Friday, May 27, 2016

The Grind

Hairspring with the regulating curve and double bend made by Simone
This week went really fast for our students, continuing work on hairsprings and timing.  Although timing started out being a bumpy road, they are slowly getting the hang of it and are beginning to get good results.  The tolerances our students get for their timing exercises are extremely strict considering they construct the whole oscillator starting from re-riveting the balance staff to bending the hairspring to construct the regulating curve and double bend.
Theren flattening and centering the hairspring on the bridge

Tomas centering the hairspring under the collet

Simone flattening the hairspring

Shuai and Eddie on the other hand spent the week preparing for their gear train exam.  It takes great patience in bending the wheel flat and cleaning the movement for final checking.  They are glad that the exam is over and are eager to start with the next subject.
Shuai making tools adjustments

Eddie making his movements extra clean

Friday, May 20, 2016

Perfect Timing

Kaj showing off his vision measuring machine
Last Friday the students took a field trip to a rising star of the independent watchmaking world, Kaj Korpela, who happens to be Henrik's brother.  He is currently working on his self designed, and completely hand-made (including the whole escapement minus the hairspring and pallet jewels) tourbillon wristwatch.  The students got a chance to look at how an independent watchmaker sets up shop and what creative ways parts can be made with the "limited" machinery that is owned by the watchmaker.  Kaj also gave the students a glimpse of how it feels to work as an independent watchmaker, designs can be a felt out by the warmth of the hand, and not necessarily rigidly followed from drawn designs of computer softwares.
A beautiful Schaublin 65

A historic gear cutting machine

Kaj shows the students his tourbillon watch prototype

Back in the classroom, the students started the final subject of timing.  Using our Witschi machines, they began timing the 6498 balances they have been working on so hard these past weeks.  Right now they are just getting a feel for the machines and learning how to operate them, in the next few weeks they will start to figure out where the errors come from and make the movements perfect.
Theren manipulating the collet to get a smaller beat error

Tomas and Simone discussing the result they got from the machines

Shuai and Eddie on the other hand have started the oiling of the winding and setting system along with learning the theory and operation of endshakes for the geartrain.  It is the first steps to understanding how the timing is affected, but they might not know that yet!  All that is going to change real soon however.
Eddie checking condition of the gear train bridge

Shuai looking for the correct pusher for endshake manipulation

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bastard dimensions!

Eddie seeing how the wheel is bent

Shuai checking wheel flatness
Both portions of the class has moved onto something new this week.  Shuai and Eddie have started the controls for the gear train, meaning they must start training their eyes to see un-flat wheels and bend them back to perfect flatness.  This practice will eventually help them better fix the flatness and centering of the hairsprings that Tomas, Simone and Theren have been doing for the past few weeks.

Theren swapping a broken balance staff
Simone checking the flatness and centering of the hairspring

Tomas also flattening the hairspring

This brings us to the other side of the classroom where they have started to learn how to make the regulating curves and double bend of the hairspring when studding up.  The regulating curve has to be made radial where the other parts of the hairspring is an Archimedian Spiral so that the regulating pins are always the same distance apart and therefore prevent alterations to the centering.  

A cool pocket watch-like pedometer that Shuai got

Watchmaking books written in old language, but completely correct

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pinning it up

Checking of the barrel flatness
Shuai working on the barrel exercises
Eddie and Shuai started on the subject of barrels this week.  The barrel may look simple, but there are many things to look out for in a barrel, for example, the flatness, concentricity, endshake, sideshake, condition of bearings, teeth and the the mainspring within and at the end they should be cleaned and lubricated. Now they must complete the exercises to make 5 perfect barrels and another 7 complementary barrels of various sizes, manual and automatic from modern and vintage watches.

A scale to calculate the 2nd pinning point of the hairspring

Theren cutting the 2nd pinning point

Tomas finishing up his customized roller removing tool
On the other side of the room, the other boys started on the next topic in the oscillator series, cutting the second pinning point of the hairspring.  It is a very interesting subject where some math is involved in calculating where the hairspring must be cut for the optimum performance in the wrist watch.  Once the point is found and cut, the balance must again be vibrated to confirm the position to a tolerance of plus or minus 10 degrees.  Once this is achieved the students will move on to the final step of making the double bend for the outer pinning point and time the watch.  The whole course has been building up to this point!  Exciting times!
The roller removing tool designed by the students individually

Because doing hairspring all day everyday can be tiresome at times, the students took a break in between work to make a tool that is used to remove the roller on a balance.  All the students made their own design and made them extra fancy!