Monday, June 29, 2015

From BBQ to a visit with a living legend

We are finally getting nice weather in Le Locle, so the school decided to have a barbecue.  We went to the nicer part of town and found a spot to build a fire.  We prepared an assortment of Swiss meats and vegetables to grill.  It was nice to spend time outside for a change.
Everyone enjoying themselves under the perfect weather

Just some of the food we feasted on for the BBQ

The students were shown high tech materials including this Aerogel we have in the picture below.  It is a cloud-like material that's extremely light and isolating.  It looks delicious.
A fluffy piece of aerogel

Robert lent us a Chezard 7400, a jumping second mechanism, to study since one of our students is thinking about having one in his school watch.  It is a clever mechanism that makes the second hand "jump" instead of the usual sweep seconds on a mechanical watch.

A magnified view of the jumping second mechanism

Simone came up with another unique design for one of his tools.  The tripod he made looks futuristic with torch-like screws.  The tripod is made from brass, but he is planning to maybe powder coat it later.
Extremely cool design from Simone

On the weekend we took a field-trip to Dombresson to visit one of Henrik's teachers from WOSTEP, Mr. Simonin who now currently runs a bookstore focused on watches.  None of our students went home empty handed.
Mr. Simonin is a living legend in the watch industry

Theren and Tomas soaking their brains in knowledge

Friday, June 19, 2015

Le Garde Temps, enjoying classic watchmaking

Henrik and the students got a picture with Mr. Forsey of Gruebel Forsey
This Wednesday the school took a trip to the Musee International d'Horologie for Les CirConference du Temps where the project Le Garde Temps was presented.  Mr. Forsey, Mr. Dufour, and Mr. Boulanger were there to introduce the project they have been working on for the past few years.  The event was very successful with a packed house of people from the industry.  The watch is nearly finished and looks amazing.
Tomas checking out the amazing finishing on a wheel from Gruebel Forsey

The result of years of dedication

This week the students learned how to file squares in two different ways.  The traditional hand filed way using just simple tools and also the more practical way by using the 8mm lathe.

The super high skill of hand filing a square
Using the lathe for precision filing of a square

They also learned how to heat treat carbon steel by first hardening then tempering.  They learned several methods of doing it.  The color we try to achieve for watch components is a dark blue tint.
Somethings cooking

Today Henrik showed the students how to grind a slot graver starting from a raw hard metal.  They used the Agathon machine which is specialized for grinding.
Tomas grinding his slot graver

Monday, June 15, 2015

A week of turning

The master at work
After the students learned how to setup the lathe, they have been turning non-stop.  They have been practicing the different shapes of pivots, for example, square shoulders, convex cones, concave cones, and rounded tips and many others. At the end of the week the students also learned how to disassemble the lathes and service them, as should be done regularly.
Theren working on the lathe
Tomas servicing the lathe 
The square shoulder with a conical tip

On the weekend Costya perfected his skills in burnishing.  He had a lot of fun as you can see in the picture below.
Costya happily burnishing

The students have received their last micromechanics' tool, the micrometer.  These micrometers are accurate to the micron, and these lucky students even got them on discount!
Unpacking the micrometer

Monday, June 8, 2015

Extracurricular activities

The students had a debate over whether diamonds would burn.  One student saw on youtube that diamonds could be burned over a stream of liquid oxygen, but one other student wouldn't believe it.  Being the scientist that they are the students decided to find out Myth Buster style!  We just happened to have a piece of broken low quality diamond lying around.
In conclusion, we proved that diamonds aren't forever!
The setup
The diamond was burned for 10min straight with a torch

The diamond before and after under a microscope

This week the students learned how to hand turn on the 8mm lathe.  They had to hand sharpen their gravers and modify them to specific angles designed for better cuts.  Now the students need to practice making perfect cylinders and shoulders, along with cones and rounded pivots.
Tomas and Theren setting up their 8mm lathes

Last weekend we had the special opportunity to visit the AHCI (Academie Horlogere Des Createurs Independants) 30th Anniversary at the Musee d'horlogerie International in La-Chaux-de-fonds.  It was a great opportunity to see the superstars in the watch industry.

The opening ceremony of the AHCI 30th anniversary exhibit

Monday, June 1, 2015

Just another "Boring" week

Last week the students learned how to center the boring cutter to a premade hole.  To give you a better understanding of how a Jig Borer cuts, one of our students took a slow motion video of the jig borer doing its business.

Using a dial gauge to center hole

Tomas measuring length of the piece using the microscope

Theren and Simone tried a different set up with the milling machine to accomplish special designs to their tools.
Simone making a trapezoid with the milling machine 

Theren making side slots on his piece