I thought it might be good to show some of my older posts, from the previous iteration of this site. I’d posted the progress of “Mechanical No.6″, and since it recently sold, I found it fitting to show the making of its best feature; the 10 foot handmade chain. You can click on the first image, and toggle through them with your arrow keys.
The process, as seen in the photos, goes as follows: First, a bunch of holes are drilled in a sheet, at a very specific, and consistent distance apart. Then the links are cut from that sheet with a jewelers saw, being careful that the previously drilled holes are in the correct spot under the drawing. Later, the cut out links would be ground to a more 3 dimensional shape with a small rotary grinder (kind of like a dremel). Now, using a small lathe, a bucket full of small parts must be machined to create the barbell-like pins, which will hold the links together. The tool shown in the fifth picture is used to extend and cut the same length of rod each time. The pic after that shows the decorative screw slot being cut. The final step, is using an arbor press to assemble the chain. The end-caps, and rods are a tight press fit, which are permanent once assembled.
In the end, there were 1021 separate pieces machined to create the chain for “Mechanical No.6″. The finished chain is kind of like a reversed bike chain, in that the part the meshes with the sprocket is on the outside of the links, rather than the inside. I included the next picture (below left) to show the repeating segments of chain, all lined up, before they were assembled into one long piece. Also pictured below is the finished clock.
I’ll be doing more of these “archive posts” in the future. The next one will likely be gear-cutting:)