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Key Axle Pins

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:48 am
by Perdix
Admittedly, this is probably a slightly odd question for a very first post...

Is there any consensus for pin diameter or material please?
From my occasional work with a clockmaking friend (see www.clockmaking.co.uk if you are interested in horology), the use of brass on steel minimises wear - hence brass wheels on steel pinions.
I'm not sure how this would work with other materials (not an issue for me just now), but it would be interesting to know.

Balancing pin diameter against wear must also push towards a typical diameter?
Too large and you introduce friction and potentially a 'sticky' feel to the keys. This would also lead to heavier springing being required (I'll ask a question about that in another topic).
Too small and you will increase wear on the key pivot. You could also have a pin that is excessively weak and more problematic to fit.

Thanks & Best Wishes,

Myles

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:13 am
by djm
What I have seen is taking 1" finishing nails and filing/sanding them down to long, thin tapers for pins. I'm not sure of the metal used or prefered. I imagine this varies from maker to maker and what is available at the time.

djm

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:23 am
by Perdix
Thanks David,
If my understanding is right 1" finish nails are 16½ gauge, which is Ø0.058" or Ø1.47mm?

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:18 am
by outofthebox
I think it would be wise to use stainless steel for these pins. It might be possible to find stainless steel sowing needles that are just the right thickness. Plain or galvanised steel nails will tend to rust quite quickly.

My set has brass keys fixed with tapered brass pins. These have been fine - but to avoid oxidation I have found it best to coat the pins in vaseline. Oxidation of the brass surface over time causes the pivot to seize up, making the keys much less responsive.

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:32 am
by Perdix
316 St.St spring wire might be worth looking at. There is another common grade of stainless (not 304) that springs are made of too.
1/16" should be relatively easy to find...
Are the brass pins a bigger diameter? I'd expect them to be slightly larger.

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:35 am
by outofthebox
The brass axle pin on my chanter key measures 1.6mm in the middle.

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:41 am
by Perdix
Thank you for that - it's much appreciated!

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:49 am
by Mr.Gumby
I have come across tapered pins. Ofcourse I only found out when I tried pushing one out the wrong direction and taking off a regulator keyblock in the process.

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:51 pm
by djm
Ouch!

djm

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:58 am
by billh
Using dissimilar metals in this application is a bad idea. Sweat is a nice electrolyte which sets up galvanic corrosion. Steel pins rust into place, and are nearly impossible to get out without destroying the blocks and probably the key as well.

Stainless would be better, but you're just transferring the corrosion problem onto the brass key, and the pins are still subject to getting corroded into place.

Re: Key Axle Pins

Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:49 am
by Perdix
If electrolytic corrosion wasn't bad enough, there's always the joy of crevice corrosion too...