Stefan Brusky of Tsugami/Rem Sales Rebuilds a Petermann No. 0 Lathe, and Brings Swiss Precision History to the 21st Century
Stefan Brusky serves as Midwest Regional Sales Manager at Tsugami/Rem Sales Machine Tools. Rem Sales is the exclusive North American importer of Tsugami’s extensive range of Swiss precision CNC machines and tools. This technical sales position keeps Brusky quite busy, as he oversees Tsugami/Rem’s sales operations in Minnesota, North Dakota, Northern Illinois, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Machines have been a part of Stefan Brusky’s life from the time he can remember, learning all about them hands-on from his father. However, he admits that one of his favorite pastimes has always been taking engines and machines apart and rebuilding them. “I typically don’t work from plans,” he says, “I’ve been rebuilding engines and machines since I was 14 years old…so I know how these things work.”
A few years ago, Brusky came across a No. 0 Petermann Swiss-Auto lathe, which was collecting dust in his father’s basement and appeared to be in dire need of restoration. So, he took it upon himself to take it apart and rebuild it…”a fun labor of love that took about two months to complete,” he adds.
The Petermann automatic lathes originate from the French-speaking town of Moutier in Switzerland, one of the most important Swiss watch and Swiss precision centers, also the home of Swiss precision pioneers such as A. Bechler and Tornos.
The Swiss precision industry was revolutionized in the 1870s by the introduction of the automatic lathe, where some its actions could be mechanically automated, by being driven by flat belts from overhead line shafting. By 1930, most Swiss-Auto machines had self-contained drives with built-in motors and countershafts or speed-change gearboxes. However, their complex design did not yield the spindle speeds range the industry consistently demanded.
Petermann solved this issue when the company introduced its No. 0 model, accomplished “by passing the drive through a simple gearbox fitted with ‘pick-off’ wheels that the operator could change himself.” This pre-WWII jewel, was the smallest Petermann lathe, and was intended “for material up to 4 mm (0.157″) diameter in brass, and 2.5 mm (0.098″) in steel.” Additionally, with the No. 0 model, Petermann also was able to introduce the ‘micro-differential apparatus’, where a micrometer was mounted on the end of each tool holder, which allowed for very precise adjustments when making small parts. “The first setting took accuracy to within 0.01 mm of turned diameter and the second to within 0.001 mm (0.00004″).” Petermann subsequently produced larger machines that could handle diameters up to 30 mm.
For Brusky, rebuilding the No. 0 Petermann Swiss-Auto lathe meant experiencing the history of an industry he loves. Over 200 parts came apart and came together after castings were blasted and repainted, ways were hand scraped, and missing parts were made and incorporated. Today, Stefan Brusky’s No. 0 Petermann is a completely restored, operational and fully functional gem and piece of history.
Fully-involved in today’s Swiss precision industry, Stefan Brusky has shown his Petermann No. 0 Swiss-Auto lathe at trade shows, and has granted Precision Plus the opportunity to showcase this amazing piece of Swiss precision history.
Stefan Brusky and his wife Barbara, also own and run SJB Engineering LLC, where they design and produce fly fishing reels, medical parts, and are also involved in gunsmithing and rebuilding machinery.
Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus and the Precision Plus Team give Stefan Brusky a shout out on his outstanding job for rebuilding the Petermann No. 0, and for reminding us of the arduous work and achievements made by so many to make our industry what it is today. ”This is a skill that may soon to be lost if we cannot find the next generation willing to embrace it and carry on the legacy of great accomplishments,” notes Reader.