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Thread: My hobby just got out of control...

  1. #101
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    Have you come up with a way to drill blind spring bar holes, square to the inside of the lugs?

    I've searched that machining process before and come up with nothing.

    I wonder if all manufacturers just drill them at an angle.

  2. #102


    Job Done!.. From left to right, the cases for the instrument 1, Instrument 2, and instrument 3 (42mm).

    i'm now gonna mill the instrument 3-39mm case..

    about those lugholes. well.. if they must be blind, yoy can drill them only on an angle, but.. if you want the holes to be absolutely perpendicular to the lugs.. EDM is the only way i can imagine.. but.. why on earth would you?.. have you ever drawn a lughole at an angle ( like it was drilled) and measured the difference?.. it is not much.. really

  3. #103
    !!!!!

    For interest's sake, and just to put me off ever thinking of designing and building my own watch run (NOT THAT I EVER WOULD, EDDIE) how much would a run of 25 cases of average complexity cost?

  4. #104
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    How can I buy one of these? The Instrument 3 at 39mm in Titanium talks to me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by mark.wilo13 View Post
    How can I buy one of these? The Instrument 3 at 39mm in Titanium talks to me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Well.. i have yet to finish the first Instrument 3.. and you already want to buy one?.. Cool!.. i'd say, drop me a PM, i already have a small list with VIP's (Very Interested People) that want to get their hands on one.. in due time i will setup a section of my website dedicated to the fabrication of each model, and i will send e-mails to every VIP when i do an Update.

  6. #106
    Update!



    The bottomside of the Instrument 3-39 Case has been machined now for the topside, the slopes on the lugs have to be milled.. i've written the program:

    Code:
    M6T3
    G61
    #1003=0.25
    #1000=[-16]			(X-Start)
    #1001=[-25.5]		(Y SHort)
    #1002=[-20]		(Y-Long)
    #1004=[-6.384]	(Z-Depth)
    G00 X#1000 Y#1001 Z20
    G00 Z2 
    	WHILE[#1000<16]
    			GOSUB RAMP
    			#1000=[#1000+#1003]
    		ENDWHILE
    	#1000=16
    GOSUB RAMP
    G00 Z20
    
    #1000=[16]			(X-Start)
    #1001=[25.5]		(Y SHort)
    #1002=[20]		(Y-Long)
    #1004=[-6.384]	(Z-Depth)
    G00 X#1000 Y#1001 Z20
    G00 Z2 
    	WHILE[#1000>-16]
    			GOSUB RAMP
    			#1000=[#1000-#1003]
    		ENDWHILE
    	#1000=-16
    GOSUB RAMP
    G00 Z20
    G00 Z20 M5
    G28
    M2
    
    SUB RAMP
    G00 X#1000 Z0
    G01 Z[#1004] f200
    G01 Y#1002 Z0 F200
    G00 Z2
    G00 Y#1001
    ENDSUB
    That's what the CNC Code for those surfaces looks like.. sometimes, being a machinist is almost like being a software engineer.
    CNC Code nowadays is nothing short of "normal program code"

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arie Kabaalstra View Post

    about those lugholes. well.. if they must be blind, yoy can drill them only on an angle, but.. if you want the holes to be absolutely perpendicular to the lugs.. EDM is the only way i can imagine.. but.. why on earth would you?.. have you ever drawn a lughole at an angle ( like it was drilled) and measured the difference?.. it is not much.. really
    For me they have to be blind. Through holes just aren't my preference.

    Perpendiculararity is more of an OCD issue than pure necessity. They're shallow holes so not that noticeable.

  8. #108
    Blind lugholes or not, depends on the kind of watch you are building.. for a Toolwatch, or a diver i'd go with through-holes for ease of strap replacement.

    My Instrument 2 for instance, has through-holes, but that's also because i regularly change the straps, Leather, ISOFRANE or NATO.

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenPecked View Post


    Wow. Love that.
    Me too, outstanding case and dial.

  10. #110
    To be Honest.. I also love that watch, it's a "biggie" measuring 45 mm, but.. it still fits on my narrow wrists.

    the "fun part" of the story is, i met Hubert Pellikaan of Pellikaan timing on a watch fair just after finishing my first watch, i looked at some of his watches, and we talked about them, then he asked me about my own watch, and he was stunned to hear i made it myself, including the dial and hands.
    He then stated to my surprise: " if you can pull that off, maybe i can have some parts made by you in the future"
    2 years later, after having completed some 100 watchcases, he called me, to arrange a meeting, together with his designer.
    We discussed the ins and outs of manufacturing the design of the Diving Dutchman case, and at the end of the meeting he asked: can you make me a prototype?".

