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    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

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Parting tools.

Brento

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Can you guys help me out on what you use for a parting tool? Do you grind your own? What does it look like? My parting tool looks like this. 8178B878-E043-4EEA-AB7C-2985968A3C1F.jpeg
I honed it before i cut. I have a 1-2 degree angle at the tip to hope i could cut the part off with no tit on it. It still had a tit. The tool also chattered like crazy until i added a little oil then it got a little better but still chattered a lot. 2C31FED3-8D5B-4E39-B36B-BC7EA11C5F4E.jpeg
As i got closer to the center the chatter got much better so i am guessing the speed may have been to fast. I am also thinking the cutting pressure was to much for the lathe so what can i do to make it better. I will be cutting another parting tool tmr but i am moving it over to the other side of the stock to get closer to the chuck if needed. EE92FA0C-0310-4437-9ED8-073BEB24D01F.jpeg
The part was also tapered after being cut off. I am guessing due to the chatter? I am new to these little machines so what can i do?
 

gmorse

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Hi Brento,

There's too much of the tool overhanging from the holder and it needs to be vertical rather than horizontal; look at some commercially available examples to see what I mean. It can't be rigid enough as you have it, which is why it's chattering.

Regards,

Graham
 

karlmansson

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As I understand it, oil (or any lubrication) is a must. I've just started using a carbide insert parting blade with my 102 lathe and it works well. I made an inverted holder for it that sits in my rear toolpost and it makes the chips fall out of the groove rather than bunch up on the blade.

Oil works wonders at least for HSS or tool steel. On my blade and lathe, my regular dark cutting oil tends to just lubricate the tool so that it rubs and then dig in and stall the lathe. I get acceptable finishes with my rear mounted tool although I think it ended up a little below center (above really as it's cutting upside down) and I'm getting some chatter patterns in the part without any noise being present.

I think part of the reason you are getting less chatter the deeper you go is the speed but also that more of the blade is supported by the walls of the part as you progress into the part. You have a VERY big length to edge ratio on that tool and I would suggest either cutting it down or making more parting tools for different DOC. Tool rigidity is everything when it comes to chatter. What you have there is a tuning fork in itself. It will resonate on it's own natural frequency when that comes up in the cut.

Regards
Karl
 

karlmansson

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Also, as I think Graham alluded to, the taper in the cut is due to you cutting edge not being parallel to the work. The angle on your tool tip forces the blade to deflect away from the headstock and as you get deeper into the cut more and more of the length of the blade is supported and will put pressure and/or support on the blade allowing it to find its original parting point.

Lots of physics involved in this! One thing that is always handy to keep in mind is what Robin Renzetti says in his videos (although I think he attributes it to someone else): everything is rubber. Meaning, nothing is ever completely rigid but so long as you understand how and why it behaves in a certain way you can predict and prevent it.

Best of luck!
 

Brento

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Ok i will try to make a shorter depth of cut on the next cutter as well as make the tool flat across the cutting edge. I will also make the blade thicker to maybe .08. I made that length due to being able to part off bigger parts iff needed.
 

gmorse

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Hi Brento,
I made that length due to being able to part off bigger parts iff needed.
If you mount the blade vertically, like this (random) example, it will be much stiffer and won't flex nearly as much, even when parting off larger diameter stock.

Regards,

Graham
 

gmorse

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Hi Brento,

Do you mean this picture?

If so, it isn't clear how thick that tool is, (top to bottom); is it deeper than it's wide? By vertically, I mean that the height of the tool stock, (the part that's held in the tool holder, not the shaped part), when mounted is greater than its width.

Regards,

Graham
 

DeweyC

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Can you guys help me out on what you use for a parting tool? Do you grind your own? What does it look like? My parting tool looks like this. View attachment 639722
I honed it before i cut. I have a 1-2 degree angle at the tip to hope i could cut the part off with no tit on it. It still had a tit. The tool also chattered like crazy until i added a little oil then it got a little better but still chattered a lot. View attachment 639724
As i got closer to the center the chatter got much better so i am guessing the speed may have been to fast. I am also thinking the cutting pressure was to much for the lathe so what can i do to make it better. I will be cutting another parting tool tmr but i am moving it over to the other side of the stock to get closer to the chuck if needed. View attachment 639723
The part was also tapered after being cut off. I am guessing due to the chatter? I am new to these little machines so what can i do?
I can tell you your geometry must be almost perfect. This is because it works even though there is way too much overhang. The blade will flex in use.

