Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This is the end, Year 1

I have finished my first year of watch school at NSCC.  My school watch remains incomplete and I will have to finish fabricating it next year some time.  I have learned a great deal throughout this year and am looking forward to the heightened challenge of the second year.The second year is more focused on theory and troubleshooting/repairing watches.  There are 2 more SAWTA tests to complete along with the CW21 at the end of the year.  Much of the year will be spent preparing for those certifications. 

Now I have just over a month to relax and regroup before the next step begins.  I'll be posting again starting October, see you then! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


The last machining operation on the 3/4 plate is to cut out the recess for the sliding and winding pinions.   I disliked the lathe mill setup for this work because it was clunky and obstructed view of the work.   In living up to my own personal motto of 'doing what I can with what I got where I am' I turned one of the precision drill presses into a mill by securing the slide rest from the Levin lathe to the drilling platform.  
Then the only remaining hurdle was to find a way to affix the watch plate to the slide rest.   I accomplished this by fashioning a brass clamp out of scrap metal which can be fitted into a tool holder.   This all worked much better than expected.  

UPDATE:  After attempting on the actual plate, there was just too much drift due to the flexing of the plate.  It rendered the part functional, but not to a standard I wished to achieve.  I am not giving up on this method however, next time the plate just needs to be reinforced by sandwiching it with another piece of metal to prevent the flexing.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

School watch

Have one side of the plate turned out on the lathe.   What remains is the upper side recesses and final dimensioning.  Then the plate can be cut out and installed.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Balance Staff & School Watch Project

For the last 2 weeks I have been working on turning out a balance staff.  It was a largely trial and error process, and I needed to expand on my techniques from my previous efforts to achieve a finer level of finish on the staff itself.  I found that using a very low speed on the lathe and a carbine insert cutter provided the best cutting results.  Then I was able to polish and burnish the surfaces to a fine finish.  After many, many attempts I have a working staff which is quite nice. 

There are only 2 weeks of class left this year and during this time I am going to start (and hopefully complete) my school watch project.  The goal here is to create a 3/4 plate for a 6497 movement from scratch.  I will upload pictures when it is complete.

The balance wheel after I cut out the old staff

Lathe work with the carbide cutter

Apparatus M, pivot burnishing machine

New staff riveted to the old wheel

A graveyard of failures