Making my own Pocket Watch Hands

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Britannicus, Feb 9, 2018.

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  1. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Hi All,

    having made a start in my pocket watch journey, I'm continuously stifled by the variety and design of "the right watch hand" - arguably this is the most visible part and so the most important to get right to get the right feel for the watches.

    Having started to read up I'm aware of the variety of names for types and the fact that no matter how many I source I NEVER have a precise match. So I'm reaching out to technology to solve my problem. Attached is a listing I found somewhere that seems to have a variety of common types, though often differing names (I think these are French nomenclature.

    So here's the meat of the post -

    1/ I'm sure someone somewhere has done a definitive catalogue of watch hands and their provenance

    2/ I'm attempting to manufacture my own from steel and brass using a combination of CAD, CNC laser and electro-etching before more traditional modes of finishing. Has anyone gone to the trouble of producing CAD or vectorised graphic to make their own hands ? - I'm starting to make my own but it takes time (I'm happy to share by the way)

    3/ If anyone is I'd like to see if we can share ideas and knowledge.

    4/ Anyone seen other designs that I can digitise ?

    5/ Has anyone started a CAD library for digital manufacture ? - should we start one if we don't ?

    As ever I'd value your opinions


    a [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Marty101

    Marty101 Registered User
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    Hey Brit.
    I'm into American pocket watch hands myself. I can probably help you with correctly matched sets and more...but to get specifics can be tough sometimes,depending on exactly what you need.

    I'm pretty confident there is no definitive catalog on pocket watch hands. You can find partial factory lists in sales catalogs,and some supply house generic data. Pics in ads help for some data too.
     
  3. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Looks like it might be fun to see how much I can pull together

    Reasonably pleased with my first efforts in CAD design on a few styles - See Attached

    watch CAD.JPG
     
  4. Marty101

    Marty101 Registered User
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    You are WAY out of my territory;my thing is restoration and old school bluing.
    -But I am fascinated by this. The possibilities are intriguing and I hope you can follow up with more posts and pics. I wish I could help you in this more.
     
  5. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Graham makes hands, well worth talking to him.
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Britannicus,

    Yes I do, using purely traditional methods, and mostly far older than the examples you've shown. It strikes me that the geometrical designs work quite well but some of the spades and more complex shapes need some more work, which I'm sure you're engaged on.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    #7 Britannicus, Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    Hi Graham - I'd love to know how you make hands the traditional way, because I've totally failed in my botched efforts. The technique I'm going to try is one that I've used in the manufacture of circuit boards in the past, and a cruder version of the techniques used to etch silicon chips.

    It's used in the model making community quite a bit - here's a great demonstration, though my proposed method differs a bit.


    I would value as many images as I can get of different types of hand so I can build up my Library - when complete I will make it available to NAWCC members.

    So here's the plan....

    1/ to build up a library of pocket watch hands of different shapes and convert these into digital vectorised images - I've tried freeCAD and GIMP for this but find Microsoft Visio the most helpful to date -this allows me to print them from the computer in nice crisp detail down to the sub 0.1 mm range. Important to use 600dpi or better if using inkjet - laser will produce better results

    I'm quite pleased with my Louis VI at the moment see below - which I can scale anywhere from 100 mm to around 4mm long as needed I shall remove the horizontal lines before printing and reversing the image to give me a negative. You are right that the whip, spades and pear examples didn't really work as I wanted - but I'm working on it ;-)

    working at large scale it's much more forgiving when I shrink it all down as slight imperfections often vanish in the shrink.

    Louis.JPG

    2/ use my images to produce photo negative images on see through acetates - I'm going to experiment with a few technisues here including a laser CNC cutter I have (sadly I don't have one with the power to cut brass, or that would be the perfect way to go)

    3/ Use a light sensitive film on 0.1mm brass sheet, then to to expose them to light through my light sensitive image to provide a very fine photo resistive layer with the layout of the hand.