The taper on the faces can be quite dramatic. I would suggest either making a tool of increased thickness, or making several tools of increasing length if the taper is unacceptable for your application.

On a WW I use shop ground slotting/cutoff tools held in a pinvise. Very short overhang because on the WW I never do anything over 8mm in OD.

On the 102 I use a cutoff toolholder with an indexable (replaceable) carbide tool bit. This is very rigid but depending upon the materail and depth, the blade will wander. For pieces over 30mm, I start with the cutoff and end with a hacksaw. Then I face the end.
 

wefalck

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Even though the professional machinists and H&S will shoot me, but on anything of more then say 10 mm diameter, I would first cut a groove with a parting tool and then finish the cut with piercing saw. Our little machines simply aren't rigid enough for proper parting.

I would also cut in steps, i.e. making a wider groove first and then narrowing it, as I go deeper. The last cut will be close to the edge of the part, skimming off perhaps 0.05 mm from the 'good' side and then cutting through. This avoids tool deflection.

Also: the tool in the first post is ground like a grooving tool, i.e. with a square front. For parting it is better to grind the front slightly oblique, with the point towards the part to be cut off. This somewhat reduces the cutting force as you feed in and reduces the tool deflection away from the part.
 

karlmansson

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Not sure I agree wefalck. The oblique face will make such a thin, long blade deflect. On a thicker blade on a more rigid machine it would work but on these scales I think a flat, or even notched "V" shaped tip would be preferrable. A jewellers saw is a good idea for small parts.
 

wefalck

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Tried the notched V-tip on parting tools in parting-tool holders, but didn't have much luck with them.

Parts of up to 5 mm diameter I tend to part off with an oblique tool that is only 0.4 mm wide at the front. Steel seems to work cleaner than brass.
 

Brento

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Even though the professional machinists and H&S will shoot me, but on anything of more then say 10 mm diameter, I would first cut a groove with a parting tool and then finish the cut with piercing saw. Our little machines simply aren't rigid enough for proper parting.

I would also cut in steps, i.e. making a wider groove first and then narrowing it, as I go deeper. The last cut will be close to the edge of the part, skimming off perhaps 0.05 mm from the 'good' side and then cutting through. This avoids tool deflection.

Also: the tool in the first post is ground like a grooving tool, i.e. with a square front. For parting it is better to grind the front slightly oblique, with the point towards the part to be cut off. This somewhat reduces the cutting force as you feed in and reduces the tool deflection away from the part.
The tool is at a 2 degree angle and that is why i am getting deflection.
 

Brento

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Hi Brento,

Do you mean this picture?

If so, it isn't clear how thick that tool is, (top to bottom); is it deeper than it's wide? By vertically, I mean that the height of the tool stock, (the part that's held in the tool holder, not the shaped part), when mounted is greater than its width.

Regards,

Graham
The thickness of the cutter is .032 and the cutter is from a 3/16 bit. I am going to try and cut a new blade tonight with a .100 thickness to be more rigid.
 

Brento

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I can tell you your geometry must be almost perfect. This is because it works even though there is way too much overhang. The blade will flex in use.

The taper on the faces can be quite dramatic. I would suggest either making a tool of increased thickness, or making several tools of increasing length if the taper is unacceptable for your application.

On a WW I use shop ground slotting/cutoff tools held in a pinvise. Very short overhang because on the WW I never do anything over 8mm in OD.

On the 102 I use a cutoff toolholder with an indexable (replaceable) carbide tool bit. This is very rigid but depending upon the materail and depth, the blade will wander. For pieces over 30mm, I start with the cutoff and end with a hacksaw. Then I face the end.
Is it possible to send me where you got your cut off tool?
 

gmorse

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Hi Brento,

The tool I linked to in my post #6 illustrates the point I'm trying to make, that the tool is at least 10 times higher than it is wide. This gives it the vertical stiffness that is essential for its proper functioning.

Regards,

Graham
 

Brento

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Well i mean the tip was .032 wide and the bit is 3/16. Idk if i could go thinner. Unless im still not understanding you which i am sorry.
 

