Having trouble finding new balance staff

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Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:24 pm

I need a little help.
I have been trying to figure out how I get the correct balance staff for a watch I am working on.
The watch is a BW Raymond, SN 3805134, 18 size, grade 77, made in 1889.
When I looked up the part # on Waynes site I see it takes a 857 C....
Well, I start looking into the sites with parts available and I can't find an 857 C.... only 5 or 6 versions of 857. (i.e. new style, old style, short hub, long hub.....)
SO, since this old staff is broken so I don't know the true length.
I know I need to learn how to determine what I need. SO, how do I go about this?

I looked up the prices on the staffs and I might be able to get one for about $15 and shipping... $14....LOL. yes, just as much as the staff.
SO, you can see why I need to get the correct one the first go-round.

HELP...

Mike
:?
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:51 pm

In my internet search frenzy I found this:

post-673-0-07583800-1454828477.jpg


This appears to be a part of a book of some sort. NOW, it does give actual dimensions so I COULD possibly match up a new staff by dimensions.
Is this feasible?

I know I probably should try to measure my old staff but I can't see that I could possibly get any accurate dimension off the old staff. It is so SMALL and lengthwise there is no way to get an accurate measurement since it is broken.

SO.... how does a watch repairman get the correct balance staff back in a watch?
After all... he gets a broken balance staff in a watch that needs repairs too. Why would you want to replace a good staff?

I feel like I am chasing my tail.

Mike
:(
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby pocwatjim » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:32 pm

Mike,

The last 2 staffs shows on the chart are what you need.

The difference is the pivot size.

You can also reduce the larger pivot size by using a fine stone on the tips.

Most refill assortments have those staffs
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:36 pm

Thanks Jim.

Mike
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Stephan » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:57 am

This is what you need to measure a staff accurately

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/JKA-precisio ... SwWB5Zb-Vt

They come up from time to time but usually expensive so not an option for occasional use.

Has steps and grooves that allows you to measure up to a shoulder or between shoulders etc.

You might find one where the seller doesn't know what it is.
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:19 pm

Thanks for showing me that tool Stephan...
I see how a spring loaded (I assume) precision caliper like that one could give you accurate measurements from an old balance staff.
Are there any other options that are more affordable?
I do want to get some type of caliper for measuring staffs.

Mike
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby mars-red » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:09 pm

Mikie_T wrote:Thanks for showing me that tool Stephan...
I see how a spring loaded (I assume) precision caliper like that one could give you accurate measurements from an old balance staff.
Are there any other options that are more affordable?
I do want to get some type of caliper for measuring staffs.

Mike


Measuring with a good pair of dial calipers is possible, but pretty tricky with something as small as a balance staff. Particularly when it comes to using the depthing function of the calipers to determine shoulder lengths. Moreover, any precision calipers that will give you consistent measurements between the depthing rod, inside jaws, and outside jaws, will probably be in the same price range as the bench indicator that Stephan linked to. You'd likely have to modify the calipers a bit to be able to use the depthing rod for such small parts, too. An alternative would be a small micrometer, but you would need a set of special anvils for it to perform these type of measurements and if you could find them you would again be talking about some good money. An optical comparator could also be used, but that's a whole different league of expensive, haha.

Obtaining precise, accurate and absolute measurements from a part this small is going to take the right tools and some skill in using them. If you only need accurate relative measurements, for example wanting to compare a replacement staff against an original, or duplicate dimensions of an existing staff when making your own, the tooling required can be much simpler and even home made. Unfortunately that doesn't help in your case where you're trying to verify dimensions of a correct replacement part before ordering it.

If there happens to be anyone in your area who is into precision small-scale machining, they probably have the right tools and ability to get some measurements for you.
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:32 pm

mars-red wrote:
Obtaining precise, accurate and absolute measurements from a part this small is going to take the right tools and some skill in using them.
If you only need accurate relative measurements, for example wanting to compare a replacement staff against an original, or duplicate dimensions of an existing staff when making your own, the tooling required can be much simpler and even home made.


