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Member postings for SillyOldDuffer

Here is a list of all the postings SillyOldDuffer has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Warco WM250 Lathe and Warco WM18 Milling machine (Advice please)
24/04/2018 22:50:20

Posted by STK2008 on 24/04/2018 20:16:33:.



I am slowly loosing the will to live I have spent 3 days on this and every test I do all be it not 100% the best gives same sort of results.


I did what mgnbuk

Believe it or not I got 0.001" so nothing so the quill is square in the casting so to speak.



In the videos its off that much the verdict actually leaves the surface completly.



I can only think of a few things that would cause such an issue.


A . Head not correctly seated on Z axis piller

B. Quill on the pee (but seems ok)



Edited By STK2008 on 24/04/2018 20:41:40

I fear there's a distinct possibility you're winding yourself up. Another explanation to A. and B. is that your measurements are suspect. There's much more to taking reliable measurements than common sense and it's easy to make mistakes and mislead yourself. (As I know to my cost!) At the moment I can't tell if there's a problem with the mill or not; I can see why you're suspicious but the evidence is flawed.

Here's an example. I've never tried using a lever DTI sideways as shown in your video.


Isn't it likely that the lever will tend to flex and scuff across the surface? I don't know, and bet you don't either. Another issue - the DTI is mounted on the end of a long bendy rod acting as an amplifier - a small movement at the spindle end will register as a much bigger movement on the dial. Good if that's the aim, very bad if it happens by accident.  The video suggests it's accidental.

What I suggest is that you put your measuring kit in a box and swallow the key. While it's temporarily in transit use the opportunity to cut metal. Try the mill for real and see how you get on. Experiment and ask more questions. Add to your experience, gather more evidence and take it from there. With luck all is well; if not Warco are only a phone call away.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 24/04/2018 22:54:20

24/04/2018 13:19:13

I agree with gas_mantle, the tests themselves are suspect. (Close tolerance testing is rather difficult!)

Have a look at this photo. Does it show that my table isn't flat, or does it show that one or both of my set-squares are untrustworthy in the sideways direction? (This might chime with MickB1's comment).


The answer is that my set-squares are only trustworthy in one plane. The one marked 'Conforms to BS939' is particularly bad. Sticking a DTI on the flat-side and running the quill up and down produces errors consistent with the blade leaning and flexing.

The test as performed by STK008 is better - he runs the DTI up and down the safe edge of his set-square, reducing the effect of a bent blade (if he has one), and eliminating any tendency to flex. But there's another issue: when you ramp the quill up and down, there is nothing to stop the quill rotating slightly. Trouble is that a tiny circular movement appears as a big error on the DTI. You can't tell if the error is due to the quill turning, or because it is misaligned in some way.

Next photo shows a slightly better set-up. The DTI is fixed and bears against a rod in the collet. This makes my quill look considerably better than when I tested it using STK008's set-square method.


A further improvement is gained when the measurement is taken with the spindle turning. It still bounces about but the effect tends to average out. There are still several sources of error; how straight is my test rod; are the collet and collet chuck in good condition; is the taper clean; why aren't I using the biggest diameter rod I can fit to the machine?

It's possible that STK008 has a faulty mill, I'm certainly not trying to prove otherwise. If it's wrong or you're unhappy, talk to Warco. But I agree with gas_mantle at this stage - I'd give the mill and yourself some practice cutting metal first.


Thread: Condensation Management
23/04/2018 18:21:43
Posted by Colin LLoyd on 23/04/2018 17:37:34:
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 23/04/2018 13:52:52:
Posted by Colin LLoyd on 23/04/2018 10:11:00:

Just like to point out, for anyone who has followed SillyOldDuffer's advice to put a vent low down in their workshop because moist air is heavy, that this is wrong.


Hah! That's interesting because I didn't make it up, I got it from a book! I shall have to find and re-read it.

