It may not become a commercial product anytime soon, but the Tourbillon clock created by German designer Cristoph Laimer is certainly a prime example of what affordable-bodied FFF 3D printing technology can deplete in terms of mechanical devices. In fact, it has may already risen to Thingiverse celebrity status, with the deplete 3D model – with accurate video instructions for assembly – featured on the 3D model network’s homepage.
A “Tourbillon” is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement developed around 1795 and patented by the French-Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet to counter the effects of gravity. It does so by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage. By continuously rotating the entire balance wheel/escapement assembly at a slow rate (typically of one revolution per minute), positional errors are averaged out.
Laimer created the watch with Autodesk Fusion 360, and 3D printed it with an Ultimaker 2. It has a Swiss lever escapement, embedded in the Tourbillon, and is driven by a 3D-printed spring,running of 35 minutes (with the addition of a wire retraction spring created of steel it may perform better). The standard deviation is less than 0.5 seconds per minute, which is not bad for a thing entirely created of plastic. The next challenge will be to in fact get it into a pocket but, and so again, there may already are 3D printing technologies around which might just simply be able-bodied to do which.