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Member postings for Hopper

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

Thread: Good News Down Under
14/03/2015 11:59:04

Well darn. I just took out a subscription in December. This is a good deal. Same price as the UK residents' subscription, so about 8 quid cheaper than the usual Aussie subscription.

Thread: Did you choose a career or did it choose you?
14/03/2015 11:43:23
Posted by John Stevenson on 13/03/2015 23:27:22:

Having been born at a very early age I then stumbled through a normal childhood until about age 11 when in a family pep talk my Granddad warned me never go out with loose women.

Well that really opened my eyes as I never realised this phenomenon occurred, so then got organised and set forth with pockets full of spanners, screwdrivers, allen keys and duct tape.

Never found any loose women but seeing as I was carrying all this gear it seemed a waste not to mend a bit of tackle on the way thru life.

LOL, good old grandad.I have found that the duct tape can be handy for securing loose women.

Not sure about the other tools though. But once I was helping a mate fit a hot cam into his 650 Yamaha motorbike in the driveway of his house. Two religious preacher types came up the driveway on their rounds looking for sinners to save. Have you been saved, the one enquired of my greasy mate. "Can you save anyone?" mate replied. Yes, the preacher said. "Can you save loose women?" mate asked. Yes, came the reply again. "Good, save two for me for tonight," mate said.

Thread: How to use a die?
14/03/2015 11:31:52

The old dodge is to put a small hacksaw cut on the end of the rod on one side. So it makes a sort of groove or nick in the chamfer you have filed on the rod.

When the teeth of the die meet the edge of the hacksaw cut, said teeth will cut into the metal and hopefully continue to do so.

Plenty of downward pressure on the die is needed as you rotate it.

Another way to do it might be chuck the rod up in the lathe. Put a piece of rubber hose over diestock handle so it does not mar the lath ways or slides etc. Push die and diestock against the rod end using the tailstock. Rotate chuck by hand while keeping steady pressure on the die with the tailstock.

Thread: Did you choose a career or did it choose you?
13/03/2015 11:06:06

It was a bit of both for me -- I chose to do a Fitting and Turning/Toolmaking apprenticeship purely so I could learn how to fix/restore/hot up motorbikes using the skills I would learn. This despite parents being more keen on me going to university and becoming a teacher. But as I spent all my spare time restoring an old Harley instead of studying I never made the cut to uni. Dropped out a year short in fact.

But the old man worked as an engineer at the local Chrysler Australia car factory and in the time honored manner arranged an apprenticeship for me there so the job sort of chose me. Although, I passed the exam to do one at the railways too if I wanted. But car factory was closer to home. So did my apprenticeship there and went on to work in the trade all over various outback mines, Africa and the US.

Ironically ended up going to uni in the US as a mature age student and became, among other things, a teacher.

Back to working in the trade -- on motorbikes -- out of my back shed these days and loving it.

Both my brothers served their times at the car factory, one as a sparky the other as a motor mechanic and worked in the trade up to the present time at various places. I suppose they would call that nepotism these days and some bloke with a clipboard would put the kybosh on it. But it was the norm back then and worked well in having a workforce with some committment to the works.

Thread: Todays update from Bodgers Lodge
05/03/2015 06:06:48

Nice work yet once again John. I've a BMW fanatic mate who does so many of these he made a jig to mount the head on his large lathe faceplate and cut the new thread after getting the ally welded up. I like the idea of a bronze thread though. Much more durable.

If you are doing a bit of old BM work, one thing to look out for on the other thread that commonly goes: the cylinder/head stud holes in the crankcase. There is a tiny oil way for oil feed to the top end that runs runs right there, so if you install a threaded insert etc it is real easy to block off that oil supply. My mate had one come into his shop that some non-BMW bike shop had done and the result was one trashed engine.

Keep on bodgin' -- always a good read.

Thread: Drill size form19mm reaming.
05/03/2015 05:47:03

0.25mm under should do you. ie 18.75 or so. Providing you drill pilot hole first and then open the hole out to 18 or so.

For best results, regards location and concentricity, it is best to drill to say 18.00 then bore to 18.75 to 18.90 or so and then ream the final gnat's whisker. The boring bar removes any out of round and wandering resulting from drilling.

