Meet Cristoph Laimer, a Swiss engineer who used a 3D printer for reproducing the Tourbillon watch’s mechanism on a bigger scale. He has shown the whole process of fitting over 60 parts in this complicated gadget in a video and the video is nothing short of amazing.
Except for the pins and screws, each part was printed by making use of Ultimaker 2. In order to develop the required pieces, Laimer made use of Autodesk Fusion 360 software and even provided the project for free on Thingiverse for anyone who was attempting to make a watch at home.
Laimer says, “This is a mechanical watch with tourbillon and going barrel. The watch has a Swiss lever escapement, embedded in the tourbillon. It is driven by a 3d-printed spring, and runs 35 Minutes (a wire retraction spring made from steel would perform better).”
The device requires winding and can run for 35 minutes with an under 0.5-seconds deviation within one minute. This might seem like a lot, but it is quite a small error considering that all the pieces have been created using plastic. The Tourbillon was originally created back in 1795 and was patented by a French-Swiss watchmaker, Abraham-Louis Breguet. It conquered the effect of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage. Thus, by carrying out continuous rotation of the whole balance wheel and escapement assembly at a one revolution per minute rate, it was able to average out any positional errors.