Old Rivers

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Can you guys help me out on what you use for a parting tool? Do you grind your own? What does it look like? My parting tool looks like this. View attachment 639722
I honed it before i cut. I have a 1-2 degree angle at the tip to hope i could cut the part off with no tit on it. It still had a tit. The tool also chattered like crazy until i added a little oil then it got a little better but still chattered a lot. View attachment 639724
As i got closer to the center the chatter got much better so i am guessing the speed may have been to fast. I am also thinking the cutting pressure was to much for the lathe so what can i do to make it better. I will be cutting another parting tool tmr but i am moving it over to the other side of the stock to get closer to the chuck if needed. View attachment 639723
The part was also tapered after being cut off. I am guessing due to the chatter? I am new to these little machines so what can i do?
You might want to check out this video:


Machines are a little larger than yours but the principles still apply.

Joe Pieczynski is an extraordinarily talented machinist. I always learn something whenever I watch his presentations.

Bill
 

Brento

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You might want to check out this video:


Machines are a little larger than yours but the principles still apply.

Joe Pieczynski is an extraordinarily talented machinist. I always learn something whenever I watch his presentations.

Bill
I forgot he had a video about them. I follow him religiously!
 

Brento

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So i was at it again tonight the chatter was better looking today on the part then yesterday the chips i think look better as well. 839FA4D5-23F9-48D6-B12D-7DBCAC600530.jpeg
I made a new blade up today that is .100 thick for maybe less flex.

image.jpg
I know the relief on both sides are not the same. My dads grinder doesnt have a rest to try and grind on so its all by hand. I had a small issue where it was cutting about .02 up the blade, so i took my dremel with a stone and dressed it to fix it up. I then rehoned that side and went back at it. This tool post is hard to set up on center so im not 100% sure if that is all of my problem still or not. I should hopefully have my new tool post soon and i will do more tests. I liked the finish on this cutter better then yesterdays.
Todays
CD814643-BA9F-4AE6-A0A5-B84D99E64AFB.jpeg
Yesterdays
B0D1ABEF-BF9C-4D4C-AA73-D1832BF20EDC.jpeg
At this point i also have to take into consideration that i doubt i will be cutting and parting off stuff over a half inch as much? The stock is maybe around .600 so i have that going for me. I tried slowing the lathe down the slowest i can and but boy is the chattering loud. Not sure what else i can maybe do at this point.
 

karlmansson

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Well i mean the tip was .032 wide and the bit is 3/16. Idk if i could go thinner. Unless im still not understanding you which i am sorry.
I didn't Catch Grahams meaning at first either but looking at your first Pictures it looks as if the toolbit is laid on its side in the tool holder. I Think that the side of the bit is simply ground away to create the thin parting section and just that all your Pictures are from straight above the tool. Is the thickness of the entire 3/16" toolbit preserved along the lenght of the blade?

Because this is what Graham is putting emphasis on: since the tool bit is designed to be thin as to reduce cutting pressure and material waste, the stiffness of the tool has to be created in the horizontal plane. My 2mm wide parting inserts uses a blade that is 20mm high. You new tool bit, while certainly stiffer due to its width, will also create more tool Contact with the wider tip -> more tool pressure -> chatter. The wider and thinner you make the tool, the more of a "diving board" situation you are creating. Go for narrow and thick, heightwise and you will get better results.

Regards
Karl
 
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karlmansson

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As a Point of reference: I parted a 45mm steel round bar in my 102mm center height lathe with a tool that is 2mm wide. Your tool looks much too wide in relation to you chuck at least.

Center height and tool geometry together with cutting speed is Everything. For steel, a positive rake on the cutting edge is preferrable. For brass, a neutral rake such as the one you have in your Picture is better to prevent the cutter being pulled into the work.

Also Worth mentioning is that for small diameter work you can sometimes rotate the chuck by hand to bypass the chatter. Slowest and most torque you will get on such a small lathe :). This can also be good for when chatter has started to establish a pattern in the groove of the cut. Then you have to scrape that out by rotating manually or the pattern will just get amplified running under Power and at speed. What you are seeing in the cut is the wavelength of the resonant frequency of you entire system. And if you keep just feeding and don't change that frequency, the amplitude (chatter) will increase due to feedback.

