A few weeks ago a friend asked if I would help him make a tool. It seems like once you get an X-Carve they come out of the woodworks with ideas for things you could do for them.
This friend is a horologist and repairs/builds watches and clocks. He recently came across a watch that needed a special tool to open the back to replace the battery. He could buy this special tool from the manufacture of the watch for a large sum, but he thought I could give it a try first. The tool needed is basically a 15 sided socket that he could use to torque on the back of the watch. So, last week he gave me a piece of 6061 Aluminum and I set out measuring the watch back.
After reading plenty on this forum, I was beginning to doubt that my stock 1000mm X-Carve with stock spindle would be able to do the job. It has done fine in hard woods and the like so far, so I proceeded carefully, but still hopeful.
I decided that the sides of the inside of the socket should be similar to torx where they are curved and the corners don’t touch. This would ensure that the tool wouldn’t mar the corners of the watch back. Here is a pic of the vectors in Illustrator to demonstrate what I mean.
Success! On the first try. As in the first time I have ever milled aluminum. My friend’s eyes lit up when he first placed the tool on the back of the watch and saw that it fit perfectly with no play in it.
Here are the specs for the job, and what I used to do it -
Material: Aluminum 6061 @ 10.24mm thick
CAD Layout/Design: Illustrator
Machine Control and CAM: Easel
Bit: 1 Flute Spiral Up-cut 1/8"
Feeds and Speeds: 13000rpm, 0.1mm depth per pass, 127mm/m feed rate