Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Balance Scaffold

Today I finished up my balance scaffold.  This allows one to safely access the underside of the balance wheel while it is still attached to the bridge and hairspring for dynamic poising operations.  The balance bridge sits on the middle plate and the balance wheel is secured to the top block using the pivoting arm.  It's a cool tool and was fun to build.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Screw it!

My screwdriver is complete!  It is made totally from scratch and in about 4 hours.  I think it turned out quite nicely.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Taking Care of Business

I've been manufacturing like a madman so far this week.  In just two days I have completed the below tools.  They include a full set of hand pushers (delrin tips, aluminum handles), an ETAChron stud adjusting tool (bottom left) an eccentric tool (top left) and a set of KIF shock spring tools (middle, polycarbonate)

I am also 90% of the way through building a 3.50mm screwdriver out of aluminum, so far I'm very pleased with how it has turned out.  Once I install the blade I will post a picture of the finished piece.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I finished the hammer spring this morning, it functions flawlessly! I am extremely pleased that I don't have to brave another attempt at manufacturing the spring.  The only change I had to make here was to take some material off of the back side of the spring to allow for clearance of the minute pawl--an operation that was easily accomplished.

More springs?

My grandmother gave me one of my grandfathers old wristwatches a while back.  The case and crown are pretty much destroyed but the movement is in good condition.  The only thing wrong was that the set lever jumper arm had broken off.  Because I had finished making that same part for the 6497 I spent the first couple hours today manufacturing a replacement for it.  It turned out quite well I think, and now the watch if back to full functionality--or will be when I replace the balance assembly that I may have inadvertently destroyed.

My next task is to attempt to manufacture a hammer spring for an Omega 321 chronograph movement.  Several attempts have been made by students over the last couple years with no success...we will see if my technique turns out a useable part.  The finish on the spring isn't the difficult part as the movement doesn't have a super high-level finish.  The trick with the manufacturing of this spring is that it is very long and extremely thin which makes the final dimensioning difficult.  Another hurdle is that getting the correct angle and locating the steady-pins without the original part is going to be hit and miss.  I have nearly completed my first attempt but I anticipate another couple tries before I have a winner.  We shall see.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Semester Nears Completion

We've two and a half weeks left until the end of the Winter quarter which will mark the 1/4 mark in my watchmaking education at NSCC.  I have already learned a great deal and have noticed that my proficiency in manufacturing, manual dexterity and coordination have improved tremendously. 
Today our assignment was to construct two parts for an ETA 6497.  We were to make a yoke and a set lever jumper.  The yoke engages and moves the sliding pinon which either drives the winding of the mainspring or the setting of the hands; the set level jumper locates the set-lever and by extension the yoke in either position.
It took all day but I was able to finish in just one day.  The process was fairly straight forward, I took the existing parts and superglued them on a piece of steel plate and used them as a template to saw out a rough approximation.  Once this was complete I filed the profile to shape then secured them to the plate adapter for my screwhead polisher with shellac and applied a polish in that manner.
After test fitting the parts I made adjustments with fine sandpaper to the profile of the shapes before applying a polish to the edges with micron paper.
Now that those are complete my next task is to construct a smaller piece for one of my grandfathers old wrist watches.  The part is much smaller and the metal is considerably thinner which should provide an additional challenge.  I'll post my results once I finish.

Secured to the polisher plate
The polisher in use
The completed parts