Balance staff replacement tooling

Roy Horrorlogic

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The Bergeon Platex tool seems to be completely unavailable now, or else extremely expensive. If one already has a basic staking set what additional tooling is needed in addition to those for re-poising etc?
I'd appreciate affordable suggestions that other members have found serviceable.
Roy
 

gmorse

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Hi Roy,

To remove a riveted staff safely, I suggest that a lathe is an essential place to start. There are accessories available for staking sets to do this, which work in a similar way to the Platax tool, and whilst I admit that I've never used one, I'm very uncomfortable with the way they work, (and most unwilling to pay the price for one!), so have always cut off the hub in a lathe.

If the watch has been dynamically poised, there seems little point in doing a static poise following a staff replacement; if it was done properly and you haven't touched the screws in the rim or bent anything, there should be little if any change in the poise anyway.

Regards,

Graham
 

Roy Horrorlogic

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Thank you Graham
As so frequently, a lathe comes up. Having bought and returned two separate "vintage watchmaker's lathes" I've more or less given up on the idea. I looked at Sherline lathes which now seem to be available in the UK at semi-reasonable prices, but in the end decided that they would be a very expensive proposition by the time all the various known and unknown unknowns had surfaced. In any case I'm not certain that they possess the accuracy required. I would love one though - even if at my time of life the "long term" doesn't necessarily encompass "long term investments".
Realistically I have to do it with a staking set - there are some decent videos on YT showing more or less the procedures involved. In any case I have enough worthless movements and NOS staffs to enable me to practice/destroy a few balances first. For anything that deserves expertise I will have to rely on someone else (as for the LIP T18s I recently unearthed.)
I suppose I have to take an extended look at the YT videos on the subject. Mark Lovick's brilliantly executed videos include one on this subject but unfortunately he uses a Platex. But he would, wouldn't he!
Roy
 

gmorse

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Hi Roy,

Platax tools, even second-hand ones, do fetch a lot; the last one we had in our BHI Branch auction went for £240.

Regarding Sherline lathes, they're certainly more than sufficiently accurate for this task, but as you say, you do need to factor in the 'incidentals', such as tooling etc, then there's the learning curve . . .

Even when you have removed the broken staff, it's sometimes necessary to adjust the new staff slightly, depending on whether it's been well made. Complete interchangeability is still something of a holy grail!

I think, given your real constraints, you'll have to continue to send these jobs out.

Regards,

Graham
 

Al J

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I know many swear by the "punch it out" method, I simply can't use this method as it seems like butchery to me. Even if the rivet breaks off cleanly, there is an enlarged portion of the staff that would be forced through the hole. A lathe is the proper way to do this in my opinion, and although my lathe is far from perfect, I've cut out many staffs on it without issue.

However if the material of the balance will allow it, I use a solution of alum and water to dissolve the staffs out whenever I can. Photos of the last one I did this way - balance in the alum solution, the staff removed from the balance, and the staff as it looked after it came out. Zero chance of distorting the hole or throwing the balance out of round this way, and the new staff was very snug in the hole.

Something to consider if the situation allows.

Cheers, Al

Porsche Design Chronograph_0224.jpg Porsche Design Chronograph_0226.jpg Porsche Design Chronograph_0255.jpg
 

DeweyC

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In school we were taught the Mofres and removal by punch.

No one has ever convinced me that the hub bore gets damaged with removal by punch. And if you think about the physics involved, it is very unlikely this happens as a result of shearing off the rivet. Perhaps an anvil hole too large and the punch not driven straight, but not a direct result of the method.

The rivet is extremely thin. The balance arm is at least 30 times its thickness. The staking anvil supports the balance arm right to the edge of the hole.

I remember my physics just enough to recall things like Young's modulus and such but can no longer do the calculations. The resisting force of the staking anvil and the balance arm is much higher than the force required to shear the rivet. In steel or alloy balances. In school we did this also with nickel balances and installed new staffs to prove the methods to ourselves.

If I suspect a staff has been poorly fitted, then I do cut it out. But those should be obvious situations.

Then again, this is not something likely to be the subject of field experiments. But actual measurements of distortion from a large sample of balances whose staffs were driven and balances who were damaged during the process of cutting them out would be required. And I am not that concerned about either method. They both work when executed properly.

I have been using the drive out method with the K&D setup that ensures the balance is secure since returning in 2011.

You pays your money and picks your ride.

