Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Prelude to the Auto-Regulator write-ups

The Auto-Regulator project was one of my last big commissions. We (the movement maker, and I) had intended to put the clock into limited production. I invested heavily in the project, because the clock movement itself was truly remarkable: SBE-HA (the movement maker) has basically designed the first atomic clock for home or office. So it made sense to me to pull out all the stops. There was a lot of head-scratching involved, and I gave free reign to some of my more unfortunate perfectionist tendencies. The end result was something that I can say was truly remarkable. I learned a remarkable amount from this project. And it's about time I started sharing some of what I learned. 

It's not worth putting too much time into dedicated jigs if you're only making one of whatever it is. A single piece will allow for a limited amount of process fudging. But once you're making more than one of something, the time involved to fuss each assembly together starts to multiply. Final fit and finish of any completed piece is painstaking enough, without having to fine tune every piece, or sub-assembly, by hand. So I spent an inordinate amount of time designing jigs and fixtures, to make ultimate production easier, smoother, and to help me cut down on the amount of waste involved in each clock. My shop-mates gave me quite a few side-long glances, and I was accused at one point of doing everything in 'long-hand.'

My approach on this clock is NOT the way I'd have done it if I was building only one.