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Thread: Bronze, Titanium and Carbon Fibre. A 'Case' Study ;) (Photo heavy)

  1. #1
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    Bronze, Titanium and Carbon Fibre. A 'Case' Study ;) (Photo heavy)

    Evening All,
    I've got to a scratch head, think about it stage with my Porsche Engine - Specifically how to get it back out of the garage when its fully assembled.
    Because of this I have allowed myself a diversion.

    Some of you will remember the Lumaholic watch http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.ph...m-a-Lumeaholic.
    In that thread I said it was an idea for a case, and the plastic one was a prototype.
    Well, I was happy with how it turned out, with a few minor alterations.
    As a result I made the small changes and printed a pattern.
    I then sent these off to a guy I know who does lost wax bronze castings for a living.


    I've wanted to make a Carbon Fibre dial for a while, and so I dug out some thin CF sheet that I have.


    Marked a circle and made with the Saw. Carbon Fibre is horrible to cut,and thin Carbon Fibre is really yuck. A lot of little itchy bits.


    Still, a blank for the dial, a blank for the case, and a piece of Ti for the back.
    Looks like a start :)

    A blank dial would be beautiful - I'll polish the carbon to really show it off, but I need to practice applied indices.

    So I grabbed another piece of Ti, and some files.
    Made a Trapizoid, and filed the pins into it:





    A 12 marker:




    The casting needs a little work.
    I thought Id see how it would polish up on the case edges.
    Quite nicely it turns out:





    The back will be a snap on, made from Titanium.
    first make the square round:


    Thats about the right size:


    I have a soft jaw chuck, which is great for holding thin things. First you load the jaw, and then bore a shallow hole to hold the part.


    Then you can grip the part for turning


    If you look carefully you can see the 'snap' angle on the back piece. there is a matching bevel inside the case


    It needs the outside profiling, another soft jaw job



    Of course I need a crystal as well.
    I started with some crystal plate:


    And I bored the Case on my Unimat.


    Cut a blank for the Crystal:




    Profiled the outside to a nice bevel:


    and cut the inside


    I beveled a chapter ring into the case. Its going to look nice:



    More to come at some point - I stil have to fit the movement to the dial, make a few more markers, some hands, and drill the case for the stem.
    Then I probably need to make a stem and soem incidental bits and bobs.

    Of course I also have to get the Porsche engine done and back in the car...

    Dave

  2. #2
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    Love that! It's great you've got the tools and materials to hand. Is the carbon bare? If you lacquer it with a few coats you can really polish it up to a high finish. A friend of mine who's in the bodywork trade has made some really nice carbon skinned car parts, both for interior and exterior.

    Have you cut the profile into the crystal or was it bought like that? What plans do you have for a strap?

    Can't wait to see the next instalments.
    Mark

  3. #3
    Master Marco-T's Avatar
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    Amazing job!

    Looking forward to more info/pics of the next steps

  4. #4
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    Yes the Carbon needs lacquer and polish.
    The Crystal was cut from the sheet and profiled / turned / finished to the shape it is now.
    Strap - I'm not sure, brown leather I think - I've got 2/3rds of a skin in a light brown almost orange colour.
    Leatherwork will be a new thing to learn...

    Dave

  5. #5
    Master .olli.'s Avatar
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    That is really impressive, I look forward to the updates!

  6. #6
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .olli. View Post
    That is really impressive, I look forward to the updates!

    +1, great stuff!

  7. #7
    I'm glad you're back with an update, I enjoyed your earlier work.

    It's obvious, to me, that you are a man of precision, technology, and good taste... you use .177 Air Rifle pellets, not .22 (2 slow) slugs like the knuckle draggers do ;-)

  8. #8
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    .177 is for the 10 meter target pistol.
    I also have 22 for making bigger holes.

    Much like I have 3 different sized lathes :)


    Dave

  9. #9
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    Tonight I started on some hands.
    After some thought I decided that steel hands wouldn't work, and Titanium hands would look like steel.
    So I've decided on bronze.

    Of course I don't have any hand sized bronze sheet, but I do have a small lump of bronze I can hack a piece off:



    So I proceeded to break out the Carbide tooling and have at it
    Made some of the prettiest swarf I've made for ages.
    Its really good colours, it is hard to capture the depth of colour with my phone:





    The piece I hacked off was chuffing hot...

