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Easiest way to drill vintage case lugs for 2mm bars when you’re a city dweller


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Today I’d like to share what I would call the «Easiest way to drill vintage case lugs for 2mm bars when you’re a city dweller»
 
So let’s begin with the facts ;
1 - I have a 6538 case with pre-drilled lugs
2 - I live in a city flat with no so much space for huge tools
3 - I dont have a drill press and I dont really have the place for that (see point 2)
4 - I have nice 2mm bars that fit in my 93150 bracelet and 580 end links but not in my 6538 case
 
And today I have decided to try an unlikely experience ... « drilling » the lugs of the 6538 with only hand grinds.
The best part of this thread is that … IT WORKED PERFECTLY.
 
The tools I have used are :
- 1mm diamond grind
- 2mm diamond grind
- 3mm rond grind
 
And here is a pic of those tolls ... much less bulky than a drill press
 
16974510LIMES.jpg
 
The process I used is VERY BASIC.
 
1mm diamond grind :
I first  enlarged the pre-drilling until the grind passes easily through ... by working carefully it is possible to keep the holes in the same axis.
I think it’s best to rotate the file in both directions (rather than going back and forth)
 
2mm diamond grind :
There you have to be more patient and more applied because you do not want to pass completely through ... the aim being to get a hole of about 1.3 mm and not 2mm.
Always the same method (rotation rather than going back and forth) and it is necessary to stop regularly to control the result with a 2mm springbar ... from the outside.
When the springbar crosses almost completely the lug (it just blocks on the inside face) I changed tools.
 
3mm round grind :
I gently enlarged the hole from the inside side of the lug with the round file of 3mm ... always checking regularly to stop as soon as the springbar pass freely.
This is the most risky phase because you have to do it at an angle and you have to be very careful, otherwise you risk scratching the opposite lug.
 
All this process took ame bout 20 minutes to drill 2 lugs ... so it would take 40 minutes for a complete case.
It is probably longer than with a drill press (although ... if one takes into account the time to install the drill press, to fix the box and to align the holes, etc ...) but it is much less risky.
It's quite impossible to ruin your case and as one works gently the steel does not heat and does not harden.
 
Plus you can do this in « spare time »  ... by watching a movie, on public transport (if you have a seat), in a car (if someone else drives), in an hotel room (for business travelers), etc ...
 
Here are some pictures of the job I did.
still have to drill the 2 remaining lugs and the chamfers of the external face but it is already … not that bad.
 
58300511LUGS01.jpg
 
50933712LUGS02.jpg
 
88396613LUGS03.jpg
 
11261714LUGS04.jpg
 
And here’s an overview with 2mm springbar in ... rather cool
Cant help but congratulate myself :clap_1:
 
85348215LUGS05.jpg
 
 
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Very nice...but you have to polish the lugs around the hole!!!
But a good idea

Gesendet von meinem Sony Erricson K750I



INDEED !!!
Chamfers, Polish, etc ...
And movement, dial and hands of course.
That was just a "step one" tuto to share my unexpensive but easy method
Considering it's my first attempt I'm pretty happy with the result.

Envoyé de mon XT1068 en utilisant Tapatalk

Great tip! Thanks for posting! Looking forward to seeing your finished 5508.

Thank you
You will see her finished ... sooner or later

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14 minutes ago, Sogeha said:

That Sir is excellent and although slow has the advantage of being much less likely to end in tears. I congratulate you.

Thank you Sir ...

I tried that method cause I dont have a drill press and it proved to be definitely easy and riskless.

Hope it can help some members here.

 

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2 hours ago, bobandshawn said:

Excellent! However, I can't seem to find those files anywhere on line?

 

B

 

Hmmm ... bought those tools in EU (where I live) about 3 years ago ... used them for another hobby (aerography)

 

UNFORTUNATELY ... it seems those items are out of stock and possibly discontinued ... and it seems difficult to find diamond files with those diameters.

