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Cutting brass with saw questions

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Chris TickTock03/07/2020 08:32:51
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Posted by Old School on 03/07/2020 06:49:07:

These were the clocks my father made towards the end of his working life.

3bd397a7-368e-4a93-954e-41a4e08b9115.jpeg

These were made in batches of five each batch was different..

dd33034f-5337-4c45-b258-0ebf853462af.jpeg

This was the last orrery he made. After that he made a few clocks for pleasure.

His workshop was half a double garage only room for one person everything for the clocks was produced in the workshop. My mother made him keep four clocks one for each of their children mine is a long case clock.

Will someone please turn the picture the right way round please.

Edited By JasonB on 03/07/2020 07:52:55

Wonderful clocks to see, you must be proud

Chris

Mike Crossfield03/07/2020 09:14:32
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An interesting thread with a lot of useful information. Some different opinions, but that is only to be expected. I found Bob’s comments supporting a traditional handcraft approach just as valuable and helpful as others looking for more automated methods. The videos were very informative. I couldn’t see what ticktock took offence at. I have made a couple of clocks and made repair parts for a several more. I started out crossing out clock wheels by hand using a piercing saw, but found it difficult to cut sufficiently close to the line to avoid lots of filing, and I found it hard to produce results in terms of dimensional accuracy that I was happy with. I also had one or two disasters where I overcut and ended up scrapping a wheel. Very annoying when one has cut all the teeth and put a lot of work into it. Maybe I should just keep practising, but I can’t resist trying to find better ways. Encouraged by John Wilding’s book on clockmaking methods I bought a 2 speed scroll saw, thinking that would improve things. Not a success. First of all it was too fast, even on its lowest speed, so it wore out blades very quickly. Secondly it only used a small part of the blade, so very wasteful on blades. Finally I couldn’t take the near heart attacks when the blades broke. I keep meaning to find some way of drastically reducing the speed of the machine because I think that would help enormously, but that project is still on the back burner. I also have a pantographic engraver, and I have toyed with using that for crossing out, but the stumbling block there has been making the patterns, which seems like almost as much work as just fretting out the wheels. The approach I am using on my latest clock (Claude Reeves long case) uses a rotary table on the mill and coordinate settings. I use a 1.5 mm end mill, and even though the maximum speed on my mill is barely 2000 rpm the finish is not too bad, and I have not broken any cutters yet. I find that very little finishing is needed. This is mainly filing to square up the corners of the crossings. CNC would be even quicker, but I don’t think I want to make the investment in time and equipment to go down that road.

just my two penn’orth.

Mike

p.s. Picture of a couple of wheels crossed out on the rotary table.

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I

JasonB03/07/2020 09:24:39
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The pantograph template should be less work as you really only need to make it for one segment and index the wheel around as required, at least that is how I would approach it.

CNC should not be as expensive as mentioned earlier, for the typical materials and thicknesses found in clock making then something like the recently discussed Proxxon or one of the 3040 size routers would be upto the job so up and running for under £1k

magpie03/07/2020 10:08:49
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In the vidios Bob posted, the saw in use is not a piercing saw but an Eclipse fretsaw and the table is Hobbies Ltd top of the range cutting table. I still have both of those that I bought in the early 50s. Just saying. sad

Dek.

Nicholas Farr03/07/2020 11:05:35
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Hi. I don't know much about clockmaking, but I'm curious as to why the wheel spokes don't have a small radius at each end, as in my technicians training, sharp corners are stress raisers and can lead to fracture. Is it just traditional or more aesthetic?

Regards Nick.

Martin Kyte03/07/2020 12:19:38
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Posted by Chris TickTock on 03/07/2020 08:30:00:also a factor...don't know but guess it will be.

martin what i did get from your post was the 1mm cut out for the crossing out removal. I have been wondering what is the optimal diameter for this and in theory a smaller end mill will cut quicker. At 1mm there may well be break risks but I certainly intend to use a range to get the best results.

Chris

You would think that but no.

The point being that the SX1 was converted to use a hight speed engraving head. Somewhere north of 20,000 RPM.

This drives router cutters which are more like rotary burrs than end mills and produce a very clean cut and something like dust rather than brass swarf. 1mm cutters means there is only the smallest of material to remove from the corners and the cut quickly. I think that where most people struggle is using CNC mills running at slower speeds with conventional tooling. Cutting forces are higher and it is more difficult to hold the work down.

regards Martin

John Haine03/07/2020 12:36:26
3178 forum posts
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I run 1 mm endmills at the max speed of my CNC spindle which is about 5000 rpm. I've crossed out wheels and cut out a lot of brass making some loco nameplates with this with no breakages, max feed ~100 mm/min.

