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Setting lever spring


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I've been learning this skill for a year or so now and looking to develop my skills. It's a total passion and I'd like to study horology for a new career direction. There is so much to learn and it never stops fascinating me.

Right now. I'm working on an old Eterna belonging to a family member, which was my Grandfather's watch long ago. Whilst it is in a sorry state, it obviously has some emotional value plus it's a challenge! I've detailed one challenge in this process on the "showcase" forum: Eterna long term project

The other big learning opportunity for me is the broken setting lever spring. Normally I'd just buy the spring or a donor movement but as far as I can see this movement is as rare as hen's teeth. Unless I get lucky and find a part, I'm going to have to repair or recreate the spring. On the positive side, unlike bushing the barrel bridge, replacing this won't involve cutting in to the original parts of the watch so it's rather less stressful

Here is the damage:

1892068144_DSC_1174C.thumb.jpg.a166c36c610ce5cad148af9b928cc8e0.jpg

Searching on various for a I see two courses of action. What do you think an

1 Silver solver the part together? I've got doubts about whether it would eventually just crack at the mend, and also how to recreate the heat treatment as I guess the temperature required for hard silver soldering will anneal the steel. Is this feasible and if so how would you do it?

2 Soft solder the part to a steel plate, then use the old part as a template to drill and file a new one. With care and constant cooling I could probably do the filing with carbide or diamond burrs on a rotary tool without mucking up the tempering of the steel. Again how feasible is this, and where can one find the correct material? One can buy 0.3mm spring steel plate in small quantities on EBAY but the grade is not specified.

One other idea I had was just to recreate the spring and detent with an overlong shaft:

1070391199_DSC_1174b.jpg.814225b1d9c07552fb09a5e50beeae14.jpg

then cut in from the broken end of the spring on the plate:

1403421915_DSC_1174a.thumb.jpg.8cac3584a0be0b368643f7944e701a8c.jpg

and soft solder it in to place. 

Thanks in advance for your advice and ideas. Thanks @watchweasolfor the suggestion to use feeler gauge steel

Edited by Boz
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  • Boz changed the title to Setting lever spring

Haven't done this myself,  but I've seen other folks use super glue to fix the old part to new material, and then drill and saw out the new part. Super glue dissolves in acetone, much easier to remove than solder.

Usually a jewelers piercing saw is used for cutting,  the very thin blade allows you to follow the template and make tight turns. The final shaping would be done with a file.  Then polishing, especially on areas that contact and slide on other parts.

Good Luck!

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2 hours ago, Boz said:

One other idea I had was just to recreate the spring and detent with an overlong shaft then cut in from the broken end of the spring on the plate and soft solder it in to place. 

Good idea which appears feasible to me!

Whateve you do you should start with a soft carbon steel followed by a heat treatment imho.

Edited by Kalanag
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3 hours ago, dadistic said:

Haven't done this myself,  but I've seen other folks use super glue to fix the old part to new material, and then drill and saw out the new part. Super glue dissolves in acetone, much easier to remove than solder.

Usually a jewelers piercing saw is used for cutting,  the very thin blade allows you to follow the template and make tight turns. The final shaping would be done with a file.  Then polishing, especially on areas that contact and slide on other parts.

Good Luck!

I would check that if the steel is any kind of spring or high carbon content steel i wouldnt think will cut with any manual saw blade. Even bimetallic hacksaw blades will barely cut hardened wood screws. The part would need to be mild steel unless grinding.

5 hours ago, Boz said:

I've been learning this skill for a year or so now and looking to develop my skills. It's a total passion and I'd like to study horology for a new career direction. There is so much to learn and it never stops fascinating me.

