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J.M. Huckabee Regulator

Joseph Malpeli

NAWCC Member
Mar 23, 2015
5
1
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I'm considering building the regulator described by J.M. Huckabee in "How to Build a Regulator Clock", published in 1988. I'm puzzled by his use of aluminum plates (the pivots run in press-fit bronze bushings). Is there any advantage of aluminum over brass plates, other than cost? Aluminum has a higher thermal expansion coefficient than brass, so thermal stability is not the answer. If anyone has built a regulator clock from these plans, I would be happy to hear about your experiences.
 

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
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Well,

If you want but build what Huckabee designed, I guess you would have to follow his plans to the letter?

For me, I would go with brass plates and no bushings, except on the winding arbor. And, I would pick brass over bronze on those.

My 2, Willie X
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Jun 14, 2008
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You may want to go to the clock construction forum here. There are a couple of folks who have built their regulators with aluminum plates, and are working well. The thermal expansion and contraction of the plates are well down the list of issues and problems when it comes to precision clockmaking. Well down!

Here is one such discussion Use of aluminum for clock plates

Or here Owner built precision regulator
 
Last edited:

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
15,283
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Hard steel running on certain aluminum alloys makes a great bearing. Huckabee and others might simply be going for the visuals, which is quite striking. Willie X
 

Joseph Malpeli

NAWCC Member
Mar 23, 2015
5
1
3
You may want to go to the clock construction forum here. There are a couple of folks who have built their regulators with aluminum plates, and are working well. The thermal expansion and contraction of the plates are well down the list of issues and problems when it comes to precision clockmaking. Well down!

Here is one such discussion Use of aluminum for clock plates

Or here Owner built precision regulator

Thanks for the leads to the other discussions. It seems that there is no disadvantage to using the aluminum. This is my first metal movement (I made a wooden movement about 50 years ago), so I might as well go with the cheaper material for now, since I'll likely mess it up on the first attempt.
 

Joseph Malpeli

NAWCC Member
Mar 23, 2015
5
1
3
Well,

If you want but build what Huckabee designed, I guess you would have to follow his plans to the letter?

For me, I would go with brass plates and no bushings, except on the winding arbor. And, I would pick brass over bronze on those.

My 2, Willie X
I've wondered about brass versus bronze for bushings. I always thought of bronze as being harder, but the engineering data I've found so far indicated that they are similar, depending on the particular alloy. I haven't come across any comparisons of friction for the two metals - perhaps the lead in some brass alloys gives them lower friction? Anyway, I'm curious about your reason for preferring brass.
 

Joseph Malpeli

NAWCC Member
Mar 23, 2015
5
1
3
Hard steel running on certain aluminum alloys makes a great bearing. Huckabee and others might simply be going for the visuals, which is quite striking. Willie X
That occurred to me too. It would look nice, although if I do go with aluminum, I might have it hard anodized, which would turn it dark gray.
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Jun 14, 2008
3,552
1,063
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
So, I made a half-scale movement a while back. I started with a computer generated drawing, then did plastic test pieces, then followed it up with aluminum layout pieces, and finally did the parts in brass. All that said, one might keep in mind that gear trains don't scale and keep proper time. If we want proper timekeeping then wheel and pinion tooth counts will need to change and layout points for the bearings will change too. And of course, that point was realized all too late on the first go around. So, my efforts will always have aluminum plates in the development train

The very rough aluminum plates worked pretty well.

20190529_114330 (2).jpg IMG_0813.JPG 20160707_163726 (2).jpg
 

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