FORTUNATELY ... I have checked the GSI Creos Hobby Department website and it seems they still produce something similar : www dot mr-hobby.com/en/itemDetail.php?iId=1863.

The best is to get contact to know if it's still available and where you can order.

If I find one I'll buy it cause my files are a little old.

 

3565143211.jpg

 

Edited by manodeoro
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This is a great post[mention=77791]Manodeoro[/mention] - thank you.

I wonder... has anybody opened out holes using a dremmel hacked into some kind of press?

I already thougt about trying that.
Then I had a conversation with a seasoned member that had tried (n another forum).

In conclusion :
1 - dremmel dedicated drill-stand is not very good
2 - dremmel is not easily fixed on a standard drill-stand
3 - dremmel drillers are good but a little weak for drilling stainless steel

So here's what I think.

For pre-drilled lugs :
Get the same kind of diamond files I used, a good movie or a good episode of your favorite TV serie, a glass of Islay (or anything you prefer) and do just like me I did.
I used the same tools on the bracelet last links and the endlinks and I did not have to open/cut the endlinks.
So it's easy and riskless.

For non-predrilled lugs :
1- mod your bracelet and endlinks first with the diamond files
2 - put the bracelet and endlinks on your case to check where you have to drill and mark it with a very thin permanent marker
3 - buy very good HSS drill bits (1mm + 1.3mm), drilling fluid (Tap Magic or else)
4 - search the forum for a member living in the same area and already owning a drillpress, get contact and fix an appointment
5 - get the watch(es) you want to drill + drilling bits and cutting fluid + a sixpack of cooled beer and go to meet your new friend
6 - enjoy a pleasant saturday afternoon, drilling lugs and sharing mod tricks
7 - go back home with your newly modded watchcase

That's what I'll do next saturday.
We meet (5 forums members)for a "watch mod fab lab" afternoon.
I will learn how to drill lugs with a drillpress (2 cases) and other tricks and show how to make guilt decal dials (and other tricks).


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Ah thanks dude... good to know it's not worth exploring the dremmel route. I know a guy who drills Seiko in UK and i have never asked if he could do others... I'm guessing he could probably do so? May drop him a line.

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Hey Woz.
 
I sent him a message a couple of months ago with a few pics of the case. He said he hadn't done so before would be willing to set up a jig for them.
 
B)


Ah... You are reading my mind
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Ah thanks dude... good to know it's not worth exploring the dremmel route. I know a guy who drills Seiko in UK and i have never asked if he could do others... I'm guessing he could probably do so? May drop him a line.

BTW ... Despite what I have read and writen I'll probably explore the dremel route.
Yesterday we met for a "watches fab lab" and I tried drilling non-drilled lugs with a drillpress.
Considering the speed we used and the time it took (about 1mn/lug) I really think it could be done with a dremel and it would not "kill" the tool if done properly and with care and "from time to time" (I would not try to drill 2 watches a week with a dremel).
I'll let you know if it worked well or not, or if I killed the dremel.

Envoyé de mon XT1068 en utilisant Tapatalk

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Dremel I started out with.

 

33301910245_756bd28f0d_k.jpgDSC07092 by Micky Aldridge, on Flickr

 

Then decided to invest in a more precise professional solution.

 

32590141274_51ec391af7_k.jpgDSC07365 by Micky Aldridge, on Flickr

 

33304702941_6afe6558a3_k.jpgDSC07364 by Micky Aldridge, on Flickr

 

Not yet set up the new arrival, but shall be putting it to work very soon.

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Dremel I started out with

So you have a Dremel workstation.
Would please write a short review about that tool ?
At least can you tell us :
- have you drilled lugs with it ?
- non-drilled lugs or only pre-drilled lugs ?
A Dremel tool seems much more versatile than a drillpress for average user if one can drill lugs on some watches a year.

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6 hours ago, manodeoro said:


So you have a Dremel workstation.
Would please write a short review about that tool ?
At least can you tell us :
- have you drilled lugs with it ?
- non-drilled lugs or only pre-drilled lugs ?
A Dremel tool seems much more versatile than a drillpress for average user if one can drill lugs on some watches a year.