I always worry writing for MEW that I will get the wrong end of the stick or mislead due to poor choice of words. In this case I think the Arduino measurements answered the 'where is the water coming from' question correctly, I then came off the rails with the best way of get rid of it. Operator error!


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 23/04/2018 13:54:15

Hi Dave - this is unfortunately the problem with any form of article. The only way round it is peer-review - which as an ex-scientist, peer-reviewer and journal editor - I know only too well as being too lengthy and time-consuming to be used in hobby magazines. I just hope that any opinion I may offer, and the style in which I give it, does not come over as criticism - just clarification.

Hi Colin,

I'd much rather be put right than perpetuate a mistake. Dimly remembering lessons about scientific method I try to provide enough detail about method and reasoning to expose any blunders. Always tempting to provide references in best academic style as well, but I doubt Neil or readers would welcome a magazine full of lists. Fortunately, as Cantor and Zillman (1973) argue, it is helpful to have a sense of humour. Otherwise, woe is me!



Cantor J.R. and Zillman D. (1973) 'Resentment towards victimized protagonists and severity of misfortune they suffer as factors in humor appreciation.' J.Exper. Res. in Personality, 6. 321-9.

Thread: Warco WM250 Lathe and Warco WM18 Milling machine (Advice please)
23/04/2018 17:38:30

Just checked my WM18 and it's currently off 0.16mm over 180mm front to back (roughly 6 thou over 7 inches) . That's notmuch if you convert it to an angle - a slope of 1 in 1125, or 0.09%. I haven't bothered to correct it because I always do long cuts right to left. Might worry me more if I was flattening largish areas with a big radius fly-cutter.

Glad I did the test because it's drifted off right-left as well, about 0.05mm over 180mm. Can't remember when I last adjusted it, could have been a year ago.


23/04/2018 15:39:09

I agree with the 'slow down' advice! Use the mill for a while before messing with it.

It's possible that undoing the bolts to adjust the head right-left has disturbed the front-back setting. Tightening the bolts unevenly can disturb the tram and there's a bit of a knack to nipping them both up correctly.

The method you're using to determine tram isn't ideal; have a look at the arrangement shown in the following pictures. Quite easy to make when you have a milling machine and a lathe!



It's a simple arm used to swing a DTI through180 degrees on the table. Rather than judging tram with a wobbly set-square, you compare levels about 250mm apart. This distance and the DTI gives you a much more accurate and repeatable idea about what's going on, front-back and right-left. Tramming a mill can be quite a fiddle. Beware of chasing small adjustments, it gets much, much harder the more accurate you try to get. My WM18 has a small front back error that I haven't bothered to fix; for type of work I do the error is trivial.

On the other hand, getting the very best out of your machine can become an enjoyable hobby in itself. Loads of fun to be had without the need to produce dirty swarf!


Thread: Condensation Management
23/04/2018 13:52:52
Posted by Colin LLoyd on 23/04/2018 10:11:00:

Just like to point out, for anyone who has followed SillyOldDuffer's advice to put a vent low down in their workshop because moist air is heavy, that this is wrong.


Hah! That's interesting because I didn't make it up, I got it from a book! I shall have to find and re-read it.

However, now Colin has pointed it out, I think he's right. Being an optimist I like to think my advice was no worse than being 'not wrong' but apologies to anyone who bashed their house about in a sub-optimal way.

It appeared to me that the graph showing a wall of damp air rolling down into my hallway was solid evidence. Now I'm far from convinced. On second thoughts, I think the same effect could be explained by changing temperature. The air wasn't falling downstairs because moisture made it denser, it was falling because it was cooling down.

I always worry writing for MEW that I will get the wrong end of the stick or mislead due to poor choice of words. In this case I think the Arduino measurements answered the 'where is the water coming from' question correctly, I then came off the rails with the best way of get rid of it. Operator error!

Thanks to Colin for putting me right!




Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 23/04/2018 13:54:15

Thread: Phone Scam
23/04/2018 13:15:42

Yes, and similar variants. Don't give information to people on the phone unless you really know who they are.

