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3D printed RS mainspring winder project for hobbyists


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  • 1 month later...

I have been practicing with the 3d printed mainspring winder and I have settled on a process that is giving me very good, repeatable results. What follows is a picture story board of my process that I hope may assist others considering this device as a primary spring winder. Firstly here are the collection of components that will get our spring back into the barrel: the winding barrel, the winding base, a plunger, a ‘setting’ bowl, a staple cut into the shape of a hook, and finally a clean spring from a seiko NH35. The square plastic piece is a jig for cutting the staple to size, however I am finding that I don’t really need it and can comfortably eyeball the correct size. 

54800C43-237F-4626-91DD-32E0E7CC5535.jpeg

Next, and perhaps it’s unorthodox but I use tweezers or small pliers to place the staple hook into the spring eye, going from outside in as suggested in the GitHub users guide:B3C3044E-C5D2-435A-A719-6E08DA85F474.thumb.jpeg.b4a039e5f38a037496528b8cde4be042.jpeg

Next, instead of placing the spring on the shaft of the winding base, I place the spring into the barrel as I find this is the easiest and least frustrating way to ensure the spring tail exits from the correct winding aperture, and without any of the spring sitting on top of the barrel wall DB224EA4-A627-43B0-AFA0-55B61C9DAD99.thumb.jpeg.f3bf6480806e5fba95ac4d04c4d708b4.jpegsuch that it would prevent the barrel and base closing together:

Now take the winder barrel, with the spring in situ, and place it on top of the base. The shank of the hook will line up with an appropriate hole in the winder base, sometimes gentle guidance is required with fine tweezers:18294379-9BEF-4DD6-A969-ACE0FB505B22.thumb.jpeg.89e28183fb455e0487db8e0559737b99.jpeg

With the barrel and base snugged up and held together, I use slight finger pressure on the plunger which helps keep the spring in a flat plane as it feeds into the barrel this preventing any tangling:

5CCB4701-3CEF-46F7-BC1A-0C6826C41A3C.thumb.jpeg.7a1fef319ff4ad9deb0efc855e485aea.jpeg

Now wind until the bridle approaches the winding aperture and help feed the initial bit in by hand before winding the remainder into the barrel:

6071DFC1-AF25-4AA6-B478-07650463FCE7.thumb.jpeg.442aa639cec618db4e67e4fc58eeef07.jpeg

Note carefully allow the base to unwind and then lift the base off to reveal the wound spring with staple hook still in place:

F63D4FFA-2929-400C-9AE2-77FCBBDFE737.thumb.jpeg.fdbd52a5506863c5f1fc8829666b372d.jpeg

Carefully remove the staple with tweezers before placing the barrel into the setting bowl and pushing down with the plunger. The wound spring will sit proud of the barrel by about 1/3 mm:

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It is now the simplest matter to line the slightly protruding spring up with the metal barrel and plunge it home:

E772EE65-B166-4C28-BD52-973D42921DD0.thumb.jpeg.a0a70f27e87ecb06f451e8fb6735668f.jpeg

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This all probably sounds like a time consuming and tedious process but I assure you it is much quicker to do than to write out a description, and I can complete the whole process in a minute.  I find the most fiddly element is the inserting and removing of the staple hook into the spring eye and I suspect a smaller staple would be more suitable for this particular spring. 
 

I think this spring winder excels for a number of reasons:

1. it’s very cheap

2. it’s very easy to print different size barrels to cover any watch size

3. I see in these forums people saying that regular winder are subject to the arbor hook wearing. This is not an issue for the 3D winder. 

4. I believe that springs of different thicknesses may not align with the arbor hook of standard winders. For the 3D winder the shank of the staple hook is free to ride up and down and thus position itself as required for the spring thickness. 
 

5. Springs can be wound left hand or right hand in the same winder. 
 

All in all, a great option for hobbyists. Well done To Zero for his excellent creation. 
 

 

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On 11/11/2023 at 5:02 AM, Yxoc said:

Next, instead of placing the spring on the shaft of the winding base, I place the spring into the barrel as I find this is the easiest and least frustrating way to ensure the spring tail exits from the correct winding aperture, and without any of the spring sitting on top of the barrel wall

Nice thinking, will give it a try. Never occurred to me to do it this way. Turn it upside down and the hook just falls in place.

Your walkthrough is very well written. It would great if we can put this in the wiki. Currently the wikipage describing the process step-by-step [here] is a little lacking in content.

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5 hours ago, Zero said:

Nice thinking, will give it a try. Never occurred to me to do it this way. Turn it upside down and the hook just falls in place.

Your walkthrough is very well written. It would great if we can put this in the wiki. Currently the wikipage describing the process step-by-step [here] is a little lacking in content.

Zero, you are welcome to use this content in the wiki if desired, as I read it through though, I see a few typos that I would like to correct, as soon as I work out how to edit posts…

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  • 3 weeks later...

