23 May 2015

Fixing Loose Clasp on Nike FuelBand

One day, I noticed that my Nike FuelBand was loose.  Yes, occasionally, I will bang on something or flex my massive wrist muscles and the band pops open.  Snapping it back in is routine for someone who wears the FuelBand all day and every day.  Well, this time, the clasp itself was detached from the band.  Normally, you would need the Sizing Tool to detach the clasp.  Snapping it in was not working.

Loose clasp of Nike FuelBand
The problem is the screw holding down the locking mechanism became loose.  Here is how to fix it.  You will need a really small #0 Philips screwdriver (or equivalent) and tweezers.  This is the part where people also list "a steady hand" and "patience" as additional tools.  Yeah, that helps.  But, if I can do this, those last tools are not that necessary.

Sizing Tool
Remove the clasp from the band.  If you are a hoarder or 'very organized', locate your Sizing Tool. You probably threw this away, so a paper clip or push pin will do.  Your clasp may have already detached from the band, so you are already one step ahead.

Loose screw
See that one screw?  That becomes loose over time and causes the mechanism to malfunction.  The quick fix is to just tighten down that screw.  But, you should clean the area and lock that screw down.  This is where the fun begins.  Remove the screw, be careful as there are some very small parts in there.  Oh, I am not sure if this voids any warranties, so do this at your own risk.  Besides, Nike does not make the FuelBand anymore, so I think it is okay.  Make sure you have a clean surface.  If you working in a hospital, use one of the operation rooms. 

Parts of the clasp mechanism
Look at those tiny parts.  Try not to breathe too hard or you will blow those parts off the table.  Maybe grab a mask while you are in that operating room.  Anyway, the parts from left to right:  o-ring, spring, latch, plate, screw.  You will want to clean these parts, since you there will no doubt be gunk deposits from you wearing it 24/7. 

This is the part where you will loose that tiny spring if you are not paying attention.  Join the club.  Luckily, you have spare parts, if you are a hoarder.  I will get to that later.  For now, let us assume you were careful in cleaning your parts...oh, clean the inside of the band, too.  On to putting it back together.

The o-ring goes in first.  That is the easy part.

Spring and latch
Okay, now the hard part...and another opportunity to loose that damn spring.  Tweezers are recommended for this operation.  I found the easiest way is to have the spring on the little tab of the latch.  Then, compress the spring against the base of the band while maneuvering the latch into place.   You may now breathe.  Once you get the latch in there, it is fairly secured in there from the pressure of the spring.  Still, be cautious.

Next, simply put the closing plate back on and secure it with the screw.  One note, do not over tighten the screw.  If you screw it down too tight, this will bind the mechanism and not allow the spring to engage the latch.  It is best to use some Loctite or some sort of screw lock.  A small drop of super glue can work, also.

As you tighten the screw, use a pin, or screwdriver, to test the spring and see if the latch returns to the lock position.  Once you found a spot, you are done
Fixed Nike FuelBand clasp
The clasp should have little to no play against the band.  There, you fixed it.

Extension Links
As mentioned earlier, you have spare parts if you happen to lose any of the small parts of the mechanism.  This is where keeping that box of parts for almost two years comes in handy.  Look for the extension links,  these have that same parts that you can use.  If you are already using these for extensions or have lost these...well, I guess you better find that spring or a replacement spring.

Good luck, and keep earning those FuelPoints!

08 May 2015


Well, this did not take long.  Only a week since the last call.  So, we start the month with a call from our telemarketer friends.

8 May 2015
   310-598-3775  Beverly Hills, CA - I do not get that many calls from Beverly Hills.  Talk about way above my pay grade.   I really have no business there.  Come to think of it, telemarketers should have no business there.  This significantly lowers their property value.  If I were a citizen of such a high class community, I would be outraged.  Heck, as a citizen of the word, I am outraged that there is a market for telemarketers.  Fuck you!

