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Stian

Milling machine for making watch cases and parts

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Hi gurus,

I'm working towards a project of making watches from scratch, and as part of that I'm considering buying a milling machine. Given the precision levels needed for both milling and boring, I'm considering a rather costly option, the Wabeco F1200. It has a 0.01mm tolerance for milling and 0.03mm for boring.

My question: would you have an opinion or experience with the suitability of such a mill? Or would you have alternative suggestions for me?

-- 
Best regards,
Stian

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Hi gurus,
I'm working towards a project of making watches from scratch, and as part of that I'm considering buying a milling machine. Given the precision levels needed for both milling and boring, I'm considering a rather costly option, the Wabeco F1200. It has a 0.01mm tolerance for milling and 0.03mm for boring.
My question: would you have an opinion or experience with the suitability of such a mill? Or would you have alternative suggestions for me?
-- 
Best regards,
Stian




I have no good information to offer for you here, but I have been waiting for someone with your kind of spirit! I think that’s exactly what we need more around to start step-by-step and develop something that could potentially be great!.

Best wishes and I’ll be following with interest.


Cheers!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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On ‎4‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 7:43 AM, jdm said:

No, you're wrong, do you have one? They can do precision work with minimal run-out. How do I know? Multiple reports including our local lathe expert David, and of course Mark Lovick also.

   reports are good,  but it some experience to run a mill.    vin

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5 minutes ago, vinn3 said:

   reports are good,  but it some experience to run a mill.    vin

Hi Vin,

Thanks for that, and I would certainly need to build some experience. Could you point me to that thread you quoted?

-- 
BR,
Stian

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2 minutes ago, Stian said:

Hi Vin,

Thanks for that, and I would certainly need to build some experience. Could you point me to that thread you quoted?

-- 
BR,
Stian

    i don't recall refuring to a "thread".    it might take 4 years of aprentiship.   you might look up "climb milling".  vin

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2 hours ago, vinn3 said:

    i don't recall refuring to a "thread".   

if you look at your post above, you included a quote from a thread.

Stian, that looks like a solid little mill, made in Germany I'd expect you can trust the claims.  It looks like the Z is dovetailed which imo is necessary and often not present with the so called mill/drills.  I don't know of any better alternative available new. 

The quality alternatives are all things sadly not made anymore and now very costly - mills like an Aciera F1, Sixis 101, Schaublin 12 and maybe fourth place, a ways back but not quite lapped, a BCA mill/jig  borer.   There's also Fehlmann, again, crazy expensive.  A watchmaker would also likely have a high precision jig borer like a Hauser M1, with it you can place holes to a tenth (say ,.003 mm).   The F1, M1 etc are just incredibly nice machines but are hard to find and expensive; i wouldn't let finding one get in the way of the project....but you asked what the alternatives are and who knows, maybe your neighbor has one for sale :D   If do see one come up, grab it!

They are not hard to use.  Like driving car, most anyone can do with a bit thought.  otoh knowing how to drive doesn't win you the world driving championship so you've lots to learn to make a watch  - a complex project.  I've an F1, M1 and BCA (as well 3 full sized mills) and have been using them for decades so if you have specific questions I'll answer them if I can.

Really what you need to learn is machining.  Running these small tools on small work isn't at lot different from their larger cousins, same principals and processes.  A book like the Amateurs Workshop, while targeted for model engineers, will give you a broad sense of it, i.e. amateur machining

Edited by measuretwice

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5 hours ago, vinn3 said:

reports are good,  but it some experience to run a mill.    vin

I was curious about the specifications so I called a friend Phil. Phil is an interesting person he claims not to be a machinist but machines beautiful things. His fun is to make machinery to make things like clocks or currently make a watch. So when I asked specifications he commented that there is way more to the numbers than just those numbers basically lots of factors that come into play. But we were limited on a phone conversation as he's getting ready to give a talk on his machinery at our local nawcc regional.

