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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: Setting up shop
06/05/2017 20:04:19

Jon, If the lathe is going "in the old outhouse", DO safeguard against rust!

Would suggest:

Vents at high and low level, can be quite small, as long as weatherproof.

NO combustion heaters to produce water vapour

If need be, be prepared to run a low power electric heater, (60 watts will keep a shop reasonably dry, although may take a couple of days to take effect. If the outhouse is larger than say 10 feet by 8 feet, (or very high)you may need more than one heater, or a higher powered one.

If you can insulate the walls and ceiling, this will help. The object is to avoid sudden changes of temperature, and to keep the temperature above the dew point.

(In a former workshop, everytime that I went in, the copious oil on the Myford had gone grey to match the paint!)

Enjoy yourself, you have the means of tackling a host of jobs. You'll wonder how you managed before!


Thread: Doncaster ME Show and Warco.
27/04/2017 12:48:28

You forgot the Spalding Show (last week end), which has grown over the last four years!

Can fully understand how the traders view shows, preparation, disruption to normal activities, (before and after), and the attached costs.

Have any of you ever organised a stand at a Show for your Club?

If so, you'll know about the time to plan / prepare, organise exhibits and stewards, collate YOUR exhibits, set up the stand, keep an eye on things during the show, and then clear the stand, and finally put away your stuff afterwards.

The physical work started on Thursday, and ended on Tuesday morning for a two day show. As a local Show it involved nearly 200 miles in my vehicle. For club members exhibiting, it spread over three days.

So for Warco, much as we miss their presence, (and ability to by "over the counter" at the Show) preparing, travelling to and from Surrey, and then reversing the process after three days, plus stand and staff costs, must be balanced against how much profit is actually going to be made at the Show. And the same must apply to other traders. The cost has to be covered somehow; whether in the Sales budget, or as an overhead. Either way, eventually those costs have to be recovered by profit on the products, or thge Company will eventually go bankrupt.

For Model Engineering Shows to continue, income from trade presence is vital, unless we are all prepared to pay a LOT more for tickets to see just the work of members of other clubs.

Venue owners and show organisers cannot afford to price themselves out of the market, for either traders or visitors, or there will be any shows.


Thread: Nick Webb
27/04/2017 11:30:00


Since you are near to Cambridge, do join the Society. Am sure that will be welcomed and given any help or advice that you request. (Can give you a contact name if you want - if so PM me)

You have just missed the Spalding M E Show, last w/e. Lots of clubs and traders from all over, there, (including my Peterborough Society)

Enjoy your retirement (longest holiday of your life) and your hobby!


Thread: Help a noob
27/04/2017 11:24:26

For what my advice is worth, if you can, buy the largest that will fit your budget and space (Again, don't forget to allow for tooling costs, although some of these can be spread over time).

Someone said to me "You can do small work on a big lathe, but not the other way round"; and you are bound to become more ambitious as time goes on.

Have no experience of either, but faced with the choice of Optimum or a used Emco, based on Brian John's and Hopper's experience on this Forum, I would plump fore the Emco!

Not all UK suppliers import the Seig CO, and C2, if you chose to go down that route.

Although he does not stock or sell them Ketan at Arc Euro Trade is very helpful, and stocks spares for the C2.

Arc do sell the larger Seig machines.



Thread: 13DP Gears or Gear Cutter
27/04/2017 11:17:05

If push comes to shove, Ivan Laws' book will tell you how to make flycutter for such gears as 0.25 CP.

(Have never tried it, lacking both the courage and the absolute need)

As John S says, at low speeds and with a bit of backlash, (I feed a sheet of paper through the mesh, to set it, aiming for about 0.003" you probably won't have a great problem, with something which is theoretically incorrect, such Mod 2.

If possible, some thick gear lubricant grease will result in quiet running.

Hope that all goes well.


Thread: Annoying the neighbors with TIN milling cutter
17/04/2017 20:21:43

Agree with everyone saying that TiN coating does not guarantee a better cutter. The coating is supposed to reduce friction and extend tool life, as I understand it.

A tool which is incorrectly / badly ground, or blunt, will not cut properly or quietly, whether coated or not.

Usually, if a tool chatters, the speed is too high, and reducing the speed should improve matters. Also, the feed should be related to the type of cutter, and the material from which it is made. As a rule of thumb, do not exceed 0.002 inch / tooth for an end mill. Difficult to judge with manual feed, but with practice, you will get the hang of it.

Of course, this assumes that the workpiece is rigidly clamped, and that the machine is well adjusted, and sturdy enough for the task.


Thread: Lathe chuck removal
17/04/2017 20:09:55

It should be taken as read NOT to engage back gear as a means of locking the Mandrel to remove the Chuck.