Last week one of mum's friends got an urgent call from her bank saying money had been taken from her account and they needed to work out which of her cards had been misused. They needed all her card and account details so they could trace the fraudster. Fortunately, she is somewhat disorganised and took so long collecting her details that the nice man had rung off by the time she got back to the phone. It was only after she'd rung her bank to be told there was no problem that she realised she'd been conned, and was about to give away all her money!

My son's slightly wrong details were recently used by a stranger in Leicester to take out a car insurance policy and loan to pay for it. My son has no idea why they chose him, or how they got his information, or why the data wasn't quite right. Most likely hints collected from his internet activities coupled with intelligent guesses sufficient to fool the insurer. The insurance company said it was 'quite common' and voided the policy. I don't understand what advantage there is in taking car insurance out in someone else's name, unless there's some way they get their hands on the loan.

Much naughtiness about - be careful out there!


Thread: LED strip lighting
23/04/2018 12:47:13
Posted by Muzzer on 23/04/2018 10:56:58:
Posted by not done it yet on 23/04/2018 10:12:31:

Posted by Neil Wyatt on 23/04/2018 09:27:16:

Posted by Mike Poole on 22/04/2018 22:24:35:

It is time we moved towards 220v as our standard voltage for real and not fiddling the figures to include 240v. It might take a few seconds longer to boil your 240v kettle but as old spec equipment works its way out of the system things should settle down. O

Energy companies oppose this as a resistive load like a heater, for example, uses nearly 20% more juice at 240V as at 220V.

9% more at 240V than 220V. There would be more leccy used to boil a kettle at 220V because it would take longer and thus lose more energy during that extra time



...But few heaters run without a thermostat so what difference does it make? The kettle will end up taking the same energy to boil as good as dammit. The amount of excess water you put in the kettle will have a much bigger effect. And the heater will take the same average power to keep the room warm.



Slight misunderstanding here. It's not about losses in the home, the supplier worries about power loss in his distribution network, not in your kettle. Dropping the volts costs the supplier money.

The issue lies in the relationship between Watts and Ohms Law.

  • Watts = Volts x Amps
  • Amps = Volts ÷ Ohms
  • Watts = Amps x Amps ÷ Ohms

Assume your street draws 100kW of power, and the average resistance of the network is 10 ohms.

100kW at 220V is 454Amps, so the 10ohm resistance of the network means it will lose 4540W as waste heat.

100kW at 240V is 417Amps and the 10 ohm resistance of the network will lose 4170W as waste heat.

In this example, saving 400W (9%) may not seem much, but there are about 40,000,000 households in the UK. You could reduce the losses by installing fatter electric cables but copper is expensive; it's cheaper to up the volts.

Changing the subject slightly, does anyone know how various countries standardised on the various pressures and frequencies they've adopted?

In the UK, where a mish-mash of early local systems were replaced with a grid, I get the impression that they went for the maximum voltage you could put into a home without killing everybody who touched it! At the time 250V. 50Hz was chosen, I think, because it was the best that could be done with the largish number of early alternators available (magnetically rather than mechanically).

In the US I suspect the Edison/Westinghouse marketing fiasco had everybody so terrified of AC that they wimped out big time and standardised on the much safer 110V. By then it was also possible to generate power efficiently at 60Hz, and, as they didn't have a lot of elderly infrastructure to accommodate, they went for that, and saved dosh because 60Hz transformers can be made more cheaply.

I theorise 220V 2-phase became popular because110V has quite a few disadvantages other than being wasteful. 220V single phase has come to dominate in the world because local distribution networks cope with old 110V consumers while offering a good compromise for everybody else; not too dangerous, not too expensive, and not too wasteful.


22/04/2018 21:58:44

I think the LEDs are OK, it's the rest of the lamp that's too cheap.

Bazyle mentions the need to firmly fix LEDs to their heatsinks; yes indeed but one economy is to make the heatsink on the small side in the first place. Hot LEDs don't last well.

