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Member postings for Pero

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

Thread: Someone with a Cowells 90ME
23/01/2020 08:17:40

Hi Derek

I've finally fought my way through to the ME90 ( currently attempting to improve access to my workshop in the hope of doing something useful ).

The headstock indexer, as shown in Michael's post, has four components ( plus a few screws ). These are the index wheel, a machined rectangular mounting block for the detent arm , the detent arm itself which is a cranked piece of steel bar, and the detent pin which is a piece of turned and threaded rod knurled at one end and pointed at the other.

The pin itself is either chromed or more likely stainless steel as it is bright and shiny and shows no sign of corrosion, the mounting block probably steel ( based on appearance and colour ), the arm I am not certain about - possibly spring or hardened steel.

If you let me know what part you are missing I will see if I can produce some accurate measurements and also check any relevant screw lengths and threadforms.


Thread: Myford ML7 clutch
12/01/2020 03:51:51

Not only bitchy but wrong in almost every respect.

These sort of rants do nothing to inform newer members who may be attempting to work through the minefield of what to buy and are only further confused by these sorts of statements.


Thread: Total power loss today!
12/01/2020 03:16:30

Not necessarily. Many alarm systems are designed to trip when the mains supply is interrupted. The fact that the alarm was sounding indicates that there is life in the battery.

On my system the alarm also trips when the the mains re-connects and it is necessary to punch in the alarm code to re-set the system.

That being said, it is a sad fact that the re-chargeable gel cells which provide the back-up for most systems do eventually die and must be replaced. Again, depending on the system, the alarm panel may indicate when the battery needs replacing. Alternatively you can check the voltage as it should be fully charged when on standby.

If you are monitoring battery condition yourself, an annual check when you replace your smoke alarm batteries ( or other standby batteries ) is a good idea.

If a replacement is indicated you either need to change the battery or have your alarm company do this for you. As the alarm companies generally charge a small fortune for this service it is much cheaper if you can do it yourself. If you have a monitored alarm you may need to warn the alarm company in advance that you are servicing the system to save on the cost if the security have to pay a visit, or the grumbles if the constabulary have to attend!


Thread: Abracs Quick-lock abrasive tool
31/12/2019 00:52:18

Hi Alistair

If the tool is indeed Australian, the only manufacturer I can think of is a company called Arbortech. It is a local ( Western Australian ) company that has invented a number of interesting machines, mainly for woodwork but other things as well.

The machine that most closely fits your description is the Mini carver ( updated from the one previously sold as the Mini grinder ).

You can check the Arbortech website for their product range and they also list a number of UK distributors.

They don't seem to have a fitting for the Quick-lock system but do have a 50 mm rubber backed disc system for sanding and polishing.

The only other possibility, and going down in size a little, is the Proxxon long nosed angle grinder.

From memory both of these are mains voltage machines so the transformer leaves me wondering a little.

Best of luck with the search,


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread 2019
18/12/2019 05:03:57

Damn! Survived 81 posts without an emoji but it finally got me. Not quite sure what was there before that grinning idiot stepped in - please ignore.


18/12/2019 01:32:02

Hi Iain

From experience, I admit to being a nervous Nellie when it comes to wooden benches ( and I do have several which I am very happy with ) and I take a number of precautions with their construction. These relate primarily to the fact that wood expands and contracts with the seasons ( due to humidity ) causing joints to open up and become subject to movement over time.

There is also the problem of sagging over time due to weight loading. I don't think your current design will stop the front from sagging over time, even with the metal strip.

To counter these potential problems I would sheet both ends, or at the very least put in a diagonal brace. I would also put in a wide board at the top front - 6" x 1" minimum ( or alternatively an additional, center, leg ) and also a brace at the front bottom to prevent the legs splaying.

These do interfere with under bench storage but I think the top support as a minimum will be required. The bottom rail could possibly be incorporated as part of built in storage at a latter date if needed ( occasional check measuring will show if this is so ).

Painting or varnishing all surfaces, both externally and internally, which is a pain, will also help to stabilize the timber and preserve it. I did mention I was into overkill didn't I?