The safest in my opinion is the Mofres. But try to find one. Dushan is the only person I know with one (or is it two?)
 

praezis

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Hello,
I am surprised that you defend a wrong procedure.
No one has ever convinced me that the hub bore gets damaged with removal by punch.
Nor will I. However long time ago I damaged a balance by punching the staff out with an Unruhmax (similar to K&D). The hole of the balance arm was distorted to a cone! Since then I use the Molfres method only.
I have been using the drive out method with the K&D setup that ensures the balance is secure since returning in 2011.
No, it will never be secure, not with K&D, Platax or whatever. Why? Because the most important part of the arm stays unsupported.
Unruhmax.jpg
I posted this picture before, and will have to post it next time, when restaffing will be discussed, it will be forgotten till then...

Frank
 

DeweyC

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Hello,
I am surprised that you defend a wrong procedure.

Nor will I. However long time ago I damaged a balance by punching the staff out with an Unruhmax (similar to K&D). The hole of the balance arm was distorted to a cone! Since then I use the Molfres method only.

No, it will never be secure, not with K&D, Platax or whatever. Why? Because the most important part of the arm stays unsupported.
View attachment 592201
I posted this picture before, and will have to post it next time, when restaffing will be discussed, it will be forgotten till then...

Frank
Frank,

Just because you say it is wrong does not make it so. You may well prefer another method and that is ok.

However, your position seems untenable given the methods taught at WOSTEP. Nine years of experience makes me very comfortable with the procedure I describe.

I would think the very fact that you hold me in regards and I use this method would suggest there may well be nothing wrong with it. All I ever heard was rumor and speculation. The Swiss instructors had us prove the point for ourselves on nickel balances.

So it goes.
 

Jerry Kieffer

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Personally, I have found no one method of removing staffs to be fool proof.

Again my method that has created the least issues over the years is as follows with the reasons for each procedure.
Keep in mind, that their will always be exceptions.

(1) If I were to drive untouched staffs out of a balance, I would select my K&D setup first photo. My reasons would be the same as Franks in that it would allow me to select an exact fit to the hub and maximum support on each side as well as top and bottom.

(2)Personally, I prefer to remove almost all of the crimp or rivet (or hub if required) and then remove the staff in the K&D tool per photo. In doing either the crimp or hub, my goal is to never touch the balance.
This can be an issue with hand control of a graver or back lash on a machine tool. However, a machine tool has offered the best option.

(3) When setting up a machine Lathe, I first touch the tip of the tool on the balance arm and zero the carriage hand wheel. Second photo. I then reposition the lathe tool to make a single pass against the crimp per third photo. In making that pass, I stop .001" or .025mm short of the balance removing almost all of the staff crimp at the edge of the balance per the lathe tool shape. Interestingly, when the staff is pushed out, quite often whats left of the crimp pops off as a donut.

(4) Unfortunately, back lash in any system can allow a ever so slightly deeper cut than is desired when dimensionally controlling this type cut to this accuracy. To control this, I spring load the carriage per fourth photo. In use, the machining process is never observed, only the movement of the hand wheels.

Having used this combination for many years, I can not recall the last issue I have had with any damage to a balance.

Jerry Kieffer

fullsizeoutput_5d8.jpeg fullsizeoutput_5df.jpeg fullsizeoutput_5de.jpeg fullsizeoutput_5e0.jpeg
 

DeweyC

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This is a good discussion but it holds some irony for me.

I related a number of tmes how in school, the instructors merely presented ways that that were known to work. There was no "good way, no "bad way". Only "excellent results" or "poor results". If you could burnish a 12/100 mm pivot to size of 10/100mm with a pinvise and nail, it was the result that counted.

A cautionary tale. Years ago I visited a colleague who was teaching at the Dallas Wostep School (she was in my class). I noted that the students were of various stature. Yet their seats and benches were all at exactly the same height!

She told me the head instructor (an AWI type) insisted that in a Swiss system everything was uniform. She and I had no idea how he came to believe this, because it is not how Mr. Simonin ever taught and it sure was not what we were subjected to. In fact, we spent the first day arranging our work areas to our tastes.

Beware anyone who prizes process over result. What suits one person may be completely unusable for another.
 

praezis

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Just because you say it is wrong does not make it so.
Dewey, I did not only say but also showed why.
I am curious how you value the non existent support of the balance arm around its bore when punching out. You did not yet comment on that.

More reasons can be found here (saves me lots of words in a foreign language).

