Archive for July, 2011

Even more faceplate…

Posted in Watches on July 24, 2011 by medusawatches

This weekend I finally had a few minutes to sit down and experiment with putting graphics onto the stainless steel faceplate (a.k.a the dial).
My original idea was to print the graphics onto white, glossy vinyl sticker paper.
Then I wanted to use an Xacto style knife to cut out the shape of the cross, peal it off the backing paper and stick it onto the dial.
Easy enough I thought.
Everything went smoothly until I tried to freehand cut the shape of the cross.
To improve my chances, I zoomed in 20x with my new magnification glasses to better see the outline.

It was a real problem trying to make the tiny cuts.
For me it is impossibly difficult to make such small incisions with a relatively large instrument.
I made several attempts but could not master the necessary skill.
Most of the cuts were too long or were completely off target.

My next idea was similar, but relied less on my freehand cutting skills.
This time I would print the graphics onto clear sticker paper.
This would allow me to see through the sticker so I could line it up with the faceplate.
Once I stuck the graphics onto the faceplate, I turned it over and trimmed it with the Xacto knife.
This was much easier because I could rely on the edges of the stainless steel cross to be my guide.
It was like cutting along a straight edged ruler…much easier.

Here you can see the faceplate sitting almost in position with the graphics stuck onto it.
Like I said, I originally intended the background to be white, but seeing the shiny, stainless steel creates a completely different feel, which I am starting to appreciate.
I may experiment further by first spray painting the stainless steel dial with a thin coat of white primer.
This would bring back having a white background behind the graphics.

More Faceplate…

Posted in Watches on July 4, 2011 by medusawatches

Today I recieved the faceplates from Delphi Micro Lasermachining.
In a UPS envelope they sent a brochure with two small ziplock bags.
One  bag contained ten .2mm pieces.
The other had two .05mm pieces that they threw in for free.
The .05mm pieces are too thin and are almost like foil.
But the .2mm pieces are much better…flexible yet stiff enough to support the movement.
When I placed one on the case it fit like a glove.

Faceplate…

Posted in Watches on July 3, 2011 by medusawatches

The next thing I want to work out is the faceplate.

After disecting other inexpensive watches purchased on Ebay, I learned that it needs to be very thin.
This is so the movement stem can poke through the faceplate far enough for the hour and minute hands to attach.
I found some samples of sheet metal at a local hobby store and I decided that .2mm stainless steel could work.

Once the faceplate is cut the logo needs to be applied to the stainless steel.
I am planning to try 3mil glossy, vinyl sticker paper printed with my inkjet printer and cut with an exacto knife.


I know that the stainless steel will need to be cut and drilled perfectly or else it won’t fit into the cavity on the top of the case.
Because of it’s size, cutting with hand tools seems completely out of the question.
So I searched for a company who specialized in microcutting with lazer technology.
I contacted several companies but only one who was willing to work with me with such a small order…10 pieces.
Delphi Micro Lasermachining.
http://www.delphi-laser-micromachining.com/index.htm


It took some effort to provide them with data they could use.
We tried various file formats, such as DXF and DWG.
Eventually they loaded a copy of 3D Studio Max which allowed them to use my native .max file without conversion.
Here are the pictures they sent me….looks very good.

Enter Shapeways…

Posted in Watches on July 3, 2011 by medusawatches

I have to admit, although I felt I had found the most inexpensive way of prototyping, it was getting too expensive.
Martin Sukadi at RISE told me he felt I could take the next step in quality and use one of their higher resolution 3D printers.
This would mean I would need to spend $250 for each case.
This was alot less than other shops but was still more than I could justify.
The project needed to take a break and it did….for over 1 year I didn’t touch it.
Then my brother emailed me and said there was another company I should look at.
http://www.shapeways.com/
Based in the Netherlands and New York, they offer 3D printing at a fraction of the cost.
To make my case out of a material they call “White, Strong and Flexible Polished” was only $25.16.

Here are some pictures of how it looks.
The first is how the case looked when it first came to me.

The second is with Testors paint.

The third has the crystal, artwork printed on paper and a leather strap.

Next 3D print…

Posted in Watches on July 3, 2011 by medusawatches

At this point I felt I had made enough improvements to the design….
it was time to print.

Here you can see I was experimenting with the artwork.
I was interested in using the same watch design for a custom motorcycle shop.
I designed the logo in Photoshop and printed it on my Epson RX500 inkjet printer.
Then I cut the paper to fit and stuck it on the faceplate with 2 sided tape.

This time the case was made from white ABS plastic.
To see how it might look in metal, I painted it with Testors 1146 Silver Argent enamel.
Also I clicked in a High Precision Mineral Glass (340 x 1.2 DR).
Lastly, I attached it to a leather strap.
Things were coming together!

From 2 came 1…

Posted in Watches on July 3, 2011 by medusawatches

Somewhere along the way I realized the case didn’t need to have 2 parts.
Once I thought about it, it made perfect sense.
All I needed to do was combine the 2 pieces together in my Max model.
This way I had simplified my case design and cut my 3D printing cost in half.

Case back…

Posted in Watches on July 3, 2011 by medusawatches

Next I wanted to figure out what to do about the case back.
At first, I thought I would go with a snap-on style which is very common.
I was sure I could buy generic ones from any watch supply, which would save me alot of time and expense of not having to design and 3D print.
But when I took apart and examined several watches I realized that getting the fittings  just right was going to be a pain.
Instead, I found an inexpensive Casio digital watch ($20) that took a completely different approach.
Here you can see it is a simple design… it has 4 screws that do the job of sealing the back of the watch.
Through searching the internet and countless emails, I tried to find a generic version that did not have the Casio engravings.
Unfortunately, I had no luck…Casio has discontinued this case back.


This meant I would need to create one as closely as I could.
I scanned the bottom of the Casio watch to make a template, measured the case back and then modeled it as close as I could in Max.
From there I modified the case model to have a space for the case back to fit.