Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week 35 Mar. 21-26, 2011

Last week I finished up the hairspring for the AMS1. It was a lot of work trying to pin the stud at the right length to make the regulator line up in the right spot. But I finally got it and it should just be down to the timing screws on the balance now. So after that I tried to figure out why I wasn't getting enough amplitude in the vertical positions. I made sure everything was clean and mechanically sound but I still had too big of a loss. So after thinking for a while I realized that the new jewel I had ordered was 0.01mm too small and therefore there was not enough sideshake for the one pivot. This was creating the big loss of amplitude and after the pivot was burnished a bit more it now runs great. Actually it was overbanking!! So I had to open the banking pins a little bit to compensate. Now it works great, about 300° in the horizontal and 260-270° in vertical. Just right for this watch. It was nice to finally have it running in a more optimal state so that I could move on with other things.

Next I did a little bit of dynamic poising to get the delta of the vertical positions within a close range. I didn't take it all the way because there are a lot of other things to do before that is really necessary. But it is delta 4-6 already so that's a good start.

Here's just a picture to kind of explain the dynamic poising. The goal is to have the same results in all the vertical positions. So you test the watch in 8 positions and this gives you info on where the balance wheel is heavy. Then you cut (or move) the weight so that it evens out. Sometimes it takes a long time because you have to wait for 10 minutes for each test. But it's pretty simple I think. This is part of the process in making a chronometer certified watch. Of course there are many more things that need to be done for that, but this is a key step.

After that I decided to make the one wheel I had to make for the power reserve system. I had never made a wheel with this type of teeth before but it wasn't too difficult. The wheel is 7.15mm in diameter and has 69 teeth on it. I was limited to a certain number of teeth because of the pinion that the wheel has to mesh with. So anyways, here are some pictures of cutting the wheel...

Wheel blank

And here is where the wheel goes. It meshes with the satellite wheel pinion which has 9 teeth. The satellite wheel turns 7 times so the wheel I made will only turn about 92% of one turn. 

Since that wheel turns less than once, I made a cam which will make contact with a lever holding the power reserve hand. If you are not lost at this point well I am impressed. If you are, well I don't blame you.

Here is the cam I am talking about. I don't have a picture of the lever yet so maybe next week. The cam is connected to the wheel by two pins on the underside of the cam and two holes in the wheel.

Hopefully by next week I'll have the other parts that help make sense of it all. I'll have to make a sequence video of the parts or something to show where they all go and why.

On another note I was at Baselworld again this year. It was awesome to see the independent watchmakers section again. I liked the McGonigle watches the best along with Aaron Bescei from Hungary.

Also it was nice to see Nixon Watches at the show again. Will always be my favorite company and happy to support them. Looks like they have some nice stuff coming out for summer. A couple examples were a chrono watch with the indicators on one plane, and one with an iPhone like touch section which controls the modes (digital of course). Also it was cool seeing some of the Nixon WTA watches and The Regent which was even nicer than I thought it was going to be. 

With that said, I don't think I would go back to Baselworld unless I had something to sell. It's nice to see the independents, but I think the rest is pretty similar year after year. But that's just my opinion....

Cya next week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Week 33 & 34 Mar. 7-19, 2011

Just going to be a quick update since there wasn't much happening the last 2 weeks. Like I had mentioned we went for quartz watch training at ETA in Grenchen for 4 days so that was the first week. But it was good training and necessary so we had to do it sometime.

As for my projects, not a lot to talk about really. Just trying to make a hairspring that works properly right now. It usually isn't that difficult, but the way I designed my system it is proving to be a little tricky. The problem is that I want the stud holder and regulator to have a certain angle between them, and have the regulator centered on the bridge. I keep pinning it and the wrong spot and it's not really easy to adjust. So I guess I have to keep trying.

I guess one other thing I did was to adjust the escapements of both the W-01 and AMS1. We have nicely polished pallet forks and escape wheels that are a higher quality (allegedly). So I put those in and adjusted them properly using the skills we learnt back in August last year.

Here's just a picture showing a regular 6498 balance and spring. The card with angles is to judge if the vibrating point and the pinning point on the collet are within the tolerance of +/- 15°. This is to achieve better results at lower amplitudes.

I also did a little decorative work. I beveled the teeth on the crown and ratchet wheel. This isn't done very often but looks much nicer than sharp teeth on the gears. The first picture is before, and the second pic is after. Looks better with a loupe, trust me...

And I also finished the intermediate wheel for the power reserve with the satellite wheel on top. The intermediate wheel is just the barrel drum from the 6498 with the drum part cut off. It is rhodium plated. The satellite wheel is attached to the intermediate wheel with a friction fitted pin. I also placed the other wheel (with square center) to show what the satellite connects to. That wheel is connected to the barrel arbor. Those wheels are rose gold plated. I could write a whole 4 paragraphs trying to explain the power reserve system, but it probably won't make sense anyways. Maybe I'll try to use a video to explain later.

And just a few artsy shots. The light coming in the window was nice this morning. Starting to finally feel like spring. Which only means one thing, I need to work more to get this damn thing done! Hopefully a longer update next week....