Trick with stainless is to keep the cutting speed lowish but keep the feed up to the job. Letting the tool/drill rub on the stainless will quickly work-harden it and make it a regular PITA to deal with.

Thread: Pounds/foot (and other nonsense) MEW 226
04/03/2015 05:45:34
Posted by John Olsen on 04/03/2015 00:01:54:

That has more to do with them being Australian....

And you reckon you have trouble with sparkplugs in your IC engines oiling up, up there. Should try it down here where the plug is at the bottom of the cylinder.

Thread: Interview Harold J. Turpin june 1943
01/03/2015 05:32:40
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 26/02/2015 20:56:25:

Just to add some spice, Leslie Hore-Belisha is he to whom we owe the Belisha Beacon.


Good thing they chose his second surname and not first to name the beacon after, then innit.

Otherwise, it might have had a red light instead of the amber.

Thread: Model engineers in WW1
01/03/2015 05:27:11

I believe model engineers were used in WW2 also to make components for the war effort. Seems I read a comment in one of the old books by Sparey, Duplex or one of their contemporaries about how the WD inspectors were amazed that work coiuld be produced at home on a small lathe to tolerances of tenths of a thou.

When my old man bought our ancient Drummond M type lathe in the UK in 1950 or so, the secondhand shop salesman told him the lathe had been used to make aircraft parts in the war. I always imagined it in some vast factory, running from an overhead shaft, turning out Spitfire aileron pivot pins or some such. But perhaps more likely it was used by a model engineer at home to produce components for aircraft?

Thread: Telescopic tee shaped measuring devices
28/02/2015 13:01:05

If you are measuring small holes, say half inch and under, the ball-type small hole gauges are much easier to use. And get the full ball type, not the cheapo half-ball rubbish that I fell for without realizing it.

For the bigger stuff the T gauges take a bit of practice to get the right "feel" but work just fine if you have a gentle touch.

Thread: understanding screwcutting
25/02/2015 03:06:03

Sounds like you could use a good basic textbook on how to use a lathe. South Bend's "How to Run a Lathe" is a good one, as is LH Sparey's "The Amateur's Lathe". There are plenty of more modern ones too, but principals are the same.

The Workshop Practice series of books have an excellent beginner's lathe book by Harold Hall and another specifically on screwcutting, whose author I don't recall.

All are available cheap from Amazon, Book Depository etc.

Thread: Non metalworking pages now being added to my website
20/02/2015 22:32:45

Thanks Harold. As always, I love your work.

Thread: Grinding HSS Lathe Tools - Advice please
20/02/2015 22:29:50

I've never had any problem using a standard 6" x 1" bench grinder fitted with the standard coarse and fine grey wheels. Then finish it off with a few rubs on an oilstone. Tin of water on hand to dip the HSS in to keep it cool while grinding and away you go. Never had a problem with the reported cracking of HSS from dipping in water. Maybe that is the cheap Chinese HSS? I use old HSS made in the West.

Yes it does take a while to grind 3/8 bits. But if you want instant gratification, this is probably not the right hobby for you. Take your time and enjoy the work.

Thread: Imperial Spanner and Socket advice for a metric person
15/02/2015 11:16:13
Posted by Michael Poole on 14/02/2015 19:16:57:

My 1974 Triumph Trident was all UNF/UNC so all fastners use AF spanners except for fuel fittings which are BSP and use whitworth sizes. ...


Ah, but if you had bought a 1974 Triumph Bonneville twin instead of the Trident, you would have found the chassis and cycle parts were AF, but the engine was still all BSF just like in the good old days.

To the OP: if you plan to work on British motorcycles made before about 1970, you will need BSF/BSW spanners and sockets. These also fit the many CEI "cycle thread" fasteners used on such machines as well. These were mostly 26 or 20 TPI and look much like BSF/W -- but hey they don't fit together!!!

Post 1970 you will need those spanners plus AF spanners as there was a period of, ahem, standardization when they used a bit of both then finally went to all (well, mostly) AF. Then they stopped using anything at all.

One way around it is if you can find an AF socket set that goes up in 1/32" increments. The oddball 32nd AF sizes fit Whitworth and BSF. I have an old Sidchrome set from when I was an apprentice in the '70s but have not seen one in recent years.

