why brass?

Discussion in 'Clock Construction' started by dandydude, Apr 7, 2015.

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  1. dandydude

    dandydude Registered User

    Nov 30, 2014
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    Hello everyone,

    Was brass /bronze used traditionally because it was easier to machine? The pinions still were steel. Why didn't they make the wheels also out of steel? Isn't steel more wear resistant?

    Iam thinking of making the wheel and pinions out of stainless steel. Would that have any demerit?

    Thanks
    Dilip
     
  2. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

    Jun 24, 2011
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    Unless extremely well lubricated, similar or identical metals in contact tend to want to transfer metal between components. Stainless steel has a particular affinity for this.
     
  3. dandydude

    dandydude Registered User

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    Dear martin,

    Would SS mate well with silicon bronze? Or does it have to be silver steel and brass?

    Thanks
    Dilip
     
  4. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    #4 MartinM, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
    Bronze would be a fine choice for helping prevent 'cold welding', as well as having a low potential for electrolysis with stainless.
    Brass has similar properties in these respects.
    As long as it can stand up to the mechanical stresses of your application, you should be good.
    If we're talking about the speeds encountered in your typical horological application, it's really not worth worrying too much about.
    I think the fact that the leaded copper alloys help lubricate moving parts in clocks is the main reason just about any two parts moving against each other will be a brass-to-steel connection. There are always some exceptions such as all-brass motion works and smaller clocks and watches that have a lot of steel-to-steel connections.
     

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