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Watchmakers Lathe Or Mini Lathe


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3 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

Crum’s. I had no idea you were practising on something like that. I do not want to burst your bubble but a basic watch makers lathe with collets would be a good investment, that’s if you intend to make parts for watches.

 

Yes for sure. I am on it :)

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I was advised that the ideal is to have both. Unfortunately I just do not have enough room.In my opinion for watch repair the watchmakers lathe but for clocks the mini or bigger lathe.

You certainly can make watch parts on a mini lathe. I would recommend Cowells Super Elite. Very expensive, not sure, if they are still made if not they would have an equivalent. Do not expect to be ab

The best type of machine I have found to make tiny watch staffs and pinions is a watch lathe. The major issue I ran into was having the pinions break off after being turned down past .012 inches or le

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6 hours ago, oldhippy said:

Thanks the link worked for me.

 

The first thing that you are doing which with practice, is you are moving the graver up and down, not just from side to side. The graver needs to be tidied up, it has round shoulders, these need to be squared off and the cutting edge is not straight, blow away the cut metal more often, at the moment it is becoming in the way causing a rough cut.  

 

I have learn't many of these by trial and lots of error's. The issue I struggle with is my lathe is driven via a foot pedal and getting it to a consistent speed is a problem. I wonder if could have a regulated drive fitted. 

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1 hour ago, david said:

And this is a video of the Patek Phillipe  company attempting to convey the idea that this is how their watches are actually made.

https://youtu.be/bhRqIhHZkmk

 

The guy in the video says he has a watchmaker who can make balance staffs today. Not very good only having one who is skilled.

 

 

Edited by oldhippy
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16 minutes ago, clockboy said:

I have learn't many of these by trial and lots of error's. The issue I struggle with is my lathe is driven via a foot pedal and getting it to a consistent speed is a problem. I wonder if could have a regulated drive fitted. 

I  am using a car DC motor at 5V from a PC PSU. Small pulley is on the motor and the ratio is around 1:5

I have also a DC PWM regulator but the speed is just perfect now but i could use with that also from the 12V wire to be able to regulate.

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9 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

The guy in the video says he has a watchmaker who can make balance staffs today. That is only one. The rest are made by machine.

 

 

 

Exactly :D So i can now apply to Patek Philippe :D

Basically, i am making this staff now the second time (and the many broken trials not counted). The previous one was perfect and the wacth was already running without the cock cap jewel. Only had to adjust the remaining pivot length.... and then i let it fall on the ground and the pinion broke. :pulling-hair-out:

The problem was maybe that the pivot grinder tool was mounted in a vice on the edge of the table. I had to take the staff from the tool many times to measure if it fits and let it fall only one time. I will modify my tool to be able to mount on a solid block and use it in the middle of the table.... and will put everything on a soft cloth or mat. 

Edited by szbalogh
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19 hours ago, oldhippy said:

"The guy in the video says he has a watchmaker who can make balance staffs today. Not very good only having one who is skilled."

 

Quote

The modern watch factories no longer make the parts in that way. If a highly skilled watchmaker takes 8 to 10 hours to turn a staff or a winding stem nobody, except the extremely wealthy, could afford to buy the watch. A TORNOS CNC machine can turn out a perfect winding stem in a couple of minutes. They want the public to think that Swiss Watches are made by highly skilled Swiss Watchmakers who are genetically disposed to make watches better than any other race; but that simply isn't the case. 

It always bothered me to see the nasty comments aimed at the craftsman at Grey & Sons Jewelers. The comments usually state that the watch they are restoring should be sent back to the factory.  This is usually followed up by  "only the factory can properly restore the watch" and "any restoration work not done by the factory is done by second rate hacks".  The crew at Grey & Sons, and other independent operations, are among the best in the world. I would be very suprised if  any of the major watch factories had craftsman on this level. . When a watch factory discovers a broken or damaged part on one of their watches, they pull a part from the spare parts drawer and replace it.  When an independent high level craftsman is confronted with the  same issue they can actually make the  part.  The parts can and are made with  a basic watchmaker lathe and its attachments.

 An economic fact is, modern watch factories now do things in a different way and no longer need watchmakers with that level of skill. When a watch is manufactured they can make a large number of spares in a relatively short period of time and store them in a parts drawer to be used in their repair and warranty department. If the repair involves any high level of complexity they replace the entire movement and ship the watch back to the unsuspecting customer.

david

 

 

 

 

Edited by david
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/9/2017 at 3:32 PM, jdrichard said:

 

I have been considering purchasing a watchmakers Lathe and or a mini metal lathe for making stems, staffs and other parts. What is the difference between the two lathes and can I buy a mini lathe vs a used boley for example. I have attached a photo of both.

 

I think the Cowells 90CW will be the one for you!

http://www.cowells.com/90cw.htm

Why?

http://watchmaking.weebly.com/cowells-90cw.html

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I'm considering getting a mini lathe and swapping out the bearings for tapered type as in watch makers lathe ... I know some modification required and it would be an interesting project ... But I believe I would be able to get similar accuracy esp. if I had  a belt drive instead of gear drive ... of course other parts would need to be improved also ... Any thoughts??

