"Twicky" parts, or how to explore the limits of the possible The mechanic Martin Fischer skillfully balances between the worlds of metal and art. His passion: elegant pendulum clocks, for which he requires precision parts. He has these cut on a Bystronic laser system at Al-Cut.
Al-Cut AG was founded by Toni Räber and Andi Sommer in 2009 and specializes in laser and waterjet cutting as well as grinding and bending work in Inwil, Lucerne. Today, the company has 17 employees and over 500 loyal customers. Al-Cut is a close Bystronic partner that regularly tests out new machines. Besides wet grinding and leveling systems, a vibratory grinding machine (Trowal), and a deburring machine from other brands, Al-Cut works above all with systems from Bystronic.
"We have a whole range of Bystronic machines. We are also testing prototypes."
Standing in the reception area of the industrial metal processing company is a display case exhibiting sample parts. There, Toni Räber points to a tiny bicycle approximately two millimeters in length. With a magnifying glass, it is possible to make out details such as spokes and pedals. "Lasers allow us to work with incredibly high precision, even at the smallest of dimensions," he says.
That is why Martin Fischer has the escapement parts for his clocks cut here.
Exploring the possible
However, the precision of the machines is not the only reason why Martin Fischer has his clock components manufactured by Al-Cut. It is also due to Räber's willingness to accept challenging jobs and to work together with customers to find solutions for unusual problems – with regard to the heat resistance of metals during the cutting process, for example.
It's fun to explore the limits of the possible with customers like Martin Fischer. For Fischer's clock escapements, we first had to find the right material.
Räber calls them "twicky" parts (specialist jargon for complicated parts). They ultimately selected CK45 steel for the clock parts, because it can be hardened after processing and thus minimizes wear on the clockwork.
With the factory came the horological virus
The delicate metal objects with open clockwork were developed and designed by Fischer from scratch. The most recent of them, Clockwork 2.00B, contains only four interlocking cogs, a pendulum, a weight, and the escapement* consisting of the "pallets" and a pallet fork.
It took me quite some time before I figured out how to perfect the geometry of the escapement.
Without a mentor to initiate him in the secrets of clockmaking, he likely would not have succeeded. Once you have the hang of it, the rest is actually just about precision work with the metal, he says.