A friend regularly used to ask me to cut new gears for him until he realised the error of doing this.

With a tight belt, the motor and mandrel ought to provide enough inertia for the "sharp tap" technique to free the Chuck. Once it has slackened a few degrees, it should be possible to unscrew it by hand. If it doesn't. there is something really wrong!

A suddenly app;lied force has twice the effect of a gradually applied one. If you don't believe what my Physics master told us, just draw the graphs!

Is it necessary to advocate a wooden chuck board to safeguard the bed when the chuck does unscrew?


Thread: Couple of things at Lidl
15/04/2017 17:45:31


No problem with cakes, as long as you keep away from the bathroom scales, and tight trousers!


Thread: ER40 square collets
15/04/2017 17:37:12

AS far as I know, ER collets are only produced to hold round workpieces.

Unless I am mistaken, was'n there an article some time ago on making a set of parts to hold square material in a round ER collet?

ER40 should be large enough to accomodate "adaptors" of various sizes.


Thread: What Did You Do Today (2017)
15/04/2017 17:28:40

Not really "What i did today", but some time ago, I turned the bevel for the Toolslide on my Worden.

Very light cuts, though, with a sharp tool, because of the intermittent cut.

Today has been spent plumbing.  The valve on the toilet was leaking, and a new diaphragm did not cure it, so bought a complete new unit.  Initially that did not want to cut off the flow!  But functions OK, so presumably the thing had not balanced itself properly.  The old Portsmouth ball cocks were much simpler, and easier to fix.


Edited By Howard Lewis on 15/04/2017 17:32:13

Thread: Lathe chuck removal
14/04/2017 14:00:55

The chucks on my lathe screw on (but have dogs to prevent then unscrewing when used in reverse).

I have drilled a hole into the chuck, or backplate. Into this Is inserted a piece of round silver steel, which is gripped (not welded) into a boss on a piece of rectangular bar. With the belt tightened, and the retaining dogs removed, the rectangular bar is held with the longer side vertical, and the end hit with a copper/hide mallet. Works every time!

Applying the same technique to a piece of fairly large diameter hexagon, (or square if a 4 jaw) gripped in the jaws should work equally well.

Another possibility would be to cut a piece of wood so that, when resting on the rear of the bed, a chuck jaw makes widespread contact. Spinning the chuck, BY HAND , not power, so that one of the jaws hits the wood, may slacken it. Preferably, the contact between wood and jaw should be as close to the chuck body, as possible.


Thread: Musing About Oils
07/04/2017 14:09:06

My understanding was that Castrol R was a vegetable oil mixture, containing Rape oil, (will not mix satisfactorily with mineral oils) because of its extreme pressure capabilities. The smell in the exhaust was a bit of an acquired taste, but once hooked one became an addict!

The fluid used in the suspension and hydraulic systems of the original Citroen DS was vegetable oil. The genuine fluid was costly, so a trip to the supermarket reduced the cost of top ups.


Edited By Howard Lewis on 07/04/2017 14:11:13

Thread: Run out on a rotary table
07/04/2017 14:00:57

As a bit of an aside to this thread, the mounting slots of my HV6 were lengthened, to allow more movement across the Mill table.

I don't use keys to locate the HV6, (Can sometimes be restrictive of positioning; preferring to set the Table on the Mill table with a square. See Photo 1 on p age 40 of M E W Issue 252 (The one printed as 251 for the second time)

If you want a consistent positive location, instead of a key, two dowels can be used, The dowels will probably need to be stepped to match the slots in the Rotary table, and the T slots in the Mill table.

To locate the Tailstock consistently, I did not use keys, but made up stepped dowels, retained by hex head bolts in the tapped holes visible in the upper illustration on the 30-3-2017 11:52 03 posting.

For a picture of the set up, see Photo 3 on page 40 of M E W Issue 252.

Have to admit that have never been aware of any run out , (never looked for any), and the end results seem to satisfactory. So seem to have been luckier than the O P, but have experienced some absolutely appalling run outs on other simple parts, am aware that oriental quality can be variable.


Thread: BA thread mnemonic
04/04/2017 15:38:04

Some People Have, etc was our way of remembering Trig functions, in the same way that the activities of Bad Boys with Our Young Girls helped us to recall the colour code for Resistors.

Presumably still valid today, unless there is some EU edict to confuse oldsters?


Thread: Magneto file
04/04/2017 15:30:24

Contacts on Magnetos and distributors (and presumably Relays) can be cleaned by folding some WetnDry paper, to make a narrow double sided tape.

Running this to and fro through the closed contacts will clean them, followed by clean paper to remove any debris.

