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Dial feet repair - All techniques


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Hi Having watched the Video I get your point. The Idea as you know is to make a seating for the new foot.  The same could be done using a staking tool and a punch to create the seat, or as I do use a small drill in a pin vice.  My Method is to remove the calender work if fitted them re fit the dial using blu tack spots to center the dial and aligned with the stem which should be re fitted  then with a suitable drill , run it through the dial foot holes making a seat for the new foot. It is then transfered to the soldering tool and the wire is soldered using the tool. Attached pictures of actual jobs done.

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Hi ww and thanks once again.

I'm sure you can appreciate that in no way is this tool going to make a precision recess....I'll be sending it back to the seller. On the other hand, although it seems, to me at least, a scary and potentially damaging system, your soldering machine seems to be the way to go. I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet, get over my angst and go for it.

Cheers,

Mike

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Hi Mike   The one I build was based on both the Dirk Fassbender machine and  an article by Wesley R Door in his book   "rettrofitting when there is a need".

I dispensed with the transformer and used the charger purely because it has over current protection and it was available. as you can see the wiring is simple from the inputs + and - two wires red/black ,  Black goes to the post onto which the dial is screwed. The red goes via a led (on) and the operating switch and the probe jack, which is plug in for convenience. once the dial is mounted on the post the foot wire is passed through a hole on the crossbar and secured and aligned to the foot position on the dial. A touch of flux and a couple of solder chips(or if you prefer solder/flux paste) is placed at the contact point. The machine switched on and the probe (Carbon rod salvaged from a battery) is placed  on the foot wire about 1cm above the dial. The switch is pressed and an arc forms at the joint melting the solder  it only takes as long as to melt the solder . No more.  Hope this explains the basics.  cheers

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  • jdm changed the title to Dial feet repair - All techniques
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  • 1 year later...

As an electronics engineer using low melt solder to desolder things because it melts at a low temp would be my way to go here as it sets like regular solder given enough time but melts at 138 deg. Thus with the metal of the dial acting as a heat sink you do not have to apply the iron for very long to melt it into place.
As a conductor Tin/Bismuth is crap, but we arent bothered about electrical connection here just attachment...
 

 

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  • 7 months later...

Does anyone have any experience with the type of dial feet soldering machine shown below? It’s from Aliexpress. It looks similar to (but also different from) the more commonly seen ones shown in this thread. I like that you can set the duration and current and it will then apply the exact current for the set amount of time. You can also weld broken mainspring bridles.

However, the Aliexpress one uses what appear to be steel feet in pre-cut sizes, not copper. I’m wondering if that is a requirement or if copper could be used instead. I would be worried about not being able to “bite” into the dial feet if using steel feet or not having the exact sized height to one of the supplied steel feet. Other than that the ease of use is appealing.


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Here is a video of it being used (I recommend turning off the audio):

https://video-cdn.aliexpress-media.com/80ffc57ef0293a3a/ae_sg_item/1679909620173/8fddb5eb8d6f809e.mp4_1100136739905_mp4_264_hd.mp4?auth_key=1690825449-0-0-1fb5dcac8bb67a929cbcf877e76be0a7&w=720&h=1280&e=hd&t=2141276f16830494497324108ef323&b=ae_sg&p=ae_sg_ae_sg_vpc_scene&tr=mp4-264-hd

Edited by GuyMontag
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I've never used one, but what I can say is that in theory at lease, since it can spot weld steel, it should be able to spot weld copper, since steel has a higher (but broadly similar) melting point. Cooper melts around 1,084 C and carbon steels, somewhere in the range of 1,371-1,593 C. Stainless and other steels are a little higher. Also worth considering is that dials tend to be brass (except perhaps the really cheap ones, which are steel), so if it spot welds steel to brass, then spot welding copper to brass sounds possible. 

You would probably need less current, or a shorter time to do copper vs steel feet to avoid over cooking them, thus possibly turning them into weld splatter.

That having been said, you would need to try it to be certain.

Edited by AndyHull
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I was hoping someone else took the ~$250 gamble 🙂 I'll probably give it a pass as I don't think I'd have much luck returning it if it didn't, for some reason, work with copper wire.

EDIT: Actually, I just got a message back from one of the Aliexpress sellers saying they made a mistake and the feet are in fact copper, not steel. I wonder if maybe they are coated in tin or something? But that does make the device more tempting...

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2 hours ago, GuyMontag said:

I wonder if maybe they are coated in tin or something?

Probably nickel plated. Spot welded battery contact strips tend to be nickel plated, either steel, brass or copper, so with that in mind, I would say nickel plating is most likely, but silver, and possibly tin are maybe an option.

I suspect tin might oxidise or maybe even evaporate at the temperatures involved, since it would form a relatively thin layer on a very rapidly heated substrate. Tin's evaporation point (2602 °C) is a little lower than nickel (2730°C), but tin is more inclined to oxidise than nickel, and tin oxide might not bond well. Of course tin plated steel is pretty common too, since that is what most steel "tin cans" are made of, and some of those are indeed welded.

 

Edited by AndyHull
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There are machines with additional functions too. Watch the video here.

SG$ 219.43 | Watchmaker tools professional welding and repair of watch dial feet stem apparatus for soldering dial feet Simple and practical

My mentor got one of these a couple of years ago. Haven't heard him complain so far. 

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Today I had to fix a dial post on a Mickey Mouse watch.  I had bought one of those tools that cuts a circle into the dial where a replacement post is glued in.  It worked.

I would like to have a welder, but I may have one to do per year.  Of course, I have an addiction to tools...my sixth lathe is arriving on Friday.