    Next bosh in the rotary table on the mill and mark out.



    I'm using the same hand design as for the Titanium Watch (http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.ph...-Titanium-case)
    as I've decided I need a signature style.

    Hour and Minute hands marked out:



    And roughly cut from the larger piece:



    More to come in the next few days.

    Dave

  10. #10
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    Roughly cut the hands out and laid them on the dial:



    There is more polishing work to do on the dial.
    But as a watch its going to look nice:



    There is a lot of filing and polishing to do. The hand blanks are rather thick, but at least I'll be able to give then a nice 3d shape.

    Dave

  11. #11
    Master
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    Going to look very nice.

  12. #12
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    Keep it going mate, Faster faster

  13. #13
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    Wonderful job, keep up the good work!

  14. #14
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    For the initial shaping a pin vise and some blue - so I can see where I'm filing



    Starting to get more Hand Shaped



    Once it gets reasonably close then a different support is required.



    Hard to photograph with my phone camera, but you can start to see the faceted shape




    Once I got the top reasonably close I needed to thin the hand somewhat.
    I should probably make and actual jig for this at somepoint - it will be needed to black polish. For now however a piece of HSS, and a scrap of the same thickness will do



    Rub on various stones to reduce the thickness evenly



    Next time I have to make some thin material I'm going to make it closer to the thinness I actually need...

    Hour hand next

    Dave

  15. #15
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, more great work there! What's the state of play with the engine?

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    The Porsche engine has got to the "its assembled, how do I get it back off the engine stand and out of the workshop?" stage...
    I did a pretty dodgy lifting manoeuvre involving a ladder, a block and tackle and some climbing knots to get it on there.
    I don't fancy doing the reverse now its all shiny, so I need to figure out how to reverse it with no damage or risk of hurting myself.
    Typically Im alone in the workshop, and I cant afford to get injured...

    Anyway that means I have to figure it out, and in the mean time I *have* to be making something, so bronze it is.
    I have 6 of these castings, so there might even be a couple for sale at some point.
    They'll have Chinese movements, but I intend to make a movement based on the Chinese one as the 'next big thing' I do.

    The Titanium watch is at a stage where I need to decide on the case shape, so another pause point, where as this is a simpler thing to do.

    Anyway, that aside tonight a little hour hand work:

    Starting with a rough cut Hour hand blank



    bit of filing to sort the edges and the blank is ready to shape in more detail



    So glue it to a stanley knife blade



    and start with the faceting



    Its important to keep the two sides even, or a wonky hand will result



    Then the back facets



    thin it down, just like the minute hand



    Both of them now need polishing to (hopefully) black perfection. Then they can patina nicely as the watch ages.

    Dave

  17. #17
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    Just wow!!!

  18. #18
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    Did a bit of polishing of the hands tonight.
    I need to make a jig to get better results for the facets, but there are a couple of photos up on my Twitter feed : @SolutionsByDave

    Dave

  19. #19
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    I've been practising polishing for the past couple of days.
    Turns out that Bronze is a sod to polish nicely, because is quite 'soft' it smears.
    Tiny pieces are even worse, because there is no nice way to hold them.

    THe minute hand looks nice and shiny to the naked eye




    But it looks rough as a ploughed field under a 40x microscope:




    For the moment the minute hand is good enough, even it its not perfect.
    The facets are nice and crisp, and overall its shiny.
    Ill get some more practice with the hour hand.
    I think the case will be easier - its big enough to hold onto after all.

    Dave

  20. #20
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    Bit of an update. I've been doing a little bit on the Porsche engine, a little on this.

    I polished the hour hand as well, then it was time to make some inroads on the case.
    Spring bar holes, drilled lugs as I like the simplicity for changing straps.



    Then drill a hole for the stem to go through.



    And make the case back snap on. I've still got to bevel the edge of the back.





    Before making the crown and cutting the stem to the correct length I made delrin movement spacer, to hold the movement in position.



    Then it was time to make a start on the crown. Bronze of course :)
    I took this photo because the swarf is tiny, but looks just like 'real' swarf.
    The drill is 0.5mm for scale.