Regards
Karl
 
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gmorse

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Hi Brento,

I'm afraid your latest picture can't be viewed here without a login to the hosting site you're using; posting your pictures directly here on the NAWCC site will mean that they'll stay available for future searches.

If your cutter is only 0.1" deep, (top to bottom measurement), it will still flex, or do you mean that it's 0.1" wide? It really needs to be much deeper than that. The commercial version I referenced in post #6 is available in depths 0.3" to 0.47".

The vertical position of the cutting edge relative to the lathe centre, (and hence the centre of the work), is critical, and needs to be exactly on or very slightly above the centre. If it's below you will get chatter, even if everything else is correct.

I see that Karl is going down the same path, but expressing it more fluently!

Regards,

Graham
 

Brento

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66151833-9E16-4736-A87F-BC8F22457828.jpeg
5195D9CC-A386-4C10-B532-C8C6A634885C.jpeg
483BF274-17DB-497B-A1E5-73A44165010D.jpeg
These were the pictures in order minus the one that showed the tool.

Now to get to the parting tool. The blade is 3/16 i can not make it any longer wider narrower. When i grind the tool i grind away only the geometry i want ground away and then i make my tool out of the material left at the tip. In this case this time the tool i made is .100 wide. I went with that to try against rigidity. Seemed better but still squealed like a pig and applies alot of force on the lathe. I fixed the original cutter that was .032 wide and made it a straight edge cut. I have not tried that yet.
 

karlmansson

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View attachment 639896
View attachment 639897
View attachment 639898
These were the pictures in order minus the one that showed the tool.

Now to get to the parting tool. The blade is 3/16 i can not make it any longer wider narrower. When i grind the tool i grind away only the geometry i want ground away and then i make my tool out of the material left at the tip. In this case this time the tool i made is .100 wide. I went with that to try against rigidity. Seemed better but still squealed like a pig and applies alot of force on the lathe. I fixed the original cutter that was .032 wide and made it a straight edge cut. I have not tried that yet.
I'm not sure how I can explain this in way other than I and Graham have already done. You are not making the situation better by leaving the blade wider. In doing so you are increasing the tool Contact area without increasing the support of the blade (as you say, you can't make a 3/16 toolbit any higher). Look into "lathe form tools" to get an idea of what an even bigger tool contact will yield in terms of chatter, and what is required to eliminate it. A parting blade is a type of form tool. Only, the form we are imparting on the work is a square notch, as thin as we can get away with without the blade bending or breaking.

I think that the rule that the parting blade should be 10 times higher than it is wide is pretty sound. For you with a 3/16 toolbit, that means a blade width of 0.018". Which is very thin. I would suggest finding a larger toolbit, 1/4" at least, and grinding a parting blade into that that is 1mm or thereabout. Still not really 1/10 ratio but that will be hard to arrange on such a small machine as yours (what lathe is it by the way?). The solution here is in the word "blade". Narrow and high.

Regards
Karl
 
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Brento

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I have 1/4 the tool block can only take 3/16 to be on center. I still have the thin blade i made first and i did cut it to be square.
 

karlmansson

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I have 1/4 the tool block can only take 3/16 to be on center. I still have the thin blade i made first and i did cut it to be square.
I see. Well, if that is the case I suggest you use a jewellers saw for parting off after you have established a groove with either a lathe tool or a graver.

You didn't say what lathe you are using. The chuck says "Emco" so a Unimat 3 perhaps?

K
 

gmorse

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Hi Brento,

What's the maximum height your tool holder can take? If it is only 0.25", I think that will still be too small to be effective, so it may be a matter of arranging a different tool post if you want to do any serious parting off. The width of the tool has a much smaller effect on its rigidity than the height, but as Karl has mentioned, excessive width will work against you.

I have to say I mostly use a jeweller's saw, with the appropriate tooth count for the metal I'm cutting, for parting off on my watchmaker's lathe.

Regards,

Graham
 

DeweyC

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Is it possible to send me where you got your cut off tool?
It looks like you are using either a Sherline or Emco? I think a Sherline cutoff tool would be best. Mine is for a 102 which has an 8 inch swing. It would be much too large for your toolholder.

Which brings us to parting in general. It is always a pig until you gain experience. Even then, your experience informs how to work around situations.

