Can you use a mill and rotors table to "turn" a main wheel?

tds1969

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Dec 30, 2020
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Please forgive me if this is a noob question. I'm just about to make the jump into the world of building clocks (and someday watches) but I need some help from those of you with more experience first.

I have decided to build the John Wilding "large wheel" skeleton clock as my first project. The main reason I have selected this is because of the excellent videos that Chirs from Clickspring has made available as my "guide." However, I noticed in the plans that the main wheel is 8.64" (216mm) in diameter. I have been planning to buy the complete Sherline workshop to get me started. However, I have learned that the largest wheel I can turn on their lath is 6". That leaves me ~2.5" short. I was wondering, I either need to consider a different lathe or a different approach.

I was thinking, about trying to turn this one large wheel on the mill with a rotary table. Does anyone know if that will work? Has anyone tried this approach before? Will I regret this option if I pick it?

Before I sell out the $$ to set up my shop and begin learning, I'd appreciate any advice you might have on this dilemma.
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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Dec 18, 2020
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Dunno about the turning element of the wheel on the lathe, you can certainly do the wheel-cutting that way. Just a thought to chuck in there, if this is the only wheel holding back the project, you could get one wire eroded. At least this would get you going and you could always replace the wheel at a later date.
 

tds1969

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Dunno about the turning element of the wheel on the lathe, you can certainly do the wheel-cutting that way. Just a thought to chuck in there, if this is the only wheel holding back the project, you could get one wire eroded. At least this would get you going and you could always replace the wheel at a later date.
So far, this is the only issue I have identified. What do you mean by "wire eroded?"
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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If you have access to CAD drawing or use Fiverr to get someone to draw you the wheel as a 2D vector file, you can get the wheel cut by a process called wire erosion. You specify the tolerance and it can be incredibly accurate by "clockmaking" standards. I've used this process to get wheels cut up to 300mm diameter with great success. Yes you probably want to make all the parts yourself, but this may get you off the starting line if you are otherwise up against it.
 

tds1969

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If you have access to CAD drawing or use Fiverr to get someone to draw you the wheel as a 2D vector file, you can get the wheel cut by a process called wire erosion. You specify the tolerance and it can be incredibly accurate by "clockmaking" standards. I've used this process to get wheels cut up to 300mm diameter with great success. Yes you probably want to make all the parts yourself, but this may get you off the starting line if you are otherwise up against it.
I think this could be a good solution. Do you have the name of a company you would recommend?
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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I’ve used a couple of companies, I’ll try dig them out in the morning. I think one was called Cheshire Wire Erosion but will check
 

Shipsbell

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Apr 12, 2010
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Please forgive me if this is a noob question. I'm just about to make the jump into the world of building clocks (and someday watches) but I need some help from those of you with more experience first.

I have decided to build the John Wilding "large wheel" skeleton clock as my first project. The main reason I have selected this is because of the excellent videos that Chirs from Clickspring has made available as my "guide." However, I noticed in the plans that the main wheel is 8.64" (216mm) in diameter. I have been planning to buy the complete Sherline workshop to get me started. However, I have learned that the largest wheel I can turn on their lath is 6". That leaves me ~2.5" short. I was wondering, I either need to consider a different lathe or a different approach.

I was thinking, about trying to turn this one large wheel on the mill with a rotary table. Does anyone know if that will work? Has anyone tried this approach before? Will I regret this option if I pick it?

Before I sell out the $$ to set up my shop and begin learning, I'd appreciate any advice you might have on this dilemma.
I can't determine what the date of your post is so I don't know if you already have your answers.
Well today I spoke to someone by the name of Pam at tech support Sherline about buying a rotary table etc. I will be buying it tomorrow. Well here is the rest of the story, Pam has built the clock you are talking about and used Sherline products. My suggestion is to call Sherline and speak to Pam. It will be a fun discussion, have fun.
Phone number is:
800-541-0735
07:30 - 14:00
Vista California
Patrick Spencer
 

tds1969

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Sherline carries the needed arbor and Involute Gear Cutters are available from many sources. Using the larger Sherline mill and a good rotary table with a dividing head cutting is easy. IMO The best rotary table is sold by Precision Mathews. https://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/bs0dividinghead/
View attachment 655995
thank you for the note, and the link. I still have not purchased equipment to set up my shop (and start learning). I'm hung up on this a little because the size of the main wheel is larger than the lathe can turn. I think I understand how I could cut the general shape of the wheel with the mill by placing the rotary table on the slide for the mill so the material is horizontal in orientation. What I can't figure out is how do I get the spindle for the gear cutting tool perpendicular to that surface. Looking at the mill, it is above the cutting deck. It seems like I need to flip it on its side and rotate it 90 deg. When standing in front of the machine, I think I need to be looking at the end of the spindle so it is rotating the cutter in a vertical plane. What am I missing? any chance we could chat on the phone?
 

Az_Clint

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May 22, 2021
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Take a look at this youtube video
you can see the setup on the mill just after the 6 minute mark. He is using a cnc mill and rotary but the same applies to using a manual system with dividing plates. I don't know why Sherline doesn't make dividing plates for their rotary. Now there are many ways to cut a wheel, but for a big wheel this is the only way I'm aware of on a Sherline system. You can also use the mill to route out the inner area of the wheel leaving spokes just by rotating the wheel to the horizontal and using the rotation as another axis.
 

Vernon

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Dec 9, 2006
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Here is the Sherline mill rotated 90 degrees for tooth cutting using their computer controlled rotary table.

IMG_20190317_105837_1.jpg IMG_20190317_101810.jpg
 

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