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My intended “Royal Oak” needs a bit of polishing


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4 hours ago, VWatchie said:

A good tool makes you enjoy the work you do with it, while a bad tool has the opposite effect!

CousinsUK_Rotary_Tool.jpg.776bdaa509207a4d7d4fb843afef797a.jpg
Unfortunately, this rotary toolkit from CousinsUK is of the latter type. Admittedly, it does its job decently well but is not very efficient as the polishing head vibrates strongly which means that only part of, rather than the entire felt tip comes into contact with the surface being polished. Maybe worth the money (£35 + tax) but if you want to have fun at work, you'll probably have to look for a more expensive alternative.

NutBefore.thumb.jpg.6ab6b524f6b7506d07d5abddb9bc83fe.jpg
It would be foolish to try to polish your finest watch the first thing you do when learning, so I appointed this nut to be my guinea pig.

I found this video that shows how I went about it.


NutAfter.thumb.jpg.c38f7cee236fcb7af2518255289f0e64.jpg
Here is the result of my first attempt and it turned out unexpectedly well if I do say so myself. I first sanded the surface with a sandpaper-like accessory to get a reasonably even scratched surface. Then I polished it with green Dialux and finally with Polinum (using my substandard rotary tool).

WatchCaseBefore.thumb.jpg.35cd306f765ef1ac2a04b668c4b73d50.jpg
Warm in my clothes, it was time to try polishing at least part of the case on my beloved and recently serviced Vostok "Panerai" Amphibia with a ministry case. I have had the watch for almost 10 years but have used it quite sparingly (because there are so many other watches to choose from in the watch box).

WatchCaseAfter.thumb.jpg.ba0772f55f2d4f521ca476ad97ab4128.jpg
This time I chose to start with Polinum because it has a less abrasive action (I believe). I polished for about two to three minutes as I thought the results looked good enough. I have to say that I was once again surprised by the result even though it wasn't quite perfect, but nothing is or can ever be perfect, right? Anyway, I won't be using my lousy rotary tool again, at least not for polishing watch cases. However, it was good enough to give me a bloody tooth, so now I've started looking at alternatives.

Proxxon2.jpg.53ebbd5bad2f860ee03c63cd71040c77.jpg
The first option comes from Proxxon (a German manufacturer if I'm not misinformed) and is called 230/E Micromot.

Proxxon1.jpg.9f03a46e0fefe774002e29fc42e3af45.jpg
It can be bought separately without accessories and without a toolbox, but I need a box for storage because I don't have a workshop.

Proxxon3.jpg.4978bd57397af1bc560193ddd7fc4378.jpg
In addition, I was thinking of ordering a Proxxon 110/BF flex shaft for it because I think it is more comfortable and precise, especially when sitting for long periods of time.

DremelFortiflex.jpg.edb328b6185019cb433058f67921d49a.jpg
The other option I'm considering is a Dremel Fortiflex. The presumed advantage is that it has a foot pedal, a significantly stronger motor (which is probably not a significant advantage when polishing watch cases) and that the accessories are attached with a chuck just like on a drill, which I think can be more precise, i.e. minimise vibrations in the accessories. The downside for me is the storage as it doesn't come in a tool box.

I have also looked at Fordom rotary tools but then the price tag seems to go up even more.

If you have experience with any of these tools mentioned or can recommend any other rotary tools, in addition to those already mentioned in the thread (thanks), for polishing watch cases it would be very valuable and appreciated if you could share.

Bearing wobble can be common with cheap tools, but not always the case, it can be a hit or a miss . I have a 12volt  cordless one that was £20 which can run a 25mm felt wheel with good stability. Keeping the accessory short and tight up to the chuck collar will give the least wobble, even if you have to cut down the length of the shaft.  A variable speed angle grinder with a good quality flexi shaft could give you the best of both worlds.

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1 minute ago, Galilea said:

What all can you do with that? Seems like a lot of power.

I prefer to use the small felt wheels myself for the majority of polishing which give more control and less chance of smoothing out a case. But many youtube pros use good size polishing mops and laps mounted on full size machines. Handy to have both for different applications. With more experience and aquired skill, leaning towards the bigger devices would probably be a natural transition 

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53 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

I prefer to use the small felt wheels myself for the majority of polishing which give more control and less chance of smoothing out a case. But many youtube pros use good size polishing mops and laps mounted on full size machines. Handy to have both for different applications. With more experience and aquired skill, leaning towards the bigger devices would probably be a natural transition 

After you, watch wizard. 😎

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6 hours ago, VWatchie said:

A good tool makes you enjoy the work you do with it, while a bad tool has the opposite effect!

CousinsUK_Rotary_Tool.jpg.776bdaa509207a4d7d4fb843afef797a.jpg
Unfortunately, this rotary toolkit from CousinsUK is of the latter type. Admittedly, it does its job decently well but is not very efficient as the polishing head vibrates strongly which means that only part of, rather than the entire felt tip comes into contact with the surface being polished. Maybe worth the money (£35 + tax) but if you want to have fun at work, you'll probably have to look for a more expensive alternative.