We all feel like buying a lottery ticket when the parting tool peels the work off in sheets.

Here is the trick. RIGIDITY and SPEED. Plus oil.

On the 102, I part at about 60 rpm; maybe less. My parting tool has very little overhang and the cut is close to the headstock. On this 8 incl late, I only part material that is no more than 1.5 inches. Larger than that I finish with the hacksaw.

On the WW, parting is on work no larger than 3/8 inch.

Why the difference? The 102 has a 3 ph motor that can provide torque at low speeds. The WW is belt driven and does not like loads at low speed.

Secondly, the machines are built differently. The slide rests, headstock mounts, and beds. Plus the MASS!

The problems you are running into are part of the normal learning experience. YOu seem to understand the basics. I would suggest that instead of using AL (I think that is what I see), learn how to adjust your setups with brass. You will eventually figure out just how far you can push machine (or not).

Just remember, physics sets your upper limits. This is why production shops have the machines they do. But we are only concerned with one offs and have the time to figure out workarounds even if they mean one or two more machining steps.
 
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wefalck

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I think a tool with zero cutting angle on aluminium doesn't, may depend on the alloy though. Check machinery handbooks for recommended cutting angles for different materials. Zero, that is a flat top, is only good for brass. If the cutting angle is zeor, you need a lot of tool pressure to feed it into the material, which results in chatter. Too much of a cutting angle will draw the tool into the material and stall the machine.
 

Brento

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I see. Well, if that is the case I suggest you use a jewellers saw for parting off after you have established a groove with either a lathe tool or a graver.

You didn't say what lathe you are using. The chuck says "Emco" so a Unimat 3 perhaps?

K
The lathe is a Derbyshire Elect. The previous owner had that chuck for it. I just got word my new qctp is finished and will be getting shipped soon the tool post has room to flip the parting tool upside down. The maker also supplied a cut off tool so i will try his as well when i get it. I can add some side rake to the cutting tool to maybe help cut a little bit. My new tool holders are the same in that i believe they will only take a 3/16 tool bit. If you all think i can get away with maybe a thinner blade i can modify that .032 wide blade and go a little smaller and add some rake to the top for aluminum and steel if possible. Id like to make it versatile for at least those 2 materials. I understand brass is a different case.
 

Dr. Jon

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I do small stuff and do a lot of parting with the saw but one other tool which works well for hand use is an Exacto knife with the basic triangle blade. I grind off the tip a bit with some rake and it works well for me.
 

Brento

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If i had the tool rest id try a graver and do it by hand. Now when everyones uses a saw could you do it under power? What tpi blades does everyone recommend for brass/aluminum and steel and could i use a basic coping saw?
 

wefalck

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I run the lathe slowly in order to cut through as evenly as possible.

A high tpi-count makes for smoother action and causes less vibration and shocks to the lathe spindle, but the balde has to be adapted to the depth of cut.

With caution I also use sometimes a junior hack-saw. Hack-saw blades have the advantage of being higher and thus providing a better guidance for the cut, but obviously are much coarser than fret-saw blades.
 

Dr. Jon

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I set up the lathe with its head stock on my left and the saw to cut in the pull stroke, normal practice. Set up this way, the lathe has to run in reverse when using a saw to cut off and it should run as slowly as possible. Sometimes I turn off the motor and turn the head stock 60 degrees or so after every few strokes.

I use jewelers saw blades. I bought bundles of them at various marts and I have lots of them. This is a good thing because they break easily. They break because they are thin and very hard.

I assume a coping saw is for wood and it is not good for even soft metals.
 

gmorse

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Hi Jon,

I set up the lathe with its head stock on my left and the saw to cut in the pull stroke, normal practice. Set up this way, the lathe has to run in reverse when using a saw to cut off and it should run as slowly as possible. Sometimes I turn off the motor and turn the head stock 60 degrees or so after every few strokes.
If I use this method I simply mount the blade in the frame with the teeth facing the opposite way, and on a Geneva pattern lathe it's even possible to set the saw so that the teeth are facing into the frame rather than away from it. This moves the frame out of the way under the bed and improves visibility.

Regards,

Graham
 
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The NAWCC is dedicated to providing association services, promoting interest in and encouraging the collecting of clocks and watches including disseminating knowledge of the same.