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Member postings for Howard Lewis

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

Thread: Why a round bed?
15/06/2019 21:57:39

Don't laugh too loudly at the Drummond, because it is a century old. It was state of the art for the amateur market in it's time.

A friend of mine bought one, out of the Engineering Division of my former employers, so it had seen some work in its time.

He produces work that I wish that I could do with a much much newer machine.

Think of the music that a talented musician can coax from a Stradivarus! (Can't spell! )

Any fool can produce bad work on an excellent machine. It takes skill to produce good work on an indifferent machine.

I used to own a Myford ML7, but, perhaps because of my background, I do not rate it as highly as very many Model Engineers.

However, I do stand in awe of the work that has been produced on them,


Thread: traction engine pump
15/06/2019 21:17:24


Don't give up!

Work through until you find the cause of the problem

a ) You will derive great satisfaction from finding the fault, and applying the solution.

b) You will have learned a lot about logical fault finding, which will stand you in good stead for other problems, in the future.

Just start testing at one end or the other, and work through in progression, until the fault comes to light. Don't be butterfly and try here and there, it will take longer, and you may miss the one step that should be investigated.



Edited By Howard Lewis on 15/06/2019 21:17:52

Thread: Super Mini Lathe belt problem
15/06/2019 21:09:29


You cannot expect to drink Premier Cru Champagne if you only pay the price for a pint of beer.

I spent a lot of my life in Quality and Development, but accept that most of the time you get what you pay for.

I do not expect to find high quality veneer and a cocktail bar in my Toyota Aygo. If I MUST have those, I have to pay for a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley.

Quality costs!

The time devoted to Design, Manufacture, Inspection,Assembly, Adjustment and the material has to paid for, as well as the labour.t..

So if we pay £600 for a Far Eastern lathe, it is unrealistic to expect it to be, and to behave like a £20,000 Industrial machine. The materials will be cheaper, and It will not be as well finished,, or adjusted as the Industrial machine. You cannot get those features for peanuts. The industrial machine is expected to work to tighter tolerance, almost 24/7.

A machine used purely for a hobby, is unlikely to be worked hard, for 40 hours a week, every week.

It sounds as if you joined the hobby too late to have any dealings with the late, and much lamented, John Stevenson. He would have put his comments much more forcibly, and offended you, despite them being accurate.

My Instructors, at Rolls-Royce told me, early on, after I had had a disaster, "The man who never made a mistake; never made anything". We are all human, and from time to we all make mistakes.. It may be annoying, at least, but if you cannot achieve perfection, it is unrealistic to expect it of everyone else.


15/06/2019 15:45:01

Warco have been in business for a long time. Not all that they sell is faultless, but they are willing to try to right matters if there is a problem, even to replacing complete machines.

Statistical Quality Control, as per Deeming, depends up on how many standard deviations you want your product to fall within. Even if you go for 3 standard deviations, which is about the best that you can get, there can still be a small percentage falling outside the specification.

If you elect to hand build every unit, you may well get even bigger differences from item to item

Steam locomotives were hand built by craftsmen, but unless it was G W R, direct interchangeability of parts was nigh on impossible.

You can make any machine virtually perfect, if you resort to such methods, but they are slow, and therefore costly, and the parts are likely to be unique to that machine.

The skill is in design, and manufacture, such that almost 100% of machines meet the specification. You will always get a small percentage that fall at the ends of the Gaussian distribution, (Bell Curve ). Hopefully, Inspection will spot the batches that do not comply and reject them before assembly.

With our hobby facilities, we cannot hope, nor wish, to produce thousands of interchangeable parts and consistent complete assemblies..

The above may be a difficult concept to grasp if you have no experience of high volume production. But producing large numbers of complicated machines that meet specification depends upon a variety of skills and disciplne. NO it is meant to be singular (BS 5750 and it's succesor, ISO 9000, for instance )

We've all heard of Friday afternoon cars, haven't we? Sadly, some may have experienced them. They are ones where the process failed. Think of the number of components in the modern car, and wonder that so many cars work so well, for so long. Japanese cars showed, via an American's methods, and still do, the way for other manufacturers.

Mass production lives on "Fitness for Purpose", so that most do what they are intended to do.


Thread: traction engine pump
15/06/2019 15:03:35

If the pump will pump, after a fashion, with a low suction head, but not with a larger one, it seems that something is leaking,

If the ball valves are sealing, and there are no leaks on the suction pipework, is it possible that there is some internal leakage within the pump itself?


Piston / bore seal (rings / ring fit in grooves / scored or oversize bore ? (could be a cut 'O' ring if that is the form of seal.

