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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: Rolling tailstock
14/05/2015 17:56:28

May I suggest using a device called a "Roller Box" (when used on a Capstan or Turret lathe)?

Model Engineers tend to call the device a "Running Down Tool" because it is often mounted on the Toolpost of a Centre lathe, rather than on the Turret of a Capstan or Turret lathe. Mounting one on the Tailstock of a Centre lathe will keep it central (which has to be done manually if Toolpost mounted) but may reduce the length of material that can be machined if the Tailstock does not have a through bore, and the Saddle reduces the proximity to the chuck.

A Roller Box carries an adjustable cutting tool, and two supporting rollers, but can be of two types.

It is effectively a travelling steady with a cutting tool mounted on it

One has the rollers leading the cutting tool (riding on the raw material), or the other type has the rollers trailing the cutting tool, (riding on the freshly machined material). The latter type is the only practicable one if the raw material is not truly circular, or is off centre.

The trailing roller type enables the machined diameter to be concentric with an existing smaller diameter.

The leading roller type enables the machined diameter to be concentric with an existing larger diameter.

Since the material is supported close to the cutting tool, it is invaluable for reducing the diameter of slender material, especially over a long length, with minimal taper, or risk of bending.

MUST get round to making one, (or maybe both types) one day! Add to the list of "Tomorrow" jobs!


Thread: Adding dials to lathe handles
13/05/2015 12:57:23

Have been loaned a copy of Introduction to the Adept Lathe by Andrew Webster (12th January 2008)

This gives the history of the Adept and Super Adept with some of its forebears, and competitors.

It is an interesting read. It confirms the Leadscrew as being 12 tpi pitch, but does not mention the pitch of the topslide or crossslides. Although from what I have seen on mine, would expect it to be 20 tpi (0.050" for one turn of the handwheel)

At the Spalding Show there were three Super Adepts. One has been modified by a former working colleague who has fitted graduated dials to his machine.

It gives his E mail as [PM Howard or Neil Wyatt for Andrew's email details].

The Lathes website will also give some info.




Edited By Neil Wyatt on 13/05/2015 16:44:05

Thread: Engineneering-homemade
11/05/2015 13:25:46

I am no electronics whizz, far from it!, but presumably the raw output is A C, and the voltage will vary, with the frequency, according to the speed at which the generator is running.

So having rectified the output, why not then wire in a regulator? A 7805 will give you a 5 volt output from your DC, which you can then use to power USB type devices.

If you want to charge a Lead Acid battery, a 7812 will control the out put to 12 volts. A 7815 would probably be a little high for a 12 volt battery, as a fully charged Lead Acid delivers 13.2 volts. (Although car alternators are 14 volt)

A 7812 would deliver the right voltage to charge ten NiCds, or NiMH, (which are 1.2V/cell) connected in series.

You might get away with using a 7805 to charge four NiCds or NiMh in series (4.8Volts), particularly if you regulate the water flow to ensure that the out put IS 4.8V.

Just a few thoughts


Thread: Imperial/Metric micrometer dials
11/05/2015 13:11:50

It is unlikely that Imperial and metric leadscrews would be mixed on a machine.

My impression is that Chester only sell Metric machines.

Are there no markings on each dial to indicate what each division represents?

There is no reason why a 20 (or even a 25) division dial should not be used on a Metric leadscrew.

20 divisions would give 0.05mm per division , 25 would give 0.04mm per division.

Why not use one of your Metric clocks to check the travel for one turn of each dial?

You may be pleasantly surprised.


Thread: Very Rusty Vee Blocks
22/04/2015 10:43:35

My wife uses cheap cola for cleaning secondhand cheap jewelry that she sells to raise funds for an animal charity.

Works well!

Also is good stuff for cleaning or fluxing for soldering. Dip a "bronze" coin in for a few minutes, and you'll see why we never drink the stuff! Phosphoric acid is a constituent, I think, which is what I use to deal with rust on car panels..


Thread: What did you do today (2015)
22/04/2015 10:38:52

By the looks of John's pictures, he has taught the rotors to play Musical Chairs, whilst awaiting final machining!

Sounds like another satisfied customer for Speedy Sleeves!

PS Jason,

How do you get a 20mm sq toolholder onto an Adept? Surely, that would set it above centre height ?

What I do need is an extractor to get tongues out of cheeks!


22/04/2015 10:31:50

Have just finished the major work on my Super Adept.

The lathe itself was cleaned and repainted, years ago, but have only now, got round to the motor and wiring.