Right now. I'm working on an old Eterna belonging to a family member, which was my Grandfather's watch long ago. Whilst it is in a sorry state, it obviously has some emotional value plus it's a challenge! I've detailed one challenge in this process on the "showcase" forum: Eterna long term project

The other big learning opportunity for me is the broken setting lever spring. Normally I'd just buy the spring or a donor movement but as far as I can see this movement is as rare as hen's teeth. Unless I get lucky and find a part, I'm going to have to repair or recreate the spring. On the positive side, unlike bushing the barrel bridge, replacing this won't involve cutting in to the original parts of the watch so it's rather less stressful

Here is the damage:

1892068144_DSC_1174C.thumb.jpg.a166c36c610ce5cad148af9b928cc8e0.jpg

Searching on various for a I see two courses of action. What do you think an

1 Silver solver the part together? I've got doubts about whether it would eventually just crack at the mend, and also how to recreate the heat treatment as I guess the temperature required for hard silver soldering will anneal the steel. Is this feasible and if so how would you do it?

2 Soft solder the part to a steel plate, then use the old part as a template to drill and file a new one. With care and constant cooling I could probably do the filing with carbide or diamond burrs on a rotary tool without mucking up the tempering of the steel. Again how feasible is this, and where can one find the correct material? One can buy 0.3mm spring steel plate in small quantities on EBAY but the grade is not specified.

One other idea I had was just to recreate the spring and detent with an overlong shaft:

1070391199_DSC_1174b.jpg.814225b1d9c07552fb09a5e50beeae14.jpg

then cut in from the broken end of the spring on the plate:

1403421915_DSC_1174a.thumb.jpg.8cac3584a0be0b368643f7944e701a8c.jpg

and soft solder it in to place. 

Thanks in advance for your advice and ideas. Thanks @watchweasolfor the suggestion to use feeler gauge steel

Good idea about feeler gauges i bought a few sets of these a while back to do just that.  Also consider the sprung steel from a hardpoint throw away handsaw. This stuff is bloody hard and retains its shape very well. In 40 years I've only ever managed to damage the tempered teeth part of the blade and even then very rarely. Thickness of around 2mm so it does depend on the part to be made unless you want to spend time grinding it to thickness required. Definitely no hand cutting will work, it will need to be fully ground to size and shape. Actually an old tenon saw blade will be considerably thinner.

6 hours ago, Boz said:

I've been learning this skill for a year or so now and looking to develop my skills. It's a total passion and I'd like to study horology for a new career direction. There is so much to learn and it never stops fascinating me.

Right now. I'm working on an old Eterna belonging to a family member, which was my Grandfather's watch long ago. Whilst it is in a sorry state, it obviously has some emotional value plus it's a challenge! I've detailed one challenge in this process on the "showcase" forum: Eterna long term project

The other big learning opportunity for me is the broken setting lever spring. Normally I'd just buy the spring or a donor movement but as far as I can see this movement is as rare as hen's teeth. Unless I get lucky and find a part, I'm going to have to repair or recreate the spring. On the positive side, unlike bushing the barrel bridge, replacing this won't involve cutting in to the original parts of the watch so it's rather less stressful

Here is the damage:

1892068144_DSC_1174C.thumb.jpg.a166c36c610ce5cad148af9b928cc8e0.jpg

Searching on various for a I see two courses of action. What do you think an

1 Silver solver the part together? I've got doubts about whether it would eventually just crack at the mend, and also how to recreate the heat treatment as I guess the temperature required for hard silver soldering will anneal the steel. Is this feasible and if so how would you do it?

2 Soft solder the part to a steel plate, then use the old part as a template to drill and file a new one. With care and constant cooling I could probably do the filing with carbide or diamond burrs on a rotary tool without mucking up the tempering of the steel. Again how feasible is this, and where can one find the correct material? One can buy 0.3mm spring steel plate in small quantities on EBAY but the grade is not specified.

One other idea I had was just to recreate the spring and detent with an overlong shaft:

1070391199_DSC_1174b.jpg.814225b1d9c07552fb09a5e50beeae14.jpg

then cut in from the broken end of the spring on the plate:

1403421915_DSC_1174a.thumb.jpg.8cac3584a0be0b368643f7944e701a8c.jpg

and soft solder it in to place. 

Thanks in advance for your advice and ideas. Thanks @watchweasolfor the suggestion to use feeler gauge steel

It is quite an intricate part, i would be tempted to try silver soldering first. I remember watching a guy making small figures from 2" mild steel nails a few years ago using silver solder. I had a go using some lead free solder and my plumber's blow torch. Curious to test the joints it would not break instead the nails just bent. Last week i repaired a broken setting lever with soft rosin core solder. Different scenario as it was a locating pin and did solder fill  the the complete joint. But maybe worth a try, a pull and a tweak to test your joint should tell you if it will hold. 