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44 minutes ago, HectorLooi said:

There are machines with additional functions too. Watch the video here.

SG$ 219.43 | Watchmaker tools professional welding and repair of watch dial feet stem apparatus for soldering dial feet Simple and practical

My mentor got one of these a couple of years ago. Haven't heard him complain so far. 

The link isn't showing up for me.

 

4 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Today I had to fix a dial post on a Mickey Mouse watch.  I had bought one of those tools that cuts a circle into the dial where a replacement post is glued in.  It worked.

I would like to have a welder, but I may have one to do per year.  Of course, I have an addiction to tools...my sixth lathe is arriving on Friday.

 

 

 

 

I have an Aliexpress version of that tool. I have had mixed success. My issue is that if I don't get the circle in *exactly* the right spot the dial doesn't fit and it's very difficult (or in my case, impossible) to then correct it since the hole has already been milled in the dial. I'm hoping that if needed I'll be able to move a soldered post to correct a positional error.

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55 minutes ago, GuyMontag said:

The link isn't showing up for me.

 

I have an Aliexpress version of that tool. I have had mixed success. My issue is that if I don't get the circle in *exactly* the right spot the dial doesn't fit and it's very difficult (or in my case, impossible) to then correct it since the hole has already been milled in the dial. I'm hoping that if needed I'll be able to move a soldered post to correct a positional error.

Well, the missing foot left an indentation. A great alignment hole for the mill. Mine is aliexpress as well

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SG$ 219.43 | Watchmaker tools professional welding and repair of watch dial feet stem apparatus for soldering dial feet Simple and practical
https://a.aliexpress.com/_mtk0MhI

Sorry about that.

My mentor gave me his old dial foot repair machine. It was so simple inside that I'm sure @LittleWatchShop can cobble one in an afternoon.

It comprise a 12V lead acid battery, a 12V 10A motor controller and a carbon rod. I promised to show the insides of it in another post. I should really clear my bench and get down to it.

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1 hour ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Well, the missing foot left an indentation. A great alignment hole for the mill. Mine is aliexpress as well

Same with mine but I still had issues, I know it's 100% operator error but for whatever reason even when I had a bullseye where to mill I still seemed to have issues. Sometimes.

 

1 hour ago, HectorLooi said:

SG$ 219.43 | Watchmaker tools professional welding and repair of watch dial feet stem apparatus for soldering dial feet Simple and practical
https://a.aliexpress.com/_mtk0MhI

Sorry about that.

My mentor gave me his old dial foot repair machine. It was so simple inside that I'm sure @LittleWatchShop can cobble one in an afternoon.

It comprise a 12V lead acid battery, a 12V 10A motor controller and a carbon rod. I promised to show the insides of it in another post. I should really clear my bench and get down to it.

That link isn't coming up for me. I ended up ordering one of the units earlier today (along with a bunch of other stuff, I'll have to post in the Quality Chinese Tools thread once I get some hands on experience with the haul) and the one I got was this one, a Ling Hui 6000. Since your mentor had good success, hopefully I managed to snag the same one 🤞

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  • 11 months later...

Very informative thread! Thanks all. 

It has finally happened to me that a foot broke off. First time. Dammit. 

I'm wondering about how to drill the 0.1mm recess in the dial backside to attach a new pre-made foot (with the round 2.5mm base). I don't have the specific tool for it and don't want to buy it... but I feel that my staking set or my Seitz tool should be able to do the job IF I can find a fitting blade. 

Does anyone know the diameter of the blade itself (is it 3mm?) or the blade holder of this product:

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/dial-milling-tool-for-dial-feet?code=D58712#

Or do you know any blade/stake/reamer that could do the job? The staking set would have a 4.7mm shaft and the Seitz can do 4.0mm (tool shaft) or 2.5mm (reamer holder). 

Any ideas would be appreciated! 

 

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2 hours ago, Knebo said:

Or do you know any blade/stake/reamer that could do the job? The staking set would have a 4.7mm shaft and the Seitz can do 4.0mm (tool shaft) or 2.5mm (reamer holder). 

You can buy standard 2.5mm endmills, which should fit the 2.5mm reamer holder, if that is a collet fitting?

eg.

https://www.cutwel.co.uk/2-5mm-4-flute-k2-coated-carbide-end-mill-g9432-series-yg-1-g9432025

Just be sure it's a type like this that has the same shank and cutting diameter - many small ones have 3mm shanks for such as Dremel tools.

 

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Hi. You can build a diy tool for about  £30. That is every bit as good as the   $250  job  look for. Wesley R Door on the net. AWCCI MEMBER and Horological Journal contributed,   Or failing that. Dirk Fassbender who did the same.   I built one no problem, simple and easy to use not had a failure to date in use.

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13 hours ago, rjenkinsgb said:

You can buy standard 2.5mm endmills, which should fit the 2.5mm reamer holder, if that is a collet fitting?

eg.

https://www.cutwel.co.uk/2-5mm-4-flute-k2-coated-carbide-end-mill-g9432-series-yg-1-g9432025

Just be sure it's a type like this that has the same shank and cutting diameter - many small ones have 3mm shanks for such as Dremel tools.

 

Thank you! 

I'll give it a try! I'll report back how it goes. 

As I'm based in the EU, I was looking for a seller here and found this one for a very good price. It has a 4mm base/shaft, which will hopefully fit the regular Seitz pusher holder. 

https://www.ebay.fr/itm/225042138432?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=709-127639-2357-0&ssspo=WPe2zsmZSJi&sssrc=4429486&ssuid=-tqzh2byt-e&var=523925101112&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY

 

 

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