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Function balance I hate hairsprings! Coned hairspring….

John T.

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Aug 21, 2020
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Howdy,
Well, working on a Seiko Marvel 1956 17j movement. Felt removal of hairspring was called for. Removed it-went to move it-was hung on balance wheel and was a slinky before I noticed it happening. Now a uniform cone shaped hairspring. Tried a few weak corrective attempts to no avail and have tried reading up on it and ditto. Quit and had a beverage soother or three. Can’t believe it happened.
Anyone ever come out of this alive and HOW did you correct it? Any advice? ………..
Thanks
John T.
 

Skutt50

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Mar 14, 2008
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Fixing hairsprings is a skill that takes plenty of practice to manage. Try to search on YouTube for some instructive films to get started. You don't need many tools. Basically two pair of tweezers and good magnification..

You did not post a picture so I can only answer in general terms........

There are different methods for fixing various problems so it is hard to say what to do in your case.

I have fixed cone shaped hairsprings and in general worked as follows. Examine the cone to understand where it starts and ends. Grab the hairspring at these two places and stretch it in opposite direction. A little at the time. Sometimes this is enough but sometimes one needs to do some additionl work to get it back to an acceptable shape.
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
43
7
8
Lincolnton, GA.
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Fixing hairsprings is a skill that takes plenty of practice to manage. Try to search on YouTube for some instructive films to get started. You don't need many tools. Basically two pair of tweezers and good magnification..

You did not post a picture so I can only answer in general terms........

There are different methods for fixing various problems so it is hard to say what to do in your case.

I have fixed cone shaped hairsprings and in general worked as follows. Examine the cone to understand where it starts and ends. Grab the hairspring at these two places and stretch it in opposite direction. A little at the time. Sometimes this is enough but sometimes one needs to do some additionl work to get it back to an acceptable shape.
Thanks- - I’ve had multiple bouts with the demon HS with mixed results. Never encountered this before though. Tried the reverse pull half heartedly as it seemed to make the most sense. Decided a time out was in order and go to the well of experience before ruining it. Pic tells more of the story. Thanks for the advice.
John T.

1734CFD2-2EE3-4AEA-8218-6FDE620A0C7B.jpeg
 

Chris Radek

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Apr 13, 2014
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It looks like it has a flat part and a cone part. Hold both ends of the cone part and pull it coneward in the opposite direction. Do it a little at a time and study each result. Your first pulls shouldn't change the shape. Do it a little more each time and sneak up on the amount of pull that changes it. Make sure the change is an improvement and then do a little more.

For the future: this kind of damage happens when you can't see what you're doing. If you are trying to work with a single eye loupe, go ahead and relegate that to the norman rockwell paintings, and get a stereo microscope so you can see.

That also applies to this repair. If you can't see exactly the spot where it transitions from flat to cone, or you are having trouble being sure you've grabbed it at exactly that spot, stop, and get the right equipment so you can see.
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
43
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Lincolnton, GA.
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It looks like it has a flat part and a cone part. Hold both ends of the cone part and pull it coneward in the opposite direction. Do it a little at a time and study each result. Your first pulls shouldn't change the shape. Do it a little more each time and sneak up on the amount of pull that changes it. Make sure the change is an improvement and then do a little more.

For the future: this kind of damage happens when you can't see what you're doing. If you are trying to work with a single eye loupe, go ahead and relegate that to the norman rockwell paintings, and get a stereo microscope so you can see.

That also applies to this repair. If you can't see exactly the spot where it transitions from flat to cone, or you are having trouble being sure you've grabbed it at exactly that spot, stop, and get the right equipment so you can see.
Hey, couldn’t agree more. I actually did pop the HS off under the scope. Grabbed it too quickly to remove thinking it was clear and detected resistance too late and the slinky was ‘ON’.

Appreciate the good advice!!
 

Skutt50

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Mar 14, 2008
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That looks like a cone that can be fixed. Just work on the coned part and you should be fine.

Once you are satisfied and before you mount it on the balance, install the hairspring alone in the blance cock and verify that it sits flat and centered. If not, adjust.
There is a good chanse you have managed to reshape the stud mount part, and this test saves a lot of time.
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
43
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Lincolnton, GA.
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That looks like a cone that can be fixed. Just work on the coned part and you should be fine.

Once you are satisfied and before you mount it on the balance, install the hairspring alone in the blance cock and verify that it sits flat and centered. If not, adjust.
There is a good chanse you have managed to reshape the stud mount part, and this test saves a lot of time.
Thanks for that tip. It’s a keeper. The less aggravation the better where balance issues are concerned.
I included a couple more pics from dead on in both directions. The distortion did not appear to affect it in the ‘round’. From the ‘flat’ really can’t pick out a beginning and end to anchor to. Force in the opposite direction from the collet to the perimeter may be the best course in some form or other.I tried laying it flat on a pith section and applying pressure. Did not much if anything. Least risky methods first.
I am a hobbyist amateur so anything offered I look forward to reading.
John T.

6D249576-2124-4EBF-AF44-6AA713D9614D.jpeg F746B6BE-1514-4CBB-8216-06EB1D8C7B85.jpeg FB449BE3-BA64-47D3-894B-00A18E22EB44.jpeg
 

Skutt50

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Mar 14, 2008
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It looks really good from the top.....

From your first picture (first post) it looks like it is good at the inner coils. My best guess (without holding the hairspring), is to grab it at about 6 or 7 coils counting from the outside and to grip it next to the stud. Work in small steps when you pull the coils.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
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Hi John,
I actually did pop the HS off under the scope. Grabbed it too quickly to remove thinking it was clear and detected resistance too late and the slinky was ‘ON’.
This is one of the less appreciated hazards of working under a microscope; only seeing a small part of the object. A lower magnification would avoid this sort of unfortunate event.