If punching out worked for you and also for Swiss instructors, you were lucky and did not yet meet the one balance and rivet where it fails. I was lucky to meet this one many years ago :)
Frank
 

DeweyC

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Dewey, I did not only say but also showed why.
I am curious how you value the non existent support of the balance arm around its bore when punching out. You did not yet comment on that.

More reasons can be found here (saves me lots of words in a foreign language).

If punching out worked for you and also for Swiss instructors, you were lucky and did not yet meet the one balance and rivet where it fails. I was lucky to meet this one many years ago :)
Frank
Frank,

I can understand your earnestness. But it was demonstrated to me, and verified by experience, that there is no more risk of deforming the mounting hole than there is in damaging the balance in the lathe.

It is easy enough for a structural engineer to calculate the loads, shear strength of the rivet, and the resistance to deformation of the balance arm.

Talking about the number of angels that can fit on a pin does not advance the discussion.

I fully realize that my practice and experience surprise you. But it is what it is.

Do you reject the use of Loctite?
 

Al J

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Al,

As was said and described, we punched out a staff from a nickel balance and restaffed it. No one had an issue.
Okay, well that was not what I was expecting. I was hoping for something a little more scientific than a one off test with apparently no measurements taken.

Cheers, Al
 

DeweyC

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Okay, well that was not what I was expecting. I was hoping for something a little more scientific than a one off test with apparently no measurements taken.

Cheers, Al
Times 8 students with no issues. If the problem was prevalent would have expected someone to have an issue.

BTW, we also were shown (and proved to ouselves) the riveting with the back of a simple tweezer was more than enough. The world is a wondrous place!
 
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Al J

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Times 8 students with no issues. If the problem was prevalent would have expected someone to have an issue.

BTW, we also were shown (and proved to ouselves) the riveting with the back of a simple tweezer was more than enough. The world is a wondrous place!
I'm not trying to change anyone's mind here, I was just curious how the test was done. I was imagining something more along the lines that they supplied balances that had never been staffed, that you were able to measure the ID, then staff it, punch out the staff, and then measure the ID again to understand the impact of pushing the enlarged part of the staff through the hole once the rivet breaks off. The same test could be repeated with other methods of removing a staff (cutting it out, alum) and then determine the method that has the least impact on the balance.

I am assuming these were new balances, correct?

Cheers, Al
 

Paul Raposo

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I was imagining something more along the lines that they supplied balances that had never been staffed, that you were able to measure the ID, then staff it, punch out the staff, and then measure the ID again to understand the impact of pushing the enlarged part of the staff through the hole once the rivet breaks off. The same test could be repeated with other methods of removing a staff (cutting it out, alum) and then determine the method that has the least impact on the balance.Cheers, Al
That sounds like an interesting summer project for you to tackle, Al. Let us know how it goes :coolsign:
 

praezis

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In my above link some members mentioned staff distortion by rivetting. The widened part must pass the bore when punching out.
Wanting to prove if true or not ("rivetted with back of tweezers"?), I sacrificed one of my factory new, never mounted balance wheels (pilots chronograph, swiss/german brand Hanhart).

IMG_1156b.jpg

Removed the plate (what is its correct name?) by grinding down to 4-5/100 mm, sheared the rest off, pushed out and thus left the rivet totally untouched

IMG_1133b.jpg IMG_1134b.jpg IMG_1135b.jpg IMG_1136b.jpg

A look through the microscope shows the removed staff:

IMG_1149b.jpg

Everyone may judge for himself now, if punching out from rivet side is fine for him or if not...

Frank
 
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Al J

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In my above link some members mentioned staff distortion by rivetting. The widened part must pass the bore when punching out.
Wanting to prove if true or not ("rivetted with back of tweezers"?), I sacrificed one of my factory new, never mounted balance wheels (pilots chronograph, swiss/german brand Hanhart).

View attachment 593068

Removed the plate (what is its correct name?) by grinding down to 4-5/100 mm, sheared the rest off, pushed out and thus left the rivet totally untouched

View attachment 593070 View attachment 593071 View attachment 593072 View attachment 593073

A look through the microscope shows the removed staff:

View attachment 593075

Everyone may judge for himself now, if punching out from rivet side is fine for him or if not...

Frank
Yep - that's my point exactly. The rivet shearing off and the force/strength/thickness of the materials relative to that is not the concern to me. It's the enlarged portion of the staff that is the concern for me, as that has to be forced through the hole in the balance after the rivet shears off.

You may get away with punching a staff out once, but my approach is to keep the parts in the best condition possible so that even after 5 or more staff replacements, the hole is still going to be okay.

Thanks for doing that.

Cheers, Al
 
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