Yes, there is the rub. I can see now that there is no need to waste money on another tool if I will only find that tool to be inadequate.
The measurements HAVE TO BE accurate and absolute......period. OR, I am just spinning my wheels.

Even if I get my hands on the correct tool, I can see a lot of the measurements are SO CLOSE from staff to staff that I will have to have the SKILL to get the absolute measurements off the existing staff.

The whole situation is such a conundrum for me.... All I want to do is replace a balance staff....... Everyone's procedure I have read (or been told), starts with, "measure the existing staff so you can get the correct replacement."

Well, it seems getting measurements is going to be an expensive endeavor...

I looked at a dial indicator for a lathe. I MIGHT be able to set up a stand of some sort to hold it. BUT, I see the opening of the actual watchmakers micrometer that Stephan showed has a set of flared "jaws" to use for measurements. That seems to give the indicator the capability to get at smaller areas for the ease of getting those precise measurements required.

Mike
:?
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby mars-red » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:35 pm

Mikie_T wrote:
mars-red wrote:
Obtaining precise, accurate and absolute measurements from a part this small is going to take the right tools and some skill in using them.
If you only need accurate relative measurements, for example wanting to compare a replacement staff against an original, or duplicate dimensions of an existing staff when making your own, the tooling required can be much simpler and even home made.


Yes, there is the rub. I can see now that there is no need to waste money on another tool if I will only find that tool to be inadequate.
The measurements HAVE TO BE accurate and absolute......period. OR, I am just spinning my wheels.

Even if I get my hands on the correct tool, I can see a lot of the measurements are SO CLOSE from staff to staff that I will have to have the SKILL to get the absolute measurements off the existing staff.

The whole situation is such a conundrum for me.... All I want to do is replace a balance staff....... Everyone's procedure I have read (or been told), starts with, "measure the existing staff so you can get the correct replacement."

Well, it seems getting measurements is going to be an expensive endeavor...

I looked at a dial indicator for a lathe. I MIGHT be able to set up a stand of some sort to hold it. BUT, I see the opening of the actual watchmakers micrometer that Stephan showed has a set of flared "jaws" to use for measurements. That seems to give the indicator the capability to get at smaller areas for the ease of getting those precise measurements required.

Mike
:?


That is correct about the indicator jaws. The indicator tips are threaded on, and different jaws/anvils/tips are available that are interchangeable. Your challenge with this will be making a fixture to hold it that keeps the indicator perfectly aligned with the fixed anvil at the opposite end. The commercially made one that Stephan linked to would be difficult in this regard. I suggest a different design, that holds the indicator in place by the round plunger housing that protrudes from the case of the indicator. They are usually 1/2" long or so, which should be sufficient for mounting. You would need to accurately put a hole through the fixture such that the same hole, made in the same setup, would be used at one end for mounting the indicator, and at the other end for mounting a fixed anvil. Ideally, you'd want to drill, bore, and ream the hole - but for holes this size that's easier said than done. Use the shortest drill bits you can find that are still long enough for the job, peck drill (clearing chips often), and step up the size in small increments. Use high quality drill bits, as the accuracy of the grind on the tip of the drill bit has direct effect on how straight the hole will be. Many of the watch repair texts discuss how to make your own spade bits and D reamers in the home shop. They would work well for something like this, with a pilot started by a good quality commercially made twist drill. A shop made spade bit close to the desired size, followed by a shop made D bit reamer, would work very well. It's up to you whether you shoot for a light press fit so that no clamping is required to hold the components in place, but either way you'll want the holes to be very accurately sized (a press fit requires a very precise, accurate hole, and a slip fit with some kind of clamping would also need to be pretty accurate and precise so that the mounted components do not get moved off axis when clamped down). You should be able to get a decent indicator for about $30. I don't know how much the flared plunger tips would cost offhand. If you already have the materials on hand for making the fixture and fixed anvil, then you could get out of it for less money than the other options.
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:51 pm

Yes, good design idea Max. THANKS!
I need to digest what you just wrote so I can put it on paper.
I have 2 lathes and my hope is, if I can just get this design in my head I can build a stand for a dial indicator. I was thinking some aluminum bar would work for construction material on the stand/holder. I don't have a milling machine but my brother-in-law does.... SO, down to the drawing board for an "on-paper" design.