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I'm considering getting a mini lathe and swapping out the bearings for tapered type as in watch makers lathe ... I know some modification required and it would be an interesting project ... But I believe I would be able to get similar accuracy esp. if I had  a belt drive instead of gear drive ... of course other parts would need to be improved also ... Any thoughts??

What are you making with lathe?

Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk

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Mini Lathe, do you mean these ones? (See pictures)
I've  been experimenting with these small ones for a different purpose but haven't thought about using them for watchmaking.
One might be able to do some small gadgets and rings in brass and plastic with them since they usually have a small weak 12V motor which are belt driven.
To do something else requires you to modify them heavily with new motors, a better XYZ table with micrometers and so on, the cost of this probably reaches way beyond the price of a used watchmakers lathe so I doubt it is worth it. But as an interesting project just for the kicks  it would be a fun project.  

Lathe_M1.jpg

Lathe_M2.jpg

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  you need 2 maybe 3 types of lathes;    jewelers lathe  ( used with gravers),   "mini lathe (what ever that is good for".   and a compound lathe (gear driven cutting).   Oh heck,   get a mill also.    vin

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I have a Unimat 3 with the millling attachment for clock work. I sold my watchmakers lathe with foot control years ago. My unimat can deal with center Longcase clock wheels and the barrals, so it can handle any size clock part. 

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9 hours ago, ShenzhenAdam said:

I'm considering getting a mini lathe and swapping out the bearings for tapered type as in watch makers lathe ... I know some modification required and it would be an interesting project ... But I believe I would be able to get similar accuracy esp. if I had  a belt drive instead of gear drive ... of course other parts would need to be improved also ... Any thoughts?? 

what sort of equipment do you have for this project? 

The double taper bearing at the front of a lathe headstock might just be the most difficult thing to create to the fit and finish needed for a highly accurate plain bearing.  Other than a series of extremely precise laps I'm not even sure how to get there from here, heck its bloody difficult machining mating tapers to a shoulder....now you have mate two tapers mate and to the best finish you ever done, and from hardened steel?  Please take lots of pics :)

 

 

 

Edited by measuretwice
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Mini lathe could mean a number of different machines, could you be more specific? As Measuretwice said, making the double taper solid bearings as seen on most watchmaker's lathes would be something even a seasoned master machinist would stress about. If the machine uses regular deep groove ball bearings those can be preloaded or angular contact bearings installed which are meant to be preloaded. Even that is tricky, as parallelism and concentricity and preload force are measured in microns or less. If you want the precision and collet holding ability of the usual watchmaker's lathe headstock, and the other capabilities of one of the mini lathes, you might have less trouble adapting an orphan headstock to the machine. Do it in a way that you can switch out the original with the other easily.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve got a 6mm Lorch running a sewing machine motor and foot control, I’m also getting the Axminster C0 micro lathe, comes in at 36cm all in for length. Here’s the tech stuff on it.

 

 
A high quality, miniature metalworking lathe, constructed to a very high standard around a cast iron, hardened and ground bed. The spindle is powered by a 150W motor through a variable speed drive giving spindle speeds of 100-3,850rpm. With a swing of 110mm and 125mm between centres, this is an ideal machine for making small parts for models and integrating metal parts into woodturning projects etc. Weighing only 13kg, this is a very portable but capable machine. It is fitted with a 3-jaw self-centring chuck with reversible jaws, single tool post taking 8mm tooling, splash guard and interlocked chuck guard for safety. The spindle thread is 14 x 1mm and has a 10mm bore.
 
im going to see if I can do any watch work with it, I might have to sort out some collets to fit.
ive been looking at trying to get a compound slide for my Lorch (my graver skills aren’t fantastic) to allow me to get perfect spindles etc but prices for 2nd hand units were almost the same price as this complete large, and I had no idea how true they would run etc or even fit my lathe bed. 
The reviews are a little cruel as my father ( engineer, machine fitter ) had a proper look and a play with the display model in the shop and with the reviews in his mind he still thought it was a good little lathe and worth getting.
Edited by transporter
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Hi

 

In my opinion you will be better off getting a good quality second hand machine that is a few years old that has seen little use. The reason I say this is that modern made lathes with either cast iron beds or extruded aluminium beds are made to a budget and this shows. I recently looked at Proxxon etc in a showroom and the fits and tollerances on these machines were appaling. Yes you can adjust the gibbs and freeplay on the leadscrews and compound slide screws but they are so far out in the first place you will be very frustrated in buying a lathe and then spending many hours tweaking it and changing out parts etc to get accurate results. Also new machines have stresses etc in the beds post being cast in the foundry so may twist on you gradually over time where the older lathes have been made of better grey metal and the stresses have relieved themselves over the years.

A nice Unimat lathe or similar will be a very usable machine and they are very well made and good ones are still out there. I have the Unimat SL version so you end up with a lathe, pillar drill and light milling machine all in one so less space taken up on the bench. The lathe is belt driven so is very quiet in comparison to a spur gear type lathe that will generally run with a lot more noise. If you don't do a lot of long thread cutting operations then buying the odd threading die for those odd jobs will be better than buying a lathe for threading in my opinion.

 

Just my thoughts but hope this helps.

Andy

 

Edited by Andyworks
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