    I had never before made a case with a unidirectional bezel, so i saud : "of course i can.." (remembering a statement from Richard Branson:"if someone asks you to do something you've never done before, just say yes, and then figure out how to do it")

    so i set to work, i took a cheap knock-off Rolex apart, to see how a bezel is made, i also took some other cheap "divers" apart, and started designing.. it all worked out.. and now.. everytime i see a Diving Dutchman.. i can hardly believe i made that case..

  11. #111
    This morning, i woke up, and started programming right after breakfast, i needed to finish-mill the lugs of the Instrument 2-42 Case, Drill lugholes and stembore..

    just after Lunch i went to my parents to watch the Formula 1, and after i returned home, i went straight into my workshop..



    and i finished the machining on the case, the complete watch is the Instrument 2 prototype, with an ETA 2763 Handwound movement inside.

    the New case is slightly "longer" lug-to lug, to better fit different straps

  12. #112
    Remember this?..

    a "Cradle" to machine the lugs on the Instrument 3 cases.

    \

    Well.. i had a small welding job to do at my parent's, and after that, and some coffee.. i went back home, and kicked the lathe in to high gear.



    I had already milled the "Cradleplate" this afternoon, and this evening i made the 2 round parts
    Tomorrow i will tap the threads, to bolt everything together, and i will make a support with a ballbearing to support the cradle.

    This device is used to put the case on the correct angle to machine the lugs..

  13. #113
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    I think the word "Maestro" is appropriate here - great work, I love the design of the case and it's good to see something different from endless Subalikes, Explorers and Speedmasters.

  14. #114
    Well.. you may call me a "Maestro", but i prefer to see myself as a mere apprentice.

    It all started out as a "hobby", i just tried if i could make a watch, somewhere back in 2013.

    I noticed i really liked it, the challenges it throws at you, small intricate parts, tough materials like titanium, Writing software to run the CNC lathe, getting to grips with the CAM software for the mill, but also training my dexterity ( luckilly i'm ambidextrous )

    i like to learn new things.. learning is fun, otherwise i would have stayed dumb

    Today, i spent most of the day in the workshop, i had to finish the hubs for the cradle, and i had to make a bearingsupport/tailstock thingamajigg.



    there's a ballbearing in the tailstock, so everything rotates smoothly, and without any play..



    This is the Cradle rotated to 45°, i can now mill the lugs, i only have to measure up the height of the case, from the cradle, because the cradle itself sits 5 mm below the centerline, with that dimension, i can "position" the 3D CAD Model in my CAM software, and project the contours on the model, to machine everything.. it's almost too easy..

  15. #115
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    What a great skills You've got there. I first saw the thread on my phone and for some reason, the Photos wasn't showing. I finally managed to log on to my PC and wow, just wow. I started following this thread to see more of your future works. Thanks for sharing your skills here and who knows, we might end up owning one of your watches someday...

  16. #116
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    Really enjoying this thread, one of the most interesting on TZ-UK to date. Thanks for sharing your skills and enthusiasm with us.
    Best Regards - Peter
    Please Note: It is possible that Griswold may know nothing whatsoever about horology. It's even possible that he has never even owned a watch. It is also highly possible the he has a strange imagination. His wife insists he would be far better off paying more attention to taking his medication on time.

  17. #117
    Quote Originally Posted by mjoranga View Post
    ... who knows, we might end up owning one of your watches someday...
    Well.. that's exactly the plan.. i've been making watches the last few years, to hone my skills.

    But now, it is about time i start producing them, and preferably as much as possible..

  18. #118
    Tonight I put the "Cradle" to work..



    I first imported the casemodel in all positions that needed machining into my CAM Software, and i made the programs for the Lugs.
    In Fact, i made one program, and mirrored it.. (don't tell anyone I'm that lazy )

    then, i set up the cradle on the machine, and adjusted everyting.. that means, the table must be absolutely level with the machine, and then i can set the rotation axis to zero.
    After which i had to find the exact center of the pocket for the collet Chuck, so my case would be centered..

    With all that taken care of, it was about time to load the programs into the machine and hit the green button that says "Go"



    We're making chips here!