Made new Aluminium multigroove pulleys, for O ring drive belt, to replace the single coarse groove ones, and sorted out the wiring, (dodgy once the insulation tape was removed!) and put onto a new baseboard, with a new steel Chiptray/Splashback.

At first trial, it was not happy with cuts of about 5 thou on brass, so a lot of work to do on tools and adjustments before 3mm cuts!

Have wiped off the brass swarf, so that it is ready for the Peterborough Society stand at this weekends Hobbies and Model Engineering Show at Spalding. Off to unearth and clean the other items for display, ready to load the car, so as to able to set up on Friday. Monday's job will be to put it all away again!


Thread: Which bench lathe do I need ?
22/04/2015 10:18:57

Someone once said to me "You can do small work on a big lathe, but you can't do big work on a small lathe".

Marvellous work has been done by folk on a small lathe, bigger than the designers ever imagined. (See what has been done on Myford ML7 and Super 7s) BUT

My advice would be to go for the larger lathe. If you need to do small work, you can always use a smaller chuck or collets to hold smaller work.

For the record, my lathe is a far eastern one, of the Warco BH600 / Chester Craftsman family. Not perfect but no insuperable problems over the eleven years that I have had it from new.

A good secondhand lathe, can be a worthwhile purchase. Sometimes, you may have to hunt for accessories, such as Changewheels, or Steadies, but don't disregard secondhand machines that are in good condition.

Do beware of ones that are worn, have been abused, or bodged! Take someone with you who is experienced when you go to look. Your pal will probably also know if the asking price for the lathe and / or accessories is fair.

If not already a member, find your local Model Engineering Club, join and take advice from various members.

There is a WORLD of experience there, and on these Forums. Tap into it! and Good Luck


Thread: Lathe Milling Attachment - Disadvantages?
20/04/2015 18:17:19

Not familiar with the Boxford, so unable to comment on the rigidity, but agree with all previuosly posted.

Having used a Vertical Slide, I was none too impresed with rigidity, and so bought a Rodney Milling Attachment for my Myford ML7.

I did not like the way that it shook the lathe, like a terrier with a rat.

Maybe that was my fault, for being too brutal, but made me buy a RF25 Mill/Drill. That was the largest that would fit into the shop Even that deflects under load.

But it is a Mill/Drill not a two ton Cincinatti! You get what you pay for. Just wish that I had the space for a proper knee type mill.

As everyone says "Buy a Milling Machine". One, it will outperform an accessory on a lathe, AND Two, you can use the mill to make something without disturbing the job in the lathe. (Believe me, one day that day will come!)


Thread: Adding dials to lathe handles
20/04/2015 18:07:07

A bit of further advice, this is an old Imperial machine, and MOST unlikely to have ANYTHING on it that equates to metric. Despite your wish for metric graduations, I fear that you are going to finish up using Imperial graduations.

The chaps who made this lathe, MANY YEARS AGO, well before WW2, had probably scarcely heard of the Metric system, and worked by putting a pencil mark on the plain dial and then giving it a nudge, and measuring after taking the cut.

Horses for Courses and all that!

20/04/2015 18:02:25

Hit wrong button and duplicated posting, so have edited down this.  Apologies!


Edited By Howard Lewis on 20/04/2015 18:08:21

20/04/2015 18:01:37

Have now got my Super Adept, where, today, it ran under power for the first time in years.

Checking the travels with a DTI, the results were slightly variable.


Travel for one revolution of the handwheel seemed to vary between 0.050 and 0.053"per revolution.

You would probably be safe to work on the basis of 0.050", giving a 20 tpi thread.

(0.053 would be a 18.86 tpi thread which seems highly unlikely)


Ditto, As Cross Slide

So a Dial with 25 divisions would give 0.002" per division.


This appears to be 0.083" pitch, (12 tpi). Pity that it wasn't 10 tpi and make life easy for us!

A Dial with 28 divisions would give almost 0.003"/division (0.0029642857" How fine do you want to go?)

A Dial with 42 divisions would give approximately 0.002"/division (0.0019761905" according to my calculator)

The only other advice that I can offer, is to make the dials as large a diameter as possible, to maximise the size of each graduation. Oh! and to measure FREQUENTLY, and to avoid disappointment, not to try to work to tenths of thou.

At least, this should provide a little food for thought.


15/04/2015 18:21:34

Like Neil Wyatt, I am in process of resurrecting a Super Adept, although not as radically as Neil.

The Super Adept is an old Plain Lathe, dating from the days before dials were fitted. In those days, a turner made a chalk or pencil mark on the dial, gave a nudge and measured to see how much he had removed. Eventually they became fairly expert at knowing how far to nudge to take off a given depth of metal.