12 May 2015
   509-982-4532  Odessa, WA - We have a return caller.  For those keeping track, this will be the sixth call from this number.  This dates back to October of 2014, February 2015, and March 2015.  So, welcome back and fuck you!

15 May 2015
   321-521-2132  FL, USA - Normally, I bitch about the call and the place of origin.  But, I noticed something about this number.  Check this out.  You have "321", then "521", and "2132".  Basically, it is a 3-2-1 sequence, repeated.  Area code being the base, with 321.  If we look at the line number, 2132, we have the 21 in the first half...and 32 in the second half.  Well, if you add 3 and 2, you get 5.  This brings us to the prefix of 521.  This is pretty amazing, but still, fuck you!

04 May 2015

My Obsession with Bremont Watches

Bremont Chronometers
I have always had a passion for watches...pretty much all time machines.  A few months ago, I was shopping for watches and came upon some lesser known brands (at least to me).  One of these brands is Bremont.  From a design and aesthetic perspective, these watches are wonderfully crafted.  Their design is inspired by aviation, as their founders Nick and Giles English are pilots themselves.  I also have a passion for aviation that dates back to movies like Top Gun, which started my love for military planes.  Bremont collaborates with military squadrons to create exclusive watches, as well as other limited edition watches like the Victory, Wright Flyer, Codebreaker, and many more.

Bremont's story is amazing, it is one of the reasons why fell in love with this brand.  While they are fairly new to the watch market, founded in 2002, they have made a huge impact in the industry in a short time.  All their watches are hand built in England and are all COSC certified.

Bremont Alt1-C Anthracite
So, it is decided that my next watch is going to be a Bremont Alt1-C.  Since learning about Bremont, I have been learning about their watches and the company itself.  One weekend, I went to check out these watches in the only Authorized Dealer of Bremont within 275 miles.  Boy, pictures do not do these watches justice.  Once you see a Bremont (and I guess any luxury watch) in person, you realise the work that goes into to them. 

Technical drawing of Bremont watch
The Bremont website has this wonderful technical drawing of their watch. Technical drawings like these have a special place in my heart, I used to spend hours making these types of drawings...for fun.  All their watches follow these basic measurements.  While there are some variations in case diameter, over 95% of their line uses the same 43mm case.  The detail drawings gave me an idea to make one. Hey, it is what I do, I make things to fill the voids in my life.
Solid buck
This was made before I saw the real watches.  My only references to Bremont watches are from internet images and videos.  Since I had yet to see one, I wanted to see what the size was in three-dimensions.   While I have watches ranging from different sizes, you really do not know how a watch really 'fits' you, until you put it on.  At 43mm, hopefully it does not make my dainty wrist look even smaller.  The first version I made is a solid buck.  This was made one-to-one so I can see how it would sit on my wrist.

Bremont's NATO strap with red stiching
Speaking of wrist, I need a band for the watch.  Since I do not leather around, the traditional leather strap is out.  A leather strap would also require a buckle or clasp system that would need to be made.  Although, I do love that deployant clasp, perhaps some other time.  A bracelet woulds also need extensive fabrication.  A simple strap to make is Bremont's NATO strap.  So, I copied the NATO strap...using a lanyard.

Printout of watch and making of NATO strap
I studied the images of the strap and made my best guess on how it was constructed.  Made some initial sketches and measurements and off I go.  Luckily, the lanyard I found was pretty darn close to the 22mm width.  The length of the strap was just eyeballed as the real strap is one size fits all.

Strap was hand sewn.
The lanyard I used is obviously not as tough or thick as the nylon used on the NATO strap.  It is just a cheap give away lanyard they hand out at conventions.  Instead of leather keepers, I am also using the same nylon. The loop was made from cut styrene. I had some hook-and-loop strips laying around and stuck them on the strap, sewing the ends. 