    Thats about the right size, this is a hand winder after all:



    Then a rough clean up with some files on the case. You can start to see the beautiful curve / facet thing coming out.



    After finishing the crown, tapping it and fitting to the case I remembered that the case side is actually bevelled... So a crown recess is in order.
    Bosh the case in the mill, and make one :)



    My vision for this case is a nice combo of curves and King Seiko Hi Beatesk flats.
    To make the facets as flat and reglar as Seiko manage will be a feat, but I'm going to try :)

    First I need a jig to use. After a dose of thinking about I put a hunk of brass in the big lathe and turned a plug thats a nice tight fit in the inside of the case.



    I initially planned to use a large Ball bearing to run the files and stones on to give me the angle of the facet.




    However this was far too wobbly, and required a great deal of concentration to keep the facet flat and not bowed.



    Its not very obvious in the photo, it is only slight,
    Even a slight bow is really a fail in this, so I hacked up JigMk2 (tm).
    I really should make a proper one, and maybe I will once I can get to the welder and the surface grinder (which would of course make making flat flats a piece of cake...)



    There now follows a long period of carefully rubbing up and down and the facets appear:





    There is still a way to go, but its getting there, a bit like the Porsche engine...



    More frequent (mostly live) updates occur on Twitter @solutionsbydave

    Dave

  21. #21
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    Final build log for this. Yes, that means a finished watch :)



    I got to assembling the dial and hands and discovered that the holes were slightly too small.
    so out with the tiny reamers and do some careful reaming.
    Then fit the hands.
    They are a nice tight fit now.



    I bought some GS hypo to finally fit the crystal, which is a click fit, but with no gasket I always planned to glue it in.



    The Titanuim 12 marker has oxidised to a lovely dark grey, which is still super polished. It blends into the Carbon dial, but also catches the light.
    The case is now starting to patinate to a lovely honey bronze colour.
    The facets on the case do a super job of tricking the eye about how big it is. Hard to catch that in a photo.

    Its not perfect, there are a few casting and execution flaws, but overall Im very happy, and it will go nicely with the swanky bronze cuff links I made at a posh do later this year.




    Heres the original plastic prototype and the finished brone one.




    It only took a year to turn one into the other...

    Comments welcome.

    Dave

  22. #22
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Excellent result, truly unique! Such skill and patience. I presume you'll wear the watch as you drive the Porsche with it's newly fitted engine? ;-)

  23. #23
    Master
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    You're one hell of a talented guy, Dave. Awesome skills and creativity.

    I can just about change a plug - so envious.

  24. #24
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    Yeah, I'll wear it in the Porsche.
    I'm running out of distractions / excuses for not getting on with that...
    The head is on, camshafts and valve timing next...

    Dave

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    Great Topic

    Fantastic piece of work........anything else planned?

  26. #26
    When i make hands, i often solder a piece of brass, or sterling silver onto a bigger block of brass.

    that way, you can easilly mill it to desired thickness, and if you are really handy with a mill, and indexing table, you can also mill the outer contours of the hands, as well as of course, drill the holes..



    Here's an example of a set of hands i made ( i made the case and dial also )

    I have a CNC Milling machine to cut the hands, so when i need some, i program a couple of sets, solder a piece of sheet onto a "sacrificial block" set up the CNC, Hit start, Drink coffee..

    I like your bevelling setups by the way.. at the moment i'm also working on a design with bevelled edges.. a real nightmare to make.. i have to invent some kind of bevelling jig myself..

  27. #27
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    One of the reasons I don't use my CNC for this is that the point of it is to make by hand, not by computer. The journey is as important as the result ☺
    I spend all day with computers and electronics, my hobby time is different.
    I've seen your work over on watchuseek, excellent stuff, just not how I want to relax...

    Dave

  28. #28
    I know what you mean, a friend of mine also doesn't use CNC machines, let alone own one..

    for me, part of the fun is, i built my CNC milling machine myself, and i converted my 30+ year old Emco CNC Lathe to a modern CNC Control.

    A lot can be achieved with conventional machines, your work very much proves that, for me however, things are different.. to me it is relaxing, but far from a hobby.. i intend to start my own business, with the machines i built, i want to "churn out" as much watches as needed to earn a living.. since i'm out of a job, for 3 years now.. :)

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