In the cheap lamp I took apart the big problem was the power supply. Of the simplest type possible it didn't provide a constant regulated voltage to the LEDs. This shortcoming was made worse because the lamp was designed for 220V and the poor LEDs got even more unregulated volts off my 240V mains. The life of a LED is greatly reduced by overrunning it. Also the circuit didn't have any obvious suppression making it vulnerable to splkes. These cheap basic lamps might last reasonably well running off 220V mains - I don't know.

Another problem with my lamp was that the LEDs were wired in series. As LEDs often fail short circuit, if one fails a greater strain is applied to the survivors, and their lives are shortened too.

I think the more expensive lamps come with a better power supply that ensures the LEDs run within specification while protecting them from from spikes. Possibly better heatsinks keep the LEDs cooler as well.



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 22/04/2018 21:59:22

Thread: Home workshop fatal tragedy
22/04/2018 10:42:49
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 22/04/2018 09:08:37:
Posted by DMB on 22/04/2018 08:47:33:

I have often thought that once the cost was paid, of setting up the sunlight/voltaic cells to produce free electricity, it should be possible to use said elec. to electrolyse water, collect and store the gasses for later use as vehicle fuel or distillation of seawater to irrigate, e.g., the Sahara desert and put that hot area to good use for crop growing. What MichaelG says above about amount of elec. required, if correct, makes me doubtful if my thoughts would be practicable.


This is clipped from the Bullfinch/SafeFlame brochure:



QED ... I would think.


Not quite perhaps. The sun delivers roughly 1kW of energy to each square metre on the ground. That's a lot, and it's free.

Thirty years ago solar panels were expensive novelties, full of exotic materials, inefficient and unreliable. No way did they compete with conventional electricity. The same technical relationship as the motor car had with a steam express locomotive in 1910. But times change!

Current solar panels are efficient and much cheaper; their development perhaps now comparable to that of the motor car of 1960, with many improvements still to come. Imperfect though they are, the stage has been reached where mass-deployment will reduce the cost dramatically.

The obvious problem with solar is that it only produces energy when the sun shines. Some method of storage is needed for dull periods, and some use for excess capacity on bright days.

I don't have any trouble seeing electricity being mass-produced in the Sahara and wired back to the UK. Challenging yes, impossible, no. Don't forget that most of our energy already comes from abroad. Not just by super-tanker from the Middle East - gas and oil pipelines run for thousands of miles across Russia, Europe, China and the Americas. The same could be done with electricity; much easier to make HVDC today than it was in the recent past.

DMB's suggestions make a lot more sense if you imagine a world full of solar panels flooding us with cheap electricity at inconvenient times. The Bullfinch is designed to meet a niche need. I don't think the numbers prove anything.

Predicting the future is always dodgy. I distinctly remember being told we would all be riding round on jet-packs by now. And no-one would have to work!


Thread: Condensation Management
21/04/2018 18:58:09

The program is a plain text file that can be opened with pretty much any word processor or notepad. That's provided you only want to eyeball it, and don't make any changes.

For best results use a programming editor like notepad++, gedit, kate, geany, or bluefish etc etc. Unlike a word processor they colour source code syntax to make it easier to read and - most important - don't add fancy formatting or control characters. Like John I can recommend notepad++ on Windows.

The code was developed using the Arduino IDE which is the easiest way to program, download and test Arduino projects. It has a simple code editor.

Bit of a mystery why the program I sent to Neil is called 'humidty_monitor.c': It's an ordinary Arduino Sketch, more properly suffixed 'humidty_monitor.ino, as it is on my computer. Shouldn't make any difference; the suffix doesn't do anything clever.

Must have been having an off-day - I can't spell 'humidity' either!

If anyone's interested there's an updated version here. The main difference between it and the article version is an added frost alarm.