    4/ Now the easy bit - etch the board in a corrosive bath - the resistant layer will not etch and the gaps will burn right through - I'm planning on using a 1:4 Ferric chloride solution, as i don't like the Hydrogen peroxide / HCL mix suggested here -nasty stuff. I will also experiment with electro-etching which uses the reverse technology of metal plating to dissolve metal and see which works the best.

    in about 20 minutes I should be able to produce dozens of hands and the process should be entirely repeatable, so if i store my library of images I should be able to make most hand shapes out of brass, copper and steel (I plan to blue the steel ones so any tips would be gratefully received). I can then have available any shape hand at any scale down to around 0.1 mm. I can even use Aluminium but I can't think why I'd want to do that !

    5/ If I have need I can also gold plate my product with 24 Ct gold by using my electro etch bath - something I already do to restore brassed and worn rolled gold cases to their former glory.

    The laborious work is the production of the graphics, the rest takes an afternoon and about £30 UK of bits from ebay to produce a fairly limitless supply.

    As you can see from my CAD images above, I've already made a start - each frame will ultimately hold 20-30 hands of varying sizes held in by a tiny tag (that's why I have the horizontal line in the image, so they can just be snipped off like an air-fix kit. I've decided not to etch the hole in the centre as this can be very variable, so I will simply broach drill as required. It should work, but then again it could be a total mess, the trick is in preparation I've found in the past, so I will let you all know.

    In the mean time I will Blog my progress and let you know how this works - In the mean time I'd love to know how the traditional manufacture process works I'm in awe of what the old masters could do. where I use technology - they had real craftsmanship and skill - I just don't know how they did it.

    If this works OK - I have a mind to try manufacture of components for a fuse chain, though assemble will be a challenge.
     
  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #8 gmorse, Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    Hi Britannicus,

    First of all, I only make hands from scratch if I absolutely have to, and if I regard the watch as warranting the time and effort to make them. Since I specialise in 18th and early 19th century English watches, nearly all of the hands are either spade pattern or 'beetle & poker', and the techniques for these two types differ considerably. A major consideration is holding the metal securely enough to work on it, but not so tightly that it's damaged, particularly in the later stages. A lot of work is done with the hand still attached to the stock; it isn't parted off until the last moment.

    Although spade pattern hands seem flat, in reality they are sculpted in low relief, and I start from a length of old mainspring or a piece of gauge plate. The minute hand is rather simpler than the hour. The hole is drilled before the profile is cut out roughly with a piercing saw, mounted in the lathe on a mandrel and the central boss marked with a shallow cut. Then the hand is shaped with files and the boss is polished by being fixed to a bolt tool with shellac to ensure a really flat finish. Depending on the state of temper in the metal, it's either hardened and tempered or if it's already hard enough, the rest of the hand is just polished before bluing by heating. The central hole is made square with a specially made punch.

    DSCF3699.JPG DSCF3700.JPG

    The hour hand is rather more involved and requires more care to avoid damage, especially the narrow neck where the spade tip meets the rest of the shaft. Here again, the hand is left on the stock until the last moment.

    DSCF3705.JPG DSCF3708.JPG DSCF3739.JPG

    I use mostly fine diamond files or very fine escapement files, some with 'safe' edges to avoid filing into surfaces already finished.

    Making the older 'beetle & poker' hands is far more complex, so if you'd like to see how I make those, please let me know and I'll put together another post.

    DSCF4535.JPG DSCF3772.JPG

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  9. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Graham - your work is amazing :) I'm so impressed - whilst I'm bodging around with 20th C 7 jewel movements - you are working on the real deal - these are a work of art, my efforts can only be a pale imitation.
     
  10. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Told you it was worth talking to him :)

    I've seen his work up close, remarkable.
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Britannicus,

    You'll never work out a method that suits you if you don't experiment. Remember that the original hands on these watches were made using methods very similar to those I use, (at least I've arrived at processes which produce the same results, using hand tools), whereas the hands you're working on were largely machine made; both ways are appropriate in the context of the watches to which they're applied.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  12. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Amazing work Graham! I understand why the beetle ones must be challenging. Do you bend the material that forms the circles or are they pierced?