    The Cradle proved to be stable enough to cope with the cutting forces, mainly because I'm using a milling method that removes with high speed and shallow cuts, which goes faster, and prolongs toollife.. as a machinist, I like that..



    So, after some 10 minutes.. the machine was done..



    And so is the Case.. except i need to drill the lugholes, and mill the threads for the caseback that is..

  19. #119
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    Brilliant thread and maximum respect to OP! Fascinating, thanks for posting.


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  20. #120
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    That is super amazing! Really cool stuff! :)

  21. #121
    That magic moment, slapping a new watch on the wrist for the first time..



    Especially magical, because i made the watch myself



    I've just drilled the lugholes on the Instrument3-39 and 3-42 cases, only thing left to do: milling the threads.

  22. #122
    Craftsman James_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arie Kabaalstra View Post
    Everyone is using Stainless.. i'm not everyone.. stainless steel contains up to 24% nickel, and nickel is known to create skin conditions on people that are allergic to it, Titanium however is hypo-allergenic, biocompatibel even, that's why it is widely used in medical implants like artifical joints

    Titanium is light, very corrosion resistant, it has a slightly darker hue, and it is also a bad thermal conductor, meaning if you put on your watch, have breakfast, it will take the temperature of your body, and it will keep that temperature for a long time, it will not "instantly"drop when you walk out into a snowstorm, protecting the inside, the movement and the dial from temperature shocks.

    and indeed.. i do not like machining stainless.. tools to mill it cost a fortune, and they don't last long, Titanium, although a very tough, and hard material is much more "forgiving" on tools..

    Titanium is also hard to work with, but over the years i managed to "Tame" the material, turning and milling it on a daily basis really schools you on machining this tough precious metal.
    Yes, i regard it as a precious metal, though abundant in quantity, it is quite hard to get it.
    It is regarded as a precious metal.

    http://www.makermends.com/metals.html

    Always really liked titanium. Wore a titanium watch for 10 years before I got into watch fora and started to wear a variety of materials.

    Seems like you are a bit harsh on good old steel though! I've been wearing SS most of all the past 6 years and the only difference I can feel is the weight. It's 50 50 whether I prefer the weight of SS vs lighter Ti.

  23. #123
    Titanium is expensive because it's hard to extract from its ore, and it's also expensive and wasteful to machine into things: https://samaterials.wordpress.com/20...-so-expensive/

  24. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by bitfield View Post
    Titanium is expensive because it's hard to extract from its ore, and it's also expensive and wasteful to machine into things: https://samaterials.wordpress.com/20...-so-expensive/
    that article writes about an aerospace part where 90 % of the material is "lost".. no it isn't.. because, the removed material is collected and recycled.

    Furthermore.. try to make the same part from another material.. most likely, that is not going to happen.. they didn't choose Titanium in the first place.

    though hard and tough, titanium is quite "cutter-friendly", it may take a while to cut a watchcase from it on my lathe, but that is because i have a very small lathe..

    Titanium products also, are made to last.. they can withstand a lot of harmfull chemicals, like acids and chlorine, and they are biocompatible, that basically means, you'd have a very hard time finding someone with a "titanium allergy"..

    while Stainless steel in general contains a minimum of 10% Nickel, and a lot of people are allergic to Nickel, Stainless steel 904 even contains 24% Nickel.. that's quite a lot..

    I personally prefer machining Titanium over Stainless steel anytime.

    For watches, why did i choose titanium?.. well.. to be honest, after making my first watch out of Aluminium, i was challenged by a friend to make a watch out of Titanium, as he regularly made titanium parts himself, knowing how tough it was..

    So, i got some left-over pieces from a company that makes orthopedic implants, and i made my first case.

    I quickly found out how to tackle this stuff, and i noticed how comfortable a titanium watch is, i was used to small watches, and my first titanium watch was 42 mm, quite large, but light, also the slightly darker colour was something i fell in love with.. so.. i decided to only make titanium watches.. some companies only use Stainless steel, i only use Titanium.

    Speaking of which:



    After milling the lugs, and drilling the lugholes, i now have fitted some straps to the cases of the Instrument 3-39 (leather) and Instrument 3-42 (Isofrane).. the watches sit nice and flat on the wrist, just like i wanted them...

  25. #125
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    Fascinating stuff. If you ever wanted to start teaching these skills I'm sure you would have plenty of students willing to pay for your time (I know I would!)