My Myford and a heavy weight drill press are both on wooden benches ( both now over 40 years old  and both are better than new ( I do occasional upgrades! ). However I have noticed that the low shelf, comprised of 19 mm tongue and groove hardwood boards, in my lathe bench have started to sag ( mostly under their own weight - well perhaps with one or two chucks and a few other light accessories! ) and will require some additional support in the near future. As i mentioned occasional maintenance may be required.

Best of luck with the new mill - just in time for Christmas.


Thread: Issue 286 - Bridgeport Article
15/10/2019 09:28:16

I am slightly resurrecting an older thread here but my copy of MEW286 only arrived today. Everything takes a little longer down here in this far corner of the Aunty Poddies - i.e. Western Australia!

Firstly thanks to Andrew for a very interesting article and please don't be deterred from further writing on related subjects. After 40 odd years of writing, editing and reading technical reports I can assure you that it is very rare to find one where the odd failure - from very minor to quite serious - has not slipped through somewhere in the process.

I don't have a Bridgeport but do have a clone on a slight dose of steroids. It weighs in at 1.5 tonnes and is powered by a 5 hp 3 phase motor. Purchased new some years ago it is of course what you might refer to as of Far Eastern origin, although here it is closer to north. Apart from the increase in size it is very similar to the Bridgeport and I have found the Bridgeport Series 1 manual ( available free to download on the Hardinge Bridgeport website ) a very useful source of information as the supplied 'manual' is a little brief.

My machine as supplied was relatively well featured with in-built coolant pump, Z and X axis power feed, 3 axis DRO, one shot lubrication and halogen work-light. Subsequent additions have included a riser block for the column and power feed for the Y axis. Also available are a slotting head attachment ( seriously expensive ) and horizontal milling attachment although I have not stretched to these as yet.

Compressed air powered drawbars are also available (mine has a NT40 spindle), although I would refer electric drive rather than air. I'll have to work on that.

The above is really just a way of saying that it is possible to feature one of these Asian origin machines to the same extent that Andrew has been able to do - assuming you chose the right one to start with, not all can be upgraded to the same extent, and have deep enough pockets.

The penalty is cost and weight - this is an industrial size machine and everything that accompanies it has an industrial size price tag. Not only that, everything is heavy - and getting heavier as I get older. Planning ahead for future heavy lifting is getting higher on my list of priorities every day!

So, for those who have either a genuine Bridgeport or a clone of any size, I highly recommend the Bridgeport manual. I have found it to be very relevant to my decidedly non-Bridgeport machine. You may also find it possible to obtain the accessories to enhance these clone machine as required.

Once again thank you for taking the time to prepare the article Andrew.


Thread: Solvent for degreasing engine, without damaging the paintwork?
14/09/2019 04:35:23

Hi Nicholas

If you are trying to protect as much as possible of the original paintwork, as you have suggested, I would go down the restoration route as far as possible. That is: start with the mildest possible solvent ( i.e. water ) and work up slowly from there - probably to isopropyl alcohol ( iso-propanol ). I fear that more aggressive solvents are likely to dissolve, discolour or otherwise permanently damage the paintwork. however there may be others on here who have specific experience with old steam toys who can offer more specific advice.

A cotton bud with a dab of the selected solvent in an inconspicuous location will indicate the likely effect on the paintwork of more extensive cleaning. In any event I would avoid wholesale soaking and work on a slow dismantle applying solvent to only the parts you are working to free up.

Also, beware the use of aerosols. While the solvent may be relatively benign, the hydrocarbon propellant may be very damaging to paints, plastics and rubber. I now only use solvents in hand pump spray bottles for this reason.

Best of luck with the project. It is great to see these things being brought back to life.


Thread: 4 jaw Self centering chuck recommendations please
03/09/2019 05:19:45

Hi Aled

I do have a couple of Sanou 6 jaw chucks but have not yet put them into service so cannot comment on their accuracy. They do however appear to be fairly well finished and the jaws to meet correctly. Incidentally the largest is a 250 mm chuck so they do get up to the "industrial" sizes.

Before buying I did find a video on the internet ( sorry I don't have a link ) that covers the dismantling and cleaning of one of these chucks ( a self-centering four jaw if I remember correctly ) which the author recommended doing before using.

This would also include removal of any small burrs.

Overall the reviews would indicate that they are fit for general purpose work.