Thread: Department of Work and Pensions
21/04/2018 11:12:51
Posted by Bazyle on 21/04/2018 08:56:02:

Those of us not yet retired are unlikely to receive even this paltry sum. With the increase in people reaching 80 and the massive increases in population there just won't be any money to the extent that those who are saving for a private pension probably won't be getting a state one or will be taxed to remove most of it.

Edited By Bazyle on 21/04/2018 08:56:35

Never mind the possibility you won't get paid a state pension if you have a private pension. Quite a few private pensions already apply the delightfully named 'clawback' and many more are likely to join in. Clawback is when your private pension reduces payments when you reach state pension age so you don't get any extra money. People relying on the state pension to top up their finances are getting hurt. It appears to be completely legal.

Pensions are a mess. I have no idea what to recommend to my kids.


Thread: A couple of screwcutting MATH questions!!!!
20/04/2018 10:12:19

Wouldn't work in this example but the idea of compensating for errors is respectable. Capacitance in a stable electronic oscillator is sometimes provided by using two capacitors in parallel, one having a positive temperature error, the other negative. The two errors tend to cancel each other out. Not a new idea - Harrison's gridiron pendulum is a mechanical example from 1726.


Thread: Plastic Ban
20/04/2018 09:57:09

In the good old days Neil (aged 7) delivered MEW to gentleman subscribers by hand. How well I remember him in his smart uniform struggling up the hill to Dufferton Abbey in a blizzard with the magazine balanced on the handlebars of his immaculate Penny Farthing.

The magazine was properly packaged in a walnut tea-chest full of excelsior, the whole carefully wrapped by virgins in a tarpaulin, postage 1d.

Shockingly bad service - I had to set the dogs on him because the lazy young oik brought the magazine to the front-door instead of the servant's entrance.

I much prefer reading paper to online versions, but Digital might be an alternative to an erratic postal service. Unless you hate computers or suffer from koumpounophobia.


Thread: advice for a beginner?
19/04/2018 15:35:22

Best single bit of advice I ever got from the forum was to buy the biggest lathe I could afford and accommodate. Within reason anyway! Unless you're into fine work like clockmaking, a big lathe generally does all that a small one will in terms of precision. It also comes with a shower of advantages. Obviously it will handle bigger work. But it is also easier to set up and measure medium sized work on it, - more space for fat hands! Not having to fiddle about saves surprising amounts of time. Also you can remove metal faster with a heavier lathe and a more powerful motor.

I know very little about loco making and guess the key decider would be the largest part of the model that needs to be turned. I guess that's probably a driving wheel. Now I'm stuck! I don't know how big that might be on a 5" loco, except 5" can be fairly hefty. Presumably it depends on the engine as well - the wheels on a dinky tank engine like Tich must be much smaller that those on an express locomotive. When the chucks won't hold big work you can switch to the faceplate, but there are limits to that and to the toolpost. I hope a loco maker will comment.

You can manage without a milling machine but they're massively useful if you have money to spend. They save loads of time compared with filing and drilling by hand, and clumsy oafs like me make fewer mistakes!


Thread: Condenser/economiser
19/04/2018 12:32:36

Hi Jon,

Quite a mixture of ideas in your question.

  • Feeding steam up the chimney to look good? Yes.
  • Blast pipe? Probably not, they're used in a locomotive to pull more air through the fire when the engine is loaded. Good for making the engine go faster, bad for fuel economy.
  • Condensers don't dry steam, rather they make it very wet by converting it to water. Condensing water creates a vacuum that's applied to one side of the piston while the other is pushed by steam under pressure, making the engine more powerful and economical. Condensers are controlled by valves in time with the piston. It's part of the engine rather than a simple add-on. Certainly add one for interest, or if modelling an engine that originally had one, but perhaps OTT on a Stuart.
  • As you say a condenser can be configured to separate oil from the steam. This is important when the water is going back into the boiler as in a marine engine, less so when the boiler can easily be refilled with clean water. Glands, boilers, valves, and condensers in a steam engine can all be badly damaged by oil disintegrated by steam and boiling water. Marine engines were usually fitted with specialised separators to protect the delicate condenser. Elaborate precautions aren't so important or useful in a model. I like the smell made by steam engines: removing oil from the exhaust might spoil that.
  • Passing exhaust steam through the feed water will economise on heat but as you say you have arrange the plumbing to deal with water, lots of it, condensing in the pipework. You don't want to impede the exhaust or blow boiling water about!
  • Cooling steam in the feed-water before it goes into the condenser isn't a good idea because it reduces the vacuum and therefore the efficiency of the engine. No need to do it that way round because hot water from the condenser can be used to pre-heat the boiler feed.