NutBefore.thumb.jpg.6ab6b524f6b7506d07d5abddb9bc83fe.jpg
It would be foolish to try to polish your finest watch the first thing you do when learning, so I appointed this nut to be my guinea pig.

I found this video that shows how I went about it.


NutAfter.thumb.jpg.c38f7cee236fcb7af2518255289f0e64.jpg
Here is the result of my first attempt and it turned out unexpectedly well if I do say so myself. I first sanded the surface with a sandpaper-like accessory to get a reasonably even scratched surface. Then I polished it with green Dialux and finally with Polinum (using my substandard rotary tool).

WatchCaseBefore.thumb.jpg.35cd306f765ef1ac2a04b668c4b73d50.jpg
Warm in my clothes, it was time to try polishing at least part of the case on my beloved and recently serviced Vostok "Panerai" Amphibia with a ministry case. I have had the watch for almost 10 years but have used it quite sparingly (because there are so many other watches to choose from in the watch box).

WatchCaseAfter.thumb.jpg.ba0772f55f2d4f521ca476ad97ab4128.jpg
This time I chose to start with Polinum because it has a less abrasive action (I believe). I polished for about two to three minutes as I thought the results looked good enough. I have to say that I was once again surprised by the result even though it wasn't quite perfect, but nothing is or can ever be perfect, right? Anyway, I won't be using my lousy rotary tool again, at least not for polishing watch cases. However, it was good enough to give me a bloody tooth, so now I've started looking at alternatives.

Proxxon2.jpg.53ebbd5bad2f860ee03c63cd71040c77.jpg
The first option comes from Proxxon (a German manufacturer if I'm not misinformed) and is called 230/E Micromot.

Proxxon1.jpg.9f03a46e0fefe774002e29fc42e3af45.jpg
It can be bought separately without accessories and without a toolbox, but I need a box for storage because I don't have a workshop.

Proxxon3.jpg.4978bd57397af1bc560193ddd7fc4378.jpg
In addition, I was thinking of ordering a Proxxon 110/BF flex shaft for it because I think it is more comfortable and precise, especially when sitting for long periods of time.

DremelFortiflex.jpg.edb328b6185019cb433058f67921d49a.jpg
The other option I'm considering is a Dremel Fortiflex. The presumed advantage is that it has a foot pedal, a significantly stronger motor (which is probably not a significant advantage when polishing watch cases) and that the accessories are attached with a chuck just like on a drill, which I think can be more precise, i.e. minimise vibrations in the accessories. The downside for me is the storage as it doesn't come in a tool box.

I have also looked at Fordom rotary tools but then the price tag seems to go up even more.

If you have experience with any of these tools mentioned or can recommend any other rotary tools, in addition to those already mentioned in the thread (thanks), for polishing watch cases it would be very valuable and appreciated if you could share.

I have and use the Proxonn Micromot 60/EF. I think I bought it around 2006. It gets daily use, and is still working great; and I use the "universial" chuck on it, not the little collets. Tools run amazingly true- I'm really suprised. It has thousands of hours of professional use on it, far more than it was intended for, and it simply keeps going. I did have to open up the power supply box finally a year or two ago to glue up the support where the motor plugs in. Not surprising considering how many times it's hit the floor with me being a klutz. Highly recommended tool.

 

I'm not an expert case polisher, but I can say that prep work is at least as important as polishing. If there are deep scratches, they should be taken out with a fine file in extreme cases, or in lesser cases and/or post-file, using abrasive paper on a backer. 3M Imperial lapping film with adhesive back is widely available and very high quality; grits from 30 micron to perhaps 12 or 3 would be suitable for pre-polishing work. 30/20/12/3 is what I generally use, might through 9 in between 12 and 3 sometimes. For a backer it's usually a roughly file-shaped piece of metal, brass, steel, whatever, sometimes wood. With careful work here the risk of rounding everything over is greatly diminished when actually polishing.

Edited by nickelsilver
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3 hours ago, nickelsilver said:

I have and use the Proxonn Micromot 60/EF. I think I bought it around 2006.

That sure sounds reassuring. The one I have my eyes on, the Proxxon 230/E has a stronger motor and won't be needing a transformer power supply unit. Anyway, as you've been happy with yours I feel confident I would be too.

Also, thanks for the polishing tips! Super appreciated! 🙂👍

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440475574-419463590.thumb.jpg.254f31a7f1e91a16f357f7de058aa366.jpg

This is the favorite among jewellers and watch polishers. A hanging motor with around 200W. Fantastic torque. 

I used this type of motors in dental school until we moved to the new building where tabletop micromotors replaced them. The hanging motors were tough but a bit noisy. The only problem was the flexshaft, they can break occasionally. 