Envoyé de mon XT1068 en utilisant Tapatalk
 

 

I do plan on doing just that as well as documenting some jobs that I carry out for customers, the trouble is, finding the time to do this, as I am very very busy, I have a blog which I struggle to find time to post on, but I must make time to share more for sure.

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I do plan on doing just that as well as documenting some jobs that I carry out for customers, the trouble is, finding the time to do this, as I am very very busy, I have a blog which I struggle to find time to post on, but I must make time to share more for sure.

At least could you just tell me :
1 - have you drilled lugs (non predrilled) with a Dremel ?.. YES/NO
2 - if "yes" then did it worked well ?.. YES/NO
Those YES and/or NO wont be much time consuming but very much helpfull for me cause I'm in the process of picking the "right" tools to mod my watches (now I do most of the job with files, sandpaper and my hands).

Envoyé de mon XT1068 en utilisant Tapatalk

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15 hours ago, SSTEEL said:

 

I do plan on doing just that as well as documenting some jobs that I carry out for customers, the trouble is, finding the time to do this, as I am very very busy, I have a blog which I struggle to find time to post on, but I must make time to share more for sure.

 

12 minutes ago, manodeoro said:


At least could you just tell me :
1 - have you drilled lugs (non predrilled) with a Dremel ?.. YES/NO
2 - if "yes" then did it worked well ?.. YES/NO
Those YES and/or NO wont be much time consuming but very much helpfull for me cause I'm in the process of picking the "right" tools to mod my watches (now I do most of the job with files, sandpaper and my hands).

Envoyé de mon XT1068 en utilisant Tapatalk
 

Here is what I would buy, if it proves to be possible to drill lugs with  Dremel :

 

- Dremel 3000 : 70$ (pic) or a "Rep" one (50$)

- 43 mm adapter for Dremel : 15$ (pic)

- 43 mm precision drillpress : 70$ (pic)

- 43 mm stand : 15$ (pic)

- drill bits and accessories : 30/80 $

 

So for about 180/250 $ I could get tools good enough to do all the work on my own builds (I will not mod for other members ... just my own watches).

What do you think about that ???

 

DREMEL

[url=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=589536i608935.jpg]589536i608935.jpg[/url]

 

43 mm ADAPTER

[url=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=235120mbI9KX1oFqVCtbNZLxpAm7w.jpg]235120mbI9KX1oFqVCtbNZLxpAm7w.jpg[/url]

 

PRECISION DRILLPRESS

[url=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=6982085027000FS15.jpg]6982085027000FS15.jpg[/url]

 

43 mm STAND

[url=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=9134111supportdemachines4800000L1561844914141.jpg]9134111supportdemachines4800000L15618449[/url]

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  • 3 months later...
On 19/03/2017 at 2:06 PM, SSTEEL said:

Dremel I started out with.

 

Then decided to invest in a more precise professional solution.

 

32590141274_51ec391af7_k.jpgDSC07365 by Micky Aldridge, on Flickr

 

33304702941_6afe6558a3_k.jpgDSC07364 by Micky Aldridge, on Flickr

 

Not yet set up the new arrival, but shall be putting it to work very soon.

Hi @SSTEEL

I finally bought a dremel like and a simple drill stand and it's usefull to drill cases, but I'd like to know how it went with your Proxxon drillstand and compound table.

It could be very kind if you write a review of theese tools.

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I'm still yet to set it up my friend, I'm very busy these days, and hardly have time for myself, but will have time when I get back from my vacation.

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57 minutes ago, SSTEEL said:

I'm still yet to set it up my friend, I'm very busy these days, and hardly have time for myself, but will have time when I get back from my vacation.

Thanks my friend.

 

BTW ... I have created a new thread about drilling lugs with a dremel and a drill stand ... 

 

Definitely not for modders but good enough for hobbyists I think.

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