    Britannicus, the hands you seek to copy are usually stamped from sheet stock. They are formed in the same process to get the proper curvature. Getting the same results using hand tools will probably be very challenging!
     
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Karl,

    They're all cut from the solid. The hour hand on the gold paircase watch is only 9.4 mm long and it's made of silver steel, which is much easier to work at this small size when it's not fully annealed. The pillar plate is only 32 mm across, as is typical of mid-18th century watches.

    I'll assemble some more pictures of making these hands when I have the time.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  14. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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  15. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    The experimentation continues - I'm finding that my profiles come out better if I work on them on large scale and then shrink them down, saves a lot of eye strain. - the examples I'm showing here will be further reduced by a factor of around X 4 but they originals can be scaled from anywhere from a few mm up to meters (if you want) with the same level of detail.

    These were produced using a combination of GIMP for image processing and Visio just because I have it you could do it all with GIMP.

    I'm still musing on how to categorise pocket watch hands

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Thought I'd have a go at some personalised hands - my Initials are AC

    CA.JPG
     
  17. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    I've been working on the issue for a bit - finding an appropriate transfer mechanism has been more complex that I thought, but I've finally found one I'm happy with . I had to build a specialist light rig for it, but I'm pleased with the result - now onto my etching - see below my first batch of Breguet hands 20mm long

    P_20180410_082652.jpg
     
  18. Marty101

    Marty101 Registered User
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    I wish you every success. This work is mostly a mystery to me I admit. But like others here,I know what it is like to be on a path in horology rarely traveled. It can be rewarding.
     
  19. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    This is awesome, I hope you mass produce and sell them online. The personalized initials has great potential too.

    When you say you use CAD/CAM just curious if your able to set data points from actual sized image. At one point I was going to mass produce clock finials but found not much market for them. I tried custom finials too where I used CAD/CAM to create data points from pic (jpeg) of finial user sent to me. Thing about that was sometimes they would take pic at angle which would skew/warp the outcome.
    I didnt have laser but cut profile of cardboard and then turned the wood on lathe using cardboard template. Labounty helped me figure it out as I had no CAD experience.

    Rj
     
  20. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Thanks for the encouraging voices - It's not really my intention to produce and sell vast quantities, though I hope to sell a few. If people wish to use my designs for their own purposes, well I owe NAWCC a whole bunch so I don't mind sharing - I have re-made my templates so that I have a greater variety and I can etch them out more effectively - see attached


    My working with Laser cutters was a bit of a dissappointment - I found it better and cheaper to use PCB dryfilm photoetching based on an image printed on acetate.

    I experimented with several CAD solutions (I work in IT in an engineering environment a lot) - FreeCAD was frankly painful, AutoCAD far to pricey for the likes of me, so I plumped for Sketchup in the end which is much more intuitive for 3d designs. I have to say that this 2d stuff I have done using Visio in large scale and then shrinking the image to size. I use PDF format to print to the correct scale. I've used GIMP a few times for graphic maipulations.


    Visio allows me to produce versy precise data driven images, - though I have to say the easiest route I found was

    1/ find a really good image on google, or photograph what you need (for instance the Louis14th hands were a picture I shot in high magnification (I invested £10 in a USB microscope which I use all the time for pictures as I can go up to X 100 )

    2/ Paste into Visio and then use tools to draw over the photo to get the image

    3/ Delete the picture ! and you're left with the image - bit of a tip here - design using White on a black background 'cos you're wanting to make a negative.

    I work in 400% detail on a hand 20 CM long - so when I shrink it, my detail is X40 this removes a lot of roughness. (If you use visio - cut the big image out and re paste in a new sheet as a windows pic metafile before reducing, this will give a true scale reduction ) then simple copy and paste loads of copies !

    [​IMG]

    This should print correctly on A4 size paper - will require 2 copies to match on both sides I've included some crosses so it's easier to synch the 2 images. When I've finished I'm going to write up the process for those who want to give it a try as a step-by step guide - I've taken photos of every step so should be relatively easy to recreate with some basic software, a laptop printer and around £30 of chemicals and about a dozen plasic take away trays !