I will post a pic of my design before I start.
My concern is the flared indicator tips.....

Mike
:geek:

Feel free to expound on this design.
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:21 pm

I found some flared indicator tips.

#4-48 STARRETT CONTACT POINT #35713173.jpg
#4-48 STARRETT CONTACT POINT #35713173.jpg (20.98 KiB) Viewed 444 times


I hope the edges are sharp enough to measure a staff.
These tips screw into a dial indicator shaft that is threaded #4-48...

Things are starting to come together.

Mike
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby mars-red » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:57 pm

You're off to a good start with the flared tips. For your fixed anvil, having a "disc" anvil (similar to the flared tip you showed, but instead of a curve leading up to the rear of the tip, it's a sharp square face on the back side as well) will be something you'd probably want to to have for measuring between stepped shoulders (for example, from the top of the hairspring collet post to the top of the balance hub). You'll want to have a way to register the part against the rear surface of a tip or anvil for certain measurements.

Aluminum should be fine. Also, if you keep your eyes peeled, you might be able to find some very small dial indicators on the used market - I found one that has a dial only about 1" in diameter, and this discussion here has got me seriously considering building up one of these bench comparators from it. It's sounding like a pretty fun project. Anyway, a super small dial indicator certainly isn't necessary, but would be pretty neat. Just make sure you're getting a dial indicator, and not a test indicator.

I was just cruising around on e-bay, and right now there's a pair of miniature Federal dial indicators with a buy-it-now of $35 with free shipping. You could probably sell the second one on and get most of your money back:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAHR-FEDERAL-N6I-MINIATURE-DIAL-INDICATOR-01-MM-LOT-of-2-EXCELLENT-CONDITION-/311923367132?hash=item48a014dcdc:g:mTIAAOSw6YtZTMPM

I have a few Federals, they are good indicators.
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Stephan » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:09 am

You actually have 2 measuring problems.
First you have to measure the old staff to know what to make.
Second you have to measure the new one, as you are making it to know if you are there or a bit more needs to come off.

Another option for the first step is macro photography.
Take a picture of the old staff with a fine ruler or some other kind of reference beside it and simply blow it up.
This is the poor mans optical projector.
Might even be some apps around for measuring.

But that will not help with the second part.
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:07 pm

mars-red wrote:
I was just cruising around on e-bay, and right now there's a pair of miniature Federal dial indicators with a buy-it-now of $35 with free shipping. You could probably sell the second one on and get most of your money back:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAHR-FEDERAL-N6I-MINIATURE-DIAL-INDICATOR-01-MM-LOT-of-2-EXCELLENT-CONDITION-/311923367132?hash=item48a014dcdc:g:mTIAAOSw6YtZTMPM

I have a few Federals, they are good indicators.


Yes, I have heard Federal makes a good product. I am still trying to figure out how to choose an indicator that will show those VERY small dimensions I need. I mean, these staffs (some of them anyway) are as small as a piece of rice.
Still in the design stage but I did get my brother-in-law interested in the project. He always likes a new project.

:)
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Re: Having trouble finding new balance staff

New postby Mikie_T » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:12 pm

Stephan wrote:
Another option for the first step is macro photography.
Take a picture of the old staff with a fine ruler or some other kind of reference beside it and simply blow it up.
This is the poor mans optical projector.
Might even be some apps around for measuring.


Good idea Stephan...

We have a program here that will help us pull dimensions off of drawings that were left off for whatever reason.
Maybe there is some type of program out there that will take a KNOWN dimension and set a scale on the picture for scaling other dimensions.
Hmmmmmmmmm......

Mike
:)
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