Micromechanics: Filing Complex Shapes

Micromechanics: Filing Complex Shapes

Filing skill is the mark of a master watchmaker, especially when it comes to complex shapes with acute angles.

One of the components that we have to manufacture for our clock is the "click," which is named for... Well, the sound that it makes. The click does its namesake as you wind a watch or clock, and interfaces with the ratchet wheel to keep the barrel from winding backwards.

While the beak of the click has a very precise geometry to fit against the ratchet wheel, we're allowed to shape the rest of the piece however we'd like. I decided to give it a bit of a baroque twirl at the end—mostly to see if I could.

My results were mixed.

I'm pleased with the general shaping, though filing and beveling the internal corners proved to be just a bit beyond my skill level. Properly-dressed files are absolutely critical for this kind of exercise, and proper anglage requires different tools altogether. If anything, I should get the click post hole properly centered in the shape, but that's something I can work on later.

This was just a first attempt at this kind of shaping, and we'll be doing much more of it down the line!

Watchmaking student at the Lititz Watch Technicum, formerly a radio and TV newswriter in Chicago.