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  26. #126
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    WOW!!!!

    Fabulous work Arie, I love the Pellikaan divers but all are superb!!

    Out of interest, Does anyone know how cases were made before the advent of CNC?, Say, In the 1930's/40's/50's? I mean, Were they cast molten metal or done on non-CNC milling machines etc??


    Cheers, John

  27. #127
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    Its not often, but , I am gobsmacked. I wish I had skills.

  28. #128
    Fascinating stuff. If you ever wanted to start teaching these skills I'm sure you would have plenty of students willing to pay for your time (I know I would!)
    Well, there are 2 schools in the Netherlands that actually teach fine-mechanics, the Christiaan Huygens school, and the Leidse Instrumentmakers school, both of which I did not attend..

    Nobody taught me, my father, however very handy, is originally a mason/carpenter.
    He did show me how to work with certain tools, and he taught me how to make stuff.. from there on, i just figured it out.

    You don't need school, you need a handy father.. a father that shows you the basic, and lets you figure out the rest...

    Out of interest, Does anyone know how cases were made before the advent of CNC?, Say, In the 1930's/40's/50's? I mean, Were they cast molten metal or done on non-CNC milling machines etc??
    Basically, just the same.. CNC isn't "allmighty" and there were automatic machines way before CNC, we all know the "Writer", that mechanical doll that writes.
    Do you know that the Writer is programmable?.. every letter is controlled by cams mounted on a disc.. that disc, is in fact the memory and the cams representing the letters are "subroutines" in the program (the collection of characters to be written by the doll)

    Anyone with a screwdriver can program that machine.

    Cams and levers were also used on machines BC (Before CNC), Templates were also used.

    Cases were turned on the inside, just like nowadays, and in series production, there would be a template on the lathe, to get every dimension right.
    The outside, well.. turning, milling, planing or shaping anything goes..

    Also when milling, certain setups were used to make certain shapes, Templates, or rotationtables, just like on the lathes


    in some cases, Brazing was used to for instance, attach the lugs to a case, this is still in use for precious metal cases.

    Casting, can be done, to obtain a rough shape, with minimal material to remove.

    and.. i almost forgot.. Punch pressing.. make a die and feed in a strip of metal.. press button.. BANG!.. and a rough shape of the case drops out of the press..

    You should look on Youtube, and find videos of old machines, and how they run, and what they made..

  29. #129
    I Burnt the midnight oil,

    last night, at 2.00 AM i was done turning these..



    Hubs for the seconds hands..

  30. #130


    I've kept you waiting far too long, sorry about that.. 't has been a very busy time lately..

    A Crowdfunding will start soon..

  31. #131
    Craftsman JGJG's Avatar
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    That's got a very interesting look to it. Well done!

  32. #132
    Grand Master
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    I missed this thread earlier, it's a fascinating read.

    I'll look forward to further updates.

    Paul

  33. #133


    I played around with some CAD drawings and a Photo-editing program.. Presto!.. a blueprint, i think it looks really neat.. if only i could have blueprints made.. no one does that anymore.. i might try it myself.. just for the heck of it.. would also be a nice gift for any watch afficionado, and also for someone buying my watches..




    It takes quite a while to make the case, but, the result is worth all the work that goes into it..

  34. #134
    Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Stunning work, great thread thanks.

  35. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arie Kabaalstra View Post

    A Crowdfunding will start soon..
    What a fantastic thread! I think I'd happily have one of your watches on my wrist!

  36. #136
    I think I'd happily have one of your watches on my wrist!
    Well.. i'd love to supply watches to anyone who thinks that way.. after all, I have to make a living.

    As soon as i have the date for my crowdfunding, i will mention it here also..


  37. #137
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    Incredible!

  38. #138
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    Must read!!

    I do always find my way back to this thread to see where we are with the whole process?!?

    Love the intricate skill and clear passion that gives you that drive for intricate perfection which just play to my huge OCD side!!!

    I would love to own a watch that has had so much personal touch lavished upon it!! It’s not the same as getting each part made and just putting them together!!(when I say “just” I appreciate it’s not quite that simple🤗) What you do is create some of the parts that sellers/dealers buy in which makes yours personal!!!

    Keep it up and keep us up to date with what’s happening in terms of the whole process!

    Chris

  39. #139
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    This is excellent stuff! keep going; that Pellikaan looks fab-I'd have one! :)

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