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Author Topic: Watch Dials: Super Thin and Precise Cuts?  (Read 688 times)

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Slabbercabber

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Re: Watch Dials: Super Thin and Precise Cuts?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2020, 05:46:16 AM »

The Buehler is an amazing piece of equipment that will make the project far easier.  I used one while I was working and with experience it can be made to cut and polish your blank to just the thickness needed.  You still have some watchmaking challenges ahead but your job just became downright practical.  The unit I used was in a metals lab and there was no way I would be allowed to cut stone with it.  The dust would have had half the company down on me.
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Craigab

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Re: Watch Dials: Super Thin and Precise Cuts?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2020, 03:17:10 PM »

The Buehler is an amazing piece of equipment that will make the project far easier.  I used one while I was working and with experience it can be made to cut and polish your blank to just the thickness needed.  You still have some watchmaking challenges ahead but your job just became downright practical.  The unit I used was in a metals lab and there was no way I would be allowed to cut stone with it.  The dust would have had half the company down on me.

How did you modify the Buehler to polish? Did you put 4" diamond flat laps on it and move the vice in and out as a make shift lap?
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Slabbercabber

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Re: Watch Dials: Super Thin and Precise Cuts?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2020, 04:19:00 PM »

The blade had one side covered in very fine abrasive.  I have no idea where it came from but it left a nice polished surface on the steel.  We were cutting fish hooks, so not a lot of crossover there.  The hooks were first encased in thermoplastic making a cylinder about the size of a watch dial.
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ileney

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Re: Watch Dials: Super Thin and Precise Cuts?
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2020, 05:26:33 AM »

Nothing to add except that the larger saws use oil instead of water, and I do not think you want oil on your material, and the larger blades tend to be rougher/lower grit/thicker. It sounds like your friend can provide the ideal solution.
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dpn

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Re: Watch Dials: Super Thin and Precise Cuts?
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2020, 11:19:43 PM »

Hi everyone, here's the latest on this project:

1. I believe that the most efficient way to create a custom dial using fordite is to do the following: (a) lathe flat pieces of fordite into a short cylinder of the correct diameter; (b) use the Buehler to make perfectly flat 0.2mm slices of that cylinder; (c) attach the thin slice to a 0.2mm brass dial template for a total height of 0.4mm; (d) drill a 1.75mm central hole in the fordite for the watch hands, using the brass dial template as a guide; (e) attach the chapter ring; and (f) personalize the dial using carefully-positioned film free decal paper. Thankfully, half-height (0.2mm) blank brass dials are readily available for certain movement brands.

2. I've obtained quite a few pieces of fordite in appropriate sizes to work with.

3. I've connected with a local jewelry/lapidary studio, for guidance, instruction, and access to a lathe.

4. My archaeologist buddy reiterated that I have full access to his Buehler IsoMet Low Speed Precision Cutter. Out of respect for him and his tools, I'll be buying a blade specifically for the fordite cutting.

Here is a list of available blades, and I'd greatly appreciate anyone's insight as to which specific blade I should buy. Given what I know about fordite (fairly hard, easy to work with, potentially brittle), I'm leaning toward the option I've put in bold below. The blades themselves are quite pricey ("price on request" and a recollection that they were $150-200/blade), so I'm not going to be able to determine the best empirically. What do y'all think my best bet would be?

  • IsoMet 30HC - Polymers Rubber, Soft Gummy Materials
  • IsoMet 20HC - Aggressive Sectioning of Metals
  • IsoMet 15HC - Metal Matrix Composite, PCBs, Bone, Ti, TSC
  • IsoMet 20LC - Hard tough Materials, Structural Ceramics
  • IsoMet 15LC - Hard Brittle Materials, Glass, Al2O3, ZrO3, Concrete
  • IsoMet 10LC - Medium to Soft Ceramics, Glass Fiber Reinforced Composites
  • IsoMet 5LC - Soft, Friable Ceramics, Composites with Fine Reinforcing, CaF2, MgF2, Carbon Composites
  • IsoCut CBN - Fe, Co, Ni based alloys and super alloys

Again, thank you everyone who has helped me think through this process. I still really want to get in contact with @Craigab, and I'm also still working on the details. With luck, however, I'll have some thin dial sections cut with the Buehler to show off in a few weeks. I'll update the thread here when there's more progress to report.
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