Thread: XD351
23/06/2019 07:12:16

Hi XD 351

I believe I have bought all of my Forstner bits and saw tooth cutters from Carbatec (locally in Perth, but they have stores in most capitals ). They are available in sets or individually in HSS and carbide tipped.

Not sure where exactly you are located, but if it is any help they also have online sales.



Thread: Turning Cast Iron question - Health & Cleaning Up
06/05/2019 09:20:30

When machining messy materials like cast iron I place a sheet or sheets of computer paper ( or similar) on the ways and then spray it liberally with INOX or WD40 or similar which a) keeps it in place and b) the fine swarf sticks to the paper.

At the end of the job it is an easy matter to pick up the paper with the swarf attached and dispose of it making machine cleaning a much easier task.


Thread: Threading 1/8 stainless steel
01/05/2019 04:56:23

I have had the same experience when threading 3 mm 316 rod (and 6 mm and 12 mm) and have adopted the practice of putting a taper on the end of the rod, getting the thread ( just ) started in the lathe and then moving on to the bench vice.

Using lots of tapping paste but it doesn't seem to help much with the lathe part.

I have had similar slipping problems with threading in the bench vise when using aluminium soft jaws and have had to resort to the very grippy hard steel jaws. It works but the result is not pretty.

At this point I should mention that I have old injuries to my wrists that limit the amount of pressure I can apply to chuck keys and vise handles at times which probably adds to my problem here.

I also get the feeling that there may be a slippery surface coating on stainless steel rod, possibly a residue of the polishing process, which adds to the problem.

On my next outing I intend to try a clean down with acetone before using an ER collet in the lathe. Further experiments to follow .....



Edited By Pero on 01/05/2019 04:56:53

Thread: Fuse for "Align" slow motion mill table motor
01/05/2019 04:39:01

Hi Rod

I have three Align units, but only one in operation and readily accessible at this time.

The Align transformer, which has not been put into operation at this time, has a 3 Amp quick blow fuse. This is as supplied and the fuse rating is stamped on the ends of the fuse.

The operating unit is fitted on a RF31 mill drill with a home built step down transformer unit constructed using a toroidal transformer. With this unit I experimented a little with fuses starting with a 1 Amp quick blow and working up. After blowing a couple of 3 Amp slow blow fuses I stepped up to a 5 Amp quick blow and have had no further issues.

I haven't experimented with the motor speed setting at start up so I do not know how this might affect the inrush current. I suspect the load on the motor as determined by the alignment and smoothness of operation of the drive train and weight of the table and any work piece on it would have the most affect on the inrush current on start up.

Hope this helps


Thread: Soba rotary table
20/03/2019 00:14:49

An update on the RDG 2 3/4" rotary table.

I have received an email from RDG advising that their supplier would be sending me a ( checked [their advice] ) new table direct. A very good outcome.

Many thanks to Geoff Walker for pointing out the problem as mine was still in the original packaging and it may have been some time before I discovered the problem for myself.

Notwithstanding, I think I will still potter along with the motorising option as that tiny handle is a pain ( and I tend to lose count ).

I still haven't got to the dismantling yet but will attempt to send photos in due course.


17/03/2019 00:25:46

A little follow up on the 47 tooth issue.

I contacted RDG who responded quickly saying that they are contacting their supplier. I am waiting for the next response - I am assuming the weekend may have got in the way.

A slightly crude approach to the measurement of the worm height would suggest it is 18.5 mm plus or minus a tad ( one tad being equal to or less than 0.5 mm ).

This would mean that a NEMA14 would fit comfortably but given that loading would be light (mill with a high speed spindle driving small mills and drills ) I think I might opt in the first instance for a smaller NEMA11 to reduce weight.

Have yet to get into the workshop ( it's a fight ) to dismantle it and see whether it is worth the effort of motorizing it and to consider the motor mounting options.

After twiddling the little handle almost countless ( pun intended ) times to confirm that I too had 47 teeth I quickly became convinced that motorization is a necessity to prevent insanity, whether it is on this or an alternative small table!


14/03/2019 08:53:40

Neil thank you for your kind offer - I may need to take you up on it.

I am waiting for RDG to get back to me. They might possibly have the correct tooth in stock.

After all, I wouldn't want to fit a molar where an incisor should go devil


14/03/2019 08:44:58

Thanks Michael

I'm not quite sure how much holding torque I would require and whether I could possibly go down to a NEMA11.