    I've put a lot of effort into getting my etching process together - I need to get really great resolution, so it's not just a point of "dunk and hope" to get best results - I plan on a major etch session this weekend when I can spend an hour ot two setting up. By that time I hope to have several hundred hands to etch - even if I only get a 10% result I'll still have more than I know what to do with, and each hand will cost me less than 5 pence UK to produce.
     

    Attached Files:

  21. oyster

    oyster Registered User

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    This is something that I would probably go on doing if I had the time and more importantly the tools and perhaps knowledge to do it.

    I look forward to this and I'm certain that you're going to succeed. So far it sounds good and I wish you luck! :)
     
  22. Dadistic

    Dadistic Registered User
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    Outstanding!

    This is good stuff, thanks.
     
  23. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    After a long set of efforts to work out the best approach - I finally cut my first reasonably acceptable hands today - these are in brass, the blue is due to the masking which will wash off in a weak soda solution right hand side is a finshed effort at a "Fleur de lys" - scale is in MM. I made over 150 today !

    I've left them unbroached for the moment as it seems easier to cut the hole for a specific watch.

    P_20180506_163118.jpg P_20180506_163316.jpg P_20180506_163334.jpg P_20180506_163347.jpg
     
  24. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Very nice...!!! Curious how thick are they? And do I understand you correctly that you print 2 patterns for front and back of metal plate, if so does this mean the prints are mask? If so then how is design transferred to metal prior to etching?
     
  25. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Hi - I've used Brass at .2mm for the sheet - Yes I use 2 identical masks printed on acetate, I line these up with each other and tape them together as an "envelope" making sure the images align perfectly. I then prepare a brass sheet with Dry film photoetch film on both sides and place it inside the envelope. I then expose for about 20 mins on each side (depends on your light source) and develop using the same technique as one would use for PCB.

    I'm going to write up the whole process and post it for those who are interested. It's taken a lot of experimentation but I think I got there :)
     
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  26. oyster

    oyster Registered User

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    Yes! Please do a complete walkthrough/guide when you're done. Very curious about this!
     
  27. praezis

    praezis Registered User

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    You got nice shapes, but - the challenge will be
    - making the tube for the hour hand to have a secure seat and no wobbling
    - making the thicker center of the minute hand.

    Frank
     
  28. oyster

    oyster Registered User

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    Just out of curiosity are there any photos or some footage of how people make/used to make watch hands ? Do they use a press or something to press metal into shapes or what ?
     
  29. RAF7

    RAF7 Registered User
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    check this out:
     
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  30. oyster

    oyster Registered User

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    Wow! That was awesome! Those machines are cool!
     
  31. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    I wonder if you can purchase tubes
     
  32. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi RJ,

    You should be able to find 'micro tubing' in model suppliers or on eBay.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  33. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Excellent work. If I need a particular hand for a longcase I have them laser cut using the same principle as you, I photograph the one I want and then have the hand scaled to suit the clock it is going on. Once the blank is cut it can be thinned towards the point and hand carved to finish it before blueing.

    Although the hand finishing is very labour intensive it is much quicker than starting from scratch.
     
  34. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    This is my first production hand compared with a 1930's Zentra - the style is a bit different and the post production finishing needs a bit of looking at but I'm pleased with my first effort. I think it's still obvious that the one on the right is mine, but I need a few more refinements 1) improve my broaching at the hub. 2) improve the polish

    I etched this with 40 others all joined by a tiny sliver of metal - although this made the etch easier, it still left a tiny tab where I cut it out, so next batch will not have that and should just drop into a filter for collection when ready from my etching station (AKA the gizmo) - there is a diagram and picture of my home-made apparatus attached. The photo has the heater removed (it's stood next to the plastic beaker which acts as the warming vessel and sump) it's also is drained of Ferric Chloride so you can see more clearly.

    Next refinement will be to install a more precise thermostat than the one that came with the aquarium heater - this should allow me to use higher temperatures and so be quicker.

    Now to try blued steel !