I haven't tried printing this yet but had a question about the arbor or dowel size. In the instruction photo it shows the staple extending into where the arbor will sit (I think):

3dmain.thumb.jpg.095fce8ff8f71ccaf4ff609a74afc663.jpg

 

Doesn't that mean that the dowel cannot be as large as the inner coil of the mainspring? If it were, would it not interfere with the staple? In the photo above it looks like the staple and dowel would try to occupy the same space. If that means the dowel needs to be smaller to accommodate the staple, wouldn't that then make the inner coil compress to fit the dowel, changing the diameter of the inner coil?

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4 hours ago, AndyShap said:

When properly cut, the staple does not extend over the hole of the winder. The hole is for the arbor to insert into.  The mainspring usually bulges out quite a ways past the arbor with plenty of room for the arbor hook to gram on.

That makes sense, thanks.

 

Does that mean that the hole (and therefore, the dowel) should be slightly smaller than the inner coil of the mainspring to allow for some space between mainspring and dowel so the staple can fit into that space? I'm thinking about a mainspring that gave me some trouble with my traditional winders and on that mainspring the inner coil is exactly 2.0 mm. Would I then want to have a hole and dowel slightly smaller than that?

Edited by GuyMontag
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On 12/3/2023 at 3:47 PM, AndyShap said:

Correct. ideally the mainspring should fit over the arbor with a loose fit.   The winders are designed to be printed as 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 or 3mm arbors (Metal inserts) depending on your needs.

I think getting an arbor base with each of those four sizes would cover just about everything you could expect to come across, for not much money. 

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  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to give anyone who is having difficulty using the winder that it's absolutely worth persevering. Like a number of people, I'd had some issues trying to get the staple engaging with the hole in the mainspring, but using a combination of the guidance from the GitHub wiki and the step by step instructions from @Yxoc I have a very repeatable and easy method and I've been able to wind springs of any size. It takes a little practice, but not really any more than a Bergeon set of winders, which has a learning curve of its own.

Similar to Yxoc, I am inserting the staple into the hole in the mainspring first, on the outside of the inner coil, as per the guidance:

https://github.com/vishnu350/rs-mainspring-winder/wiki/Using-the-RS-winder

Rather than try and hold the staple in tweezers to do this, I've had more success holding the staple with a pin-vise, which gives me more control and leverage.

Unlike Yxoc, I place the spring directly onto the arbor/shaft of the winding base. I find that this allows me to very easily locate the staple hook into the hole on the face of winding base. The staple just drops into place  - in fact, for me one of the main benefits of attaching directly to the spring first is that you don't need to be concerned with the staple hook left in respect to the width of the mainspring. The hook will find is correct height.

I then place the barrel on top of the base, ensuring that the spring is located correctly and exiting the correct gap in the winding barrel housing. The winding process is then as described.

The set that I have was purchased directly from @AndyShap and the print quality definitely helps, but having done plenty of 3D printing myself I'm sure that you could achieve a perfectly usable set of winders from home. I just preferred to buy from Andy because I'm lazy!

Finally, I would just say this - practice, practice, practice! I almost gave up, but when I saw the success that @Yxoc was having I tried again and it just clicked for me.

Edited by LeonDJames
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Nice work Leon, and thanks for sharing your experience. 
I think your idea of using a pin vice to hold the staple is an excellent idea. Although I said I use tweezers, that was a lazy description, I actually use locking forceps such as used in medical procedures which securely grip the shank much like a pin vice. As you have discovered, you can control the manipulation of the staple much more precisely with something that has a locking grip. 
The fact that you prefer to place the spring on the arbor instead of placing in the drum illustrates how versatile these winders are, you can modify the order of things easily to suit your style or sequence of work. 
I honestly feel these winders are an excellent option for both hobbyists and more serious horologists alike, and they offer some significant advantages over traditional winders. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, this complete newb just re-wound the mainspring of an ST36 on his... oh, probably fifth try. But then I did it again immediately, just to prove that I could.

This works beautifully, thank you for the effort in design and refinement!

FWIW, I printed these in Overture Matte PLA on a Prusa MK3S+ using 0.10mm layer height and 20% infill, but otherwise all defaults.

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Hi there, I've been looking at this thread for a while. I have a half set of bergeon winders and trying to decide if I should slowly complete the set or go down the printed winder route. Has anyone done a side by side comparison? Are the 3D winders a work in progress or a tool that is ready to go? Also can anyone please confirm which models are the latest and greatest, so that I download and print the latest version

Thanks

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I would say they're ready to go. Get the files from the Releases section on github, the top entry will always be the latest version of the files.

I don't own any Bergeon winders, but I have to believe you get what you pay for. Getting the arbor hooked up on these is a little fussy, and you're holding the whole thing together with your hands while you're winding. They work fine, and they are about 1% of the cost of the Bergeons. If you have a printer, there's also the advantage that you can have any size winder you might need in an hour or two. As I'm a learner practicing on a box of old pocket watches, this is a huge win.

