Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cool kids

Imagine you were the only kid in the entire suburb with a PlayStation! There would be no quiet moment, no shortage of friends - and every day would be just pure fun.
The word about our machining capabilities is spreading fast and our watchmaking workshop in Brookvale is attracting all sorts of cool kids who want to play with our toys.  Here is just one of a few of the most recent cases: 
Andrew: "A car builder knocked on our door with an aluminium part that he had sub-contracted out to a machine shop all the way down in Campbelltown. An issue occurred during the manufacturing process rendering the part an oversized paperweight. Either the mechanic in question could drive down to Campbelltown and have the machine shop fix the error, then drive back the next day to pick it up, or dip his toe in the waters and ask us if we could help. Sure enough, after a rapid design brief and outline, we set to work designing and programming the solution whilst not changing the structural integrity or important features of the aluminium strut. We asked him "When do you need this done by?" "Yesterday" he replied. "Best I can do is tomorrow" we said. He was ok with that as it did not involve him participating in northern, central, western, and southern Sydney traffic.
The component was promptly modified and finished in the Makino EDM wire cutting machine within three hours. Under promise and over deliver, I always say. The coolest part about the whole experience is knowing that we contributed to their project. A 1960's matte black Mustang body with an Australian made v12 engine squeezed in. An interesting fact, the cast for the engine block is 3D printed, and then the actual cast is made for the molten metal to be poured into. That is cutting edge technology in the performance automotive industry. This car, once finished, will truly be a testament to Australian craftsmanship. Come to think of it, we should have used a 0.1 engraving tool in the Kern to write sneakily beneath the part: Andrew n Josh was 'ere. An opportunity missed but definitely noted for next time."
The second 'can we play with you guys' request came from a silicon extruder with a challenging part geometry. The part is 12mm thick steel disc requiring a perfect slot just 0.75 mm wide, 80m long. The slot is so thin that it would barely accept a paper business card. Yet, the inside walls of the slot would have to be perfectly finished to almost mirror finish. This is a serious challenge and a big ask - drilling the starter 0.5mm x 12mm hole was a nightmare. Again, Makino wire cutter did the rest of the job perfectly, and the part was completed same day. I am not using the term 'perfect' lightly - think of this 'fit' as what you would expect to see on a Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso case.  

Clearly, there are many engineering businesses out there who are more than happy to pay handsomely for machining services and machining capabilities provided by a watchmaker. Indeed, one of our challenges in the months to come will be to ignore 'easy money' doing third party services and remain firmly focused on our watch manufacturing project. As we say, you cannot run before you learn how to walk. 

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