Friday, March 16, 2018

An addiction to tools is no different to any other - you just need one more

Last year we put out a questionnaire trying to figure out why you follow us?  The majority of our subscribers are here for the obvious:  A love of watches. However, there is a growing group of subscribers who are fascinated with machining, precision and fine tools. And for them, from time to time,  we include a photo or two to illustrate our journey into the world of 'making'. Disclaimer: since I am not the one who operates the machines, I don't take credit for anything you'll see here – all the credit goes to the kids.
Yesterday’s challenge:  To make a tool 'fixture'. Fixtures are work-holding devices designed to hold, locate and support raw material or parts during manufacturing operations. There is another special property of the fixture: it provides a means to reference and alignment for the cutting tool.

In other words:  The quality of your part is directly related to the quality of your fixture. Or, as machinists say: if you want to make a precision part, you need a super precision fixture.  Which logically brings us to a challenge:  If your part is a fixture, then how do you make a fixture to hold  your first fixture?

To cut a long story short, two pieces of steel were individually  and separately cut, then a number of holes were drilled and taped. Locating and guiding pins were inserted. Then the moment of truth: The pieces were joined together. "Where is the gap?" asked Josh. No-one replied; it was well past 10pm and he was in the workshop by himself.  "I am going to engrave Andrew and Josh on this one" was the first thing he told me after arriving home close to midnight.  "In that order?" I’ve asked.
But he didn't hear me. His thoughts were 17,000 kilometres away. "You know, we need to call MAXX in Michigan. They make a super precision vice, and we need one for Kern." "Didn't we just order one from Lang?” I asked.  "Yes, but we need one more!"

And that summed it up. Addiction to tools is no different to any other:  you just need - one more.

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