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You definitely want a hardenable steel, high (mid to high) carbon, like O1 or 1075 or similar. It cuts with a saw and files fine in the annealed state. McMaster Carr sells both the above alloys in various thicknesses (very big choice in 1075) in small quantity. These are easily hardened with a common propane torch and oil quench.

 

If using feeler gage or hardened steel shim stock it really needs to be annealed otherwise you're stuck using carbide drills and grinding the profile.

 

Sticking the old part to the raw material is a tried and true technique. Super glue, shellac, or soft solder all work fine. A particularly good soft solder for this is Tix, with its accompanying flux.

 

Silver solder (braze)  requires too much heat, all temper would be lost if trying to repair it, and doubtful it would really hold up. It would be way overkill for holding the parts together for cutting out a new one.

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This is a great video. It shows using the jewelers saw with a bench pin (home made), and all of the steps involved. I like his little vise, that's one of the things that I need for doing this kind of work and I'm going to make one for myself. 

His layout and freehand sketching of the arm is awesome 🙂  I had planned on leaving the template on the material during sawing, but I think I'll scribe it out like he did and see how it goes.

I actually have a broken setting lever spring from a Bulova that I had saved to use as a template to try this. This thread and this video has motivated me to move this closer to the top of the ToDo list. 

Thanks!

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On 8/2/2022 at 12:23 PM, Boz said:

setting lever spring

I already knew that I didn't have a whole Eyerna movement so I spent some relaxing time going through all the orphaned main plates, that I have collected through the years, on the off chance that I had the setting lever spring that you needed.  Sorry to say that I don't have it but at least I identified about a dozen or so plates that I filled away with similar matching whole movements.  My miscellaneous piles are now smaller so I feel it was time well spent.

Good luck.

Shane

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20 hours ago, Shane said:

I already knew that I didn't have a whole Eyerna movement so I spent some relaxing time going through all the orphaned main plates, that I have collected through the years, on the off chance that I had the setting lever spring that you needed.  Sorry to say that I don't have it but at least I identified about a dozen or so plates that I filled away with similar matching whole movements.  My miscellaneous piles are now smaller so I feel it was time well spent.

Good luck.

Shane

Thanks so much for looking!

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On 8/3/2022 at 8:53 AM, Graziano said:

Hi there if you want to try and make one here's a video for guidance , enjoy

Graziano

 

Great video, the guy has good skill. I'm a little confused as to why he corner filed the edges  after he hardened and tempered though, was this to test its hardness? 

On 8/3/2022 at 9:42 PM, Boz said:

Thanks @Grazianothe video is inspiring. I still need to source the raw material economically (I'm new to this more involved aspect of watchmaking.)  I'll try annealing the steel from a feeler gauge to start with.

These are handy to have, they are pennies from carboots and you have the choice of thickness to suit.   Very cheap reproduced parts after 56 hours of fiddling and filing  lol.

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Thanks for the tips everyone. I went with the feeler gauge option as it was to hand. Rather than risking the temper I used a mini angle grinder (plus constant cooling) to cut a rough blank, then carbide drills and diamond files to drill and shape the part. I tried scribing the shape on to the part but eventually having scribed a copy as a template I glued it to the blank and worked on that:

1666057276_DSC_11881.thumb.jpg.bdea428a0539b859ce3badf926ce586b.jpg

1276586990_DSC_11921.thumb.JPG.8db17b61b910861f4c6ede03c256f8e1.JPG

I changed the design of the detent spring slightly as the original obviously had a stress riser at its root. 404195668_DSC_11931.thumb.JPG.79c68c2a1ac0b069197569839445fdbc.JPG

I couldn't match the exact shape of the detents but their positions are identical to the original. Time to check for functionality and fit: 

2136733244_DSC_11951.thumb.jpg.db28942442e800fb97a17bb6d7f8e1ee.jpg

I bent the spring slightly (about 0.3mm at the tip) down towards the setting lever. It functions perfectly and feels smooth with a distinct click from one detent to the other, so I'll polish it ready to fit to the watch when it is cleaned:

2128174200_DSC_11961.thumb.jpg.e04fc062c6e47fa690626a3f17a9381a.jpg

Thinking of stress riders I polished the cut edges of the spring with metal polish on the tip of a toothpick .  It will be interesting to see if it lasts.