    P_20180510_165706.jpg aaa gizmo 1.jpg gizmo 2.jpg
     
  35. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #35 RJSoftware, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
    Interesting arrangement. Is the heater like ordinary fish tank heater? (I know nothing about this), is the ferric chloride dangerous? I guess the dripping is for constant flow to eat/move material? I guess it wouldnt work just sitting in a container of the fc then? Im sure you will work it out. I use nail clippers to make fine cuts on small objects sometimes.
     
  36. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Hi RJ - Good questions - I've done a lot of experimenting, and I'm currently still experimenting for improved results - so here's what I learned:

    I chose Ferric Chloride, as it's considerably less dangerous than some of the other options, but it still needs treating with a bit of respect. In the dilutions I use and existing temperatures, it doesn't burn, but wear gloves and glasses, also note that it will stain - so old clothes and don't do it on the best furniture! I've seen other etching mixtures - Nitric Acid, Sulphuric Acid, a Hydrogen Peroxide even cyanide based compounds, but these are much nastier things to deal with.

    Ebay also suggests FeCL3 Sodium Persulphate, I've not tried this as I'm not sure about how well it works on Steel - it seems slightly cheaper though. The aquarium heater is a small unit I got for about £6 UK - you only need the smallest as you're only heating a liters or so of solution

    You can use a Ferric Chloride bath - but you need to include some means to heat and agitate the solution - I've seen good stuff using an aquarium aerator air pump - but again this tends to cause the whole thing to foam up. FC also has the disadvantage that it is hard to see through more than a centimeter or two, so you can't easily monitor progress without taking it out. a liquid pump also is cheaper than an aerator.

    FC will etch brass at room temperature but needs warming for steel (ideal temperature is 40-60 degrees C) - my aquarium heater delivers 34 degrees C max, which is OK but my next step is to pull it apart and replace the thermostat with a more variable unit which I can regulate better and heat to higher temperature. I have a unit on order for around £3 UK so worth a flutter

    I chose not to use a bath for several reasons:

    1. My pump delivers a constant thin stream about 1mm thick over the surface of the work. (it's not a drip) - this allows me to watch progress much better than in a bath.

    2. I can if I want just use the tube and make the stream directional - sort of "hosing down" the work piece to get an even etch, if some areas etch faster than others. The flow of solution also helps erosion so I can control progress much better.

    3. Ferric Chloride generates a sludge as it etches - the stream washes it away, you will see that the outlet from the "sump" is a centimeter or two above the bottom so sludge settles there and not on my work.

    4. By using the "sump" with the heater I can use much less Ferric Chloride, and I'm not limited to a particular size of work piece as I can direct the stream over the entire surface. My "gizmo" uses just over a litre of solution which costs me £8.99 to make up 4 litres in a 4:1 solution.

    5. When I've finished - the pump allows me to easily squirt the FC solution into an old plastic bottle for future use with less mess than pouring

    I do use a bath is for electro plating, although I use brush plating for gold plating, that's simply to reduce costs, 100Ml of 24 carat solution is £16 (watch out it's cyanide based if you try this) - a few microns of gold really can massively improve a worn gold filled case, and 100 ml can do 20 or so cases so it works out not too costly .

    I tried electro-etching before using Ferric Chloride, but results were slow, and to my eye, not the best. It has the advantage that you can use brine or a weak acid like vinegar, so if you're nervous of chemicals it's a good option. In this case prepare the work as for photo etch but you need to use a bath (again an aerator is good, because of sludge) connect your work to the -Ve cathode and place a + Ve anode in the mix to complete the circuit, you can use a 6V supply but needs a few amps - I use an old fashioned car battery charger (has to be old because new ones have a short out detector which stops it working). A Li-Po battery works well, but you need to get around 2-3 amps supply.
     