If I were in your shoes, I think I'd apply the same heuristic that I do with Harbor Freight tools for working on cars: If I need something once, go the cheap route. If I'm going to be doing it a lot (or I've worn out/broken the cheap tool), get the good stuff. If you're going to be working on a lot of watches that are the same size barrel, get the Bergeon, If you need something weird for a one-off, print it.

To the designers:

Now that there are two arbor sizes for each winder size, it would be great if you could emboss the arbor size on the winder base. I've printed all four bases and am printing barrel/plunger sets as I go, and it would be nice to have the arbor size labeled.

Thanks again, these are excellent.

Edited by Zandr
Posts were merged, so separating two thought better.
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@Waggy - I own some Bergeon winders, some chinese calibre specific winders, a pocketwatch Watchcraft winder set and a full set of the printed winders. The Bergeon and chinese winders work identically and the Watchcraft winders are very similar, but I found those to be a little more difficult.

The printed winders are no more difficult than the Bergeon winders, which take a little getting used to themselves. The only issue with the printed winders is that hoooking the spring onto the arbor isn't as instinctive. However, once you understand what you're supposed to be doing, it's just easy. 

This is exactly the thread you need to understand how to get them working. Within an hour of discovering this thread I'd got the hang of it and had a repeatable process.

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@Zandr thanks for the advice, I think I'll follow your lead and print off any oddball sizes that I need rather than pay out for a dedicated tool that I may only use a handful of times. @LeonDJames also thanks for the explanation, I guess the best way to go is to give them a try with the help and advice available here, I'll print some off this weekend and I'm sure this thread will be hearing from me 🙂

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, Guys

I'm about to make these parts but just need clarification on the dowle pin sizes I need to get.

On the GutHub page there are two statements are confusing me.

 

"Steps to build your RS mainspring winder:"

2) Print your winder base part STL/3MF file. Choose from 1.5-3.0mm sizes, whichever matches your mainspring arbor the best.

4)Install the appropriate dowel pin for your winder base part:

Recommended online purchase links: AliExpress, Amazon.

For normal size winder base: 1.5mm/2.0mm (M1.5/M2) diameter dowel pins, 18mm in length.

For large size winder base: 2.0mm/2.5mm (M2.0/M2.5) diameter dowel pins, 18mm in length.

For the larger size shouldn't that read 2.5mm/3.0mm?

Am I missing something here? 🙂

I'm about to order some dowle pins and don't want to get more than I have two. Also, some pins are only available in 20mm lengths will I need to sorten these to 18.0mm?

Regards B

 

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On 2/12/2024 at 2:37 PM, Zedster said:

For the larger size shouldn't that read 2.5mm/3.0mm?

Yes, that is correct. It should be 2.5mm/3.0mm for the large base. I'll fix the documentation.

It wont be necessary to shorten it to 18.0mm. 20mm will work just fine.

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6 hours ago, Zero said:

Yes, that is correct. It should be 2.5mm/3.0mm for the large base. I'll fix the documentation.

It wont be necessary to shorten it to 18.0mm. 20mm will work just fine.

Thank you, Zero for replying to me, its really appreciated. I've actually brought myself a 3D printer to try this out, its my first. I assembled it today and printed the stable jig and it came out fine LOL. Tomorrow I'll start on the other bits and I'll order the dowels online, they come in bags for 10 😞 

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Hi, Zero

Apologies if this sounds like a stupid question but there's something that is not quite clear to me and I can't see it in the video or the pictures that have been posted. On the winder base, there are three small circa 0.5mm holes and one larger one that breaks through to the arbor pin hole. Where does the staple pin go, in one of the small holes or the nice big hole 🙂 I'm hoping you're going to say the big hole but if not what is the purpose of it?

Regards Z  

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3 hours ago, Zedster said:

Hi, Zero

Apologies if this sounds like a stupid question but there's something that is not quite clear to me and I can't see it in the video or the pictures that have been posted. On the winder base, there are three small circa 0.5mm holes and one larger one that breaks through to the arbor pin hole. Where does the staple pin go, in one of the small holes or the nice big hole 🙂 I'm hoping you're going to say the big hole but if not what is the purpose of it?

Regards Z  

You are referring to the winder base, which can be printed to fit 1.5mm, 2.0mm, 2.5mm or 3.0mm arbors.  The large center hole is to insert the arbor.  The four surrounding holes are to insert the arbor hook (staple). All four holes are the same depth. Each hole is a slightly different distance away from the arbor.  You would choose which hole based on best fit for your mainspring.

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Just now, rossjackson01 said:

Just so not fair. No access to a 3D printer. Back to hand installing for mainsprings.

As a reminder, I sell these. High quality prints, lots of extra's. You can see them at the following links:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/125428348675
https://www.ebay.com/itm/125578735361?var=426616873070

 

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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