Several reasons for making a Stuart. They make a good looking working display, in which case puffing steam up a chimney with a blast pipe is attractive. Not a good idea to fit a blast pipe if your interest lies in making a working condenser to increase the power and efficiency of the engine. And a condenser will remove the energy needed to work a blast pipe, and the amount of visible vapour in the exhaust, spoiling the good looks of a steaming chimney. Using exhaust steam to preheat feed water will economise fuel but its not a good idea if the boiler is filled with an injector rather than a force pump. (Injectors work best with cold water.)

Taken individually, lots of interesting ideas for experimentation, go for it. Applied together liable to be counter-productive.


Thread: English dialect
19/04/2018 11:36:28

Quite fun to find 'tsunami' in a thread about English dialect! Especially as reading Neil's Bristol Channel Flood link took me to 'Meteotsunami', a valid English word with Greek and Japanese roots.

My Scots father-in-law was much into Doric, and wasn't amused when I said Doric was so named by the English from the Greek word for 'primitive'. He replied by saying I have smelly oxters...


Edit: can't spell

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 19/04/2018 11:37:00

19/04/2018 10:10:12
Posted by Ken Humphries 1 on 18/04/2018 22:38:00:

... The "reens" I mentioned in the Somerset and Caldicot Levels, all contain NON RUNNING water, and act as drainage ditches to the agricultural land. The only time that water flowed out of them was when sluice gates are opened to release water into the Bristol Channel, which is seldom.


More to the ditches in these schemes than just drainage.

The area was once a salt-marsh refreshed with new sea-water every high-tide. Not good for crops!

To recover the land, stage one is to build a dyke fitted with sluices to keep the sea out.

Stage 2 is to open and close the sluices against the tide. Closed as the tide rises and opened to drain brackish water off the land at low tide. The area gradually loses salt and becomes rich agricultural land. At that point the sluices are managed to control wetness rather than to remove salt. In modern times the basic process is much expedited with pumps, originally windmills, then steam, now electric and largely automatic. So water in the Somerset Levels is moving, but perhaps not very much

It all looks rather benign and safe but Mother Nature occasionally bites back. The whole area is vulnerable to flooding; heavy rain, a spring-tide, and a storm-surge might combine and overcome the defences. Not a good idea to build houses there!



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 19/04/2018 10:40:11

Thread: Martin M Surrey
17/04/2018 16:29:33

I think it's a US size: 2 1/2" inside with the wall making 66mm outside. Just guessing, it appears they have a range of box sections that will fit one inside the other, perhaps for making telescopic poles. Our 2 1/2" O/D would slide into their 2 1/2" I/D. Not noticed anything that would fit together like that over here, perhaps I'm dreaming...

Is this one of those projects needing access to a well-stocked industrial scrap box circa 1956? With the sort of optimistic instructions that say, 'I found the Uranium lying in the road near Aldermaston, but I'm sure your local Nuclear Power Station will let you have an off-cut for a few shillings...'


17/04/2018 15:49:02

You can get box section in both Imperial and metric; not sure it helps much because 66mm doesn't seem to be either! 66mm is 2.6", which is fairly close to 2 5/8" as Richard says, but I've never seen that size listed. (I only know about 'ordinary' suppliers though)

Could it be a US standard size, or perhaps an obsolete size?

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