I haven't dismantled it yet - I have to, it feels a bit gritty - so cannot advise on the worm height. I am guessing it will be very low ( probably a bit less than 20 mm ) as the whole table is only 38 mm in height. I suspect with either a NEMA11 or NEMA14 I may have to fit a sub-plate onto the bottom of the table for clearance. That said, the table on the Proxxon MF70 is quite small so the motor might comfortably hang over the edge and its size may then not be a problem.

Further investigations for tomorrow.



PS A check on the Pulolu web site indicates that the centre height on a NEMA14 is 17.5 mm so it should be right on the mark or very close to.

Edited By Pero on 14/03/2019 08:55:45

14/03/2019 06:27:48

My 4", 6" and 8" rotary tables are all older Vertex so I cannot add comment on the Soba or recent Vertex quality.

However, like Geoff Walker I also purchased the RDG Tools 2 3/4" rotary table, in my case to use with a Proxxon mini mill. The relative scales are just about right - the 8" Vertex is definitely overkill with this machine.

Unopened until today when I read this thread, I opened the plastic bag and lo and behold - 47 turns. Checked it twice counting full turns (47) and once counting half turns (94). Same outcome each time - yes I can still count - hooray.

I checked the RDG website where it is still available and still advertised as 1:48. I have emailed RDG advising of this and asking for a response. Perhaps they will send the missing tooth!

Alternatively does anyone have a recommendation for an itty bitty stepper motor and the necessary program to convert it to a useful bit of kit?


Thread: Laptop batteries
08/03/2019 03:22:55

I haven't bought laptop batteries ( although I think I am about to, I have three Sony laptops of varying vintage which are close to death ) but did buy some batteries for a wireless telephone system a while back. These were sold on ebay as genuine OEM parts in original packaging, and indeed they were.

The only problem was that they were the same age as the ones they were replacing so although unused the lifespan was very limited.

The moral of the story: check the date of manufacture of the battery before purchase. It appears that unless there is continued high demand, special design batteries cease being made fairly soon after the product for which they are designed is superseded and the ones available on the net may be old stock.

In the case of a mobile phone, I did have marginally better success with a clone ( phone went to God before the battery but it was a close run thing )..

God luck with the search


Thread: Buying lathes direct from China
14/02/2019 03:09:41

Firstly I would endorse the comments by Neil and others - if you are not prepared to accept the worst case outcome of a potential 100% loss then do not proceed.

I have not purchased a lathe from China but have purchased a CNC router and a small CNC multi-axis mill.

The router - large, heavy and had to be transported by sea. It arrived not configured as ordered (to paraphrase the response - so sad, too bad never mind. Don't worry we will look after you - they didn't!

The extent of corrosion found on various parts ( feet, nuts and bolts etc.) led me to wonder whether it was one they found out the back when having a clean-up or whether it was just bolted to the deck of the boat for the trip to Australia.

Finally the ordeal ( and cost ) of getting it through the customs formalities and delivered to my home made it something I would not do again.

That said - it is very solid and does work as advertised (apart from the niggling physical configuration issue).

The second exercise in heavy imports was the CNC mill. It was small enough to be sent by air through a reliable courier and was delivered to the door with no issues other than needing a more detailed invoice from the supplier ( no issue there ) for the GST calculation ( this is now done automatically when paying for Aliexpress orders for Australia ).

Only problem was that some Berk, when partially dismantling it for shipment, had left various mounting screws sticking out and some of these had been bent in transport ( not a major issue to replace ). Packing - lightweight ply box for air shipment could have been better.

I had to do a fair amount of dismantling to move it ( it is not all that light! ) and haven't yet had the opportunity to test it out but all of the sub-assemblies seem to be fine and looks good value for the money.

So - by air possibly, by sea most likely not.

In both cases these were items where I could not obtain a reasonable equivalent item at a cost I could hope to afford in Australia - I note these were low end commercial use items - and I was prepared to take a punt.

In the case of a standard lathe or mill I would definitely shop local - you might find that the apparent saving of the import ends up being an illusion.

That said, I did import my Cowells lathe but that's a much different, and much happier story from those few days when the Australian dollar was worth more than the plastic it is printed on!






Edited By Pero on 14/02/2019 03:10:47

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