If working on Harleys, Indians etc made in the US of A, they are all AF exclusively. But the aftermarket accessories and replacement parts for them often use metric.

A good place to pick up AF and BS spanners and sockets is garage sales and boot sales. Getting good condition used older British or US made tools is way cheap and the quality is still better than most cheap Chinese stuff. i quite often buy them by the box full for a few dollars. Bit of wire brushing and WD40 and good as new. Surprising what you can accumulate in a short time this way. I basically set up my workshop from scratch in 18 months of garage sales scrounging.

Thread: Parting Off MEW225
09/02/2015 08:21:18

Dunno about the cross slide lifting theory. My old banger parts off much better with the rear tool post when the carriage is locked up nice and solid to the bed ways and the cross slide gib screws nice and firm. Leave the carriage unlocked or the gib screws loosish and the rear parting tool does a merry dance.

So I'd vote for rigid as possible.

Swan-neck sprung tools for general turning were popular a hundred years ago but there's probably a reason they have all but disappeared.

08/02/2015 11:55:20
Posted by Peter G. Shaw on 08/02/2015 11:35:16:

When I use my front mounted parting off tool, I actually use a magnifying glass and a set of magnifying clip on spectacles to get the cutting edge as near parallel to the work as I can.

Peter G. Shaw

I usually bring the side of the parting blade up to the front face of the stationary chuck to make sure it is square on. If I am doing something particularly critical, I might even use a dial indicator to make sure the parting blade is square to the lathe axis.

And, ISTR in either one of GHThomas or LH Sparey's books, they say that an inverted rear toolpost parting blade places the load on the lower half of the headstock bearings, which are set in the main headstock casting and very solid. Using a front parting tool in the conventional manner puts the load on the top half of the bearing, ie the less solid top bearing cap, or relatively thin casting above the mandrel. This flexes and allows more chatter than the rear post.

Personally I reckon the swarf falling out of the groove is reason enough to use the inverted rear blade. Works a treat on my 1930s Drummond M type lathe which is in far from new condition.

Thread: Vanishing local shop outlets.
04/02/2015 08:31:29

The other thing I miss is the old Army Disposal shops. In the '70s they were a treasure trove for boys (young and old), packed with everything from old uniforms and great coats to aircraft radio sets, bayonets, obscure gauges and dials and unidentifiable widgets that were always an adventure to trawl through and a great source of hobby materials.

Thread: Bench Drills
29/01/2015 12:55:10

Seems to be the standard way with Chinese machine tools. Air compressors and some lathes are much the same with different brand names. Apparently under their government controlled economy, the standard design is given to various companies to produce under their name. Small factories produce the standard parts, others slap them all together and put their name on them.

What gets me is that you don't seem to be able to buy spare parts for any of them. "Cheaper to buy another compressor mate" is the standard refrain.

Thread: elf and safety gone mad
11/01/2015 14:40:03
Posted by julian atkins on 11/01/2015 13:22:57:...the 1974 Act has had a marked effect on workplace injuries. fatalaties have reduced by 87% between 1974 and 2014, and non fatal injuries by 77% between 1974 and 2012.

But in 1974, nearly everyone went to work in a steel mill, colliery, car factory, motorbike factory, brass foundry, stamping plant, machine shop etcetera, -- an environment where any mistake could easily be fatal or tear off a limb etc.

In 2012, the few who actually go to work, go to an office or a shop or other "service industry" environments where worst that can happen is a paper cut.

Thread: Gauge Blocks
10/01/2015 13:12:39
Posted by Russell Eberhardt on 10/01/2015 10:35:29:
Posted by Jerry Wray on 09/01/2015 14:27:32:

Oh No! Not van de Waals forces! There has been much correspondence amongst physicist disputing the existence of these. Perhaps we should all back-off until we have read the latest research papers, Then we might be able to take a view.

For the uninitiated these forces have been in dispute for at least forty years.


Well, they certainly existed 50 years ago when I studied physics at university although it has only recently become possible to measure them. Of course the theory has been disputed. That's science. If we accept everything as true we don't progress.

Try telling the geckos that the forces don't exist and they'll all fall off the glass of their vivariums!


And off the walls and ceilings of my workshop here in the tropincs, including the motion detectors of my newly installed burglar alarm with rather annoying results!

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