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John Wilding Regulator

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Russell Eberhardt28/07/2013 15:17:58
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2738 forum posts
86 photos

Hi

I have just received the book and intend to have a go at making the month going version. Has anyone else here made one - any hints or tips.

I am intending to make a few modifications:

First I'll fit ball bearings to all the pivots. Modern miniature ball bearings have very low friction, even lower than jeweled bearings. I intend to fit them in eccentric bushes to enable the meshing of the pinions/wheels to be adjusted by a few thou. Something like this:

Image

That should eliminate a problem I had with my skeleton clock where I had to bush and re-drill one of the pivot holes where the meshing was too tight.

The second proposed modification is to replace the one piece pallet assembly with the adjustable type of pallet frame with separate pallet nibs.

I'd appreciate any comments on these modifications.

Russell.

Stephen Benson28/07/2013 16:05:13
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203 forum posts
69 photos

Hi Russel, your mods sound OK I would only add that I would guess that you would want your clock to be running long after you are gone so please think of future repairers. I often get to repair Longcase clocks that are 200- 300 years old and they can be kept running indefinitely, will a repairer be able to find the right ball bearings in 300 years?

There is a lot more skill involved using traditional methods but there will always be people able to repair your clock.

Steve

roy entwistle28/07/2013 18:00:46
1525 forum posts

I understood that ball bearings do not like sudden starting and stopping I believe the races get pitted

perhaps someone else can confirm ordeny this I have made several clocks and stick to traditional clockmaking wherever i can though I must confess to using locktite to fasten wheels and pinnion to arbours

Roy

Russell Eberhardt29/07/2013 11:10:16
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2738 forum posts
86 photos

Thanks for your replies. I found an interesting paper on the use of ball bearings here:

**LINK**

In that paper he has measured the friction in a ball bearing pivot to be about 70 times less than a conventional pivot. He has also calculated that the life of the bearings he has fitted to his clock works out at between 11,000 and 31,000 years although he does point out that the calculations may not be wholly valid at this extreme. Replacement is unlikely to be needed for a considerable time and I suspect by then they will be using totally different bearings which could be fitted and have even less friction.

I too have seen comments that ball races don't like intermittent motion, I can't find any references to any tests having been performed. However I doubt it will be a problem with our very light loading.

One more question: Does anyone know which give the best performance, cut pinions or lantern pinions? I guess it's easier to get a good finish on the working surfaces of the latter.

Russell.

roy entwistle29/07/2013 12:49:19
1525 forum posts

If the wheels and pinions are depthed correctly there won't be much difference between solid pinions and lanterns Lanterns do allow debris to fall through

I personally would not use ball races at the top end of the train you are adding extra weight where you least need it

Roy

Stephen Benson29/07/2013 13:35:14
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203 forum posts
69 photos

I am a Mechanical Engineer and now a Clockmaker making my first clock I used my Downham Jig Borer, Cowells Lathe and made everything to very close tolerances so my clock had no chance of running properly or in fact at all.

When asked I always say never get a engineer to repair your clock as they will be horrified by the fit of pinions in the holes etc etc and they will want to "improve it" you have to repair a lot of clocks before you get a feel for what is important but there is a saying in the Clock trade if it rattles it will run.

Best of luck with your improved clock I am sure you will learn a lot..

 

 

Edited By Stephen Benson on 29/07/2013 13:39:10

macmarch29/07/2013 14:33:37
147 forum posts
1 photos

I'll go with that. As an engineer of more years than I like to remember, the 'fit' of pivots in holes and meshing of gear teeth in clocks is horrifying. However, if you think about the almost non-existent power impulse from the escapement wheel to the pendulum, then even ceramic bearings have a bigger rolling resistance, per ball, than the impulse power, add some lubrication and its even worse. As in locomotive building, if the axle bearings rattle then it will run forever.

I'm relatively new to building clocks but as I understand it, pinions mesh with involute teeth and lanterns mesh with triangular teeth.

Russell Eberhardt29/07/2013 14:41:32
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2738 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by roy entwistle on 29/07/2013 12:49:19:

If the wheels and pinions are depthed correctly there won't be much difference between solid pinions and lanterns Lanterns do allow debris to fall through

I personally would not use ball races at the top end of the train you are adding extra weight where you least need it

Thanks Roy,

I'll probably go for solid pinions then. I'll buy them in as it's cheaper than buying the cutters.

I didn't think that the weight of the escape wheel assembly was important. It's the moment of inertia that is important due to the stop/start motion. The moment of inertia is the sum of M x (R x R) so weight near the centre of rotation is much less important than that near the edge. However every bit helps so I'll use the smallest ball bearing I can find, 1mm ID x 3mm OD should do it.

Russell.

Russell Eberhardt29/07/2013 14:49:16
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2738 forum posts
86 photos

Posted by Stephen Benson on 29/07/2013 13:35:14:

Best of luck with your improved clock I am sure you will learn a lot..

Thanks, I may need the luck!

I made the same mistake as you with my first clock and had to take it apart and open up all the pivot holes to make it more rattly. It now runs well keeping time to about a minute a week. I'm hoping for nearer a second a week with this one.

Russell.

Stephen Benson29/07/2013 15:41:15
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203 forum posts
69 photos

Hi Russell,

I like lantern pinions they are just as good as solid pinions and they are much easier to make, I use them in all my clocks with normal horological tooth form.