  37. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Hi Frank - I've given a bit of thought here - most pocket watch hands I've looked at don't get thicker at the hub - a 0.2mm is a nice push fit I find.
    I've not experimented with tubes yet - though I've looked into Micro tubes. You can get these on Ebay, but for steel hands, I'm going to order some hypodermic needles - at £3.00 for 25 they seem a good price and I figure I can get 3 or 4 from each needle. I plan on trying this for Sub seconds which tend to be tubes, though I'm thinking of different means of attaching
     
  38. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    I have done a bit of a write up - I hope people find this useful, I shall continue to develop and update from time to time

    The guide
    [​IMG]

    PDF of Masks in case you don't want to make your own

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  39. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #39 RJSoftware, May 11, 2018
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    Hey Britannicus, much thanks for your detailed responses..!!! On the painting electro-,plating Been studying that, ebay sells non cyanide based solutions, but was told here in thread I started that the plating solution results are way too obvious meaning results shabby and not worth effort as older gold plating has different look.

    Im always trying to up my skills/game and the plating is serious issue to me. The painting on approach looks just perfect. I see youtube video of lady doing it on jewelry. no problem. The marketing bs pushing a low life expectancy brush system looks easily imitated. So I wonder about your home made brush. Also your choice of gold solution.

    Much appreciated.
    Rj

    Ps: The next logical step is to make parts like levers and wheels. Why not Rolex parts... hey hey.
     
  40. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Hi RJ,

    I used a kit from a company called Gateros plating in the UK - but as always modified it a bit -

    I use soaked sponge pads with a solution designed for brush plating - the pad sits on the end of an old chop stick and is connected to a 6v power supply with an stainless steel wire, the other end to the case of the watch. Now I may offend the purist here, but I think I took a rather grubby and work case and brought it back to life - the final version is on the left

    before - after.jpg
     
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  41. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #41 RJSoftware, May 11, 2018
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    Very nice...!!! I take it that you where able to just wipe the brush over the painted parts without masking because paint is not conductive.

    One more small question, why stainless wire, not copper etc. just curious. Im trying not to step on your thread too much, this is such a good thread.
     
  42. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Stainless is recommended for gold plating brushes, because the gold generally won't stick to the wire. Otherwise you end up with a gold plated wire !

    You're right about the paint, It won't stick, In this case the figures were engraved anyway and a bit worn in places so I filled in some of the numbers again after I'd done the plating.
     
  43. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    First effort in blued steel - seems to work just as well, but the etch station needs to operate at around 42 degrees C - much more than that and the mask comes away, much less than that (say below 35) and it doesn't etch.

    I experimented by hand bluing one of the large hands, the other 3 are blued chemically - results very similar I think, left unbroached until I know what size pinion it needs to fit. My current set up makes about 40 at a time.

    bl steel.JPG
     
  44. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Probably they are blued after etched out. 500 degrees makes blue
     
  45. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Hi there - yes according to my European tables should be about 330 degrees Centigrade. this is very easily done (simply toasting it over a cigarette lighter will get there) - for a more controlled finish I got a chemical bluing pen - the kind sold to gun enthusiasts to patch up scratches - then it's just a matter of running a pen over the hand (it comes in a pen rather like a sharpie" - this produced an almost identical result with less burned fingers !

    For my steel - after making the shape by etching, I would heat up to red heat and then quench in water to temper it a bit, then apply bluing.
     
  46. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Britannicus,

    This won't temper it a bit, it will leave it dead hard and quite brittle. To temper it you need to polish the scale off a section, preferably the back, and then heat gently until the polished part turns purple to dark blue.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  47. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Well, I'm certainly not an expert - I've only just started with steel instead of brass. hands seem OK, but they have a reasonably broad outline - I've yet to try the more thin shafted spade types, so I think I should try this as part of my continuing experimentation when I do the thinner stuff
     
  48. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Britannicus,

    You'll certainly need to harden and temper this type of hand, as the thin part just behind the spade is very vulnerable to bending and breaking; the proper heat treatment will make them tougher.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  49. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    well that's my job this weekend !
     
  50. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Britannicus,

    I should have qualified this by saying that the abilty to harden steels by this method depends on there being sufficient carbon in the alloy; ordinary mild steel won't respond to this treatment by becoming hardened but silver steel or gauge plate certainly will.

    Regards,

    Graham
     

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