Edited by Boz
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22 minutes ago, Boz said:

Thanks for the tips everyone. I went with the feeler gauge option as it was to hand. Rather than risking the temper I used a mini angle grinder (plus constant cooling) to cut a rough blank, then carbide drills and diamond files to drill and shape the part. I tried scribing the shape on to the part but eventually having scribed a copy as a template I glued it to the blank and worked on that:

1666057276_DSC_11881.thumb.jpg.bdea428a0539b859ce3badf926ce586b.jpg

1276586990_DSC_11921.thumb.JPG.8db17b61b910861f4c6ede03c256f8e1.JPG

I changed the design of the detent spring slightly as the original obviously had a stress riser at its root. 404195668_DSC_11931.thumb.JPG.79c68c2a1ac0b069197569839445fdbc.JPG

I couldn't match the exact shape of the detents but their positions are identical to the original. Time to check for functionality and fit: 

2136733244_DSC_11951.thumb.jpg.db28942442e800fb97a17bb6d7f8e1ee.jpg

I bent the spring slightly (about 0.3mm at the tip) down towards the setting lever. It functions perfectly and feels smooth with a distinct click from one detent to the other, so I'll polish it ready to fit to the watch when it is cleaned:

2128174200_DSC_11961.thumb.jpg.e04fc062c6e47fa690626a3f17a9381a.jpg

Thinking of stress riders I polished the cut edges of the spring with metal polish on the tip of a toothpick .  It will be interesting to see if it lasts.

Nice one matey. You may have found your forte 👍

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  • 10 months later...

Q. Tempering Colour ?

I just got my first Movado (Cal 150MN) and found the setting lever broken. As they are so hard to find, I thought I'd make one.

I plan to use feeler gauge steel. I'll anneal it for working, then harden.

BUT, what colour should I then temper it to?  In the above Youtube video he says "light blue". Is that OK ?

 

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  • 9 months later...

Just jumping onto the back of this thread, made a couple of attemps at making a setting lever spring yesterday from feeler gauge steel. Both tries ended with a break at the thin end of the jumper spring, maybe the steel isn't right ? Found a supplier of steel rolls of Cs 75 and 100 steel in an annealed state, these have carbon content of .75 -.95 . Anybody tried this steel for making parts ?

Initial marking out using a press to hold the old spring and new steel together. The shape rough cut using a thin diamond disk ( used in dentistry, info curtesy of Nev ) in a proxon drill. The two parts then schellaced together to make the final shape accurate, and a tracing template to show the position of the spring detent taken from bestfit. Two attemps both springs snapped, i figure a more ductile material will withstand working on it.

20240326_193235.jpg

20240326_193205.jpg

20240326_193553.jpg

20240326_194804.jpg

20240326_195138.jpg

20240326_203313.jpg

Edited by Neverenoughwatches
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15 minutes ago, Nucejoe said:

Neverenough, 

So, was the original setting lever made of right steel?   why did the original break then.

Rgds

 

It should have thd correct steel, it came to me broken Joe.

15 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

CS75 and CS 100 seem to be equivalent to AISI 1075 and 1095, which are both hardenable and fine for parts like this.

 

At what point in the process did yours break? Was the feeler gage hard? Did you anneal it?

Thanks Nicklesilver thats good to know, I've found a supplier that sells various sizes of 3metre annealed rolls for a few quid ( enough to last me for hundreds of springs or until i lay in a box ) No i didn't anneal the steel, i was planning on avoiding that process, it didnt work too well last time.  They broke as i started to work into the join of the spring, same place as the original. It might have been too hard and brittle for such a thin join, i will beef that part up next time and reduce it slowly if its too stiif when fitting it .

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