The router cutters that I have are more like slot drills with straight flutes, not burrs. And engraving cutters are more like pointed D bits. For wheels, work has one screw through the centre hole into a bit of MDF-type material, for security, wheel also stuck using superglue on 2 layers of blue masking tape, one on the MDF and one on the brass.

Neil Wyatt03/07/2020 12:39:46
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I think this thread has calmed down a bit now, but earlier a few comments were made that clearly resulted from people having different (but from an third perspective perfectly reasonable) interpretations of the same turn of phrase.

May I suggest that if someone makes a comment you feel is aimed at you and is unfair, the best and most positive thing is to PM them and politely say you felt that way rather than calling them out in the forum.

Perhaps most importantly, please don't take offence on other people's behalf unless there really is a clear breach of forum etiquette, and if you do feel that something should be said, report the posting.

Try to post as if you were in the room with someone, but do bear in mind that written text lacks all the cues of tone of voice and body language making it so much easier to take offense.

Robust disagreement is perfectly acceptable, but bullying or shaming is not and more than one post above was edging close to that.

Wikipedia has a rule 'assume good faith' - I suggest it's a good starting point on here as well when trying to decide someone's intent.

Neil

Michael Gilligan03/07/2020 13:35:47
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Posted by Nicholas Farr on 03/07/2020 11:05:35:

Hi. I don't know much about clockmaking, but I'm curious as to why the wheel spokes don't have a small radius at each end, as in my technicians training, sharp corners are stress raisers and can lead to fracture. Is it just traditional or more aesthetic?

Regards Nick.

.

It is both traditional and more aesthetically pleasing, Nick

Cheap mass-produced wheels are functional

Craftsmanship becomes somewhat obsessive amongst clock and watch makers.

MichaelG.

Bob Stevenson03/07/2020 14:26:57
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I find it sad and depressing when someone asks for advice and apparently is interested in all views but then, when they hear the result and it does not chime with their already cast and forthright opinion, they can only be rude and abusive,...especially when the advice/help has been given honestly and in an entirerely helpful spirit, based on observed events and efforts to help other craftspeople.

I have actually watched beginning clock makers for 10 years and I am often asked for advice and help with the methods and processes of clock making and restoration. I have also been asked to guide people attempting the practical sections of the BHI professional qualification course and every person has passed including a pass mark which was only one point below the recorded highest score (so I have been informed) I'm by no means an horologist or even an expert clock maker and my usual method is to try to guide people with the best suggestion that I think will be helpful and enable them to find their own solution to the particular problem or task.

The tricky thing about making clock wheels, and indeed all clock making, is that it is a highly intuitive craft which, in the hhands of a good exponent, crosses over into an art form. Unfortunatately many keen people making clocks never get to realise how important this is or the extent of this influence, and everyone has a different level of awareness, not to mention satisfaction........

At teh end of the day, I have no wish to 'help' anyone who can't be helped....I have better things to do.

Chris TickTock03/07/2020 17:30:47
477 forum posts
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Posted by Bob Stevenson on 03/07/2020 14:26:57:

I find it sad and depressing when someone asks for advice and apparently is interested in all views but then, when they hear the result and it does not chime with their already cast and forthright opinion, they can only be rude and abusive,...especially when the advice/help has been given honestly and in an entirerely helpful spirit, based on observed events and efforts to help other craftspeople.

I have actually watched beginning clock makers for 10 years and I am often asked for advice and help with the methods and processes of clock making and restoration. I have also been asked to guide people attempting the practical sections of the BHI professional qualification course and every person has passed including a pass mark which was only one point below the recorded highest score (so I have been informed) I'm by no means an horologist or even an expert clock maker and my usual method is to try to guide people with the best suggestion that I think will be helpful and enable them to find their own solution to the particular problem or task.

The tricky thing about making clock wheels, and indeed all clock making, is that it is a highly intuitive craft which, in the hhands of a good exponent, crosses over into an art form. Unfortunatately many keen people making clocks never get to realise how important this is or the extent of this influence, and everyone has a different level of awareness, not to mention satisfaction........

At teh end of the day, I have no wish to 'help' anyone who can't be helped....I have better things to do.

Bob et al:

Let's put things in context i simply got upset over your opinion that my approach to clock making / repair was doomed to failure, effectively for taking onboard a wider spectrum of investigation to achieve my results. It is annoying to most folk to be told your way of thinking is fundamentally wrong.

It is fine you have a good opinion of your work but respect the fact many folk use various methods to achieve their results. To say I cannot be helped because I do not agree with your opinion is not helpful, neither is it to treat some one with 3 years experience as a total greenhorn. Your 10 years experience makes you more experienced than me but still not enough years under your belt yet to deem you an expert.