Porosity within the pump body (including bosses for pipe connections )

Heaven forbid, but drillings breaking through where they shouldn't?

Restricted passageways before or after the valves? Such as restricted lift for the balls.

Just a few thoughts.



Do let us know what you find

Edited By Howard Lewis on 15/06/2019 15:04:30

Thread: How to machine Acetal
14/06/2019 19:35:14


I would be inclined to use a HSS knife tool, or one with a small nose radius.

Carbide tips are not really sharp, or intended for plastics.

The nose radius will prevent the stress raiser of a sharp corner.

Guessing at what you are making, may I suggest turning down the minimum length, for the spigot, and leaving the rest at the maximum required size? No point in making extra swarf for the sake of it!


Thread: Mini Lathe footprint dimensions and will it slide
14/06/2019 10:30:21

If you coat the surface of the shelf with "Formica" or some similar product, the lathe should slide fairly easily.

But tie it down if you ever plan to go to sea!


Thread: What Myford is this?
12/06/2019 18:33:50

Does not look like any 7 Series Myford.. So the manual does not match the machine.

Certainly newer than the ML1,2, 3 or 4.

It looks to, be a training lathe, since it has no Leadscrew.

Possibly, the lathes UK site will help to identify it?


Thread: Can We Be Too Good For Our Own Good - sometimes|?
12/06/2019 16:37:02

Sometimes the painfully *****ing obvious isn't!

many years ago, a colleague was running engines on extended tests, and one was consuming oil at an alarming rate.

the engine was duly stripped for examination. The acknowledged experts all stood round, debating wall pressures and cross hatch angles, when my colleague asked "Shouldn't those rings be fitted the other way up?"

End of deep discussion.

We've all done it from time to time. I find that electrical equipment works better if switched on, and with a good fuse in the 13 amp plug!

My other silly trick is to remove the sink trap to unblock it and to pour the water into the sink.  Shortly before it lands on me.


Edited By Howard Lewis on 12/06/2019 16:39:07

Thread: Class 22 Diesel (next project)
12/06/2019 16:28:52

Have you any shim stock from which you could punch / cut the washers?

And to use Graphite, or MoS2 grease rather than plain Calcium or Lithium grease, to minimise friction?


Thread: Noise Cameras
12/06/2019 11:39:03

Sounds like another money spinner!


Thread: D R O Read Head Problem
12/06/2019 11:34:22

The problem arose last year. To conserve battery life, it has to be removed.

(Cleaning everything did not provide a cure )

Machine D R O said that they could supply a replacement head, and I arranged to collect it at Alexandra Palace.

Was told that it was not available, as supplies had only just arrived arrived and had not yet been booked in. Paid for it, to be posted when released into stock.

Further enquiries produced the response that supplies had NOT arrived, but were expected April 1st

In April was told that supplies would arrive 1st June.

Have just been told that there is an issue with the manufacturer, and that the item is no longer available, so will be refunded.

Is there anywhere else in UK where a replacement read head can be obtained?

Would it be feasible to buy a cheap digital calliper and move the head over onto the scale on my Tailstock?


Thread: Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition
11/06/2019 22:05:46

I try to attend shows, (Ally Pally, Doncaster and the Fosse ) Now less with a view to a shopping list, although there always seems to be an impulse buy!

The Fosse is my least favourite. The aisles are so narrow that three folk means a complete blockage. Often caused by the unthinking or selfish and uncaring..

Why do we care less about delaying / obstructing those around us, as we get older? Before anyone says "It's alright for you youngsters" you must be ten years older than me and in your nineties to say that! And Yes, I do carry a rucksack, but choose who to assault with it.

For the four years that it ran, I organised one of the largest club stands at the Spalding Show, so learned a little about organising a Show from both the Organiser and the Exhibitor standpoint. Neither is easy. Some clubs mess the organisers about; late entry, no show etc.

It can be difficult to persuade members to provide exhibits ( having to travel to and fro to deliver and collect the item/s, and the risk of damage. (Security is usually pretty tight, but there are occasional light fingered activities with pocketable items )

Also, if the organisers are too greedy, they price out traders. But they cannot afford to run at a loss for many years. So there has to be a delicate balance between the rent for a trade stand, and the price of an entry ticket.

And by laying out the stands to give wide aisles to allow easy movement of the punters, you reduce the space for the traders who pay to be there, in the hope of selling their products profitably.