This bit of history is of little practical help to you.

A suggestion would be to mark the handwheel and then to measure how far the Cross slide advances for one turn of the handwheel. If it is 0.100" you will be fortunate (Have not checked mine yet)

The thread is almost certain to be Imperial, given the age of the lathe. (The Mandrel and Tailstock arbor are both 0.375" diameter, and the original pulley on the mandrel was Imperial diameters).

Once you know the pitch of the thread (or lead being a single start thread), you can think about how many graduations to put on the dial.

If the thread is 8 or 10 tpi, you will have either 100 or 125 graduations to make

If you remove the handle, it may be possible to drill and tap a couple of small holes (I am thinking 6 or 8BA or the metric equivalent thereof) and use these to fix a dial to the handwheel, Possibly in the form of a disc?

Within reason the graduations can be made as wide as possible within the limits of how large in diameter the dial (disc?) can be.

It will be interesting to know how you get on, so that others can follow suit.


Thread: How much ?
15/04/2015 17:52:56

Going back to some of the previous posts:

Some lunatic would have to bring this up, so it may as well be me.

Eye halve a spelling chequer

it came with my pea sea

it will marc for my revue

miss steaks I kin not sea.

Eye strike a quay and type a word

and weight four it too say

weather I am rung oar write

it shows me straight aweigh

As soon as a mist ache is maid

it nose bee four two long

and eye can putt the errer rite

it's rare lee ever wrong

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore ewe are pleased two no

it's let her perfect all the weigh

My chequer tolled me sew.


Thread: What angers/upsets you in the Workshop?
15/04/2015 17:34:16

No, Bandersnatch;

That's what happens ALL the time in my shop.

The 6" rule is particularly good at moving away from where I last remember putting it!

Have you not got a small screwdriver that goes into hiding at regular intervals? I have!

Also, when there is a job to do, the size of material to hand is always just too small or so much too large as to be wasteful?


Thread: HSS or Carbide?
15/04/2015 17:20:15

Unless you are planning to machine hardened steel, stick with HSS.

Your M type Myford probably does not have high enough speeds for Carbide tools to make Carbide work effectively, also it is unlikely to be sufficiently rigid to withstand the heavy loads that you may be tempted to apply with Carbide tooling.

With regard to tool holding; a fourway toolpost will change tools as fast as a QCT, (Not my opinion; this was stated in an article fairly recently in M.E.W.) unless you are planning to use a large variety of tools. Also QCT holders add up the cost, and need space to store.

If possible, do make up a back toolpost, and use this for the parting tool. If it is multi position type, you can mount a front chamfer tool, and posibly a back chamfer tool, for use in conjunction with the parting tool.

Time spent making a Tool Centre Height Setting Gauge will be well spent. Ultimately it will save time, and avoid the pip that results from an off centre tool, not to mention improving the cutting action of the tool.

Too high, (above centre) will rub rather than cut cleanly; too low (below centre) will result in an excessive clearance angle, and less than optimal cutting.

Hope that this helps.


Thread: Lathe rusting
24/03/2015 17:33:48

If the shop is not insulated, adding insulation will bring great benefits, not only in reducing rusting, but in comfort..

As already said, temperature changes tend to encourage rusting. Insulation slows the rate of change.

For steel to rust, it needs both moisture and oxygen. A workshop without oxygen is unlikely, (not to mention lethal without breathing apparatus), so minimise the moisture content of the air.

It is taken as read that there is no water ingress to the shop, from leaking windows, walls or roof..

For a start do not use WD40 on the machines, (It is hygroscopic, being Kerosene based, with minimal oil content). Coat exposed surfaces with oil (I used fresh engine oil - NOT used which will contain acids and definitely produce rusting). In an uninsulated, unheated, 5 x 7 ( 1.52M x 2.13M) wooden shed, the oil would be emulsified (grey) but the moisture did not reach the machined surfaces of my Myford, to cause rusting.

The downsides were having to wipe down everything before starting work, and then recoating afterwards..

Do NOT use any form of combustion heater, solid, liquid or gaseous fueled. One of the combustion products is water vapour, and the rest , even the non poisionous parts; do not support life, (yours included).

DO insulate the walls, and ceiling, and if possible the floor. Polystyrene sheets between the verticals on the walls, and the rafters on the ceiling, is an easy way. Ideally, use glassfibre,and overlay  with ply.