Then there is the other thing you do need to know how to use your equipment. Not just how to use the equipment but today we can do things differently we can be creative it's the creativity and understanding the equipment that allows you to do things. Having all the super nice precision equipment without the knowledge of what you're trying to do isn't going to let you do it.

Then there are other people out there making watches it be nice to find all the links sometimes it's hard to find them they're not always the most visible. Someone gave me this link the other day he is making a watch and is a link to his website at the top where he does talk about is equipment very very briefly unfortunately.

https://www.instagram.com/watchmakermike/

 

 

 

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On 5/16/2018 at 5:36 PM, measuretwice said:

if you look at your post above, you included a quote from a thread.

Stian, that looks like a solid little mill, made in Germany I'd expect you can trust the claims.  It looks like the Z is dovetailed which imo is necessary and often not present with the so called mill/drills.  I don't know of any better alternative available new. 

The quality alternatives are all things sadly not made anymore and now very costly - mills like an Aciera F1, Sixis 101, Schaublin 12 and maybe fourth place, a ways back but not quite lapped, a BCA mill/jig  borer.   There's also Fehlmann, again, crazy expensive.  A watchmaker would also likely have a high precision jig borer like a Hauser M1, with it you can place holes to a tenth (say ,.003 mm).   The F1, M1 etc are just incredibly nice machines but are hard to find and expensive; i wouldn't let finding one get in the way of the project....but you asked what the alternatives are and who knows, maybe your neighbor has one for sale :D   If do see one come up, grab it!

They are not hard to use.  Like driving car, most anyone can do with a bit thought.  otoh knowing how to drive doesn't win you the world driving championship so you've lots to learn to make a watch  - a complex project.  I've an F1, M1 and BCA (as well 3 full sized mills) and have been using them for decades so if you have specific questions I'll answer them if I can.

Really what you need to learn is machining.  Running these small tools on small work isn't at lot different from their larger cousins, same principals and processes.  A book like the Amateurs Workshop, while targeted for model engineers, will give you a broad sense of it, i.e. amateur machining

Thanks a lot for your message, and I've also been looking at an Aciera F1 or a Hauser M1. From what I have read, the Hauser M1 might be enough for both boring and light milling, but would milling a case from stainless steel be - considered light milling? 

--

Best regards, 

Stian 

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4 hours ago, Stian said:

Thanks a lot for your message, and I've also been looking at an Aciera F1 or a Hauser M1. From what I have read, the Hauser M1 might be enough for both boring and light milling, but would milling a case from stainless steel be - considered light milling?

 

Not sure how to answer that properly.  Light is relative, but I guess you don't get much lighter than the M1 (a heavy, beautifully made machine, its milling function is very light because of the small collet size.  I would put a case on a full sized mill just so it went a little more quickly.  Comparatively the F1 is a W12 collet.  With milling, a proper spindle is designed to take high lateral loads.  A mill is such, a jig borer can take some, but less so  than a mill. 

The X and Y on the M1 are jig borer style ways; inverted V's (like a lathe) vs dovetail on the F1.  The parts just sit on top of each other.  (if you ever get one, ONLY lift from the bottom else you bend the super expensive feed screws which are the only thing connect the layers of the stack).  More accurate, but at some level of force, milling could lift them.  Then again that may be BS, you'd have to use such a small cutter in the 8mm collet it would likely break first.

The M1 and F1 are imo two different machines, the M1 being less capable as a mill but more accurate for hole placement.  The F1 is far more capable as a mill, and you're going to being lots of tooling and fixtures as well as parts with a project like this. If you had to pick one, it would be the F1, but then again if you need a jig borer the F1 might be pita in that there is no quill.  Where the M1 would shin is in all the holes in the various plates.  

i'm a bit of a toolaholic and like having nice tools sometimes for reasons not fully justified by their utility.  Unless you've aspirations of being the next George Daniels, or are a likewise afflicted toolaholic, that Wabeco would likely be more than enough....and if not you could always upgrade.  Whatever you do, make sure you get a free cutting grade of stainless, like 303 or 416

 

Edited by measuretwice

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5 minutes ago, measuretwice said:

 

Not sure how to answer that properly.  Light is relative, but I guess you don't get much lighter than the M1 (a heavy, beautifully made machine, its milling function is very light because of the small collet size.  I would put a case on a full sized mill just so it went a little more quickly.  Comparatively the F1 ios W12.  With milling, a proper spindle is designed to take high lateral loads.  A mill is such, a jig borer can take some, but less so  than a mill. 

