniature spring hook so I can move the axles around under the top plate. I’ll be using a thin guitar string with the very end bent in a “C” shape. Then I’ll take a small wooden dowel to make a handle by drilling a small hole in the center. This watch is so small that there is not even a screw driver that can fit in such a tight space. It’s hard enough to even see under the plate at the 4 holes where the axles go. Am I attempting to work on a watch that is too small considering my lack of experience? The movement is a little bit bigger than a quarter. I may just have to work on a few pocket watches until I know what I am doing. I’ve also thought of making a set of clips, kind of like a bobbypin, but using thinner wire, so not to much force is exerted.

    I just wish that someone could tell me a sure fire way to keep the gears in place on the body of the watch!

    #51100
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi WatchFixer,
    Yes starting with a larger movement is a very good idea. Also full plate and 3/4 plate movements are harder to assemble than say, a finger bridge movement.

    Lot’s of excellent suggestions here from everybody on movement assembly.

    If you’re asking if there’s a way to place all of the gears into the bottom plate and keep them straight while putting the top plate on without having to adjust the gears then yes and no.

    First the Yes: When assembling watches in the factory they do sometimes use small fixtures or bars with notches to hold the arbors upright and in place. You see this in modern clock manufacturing. I don’t remember which one but I did see a video up on youtube of cuckoo clocks being assembled at the factory using these locating fixtures. Each assembly fixture is made for one particular movement or caliber.

    The No : As far as I know, for the average watch repairmen like us the answer is pretty much no unless you get lucky. You will need to set the top plate on and work the pivots into the holes as suggested by everyone above. I usually use the same method as Jim and use a fine tipped tweezers and just tap arbors or if I don’t have enough room to reach an arbor I gently grab the edge of a gear and tilt it up or down until the pivot moves into place. The plate will drop slightly but suddenly every time a pivot lines up with a hole. Your idea of making some wire tools with handles is also a very good one.
    It can take a little practice but you’ll get the hang of it I’m sure. Still, it’s easier to practice with a larger movement if possible.
    Hope this helps WatchFixer,
    Bob

    #51101
    watchfixer
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 13

    I decided to move up to something bigger than wrist watches, at least until I get more experienced. I nailed 3 pocket watches off of ebay for a total of $24 for the lot. One is an Ingersol gold watch made in 1908. Last night I disassembled it with absolutely no problem! Working on larger watches is a breeze! I will stick with pocket watches for quite some time, then move back to the pile of smaller ones that I have. I sure do love this kind of work, what a great hobby! People ask me all the time about it, all sorts of questions, and I’m surprised at the number of people wanting me to fix their watches! It could end up being a full time job, but I won’t allow it to do so. It’s true.. “Never let your hobby become your business” it would take all of the fun out of it. Every chance I get I buy more and more tools. A great place to find tweezers at is at a cosmetic store, and at a great price also. I also found that even though it sounds like a good idea to invest in an expensive set of screw drivers, that this just may not be a good option. I have a $5 set from Harbor Freight, they work just fine. I got a good sharpening stone, and the tool that holds them at the proper angle for sharpening. In the two months that I have had this set I’ve only had to sharpen them twice. And when they wear out, I’ll blow another 5 bucks. I found that tempering the blades work just fine. I also want to comment on books. I use an iPad for entertainment, at work, and for reading books. I downloaded 45+ books on clocks/watches from google books for FREE!!! I have more than enough goodies to read now. I suspect that the technology has not changed much in repair work, so even these antique books are still of value! So anyone who has an ebook reader, dig around internet, you will find a boat load of free goodies!

    Anyhow, I’m very excited about my new pocket watches! I plan on fixing the gold one for myself! The other two… one goes to my wife, and the other is going to a best friend. Can you think of a better gift to give someone… something you fixed yourself, and they will treasure for life knowing that YOU fixed it just for them! What a rewarding hobby!!!

    #51102
    watchfixer
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 13

    We need a main spring video that shows everything there is to know about how to measure one, do the ends, tempering, un-tempering, and installation!!!

    #51103
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi WatchFixer,
    I agree. That would be a very good topic for a video. I’ll put it on my list. Thanks for the recommendation and also for the tip on the eBooks in your previous post. That’s a great tip. I put “Clock repair google books” in the search engine and found a lot of books but couldn’t figure out how to find the free ones. Tried “Clock repair free google books” but that didn’t work for me either. Is there a certain url to go to or a search term that will get us to the free stuff? I like free stuff. :)
    Also, congratulations on your pocket watch find. I can tell you’re hooked from your previous post! No turning back now :D
    Keep having fun and thanks again WatchFixer,

    Bob

    #51104
    watchfixer
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 13

    To find the free watch & clock books go to:

    https://play.google.com/store/search?q=watch+repair&c=books&price=1

    On the search box make sure to select FREE
    Then search for the words: clock repair, watch repair, horology

    Use any words that relate to this subject. I found and downloaded 45 books!

    #51105
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Thanks WatchFixer,
    Good info.
    Bob

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