(Hardboard will eventually warp) The chap who built my shop used 12mm ply "You'll be sure to screw things on there". He was right!. Where else would all the shelves be fixed?

Windows can be insulated, minimally, by fixing polythene sheet over them; sealed to the frame if possible. Acrylic sheet would be more durable, and probably absorb less light.. The ideal would be double glazing, (even triple in a very low temperature region of the world) but only really practical for a new build, or major upgrade.

My shop has no windows (security, plus shelves would be fitted across them anyway), and has 19mm external wooden cladding, on 50mm frames with glassfibre between that and the 12mm ply internal walls.

The pitched roof is 12mm ply fixed each side of 50mm frames with glass fibre insulation between. After eleven years, it now has a one piece 1.6mm EPDM rubber covering in place of the original single layer felt.

The floor is uninsulated 18mm ply sheet, sitting on 200mm x 50mm wooden bearers, which are only open at one end. The small walked on area is covered by 25mm deep plastic mats.  The rear wall is sheltered by a 1.8M high wooden fence.

A 60 watt tubular heater under a bench keeps the place suitably warm during the sort of frosts that occur in East Anglia. After a day with it switched on, the steel bench no longer feels cold to the touch.

Moist air is heavier than dry, so there ought to be a vent near floor level, to allow the exit of water vapour. ( We exhale water vapour, and perspire, and so contribute to the problem!) My shop has a small ventilation fan fixed high up, in the rear wall, with an external cowl extended downwards to prevent any rain/snow ingress, to aid air circulation.

When occupied, and it is cold outside, to make it comfortable, there is a thermostatically controlled 2Kw Fan Heater, with the 'stat set to about 18C. Physical activity and heat from the machine motors provide the extra warmth needed. The heater runs for about ten minutes each hour. Externally, the shop is 10 feet 9 inches (3.27M) x 6 feet 9 inches (2.06M) . The height is 8 feet (2.44M) high at the front sloping to 7 feet 6 inches (1.98M) at the rear, to run the water off into the guttering.

In this environment, machined surfaces are left unoiled, and rusting is virtually unknown. The very small areas of very light rust on drill chucks / tools are most likely caused by moisture / acid from my hands, or exposure to the outdoors. Machined surfaces have never rusted.

Matters can be improved in phases; preferably starting with low level heating; then with ventilation, and with improved insulation following on afterwards. The improved insulation will reduce the heating costs.

I hope that some of this will help anyone with rusting problems.


Edited By Howard Lewis on 24/03/2015 17:39:35

Thread: Workshop visitors
21/02/2015 15:03:45

Initially, thought that it referred to uninvited human visitors!

My wife used to fund raise and help at a Cat Refuge. The toilet in the "pensioners pen" was a sand pit. The local rats dug a tunnel that emerged at the side of the pit. One of the cats pee'd down it. No more rat visitors! (Not surprising given how smelly cat pee is)

Our cats bring in field mice, but thankfully none of them, or rats, fancy a nice cosy wooden workshop, (YET).

Probably wouldn't like the glassfibre between the inner and outer walls.

The school gerbil used to escape, and chew the cables for the various electronic learning aids.

Funny how rodents like plastics.

We put some food in a plastic bucket, and covered it with a card circle with cuts radiating from the centre, and laying a convenient ramp upto the lip. Boy was he MAD when we found him! Stupid animal always fell (literally) for the same trick.

Farmers used to trap rats by taking out a few scoops from the corn bin each day, until one day ratty leapt in, but found that he couldn't jump high enough to get out. A fatal mistake!

The simplest ways are often the best, a good old fashioned mouse/rat trap. Simple, easily repaired, unlikely to malfunction, and needs no batteries.


Thread: Parting Off MEW225
06/02/2015 13:15:42

I made a rear toolpost for my Myford ML7, and had fewer jam ups and broken blades.

For my present lathe, I made a fourway indexing rear toolpost, to match the front one. That gives the facility to front chamfer, back chamfer and to part off. Being fairly hefty, and using a gravity fed drip of soluble oil, to the HSS blade, jam ups are rare.

Some times, in the Front toolpost, I use a replaceable 2mm tip tool. Being made with a central groove, the swarf curls up from both sides, so jam ups are rare, but not unknown.

It surprising just how fast these set ups can be run; nearly as fast turning or facing, but the rear face of the bit that falls off needs facing to clean it up.


Thread: Don't try this at home - a t-slotted slide for mini-lathes
06/02/2015 13:06:51

After doing some electric welding, I am always grateful for the Angle Grinder to smooth it done, and remove the ugly lumps!


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