The X and Y on the M1 are jig borer style ways; inverted V's (like a lathe) vs dovetail on the F1.  The parts just sit on top of each other.  (if you ever get one, ONLY lift from the bottom else you bend the super expensive feed screws which are the only thing connect the layers of the stack).  More accurate, but at some level of force, milling could lift them.  Then again that may be BS, you'd have to use such a small cutter in the 8mm collet it would likely break first.

The M1 and F1 are imo two different machines, the M1 being less capable as a mill but more accurate for hole placement.  The F1 is far more capable as a mill, and you're going to being lots of tooling and fixtures as well as parts with a project like this. If you had to pick one, it would be the F1, but then again if you need a jig borer the F1 might be pita in that there is no quill.  Where the M1 would shin is in all the holes in the various plates.  

i'm a bit of a toolaholic and like having nice tools sometimes for reasons not fully justified by their utility.  Unless you've aspirations of being the next George Daniels, or are another fellow toolaholic, that Wabeco would likely be more than enough....and if not you could always upgrade.  Whatever you do, make sure you get a free cutting grade of stainless, like 303 or 416

 

Yeah, I'm a bit the same in that I buy or get a lot of stuff that I probably won't use enough to get real value from. Tools are cool though :D

I currently have an M1 on hand for about €6000, which seems reasonable from what I've seen when researching. My main question is really whether the Wabeco can place the holes precisely enough or if I need the 0.001mm precision of the M1... If the Wabeco is good enough that's probably the way to go then? 

--

Best regards,

Stian 

 

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 I cannot say.....tolerances are the province of the designer :)

One must also not completely ignore the photogenic aspects.  (link to shots of mine just after I painted it).  

https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/8251-new-machine-for-the-shop/?tab=comments#comment-78934

Or get all of them.....if you can't have every woman  who's the object of your desire you can of mills and jig borers :D.  As much as l like my M1, I do think most them serve the function of holding down a bench a looking good....imo even if you do one day decide you need one, you'd get soooo much more service out of a small mill with all the tools and fixtures you'll end up making

 

 

Edited by measuretwice

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23 hours ago, measuretwice said:

 I cannot say.....tolerances are the province of the designer :)

One must also not completely ignore the photogenic aspects.  (link to shots of mine just after I painted it).  

https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/8251-new-machine-for-the-shop/?tab=comments#comment-78934

Or get all of them.....if you can't have every woman  who's the object of your desire you can of mills and jig borers :D.  As much as l like my M1, I do think most them serve the function of holding down a bench a looking good....imo even if you do one day decide you need one, you'd get soooo much more service out of a small mill with all the tools and fixtures you'll end up making

 

 

Haha, looking cool is indeed utterly important! It looks very nice after painting it. What's the year of manufacture? And where is the motor for it? 

Stian 

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17 hours ago, Stian said:

And where is the motor for it?

 

The motor for those was separate from the machine so no motor vibration would make it into the machine.  The motor hanging from a stand alone pillar was one arrangement.   Many were also used as tool makers microscopes so no power was required.   Various accessories like different spindles and the microscope are interchangeable, each being lapped specifically for the individual machine for a very precise fit, down to microns.  Unfortunately I don't have the microscope, and its not a matter just picking one up (despite the prices) as they won't fit properly unless made for this particular machine.  Guys buy a larger one (we're talking microns) and lap it down is one way, I'd thought to have a go at making one from scratch.

I'll have to rig something up with urathane belting.  Also not show is the stand (scraped to fit the bottom of the borer), the spindle and the yoke.   I just can't fit the stand into the current shop, have some decisions to make before the machine is full installed and ready to go.

Edited by measuretwice

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