With the steadily tightening economic conditions, you can see why traders reduce the range of items that they display, and the size and content of the stand Arc Euro, understandably, went from "Display the whole range" to machines only, and then absence, just as Warco are now doing, whilst Chester have greatly reduced their stand size. You have sell a lot of.machines, let alone small accessories, to cover the costs; of disrupting your business at home, transport, accomodation, and returning everything to normal afterwards.

As an Exhibitor, even for a local two day Show, there is almost a day to prepare, another to load the car, arrive and set up the stand, two days as a Steward, and then a rush to strip down and load up at the end, followed by the next day putting everything away again.

Being a Trader, or an Exhibitor at a Show is not beer and skittles by any means.

BUT, an Exhibitor deserves free entry to supervise and explain their exhibits to the paying public. As already said, No Exhibits = No Show = No Profit for the organiser.

Sorry to ramble on at such great length, but there are many aspects to a Show whether as Trader, Exhibitor or Visitor. Keeping everyone happy is not that simple.


Thread: Mystery lathe backplate
11/06/2019 21:23:47

If it old, but unused, I would expect the dimensions all to be Imperial.

However, that would not stop someone from making a backplate with a Metric OD, and fixings.

But the register would still need to be Imperial, as will be the PCD for the Backplate/Chuck fixings.


Thread: New vice, good choice?
11/06/2019 21:19:36

Ah! Have just made one,

Intended to fit onto the Adept No.2 Shaper that has recently come onto the inventory

Made because of the reports of the lack of jaw lift..


Thread: Hi from Mid Lincs
11/06/2019 21:15:57


Mid Lincs could make you eligible for membership of several M E Clubs.

members would be happy to help and advise, first hand.

Peterborough S M E have members from as far afield as Boston!


Thread: Another "What is it?"
11/06/2019 21:12:03

The nipple is obviously one meant to connect to an Injection pipe connection. Most likely to be used as a timing tool connected to the High Pressure outlet of (usually ) No 1. As said, as the engine is rotated, the pressure build up will light the light, to indicate the start of injection. A cleaner way than spill timing. an In Line, but could also be used on a rotary such as the Roosa Master, CAV DPA,, DPS, Bosch EPVA, EPVE, or any of the Stanadyne pumps.

It looks unused, but the size of the nut makes it look like it is meant for 'A' size connections, so probably not for anything bigger than a pump with a 10mm plunger size, so relatively low powered engines, (Not much more than 30-40 bhp / cylinder even if turbocharged. ).


Thread: A Very Nice Freebie
11/06/2019 20:59:47

LUCKY man. Not needed daily, but vital when accuracy is needed.

My former employers , at one time were headed, not by Engineers (when strangely, the Company always did well ) but by an accountant who inspected the maintenance stores. he insisted that shelves were cleared of the boxes of brand new BSW and BSF Taps and Dies, despite protestations that they were for making parts to repair the machine tools.

Sadly, I was too late to gain from the edict given three weeks previously!

Apologies to sensible accountants, but many others seem to know only the cost of everything, but the value of nothing else.

You appear to be short of the two protective slips, without which the others should never be used. I may be able to help you, if I have a look around.


11/06/2019 20:57:16

LUCKY man. Not needed daily, but vital when accuracy is needed.

My former employers , at one time were headed, not by Engineers (when strangely, the Company always did well ) but by an accountant who inspected the maintenance stores. he insisted that shelves were cleared of the boxes of brand new BSW and BSF Taps and Dies, despite protestations that they were for making parts to repair the machine tools.

Sadly, I was too late to gain from the edict given three weeks previously!

Apologies to sensible accountants, but many others seem to know only the cost of everything, but the value of nothing else.


Thread: Le Blond, 'Regal 10' lathe, circa 1942 and other machines - Help Needed
11/06/2019 20:47:08

They all look likew useful bits of kit

As I understand it, Le Blond was a good quality machine.

Hopefully, you can find someone near you, with a crane to move the machines..

FWIW, when lifting the machines, sling bthe drill from the head, using the table and lower column to keep the C of G low down.

Ditto for the Mill, if possible.

For the lathe, hopefully there will be a sling long enough to pass under the Headstock and Tailstock ends, making sure that the sling cannot slip Keep it clear of the Leadscrew and power shaft, so that they do not get bent!

If you have to sling around the bed, the Tailstock, Steady and Apron are use ways to adjust bhe C of G to balance the lathe and keep it level. Beware of trying to lift and move unwieldy and weighty machines, by hand.. They are liable to fall over and damage themselves and you part way through the process; usually when negotiating a doorway or steps.

Good luck! You have basis of a good workshop there. Do find a M E Club and join.


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