Ford's own points used on their later distributors used a tubular contact for one side, which tended to reduce the "pip" effect.


Thread: "Skidproof" screwdriver
30/03/2017 17:25:23


Yes go on and show/tell us about you progress on the Austin.

Now, with longer days and better weather, you have no excuse!

Put us armchair engineers to shame.

having just upgraded the computer, know EXACTLY what causes high blood pressure.

Would "Hit Any Key When Ready" if I could find a big enough hammer!


Thread: Hi guys
30/03/2017 16:22:13

A secondhand Warco BH600, Chester Craftsman, or Engineers ToolRoom BL12-24 (clones other than paint scheme) will swing up to 18 inches in the gap, as will their successors, and ex Tech College, or Industry lathes.

The problems with ex Industry machines are that they will have worked hard for their living, and are likely to be 3 Phase, and so will need a change of motor to work in a domestic environment off a 13 Amp socket.

Ex Tech College machines will have done little work, but probably been abused, by things like running the toolpost into the chuck and so on.

Once you have a lathe, (and hopefully, a Milling machine) the world will almost be your oyster, with a huge range of jobs now possible.



Thread: Encouraging new hobbyists
30/03/2017 16:13:59

My experience of visiting other ME clubs is limited, but each time I have been made welcome, and shown around.

With regard to CRB, my understanding is that a check is required for REGULAR contact. But it gets stupid, at church a school teacher, was required to have one to teach youngsters in Sunday School.

Officialdom believed that she became a pedophile between 5.00 pm Friday and 9:00 am Monday!

I know that Hereford SME (live too far away to be a member) encourages youngsters, even having a separate workshop where they can make useful parts for the club, and are taught to work as guards, and eventually drivers.

When PSME had a track, youngsters were allowed to drive when the public passenger hauling was not in progress.

During the latter years of my employment, I often mentored undergraduates during their gap year. The ones who took an interest in learning how things worked, and how things could go wrong, did very well. Some were eventually invited to go to our US parent, to show and advise on what they had learned, so that their practical and theoretical skills could be used.

Only two, as I recall, thought that such things were beneath them, and they turned out to be neither use nor ornament.

In general, the UK public never realise that what they have and use, is the result of the work and skills of Engineers; unlike the continent, where engineers are held in esteem. Being a hedge fund manager is a poor qualification for changing a wheel on the side of a motorway at 2:00 in the morning!

Rant over, off to put away soap box.


Thread: 20DP gears
30/03/2017 15:36:34

Must be a very old BH600.

My 2003 ETR BL12/24 ( a BH600 / Chester Craftsman clone) uses metric changegears, 1.25 Mod from memory.


Thread: Nut & Bolt Sizes.
17/03/2017 08:01:49

If you have a selection of known sizes /threads, (one of each) they can be used as rough and ready thread gauges. But beware of mixing Unified and Whitworth form threads. They may be the same pitch (tpi) but the different thread form will cause jamming. BA has a lot of commonality with Metric, but again, the thread form is quite different.

As a desperate measure, check using a tap or a Die, but be VERY careful, if it starts to cut, STOP, it isn't what you thought, (unless its been damaged)

Once you have sorted out your hardware, store in labelled containers, (as a minimum "Whit"," BSF", "BA", "UNF", "UNC", "Metric", etc). Even better if you can store as individual sizes.

Be aware that the hexagon sizes for Whitworth form threads were reduced, to save material, during WW2.

So that the prewar BSF hexagon size became the postwar BSW.

And you will come across oddball fixings and/or mixed hardware on machinery.

On the Bristol RE bus/coach, (Standardised on Unified fixings) the bolts holding the clutch pressure plate to the flywheel had A/F heads, but were BSF threads to suit the Gardner engine which still used Whit form.

C A V DPA fuel pump parts were dimensioned in Metric, but were Unified form, (UNF and UNEF) initially being a Hartford Machine Screw design produced under licence. C A V had started as Bosch licencees, so standardised drawings on metric dimensions.

At one time, prewar Morris cars, used engines made on the continent, with metric fixings, whilst the chassis used Whit form fixings.

Leylands changed from Whit form to Unified, so that the Leopard chassis used Unified fixings, but the 0600 or 0680 engines, being an older design, were to Whit form standard for fixings. The engine was mounted to the Unified standard chassis by mounting brackets using Whit form hardware. When the 500 Series engine (A new design to metric standards) was introduced, no doubt it would have been possible to find all three thread forms on one vehicle!

Possibly, the same situation existed when A E C introduced their metric standard V8 into existing lorry chassis.

So my advice is to check before using, and if it seems sticky or tight, don't force it, the threads are probably not the same.


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