Also, if anyone is interested, I will hopefully have the watch with me at Basel. I'll only be there for one day and of course the watch has no case dial or hands yet, but if you're interested in seeing it send me an email at aaronsblend@gmail.com and maybe I can show it to you. I will most likely be going up on Sunday March 26th, but if enough people want to see it a different day I could possibly arrange it. 

Anyways, here's proof it actually works haha!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 32 Feb. 28-Mar. 5, 2011

This week I worked on both watches. I cleaned the W-01 and all the parts to see what kind of amplitude I was getting and it was not bad. I had around 275-290° in both horizontal positions which was fine, but only about 220-235° in the vertical. So I still have some work to do. It would be good if I could get it to about 250° but we'll see...

The balance is still horribly poised so I need to fix that as well as adjusting the escapement. Then all I will need to do is the final finishings. I also want to just add a little video about the vibrating tool that I tried to explain last week. You can see how it works a little better. Sorry for the lame video stuff, just testing out what iMovie can do...

The next thing I did was the regulating pins for the AMS1. Like I suspected this wasn't very easy. I had to make 2 pins that were 0.19mm in diameter and around 2.00mm in length. The problem with making pins this small is that you can't remove the material in steps. The pin will just wobble and/or break if it gets lower than 0.40mm especially at that length. So you have to fin the correct position of the graver, and make the whole pin in one shot. Another thing to note is that the pins needed to be slightly tapered because it would be near impossible to friction fit a pin that long through steel. So after trying many different methods (and about 20-25 failed pins) I found the right dimensions and finally got 2 pins that worked. Now lets hope they don't get bent or broken or I will have to do it again. I forgot to take a picture so maybe I'll have to add one later...

So after I had the pins in I was able to bent the flat hairspring to get my watch working. I had an extra spring that wasn't pinned at the right spot so I just used that for a first trial. I got it centered and put it on the balance wheel and was ready to try my watch out for the very first time. I wound the watch up and it started ticking just fine! It was a really great moment and one I am pretty proud of. At this point I hadn't oiled any jewels and everything was actually really dirty so it was pretty nice to see it working in that condition. I put it on the timing machine just to see what amplitude I was getting and I had 270° in the horizontal position, pretty sweet! I really should've taken a picture or video but I didn't so oh well.

So now that I had the watch running I was at the point where I had to clean everything up and make it start to look like a real movement. As you have seen from the photos before (and the next one) the watch wasn't a circle. This was because I had material to help align the holes I had to drill in the side for dial feet and the stem, and also to hold the movement down with screws and not glue. So I got rid of all the milling marks and then I had to do some perlage on both sides of the movement. I redid the parts I had already done mainly because they had turned a different color from all of the handling of the movement. 

After that I was ready to cut all the excess material off and turn this thing into an actual mainplate. Here is a photo of the milling midway through.

And after all the corners are gone it is now a circle! It looks quite thick but this is because of the extra room needed for the power reserve system. And I didn't need to add a module on top which is much nicer in the end.

And here it is after leaning the sides up in the lathe. Looks pretty slick I think! Now I have to be very careful with it and make sure not to get any fingerprints or scratches on it. Never an easy task when working with German silver.

Another thing I worked on this week was beveling the bridges. I had seven bridges I needed to bevel and 7 inner corners to make (the inner corners take more time, skill and patience). I wanted a 0.25mm bevel on all the large bridges. Having a nice large bevel makes them stand out much better and looks nice on a movement of this size. All the bevels were made by hand except the barrel bridge. So here is the raw bridge before beveling:

And then after the bevel. You can't see the bevel very well for the screw hole sink in the picture, but it's there. This is the 4th wheel/seconds wheel bridge. Note the sharp inner corner.

Here you can see the setup I use to make and polish a bevel. I found it makes it easier to move the piece in whichever direction you need, while being able to keep your hand steady and at a 45° angle (or as close as possible). All the bevels on the german silver bridges were cut with a steel file and the inner corners with the file and degussit stone. On the pallet fork bridge in the picture, I had to use a diamond file and degussit stone because it is already hardened steel and a regular file will not work.

Here is the center/third wheel bridge. A lot of bevels on one piece.

For the barrel bridge I used the M1 to pre-cut the bevels. Since there weren't any inner corners, it was just a matter of centering the bridge properly and then using a 45° cutter to make the bevel. It worked pretty good I think and saved a lot of time.

The bevels around the crown wheel, ratchet wheel and click are a little bit smaller than the other bevels. Mainly because it just wouldn't look right if they were the same size.

For the balance bridge I had to make a slightly custom bevel on the one side. The swan neck adjuster is flush with the outer edge of the bridge, so it wouldn't make sense to continue the bevel the whole length of that side. So the bevel has a break where the spring sits. You can see it on this picture from the top, and the following picture from the side.

Also note that all of the bevels are still in a rough condition. Each one still needs to be polished with several different grained pastes to make them into a mirror finish.

And here's just a shot of most of the pieces that are beveled.

Next I will need to polish the bevels of the jewel sinks so I can start setting the end shakes of the wheels. Might not get a lot done next week though as we are headed to ETA for training on quartz movements. Bye for now!