So, what is next?  A solid buck will not do. Sure it gave me a great idea of size.  But, I have to take it up a notch.  One of the unique features of a Bremont is their Trip-Tick® Case Design.  Basically, a three piece construction consisting of a top bezel, center barrel, and case back.  Time to part out the buck I made and make a Trip-Tick® like construction.

Exploded parts - top
While I was at it, I wanted to separate the crystal pieces and have them printed out in clear to see the dial and movement.

Explode parts - bottom
Oh, heck.  Why not get the rotor in there as a separate piece?  We have a window, why not see the rotor?  This is a seven piece construction:  top crystal, bezel, barrel, dial/movement, rotor, case back, back crystal.

Exploded view of Bremont's Martin Baker Series
I combined a lot of pieces together for ease of modeling, printing and clean up.  The image above shows a more detailed exploded view of a Bremont watch.  Even this illustration is simplified as the hands, movement, rotor, etc., have been combined.

Layout of markers and image planes
Most of the work was getting the details of the face.  I am limited to the resolution of the printers so some parts, like the hands. had to be drafted to the face of the watch. The lettering, numbers, and logos are raised instead of painting these on.  This meant I needed to recreate the graphics in order to sculpt them in relief .

Detail of watch face
Since the hands do not move, they are sculpted in the the beauty pose as seen in the top image of watch.  The hands are drafted to the face for ease of printing.

Layout of movement and image planes
On the back, I tried to get as much of the movement detail as possible.  Again, due to the resolution of the printers, I opted out of sculpted each tooth on the gears and omitted some of the smaller details. These details would not print and/or would break during clean up.  Instead of teethed gears, they are represented with discs of the same diameter.  Some spring details were also omitted.

Detail of movement with rotor
The rotor is a separate piece so it can be pinned, allowing it to rotate.  This will be seen through the back crystal.

Enough of the screen shots, you probably want to see the print outs.

Print outs
The clear pieces are not super clear, but it is good enough as you can still see into the dial and movement.  On to assembly.  The tolerances are super tight on this, so there was some minor sanding involved to get the parts to fit.

Assembly of parts
The crystal pieces are pressed in and held by friction.  A pin is pressed into the movement piece for the rotor to spin on.  The build lines of the print out makes the surfaces a bit rough, so the rotor does not turn as smoothly as I would like.  Even after greasing the area, it still tends to stick a bit.

Trip-Tick® Case Design
The dial/movement piece was press fitted into the barrel piece. This was a real tight fit.  There was quite a bit of sanding and testing before I could press the piece into the barrel.  I do not think I can even pop it back out without damaging either piece.  At least now, I have the three main pieces of the Trip-Tick® represented.

Close up of movement detail with case back removed
The three main pieces lock into place with friction as well as mortises and tenons I sculpted into the pieces.  The holes and pins follow the five point pattern of where the screws would be on the real watch.

Assembled - back
Had I more knowledge of how a watch movement works, I may have made this work.  Okay, not really.  The material is not strong enough for that.  But, as you can see it does not look too bad.

Assembled - front
The crown and buttons were sculpted to be part of the barrel for ease of print and assembly. They would not have been able to 'adjust' watch or 'activate' the chronograph, anyway.  I also omitted the flutes on the crown.

Both versions of Bremont watch and NATO strap
I used styrene rods to represent the spring bars.  These are just forced in the little dimples on the lugs, held on by tension.  No springs were used.  You can also see the completed strap.  I even tried to replicate the stitched triangles on the straps.

So there you have it.  Not sure what I am going to do with these.  Although, I do admit, I have been wearing it around to get the feel of the size.  The weight is totally off, since there is no weight information at the time and the material used is fairly light.  Perhaps I will make other Bremont models like the Martin Baker or models that will be nearly impossible for me to acquire like the Codebreaker, P-51, or EP120.

Maybe I should bring these to the watch dealer the next time I go.  Hopefully, I will leave the dealer with a real Bremont Alt1-C.