Steve

Russell Eberhardt30/07/2013 07:47:47
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2738 forum posts
86 photos

Hi Steve,

I have now read that lantern pinions give less friction than solid ones when being driven by the wheels and more friction the other way round. Don't know if this is true or not - must do some more research.

Do you know the correct relationship between wire size and module? I cant seem to find that in any of my books.

Russell.

roy entwistle30/07/2013 13:39:44
1525 forum posts

Try the pinion wire in between two wheel teeth it should slip in between plus a little clearance

Roy

Stephen Benson30/07/2013 14:17:42
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203 forum posts
69 photos
Posted by Russell Eberhardt on 30/07/2013 07:47:47:

Hi Steve,

I have now read that lantern pinions give less friction than solid ones when being driven by the wheels and more friction the other way round. Don't know if this is true or not - must do some more research.

Do you know the correct relationship between wire size and module? I cant seem to find that in any of my books.

Russell.

In answer to your first question you are quite correct they should not be used to drive a gear and they do give less friction in fact a 8 pin lantern has about the same friction and 10 tooth solid pinion. However most Horologists agree including John Wilding that it is perfectly OK to use a lantern pinion to drive the hour wheel in the motion work, this is what I have done to good success on my clocks I would post a picture but they make it so difficult on this forum to post pictures that I do not bother any more.

Roy has answered your second question perfectly

Peter Bell31/07/2013 08:58:34
376 forum posts
164 photos

Hi Russel,

I started making the John Wilding regulator in 1988 and by 1990 had it running reasonably well but it was never very reliable as I was unable to make the pallets work to my satisfaction in spite of making 3 sets. I found them very difficult to set out etc with my knowledge at the time so the project was shelved.

Reading over the years I decided that Vulliamy style pallets as used by C B Reeve in many of his clocks looked a good option and thanks to CAD I now understand how to lay them out and with my Siege KX3 have managed to machine the arms and nibs. These are only semi finished at present but tests with these on the depthing tool look good and I look forward to progressing further soon.

I have read the ball bearing debate over the years and note that a number of "top end" commercial clocks use these and hope to fit these to the regulator after I prove the pallets. I am also constructing a C B Reeve gravity regulator using ball races and although it is not yet running the train will free wheel for far longer that any conventional bushed movement I have seen, and thats before the grease is washed out. I plan to use ceramic balls eventually. I find that small ball races are easy to damage especially if the housings are tight but they are cheap and readily available and I would be surprised if the standard metric sizes used become unavailable over the years.

Good luck with the regulator, look forward to hearing of your progress.

Peter

roy entwistle31/07/2013 12:22:31
1525 forum posts

I can't see why you had to make 3 sets of pallets They are not as complicated as some of the apprentice pieces we had to make 65 years ago My first set were made using a hacksaw and ffiles they still work 20 years on The last couple I've made using a piercing saw and a couple of swiss files after they have been proved in the clock I harden them glass hard All my palets are made in guage plate

Best of luck Roy

Ian S C31/07/2013 13:30:36
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7468 forum posts
230 photos

If in many years the bearings fail, and can't be replaced, you could always go back to plain bearings by fitting bushes in place of the ball races. Ian S C

NJH31/07/2013 14:59:47
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2314 forum posts
139 photos

How nice to have a discussion on clockmaking for a change!

I too am attracted to John Wilding's regulator, have the book and bought most of the materials some years ago. We have since moved to a very nice modern house - lots of windows and doors 7ft 6in ceiling height - doesn't really lend itself to a longcase clock! I have also made all the bits for Wildings 8 day wall clock which I intended to put into a longcase. My daughter now lives in an old cottage and her partner is a very skilled (but busy) woodworker so, if I can pursuade him to make a case, I will put it all together and give it to them.

Please keep posting details ( and some photos perhaps?) of your progress on this project.

Best wishes

Norman

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Stephen Benson31/07/2013 18:18:44
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203 forum posts
69 photos

The WIlding regulator has a dead beat escapement and you really need to understand the action to make a good job as they need four faces to be perfectly aligned to work well.

The Wilding 8 Day Wall clock has recoil escapement which only works on two faces it is very tolerant of errors and as it is weight driven it will keep time to 30 seconds a week or better if you add a simple maintaining power mechanism.

Both will go into a long case but Wilding has updated the recoil 8 day wall clock to make it even more interesting with an amazing perpetual calendar and a normal one also a very interesting striking mechanism using the single 10 pound weight plenty to keep the average model maker or clock maker happy with all most no repetition.

I think you can guess which one I am doing.

Steve

 

 

Edited By Stephen Benson on 31/07/2013 18:20:52

JA31/07/2013 20:15:24
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1359 forum posts
80 photos

I think I have got this right - There was a amateur clock maker that designed and made a number of advanced mechanical clocks that featured in the journal of the British Horological Institute. One of these clocks was a year clock with a titanium escapement wheel. He recorded that his introduction to clock making was the Wilding 8 day regulator which he never got to work properly.

My attempt with the Wilding regulator sits on the shelf in the workshop. It has never run successfully. If I knew then what I know now I would have opted for an anchor escapement clock. Deadbeat escapements are very good time keepers but there is more to clocks than timekeeping. With an anchor escapement you can ring bells and do all sorts of things.

JA

Michael Gilligan31/07/2013 20:48:51
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20185 forum posts
1053 photos

JA,

I don't think this one was year-going, but it may be of interest

Search the page for Titanium ...

Series by Richard Stephen

MichaelG.

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