Regards,

Graham
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
43
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Lincolnton, GA.
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It looks really good from the top.....

From your first picture (first post) it looks like it is good at the inner coils. My best guess (without holding the hairspring), is to grab it at about 6 or 7 coils counting from the outside and to grip it next to the stud. Work in small steps when you pull the coils.
I’ll give it try. Think I will first try it on a couple of junk drawer springs to gain some familiarity before the ‘real deal‘. I’ll let you know how it goes over time. Thanks for the advice!
John T.
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
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Lincolnton, GA.
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Hi John,


This is one of the less appreciated hazards of working under a microscope; only seeing a small part of the object. A lower magnification would avoid this sort of unfortunate event.

Regards,

Graham
Good point. I’ll check around to see if less powerful mag is available for this particular scope. Certainly has been a lesson learned. That and to slow down especially with this part.
Thanks.
John T.
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi John,
I’ll check around to see if less powerful mag is available for this particular scope.
A Barlow lens is the usual way to reduce magnification and increase working distance. For microscopy, they have a magnification of less than 1.

Regards,

Graham
 

karlmansson

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Apr 20, 2013
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Thanks for that tip. It’s a keeper. The less aggravation the better where balance issues are concerned.
I included a couple more pics from dead on in both directions. The distortion did not appear to affect it in the ‘round’. From the ‘flat’ really can’t pick out a beginning and end to anchor to. Force in the opposite direction from the collet to the perimeter may be the best course in some form or other.I tried laying it flat on a pith section and applying pressure. Did not much if anything. Least risky methods first.
I am a hobbyist amateur so anything offered I look forward to reading.
John T.

View attachment 664750 View attachment 664751 View attachment 664752
Pushing into pithwood will probably stress the spring where it exits the collet. Path of least resistance and so forth.What you want is a uniform pull on the collet and the still flat section of the spring to be held in some way. No. 7 tweezers come to mind.

I've been considering getting a Barlow for my scopes as well but it's hard to find one to fit a specific bezel. Machine lathe to the rescue I guess!
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
43
7
8
Lincolnton, GA.
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Pushing into pithwood will probably stress the spring where it exits the collet. Path of least resistance and so forth.What you want is a uniform pull on the collet and the still flat section of the spring to be held in some way. No. 7 tweezers come to mind.

I've been considering getting a Barlow for my scopes as well but it's hard to find one to fit a specific bezel. Machine lathe to the rescue I guess!
Thanks. Yeah it was a shot in the dark and I decided to ‘punt’ while I still could and ask advice. In a search, I found a passage provided from Fried’s book ‘Bench practices for Watch and Clock Repairers’ that is NOT contained in the version I bought awhile back “Bench Practices for Watch Repairers’. Evidently it does NOT contain sections from the original describing bent hairsprings, ’spiral helix ‘ in particular, and replacing teeth. Anyone in the market for this book should be aware that they do NOT have the same content. If you have the real text from the 1954 edition it was said to be on page 40. Attached is a screen shot from that conversation.

On another note my scope is a modest Amscope model SE 4000-Z, 10x with rectangular lower lens. Its’ selling point, which is accurate, is that it has a very generous work area below the lens. ( See pic at working height). It’s all I need right now and the issue here was with my clumsiness and not the fault of the scope. :/

Have mauled some practice springs so not ready for actual crunch time on the real thing.

Thanks for the help.

John T.
2942D186-1242-48D7-AACC-4E55D5C5FC6E.png 5AD9416C-3611-4F3D-BEBE-BBDDFDAB7822.jpeg
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
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Lincolnton, GA.
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Insert a small reamer through the collet and gently pull the cone flat.
Howdy RB,

I’m still trying to figure exactly how I want to manipulate hairspring cones before trying on the real thing. Been practicing with Fried’s method on junkers. Tweezer on collet and tweezer near the stud and pull parallel.

I would think a ‘reamer‘ broach you mention would serve the same function as the tweezer gripping the collet and would be less complicated and less likely for a novice to damage the spring on that end, so………My question is how do YOU pull the cone flat as you advise in your comment? Do you use a tweezer attached at some opposing point to the broach or or do you use your fingers somehow??

Any other pointers appreciated as well.
Thanks,

Befuddled,
John T.
 

Skutt50

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Mar 14, 2008
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Your hairspring has a flat inner part. You do not want to hold the collet when you straighten it or you may shape a new cone in the inner part.

I would use one pair of tweezers where the cone begins (half way in) and another pair of tweezers next to the stud. Hold 90 degrees from the spring flat and just pull straight. A little at first and when that is not enough, a bit more. Eventually you will get it flat.

Once flat you may have to do some final manipulation to get it correct in the round, but that is a secondary problem......
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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If you use the tapered reamer method, the hairspring is pulled in the direction of the big end. So the coned bit has to be pointing towards the thin end and pulled down to flat as you can get it. As Skutt50
said above, there may be more bending to do to get it round and concentric. The reamer can be mounted with the handle end in an approriate hole in a block. This frees both hands for the bending.
 

John T.

NAWCC Member
Aug 21, 2020
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Lincolnton, GA.
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If you use the tapered reamer method, the hairspring is pulled in the direction of the big end. So the coned bit has to be pointing towards the thin end and pulled down to flat as you can get it. As Skutt50
said above, there may be more bending to do to get it round and concentric. The reamer can be mounted with the handle end in an approriate hole in a block. This frees both hands for the bending.
Thanks to all for the guidance. I’ll keep trying on junk for awhile with all this in mind. Dealing with out of round later in the process would be no cinch either. Man I hate hairsprings!!

Anybody got a spare balance for this thing? Just sayin’………….

John T.
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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