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June 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm #48072
Nobody seems to be posting anything. As complex as watches and watches are there should be dozens of people posting comments, ideas, and free advice. Is anybody making their own gears, pivots, mainsprings, stems and so on. Is anybody interested in making these parts or do they simply want to purchase and replace them. Has anybody attempted to make a watch case with metal spinning? This is interesting stuff so how come no one seems to be interested?
DavidJune 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm #50724
It might just be because its summer. I’ve been trying to get to watches but we have this mail strike up here that has kept some vital tooling at the suppliers. Me I’m still trying to get my Ingraham clock running so I can clear off my bench. I finally made up an escapement wheel from another Ingraham movement. First real lathe work I’m pretty proud of that. Now to the get the wheel and anchor adjusted to run. It seems it either to lock or skip. I guess that is what keeps us challenged.
SteveJune 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm #50725
I have not seen a lot of activity on these posts and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is because of summer or perhaps a lot of people just are not interested. I spent close to 30 years of my life in manufacturing and have a small machine shop of my own. Almost all of the parts we made over the years were much larger and heavier than watch parts. The smallness of watch parts has an appeal to me, mostly due to space limitations, however, as I get older, I do not enjoy lifting heavy parts anymore. For example a 175 pound lathe chuck, a 75 pound vice, a 350 pound shaft and so on. I am quite new to watches but I am reading some books about watch repair that I ordered off of Ebay.
The machining methods that Bob Tascione uses are somewhat unfamilar to me. Most of the parts I made in the past were made to numbers. The methods of making watch parts, at least on a repair level, seem to be more art than science. When you look at a watchmakers lathe with a tool rest there aren’t any dials. To me this means that a part can be made to fit another part such as a pivot to a jewel but it may not be interchangable in another similar watch. I certainly have a lot to learn.
Recently I took an old pocket watch apart and it was missing a mainspring. I am going to attempt to make a new one. I could probably hunt one down from a supplier but I want the learning experience. Since I do not have a worn spring to go on I had to calculate the dimensions. If I am correct the spring should be .006 inches thick and 23 inches long. I will let you know how it comes out.
DavidJune 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm #50726
I wish I had a machining background. Sounds like we are at about the same level with watches. I’m still trying to get the tooling. I was at the NW NAWCC regional last month in Portland and bought some tools. In the thrown in misc stuff was a watch spring gauge for determining mainspring sizes. I had no idea what it was at the time but found in in my De Carle watch repair book You might be able to find one on Ebay. I’m sure they aren’t expensive. Speaking of books the De Carle book on watch repair is really good. I got mine on Amazon for $15. Also the Joseph Bulova Watch School book is excellent.
I hear you about the wonder of those little parts. My wife bought a older Omega ladies watch at the NW Regional. I couldn’t wait to get it home so I could look in side. Beautiful engineering. It will be awhile before I tackle it. My background is aircraft maintenance mostly on big round piston engines. We didn’t exactly work with sledge hammers on them but it was darn close.
I just did my first clock repair using my Unimat lathe. I had an escapement wheel that turned opposite to what I needed. I carefully cut away the staked side and flipped it over. I tried restaking it onto the pivot shaft but had to use solder. Not pretty but it worked and the movement is now running strong.
SteveJune 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm #50727Bob TascioneModerator
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Hi David and Steve,
I ducked out for awhile as I’ve been relocating my equipment and am in the process of setting everything back up now. Not fun!
Yes summers are much slower in the U.S. Picks up a bit in Australia and other countries moving into their winters.
There are quite a few people that are online course members that are into making watch and clock parts. I’m not too sure how many of those people are members of the forum though. Only a small percentage of the online course members have registered for the forum. Got to work on that I suppose.
David if you haven’t already purchased Watchmaking by George Daniels it’s a book I think you would really enjoy. Not cheap but well worth the price.
Much of the work you’ll do on a watchmakers lathe is done with hand gravers but not all. You’re right about t-rest work. It’s amazing what you can do free handing on a t-rest. Watchmakers lathe cross slides are calibrated as well as milling attachments, swing centers etc. Stops can be set up for duplicating parts and travel indicators can always be used. When restoring watches only one part is usually needed though so doing exactly what you said in your post is the best and quickest option.
BobJune 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm #50728
You can beef up your Unimat by using a 7/8ths horsepower motor removed from a small shaper that Harbor Freight sells for about $100.00. It is the same physical size as the Unimat motor and far more powerful.The motor can be purchased separately as a repair item for a lot less money but you need to pull their repair manual up on the internet in order to get the part number. The direction of the motor must be reversed and this can be done by taking the motor apart and reversing the leads on the brushes. The motor is extremely powerful and will require a router S.C.R. speed controller also available from Harbor Freight for a low cost. With this modification you can turn, mill and drill steel without the machine stalling out. You will have to make an adapter plate to attach the motor to the pulley casting but you can use the Unimat for this. The old motor is horribly underpowered and can be stored away in case you decide to sell the machine someday. Unimat had a WW spindle available and you might be able to find one for sale on Ebay.
DavidJune 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm #50729
Hey David thanks for the tip.
Shortly after purchasing the lathe the motor original motor failed. I purchased another one from Toms Tools but as you mention its weak and I heard they were designed for intermittent use only. I try to stop and let it cool down but its difficult when you are working on a project.
SteveJuly 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm #50730
I checked the Harbor Freight website but couidn’t locate a shaper. Is the shaper a flex shaft grinding tool?
SteveJuly 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm #50731
It is a small shaper. It should be listed with their woodworking machinery. Note that it is not a router table, it is a small shaper. I will try and look it up for you and see if I can give you the part number for the motor.
DavidJuly 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm #50732
I looked at the Harbor Freight website and could not find the machine. I found a listing for it on the Grizzly Tools website but the machine is now discontinued. You should still be able to purchase the motor assembly as a repair item. The part number is p8693056 and the listed price is $101.75. Contact Grizzly Tools and see if you can purchase it. It may take awhile if it is on backorder but it will make your lathe run the way a lathe should run and will be well worth the wait.
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