I fully see (now) you may have not intended insult but maybe a little more thought the scenario could have been avoided as I took it as outside the scope of my question provoking a negative response.

i am currently exploring using a scroll saw which I am modifying as well as improving my milling capabilities, I can always fall back on the hand saw and I see no wrong thinking in my investigations.

If you wish to be a traditionalist fine, I respect that..but respect the fact others have their rights to think for themselves.

My final comment is that I take a very dim view of third parties interference, not something I would do as it is a minor fall out on a point of principal and this is not helped by such action.

Chris

Nicholas Farr03/07/2020 19:06:21
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Hi MichaelG, thanks for the confirmation of what I thought the reasons are.

Regards Nick.

Rod Renshaw03/07/2020 20:49:35
116 forum posts

Hi all

I don't use a piercing saw very often, but when I do I use it on a plywood saw table, turning the saw to get around shapes and I can see the advantages of Martin's "standing" method of working.

Watching the 2 Ron Rose videos has been a bit of a revelation, as Ron keeps his saw pointing in one direction and turns the work to get around shapes, and this method clearly works well for him, and he gets to sit down!

I have a saw like Ron's, which I have always called a fret saw and have only used on wood, and I am going to try Ron's method as he seems able to develop a steady rhythym and direction, which is more than I can usually manage with my own method ( not really my own, I think jewellers have been doing it like me for a long time, but with more expertise)

Ron's method seems to depend on being able to slide the work easily on the table, so that a metal table seems preferable, does anyone know if metal tables are still available? If not I will try lubricating the plywood table or rmake my own metal one.

Regards

Rod

Michael Gilligan03/07/2020 21:15:31
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Posted by Nicholas Farr on 03/07/2020 19:06:21:

Hi MichaelG, thanks for the confirmation of what I thought the reasons are.

Regards Nick.

.

Have a look at this, Nick ... particularly at Fig. 11 **LINK**

http://www.frodsham.com/docs/InBreguetsFootsteps.pdf

I went to a seminar by Frodsham's a few years back, and they showed a video about the making of that three-legged bridge.

The basic shape, with the important holes, is CNC machined on a customised Swiss machine ; but all the elegant shaping and polishing was done by hand ... the chap brought along the bottle cork that he uses as a support for the piece !!

That, and a few hand tools [plus extraordinary skill and patience] is all it needs. surprise

I seem to recall he said it takes about three days to to do the job to that standard.

MichaelG.

JasonB04/07/2020 06:53:57
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Rod, it would be a simple job to make a metal table from a piece of sheet/plate by just hacksawing a Vee into it then hold by whatever means you use on your plywood.

Michael can you remember that video of the very intricate inlay work as that was a good example of what can be done with a piercing saw?

Michael Gilligan04/07/2020 07:30:44
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Posted by JasonB on 04/07/2020 06:53:57:

.

Michael can you remember that video of the very intricate inlay work as that was a good example of what can be done with a piercing saw?

.

Sorry, Jason ... Can’t recall it at the moment

But [stalling for time] : for anyone new to the saw this is well worth watching:

**LINK**

https://www.kernowcraft.com/jewellery-making-tips/silversmithing-and-soldering-advice/how-to-use-a-jewellers-piercing-saw

MichaelG.

.

Edit: This guy is pretty good too: https://youtu.be/iTKtQ3mTFV8

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 04/07/2020 07:45:54

JasonB04/07/2020 07:41:22
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Good Job I could with a bit of searchingwink

He starts sawing about 7mins into the video

Michael Gilligan04/07/2020 07:51:25
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Thanks for that one, Jason ... I will watch it later

Looks excellent at first glance.

MichaelG.

Michael Gilligan04/07/2020 08:53:00
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Absolutely inspirational star

... never seen it before.

MichaelG.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 04/07/2020 08:55:01

Chris TickTock04/07/2020 08:56:11
477 forum posts
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Just to represent the other side of the coin when machining is used I think this video shows what can be done. No offense is intended or implied to the traditionalists (Bob & Co) which has its place and merits as has been highlighted above.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bM3Jhy_3TU

The key I think (work in progress) to use a scroll saw is to replace the big hole on the table with a smaller one, I am using a brass plate. I intend replacing the blade holders so a jewelers blade can be held. Lastly speed I will try my saw at its lowest but think it likely to have to slow it down quite a bit more. Even then slow cutting and gentle pressure.

Any one know where a filing machine like in the video can be sourced?

Chris

Edited By JasonB on 04/07/2020 10:03:05

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