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I had a look at the Foredom SR and CousinsUK (and others have them). Pricewise they seem OK, and I'd really like to have a foot pedal. There are also cheap Chinese clones but I will definitely stay away from those.


Nevertheless, I was not impressed when I saw the close-up in this video. The rotating head will likely vibrate like crazy when the RPM increases. Fine if you're working on large objects like a motorcycle but for watch cases I think not. After all, working on watches we are in the business of extreme precision so I think all tools should reflect that and I'm really surprised you'd use them in dental school 😱

https://youtu.be/QfwG6F1-vlg?t=62

Compare with the above video. Sure, the steel collets must be bought separately, but I believe it could be well worth it. I'll think I'll go with the Proxxon unless the Foredom shown in the video was somehow faulty?

 

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Foredom has many different style handpieces. If you look at the photo in my original post, that is the dental style handpiece with a fixed 3/32" quick change chuck.

Of course we didn't use Foredom motors in dental school. We had German made KaVo motors. They are probably extinct by now.

This video will introduce you to some handpiece options.

 

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10 hours ago, VWatchie said:

I had a look at the Foredom SR and CousinsUK (and others have them). Pricewise they seem OK, and I'd really like to have a foot pedal. There are also cheap Chinese clones but I will definitely stay away from those.


Nevertheless, I was not impressed when I saw the close-up in this video. The rotating head will likely vibrate like crazy when the RPM increases. Fine if you're working on large objects like a motorcycle but for watch cases I think not. After all, working on watches we are in the business of extreme precision so I think all tools should reflect that and I'm really surprised you'd use them in dental school 😱

https://youtu.be/QfwG6F1-vlg?t=62

Compare with the above video. Sure, the steel collets must be bought separately, but I believe it could be well worth it. I'll think I'll go with the Proxxon unless the Foredom shown in the video was somehow faulty?

 

Big price difference between the clones and the genuine Foredom motor. I nearly bought one a while back at a silly price of less than £100 . I noticed the accessory wobble in the video, that might be just down to the shaft of the bit being bent or poorly milled. Difficult to say if it was the chuck itself, i would think any vibrations would be down to both the handpieces and the motors.

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I had a long good look at the FOREDOM SR with the quick-release handpiece shown in the picture in @HectorLooi's post, and my impression is that it would indeed be precise and professional. Add to that the FCT foot-operated speed control and I think this would be one of the best options for any serious/professional polisher when it comes to rotary tool polishing. I was on the verge to pull the trigger. However, although I'm always serious about what I do, I'm not a pro and I'm not going to polish watch cases or other jewellery on a daily basis, so in the end, I just couldn't defend it. After all, my initial idea was to be able to touch up a watch case on occasion and not do a complete polish overhaul.

As a matter of fact, even the Proxxon Micromat 230/E (shown in my previous post) would likely be overkill in my case, but for less than a third of the price of the FOREDOM I think I could defend such a purchase to myself. I'm almost ready to pull the trigger (please tell me to 🤣) and if I do I'll let you know what I think.

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6 minutes ago, VWatchie said:

I had a long good look at the FOREDOM SR with the quick-release handpiece shown in the picture in @HectorLooi's post, and my impression is that it would indeed be precise and professional. Add to that the FCT foot-operated speed control and I think this would be one of the best options for any serious/professional polisher when it comes to rotary tool polishing. I was on the verge to pull the trigger. However, although I'm always serious about what I do, I'm not a pro and I'm not going to polish watch cases or other jewellery on a daily basis, so in the end, I just couldn't defend it. After all, my initial idea was to be able to touch up a watch case on occasion and not do a complete polish overhaul.

As a matter of fact, even the Proxxon Micromat 230/E (shown in my previous post) would likely be overkill in my case, but for less than a third of the price of the FOREDOM I think I could defend such a purchase to myself. I'm almost ready to pull the trigger (please tell me to 🤣) and if I do I'll let you know what I think.

Andrew Berry knows his stuff, i watch a lot of his videos. It did feel like he was promoting the Foredom though. I'm still tempted to buy the clone at almost a quarter of the price, i suspect i do a bit more case polishing than you watchie and will do more myself when i get around to plating, but still maybe only an hour or so a week.  A lot of power tools come from china, i have a few for my work job and some are ok, so thinking i might take a risk.

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  • 2 months later...
On 8/14/2023 at 9:20 PM, VWatchie said:

As a matter of fact, even the Proxxon Micromat 230/E (shown in my previous post) would likely be overkill in my case, but for less than a third of the price of the FOREDOM I think I could defend such a purchase to myself. I'm almost ready to pull the trigger (please tell me to 🤣) and if I do I'll let you know what I think.

So, I did pull the trigger on the Proxxon Micromat 230/E, and I'm super happy with it and can wholeheartedly recommend it. It's truly a night-and-day difference between my Proxxon and the lousy tool I got from Cousins. The vibrations are minimal and it's so quiet it bothers no one. IMO, worth every penny! 🙂

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