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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: 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

Thread: B7 BP steel
08/02/2019 04:29:28

If it is carbon steel the BP may simply stand for Bright Plated. Given that there is no evidence of corrosion on the cut end I would think this a reasonable prospect.

I have never seen this type of coding on stainless steel. However all things are possible.

If it is stainless steel I would expect it to be marked 304 (or A2) or 316 (or A4) which are the usual grades for threaded studding.

Re the magnet test, 304 SS tends to become more magnetic as it is worked. That is, it leaves the mill as non-magnetic and becomes more so as it is worked into final shapes. Testing SS using a rare earth magnet yields some startling results. By way of contrast 316 does not appear similarly affected.

Stainless steels exhibiting magnetic qualities are not necessarily poorer grades it just reflects the differences in their composition and intended use.

Thread: Micrometer woes
27/01/2019 01:18:41

Beware also of polystyrene, the usually white foam more often, but not always, used as packaging material rather than as a liner. If used for longer term storage it has a nasty habit of adhering to metal and painted surfaces and may contribute to corrosion of metal.

The residue ( but not the rust ) can be removed from metal surfaces using acetone but I would welcome advice on a method for removing it from painted and lacquered surfaces without causing damage to the underlying finish.


Thread: Vickers Bl 8 inch Howitzer cannon of 1917
18/01/2019 05:15:48


I'm afraid I don't have any specific data on wheel diameters for the howitzer but my observations from old photographs and film would indicate that the wheel size varied during the war - most likely being of larger diameter and width during those periods of the war on the Western Front when extreme muddy conditions were experienced.

It may be possible to confirm/refute this observation - possibly from museum sources.

Brilliant work to date, I am following along with great interest.


Thread: Is it just me?
18/01/2019 02:40:17

Hi Adrian

No, not just you. I have had exactly the same result and it doesn't seem to matter whether it is just a polite request for additional information or "I desperately want to purchase one of these can you please advise the postage".

The only way I have found to address the problem is to find the sellers details and phone / email them directly. Even then I have found the telephone to be the most successful. So much for the digital age, it seems the personal touch is still hard to beat!

I have started to wonder if it is something that eBay puts in automatically and not all sellers are aware of it.



Thread: Chinese postal charges
12/01/2019 06:16:22


You are quite right in that if you add the shipping cost to the purchase price and you still need ( want ) the item then go ahead and be happy with the outcome.

However here in Australia I have had a 100% (or very close to it ) success with postal deliveries from the UK, Europe, USA and China so have no qualms about use of the postal service. I can fully appreciate why you do not.

Again, I do not need the speed of a super dooper overnight courier. I am quite happy to wait a week or two so again the postal service is quite adequate. It obviously depends on local conditions and circumstances whether this applies to others.

My experience with heavy items is that it doesn't much matter where they come from ( even China ) the transport costs are going to hurt and have to be factored into the purchase decision.

At the end of the day I suspect that almost all of us have limits, large or small, to our expenditure and it's a matter of getting the best value for the dollar, pound or whatever spent. 



Edited By Pero on 12/01/2019 06:25:31

12/01/2019 02:52:08


There is a mis-interpretation in Dave's original post. The figures he quoted are for wealth ( also referred to as 'net worth' by those who value us only in monetary terms ) and not annual income as stated. Otherwise most of us effluent bar stewards in Orstralia will be putting in for a very large pay rise to bring us up to the median sum quoted!

Part ( probably a very large part ) of the reason Oz comes out so highly in the wealth rating is due to the high rate of home ownership and an over inflated housing market. Unfortunately it doesn't translate to disposable income ( = bigger lathes and more overseas purchases ) as a result of high personal debt, mainly the result of having to pay the mortgage on the over-priced house.

The main reason I purchase less and less from overseas is due to the insistence of many suppliers, model engineering and otherwise, in using expensive couriers when a postal service would be perfectly acceptable. Typical shipping cost when importing from the UK is about 40 pounds ( even for relatively small items ). Costs from the US are now so ridiculous I seldom contemplate it. It seems odd but Germany and the Netherlands have been m the most cost effective of the 'first world' countries I have dealt with in recent times, although this may be down to the suppliers used.

However my obvious wealth does allow the purchase of both ME and MEW although with the depreciating Oz dollar my good fortune may only be temporary!


Thread: Cost of deliveries
13/12/2018 07:54:43

Observations from a long distance shopper (Perth, Western Australia ):

With a couple of exceptions (although still fairly expensive) shipping from the USA is now prohibitive on nearly everything. My exceptions still seem to be able to manage to get a just about acceptable cost from their carriers.

Shipping from the UK ( generally about AUS$100 per shipment ) is also bad but a few of the suppliers seem to have some control over shipping costs.

Unexpectedly, Germany has proven the most reasonable of the Western nations for shipping costs. Unsure why but I have taken advantage of it a few times.

Shipping from China ( Aliexpress ) is variable. Quite often " Free " if you compare a similar item where a shipping charge is applied the total is often the same showing it is a built-in cost. Shipping on some heavier items is high but cost plus shipping ( now with Australian GST ) can still be less than comparable cost in Australia. The addition of the GST was supposedly to help the local retail trade but since they are selling the same Made in China items with an exorbitant mark-up I suspect that the end result is more about helping the government than anyone else ( no surprises there ).

One way suppliers could possibly help would be to offer a slower, but less costly shipping option, if available. On almost all occasions I don't desperately need the item tomorrow ( or in a few days which is generally as good as it gets here ). A couple of weeks to a month would be more than adequate. Which in fact is almost a certainly a given if the Sydney mail exchange gets hold of it!

Alternative shipping options used to be given by some suppliers but they now seem to be routinely locked into contracts by the various carriers which largely seem to be to the advantage of the carrier and not necessarily the supplier or the purchaser.

Since shipping costs seem to be set largely by weight ( engineering items being small but heavy ) I usually try to purchase a number of items at a time, checking the shipping costs as I go to ensure I get the maximum value out of the shipping cost. Not always possible when purchasing a special one-off item, but useful for nuts and bolts and small tools.

Apart from that its just a case of do I want it/need it when the shipping cost is factored in ( and far too often the answer seems to be yes! ). However, more and more often I simply pass on things when I know the shipping costs will make the cost more than I am prepared to bear.

Inevitably it is the suppliers that are being punished ( by loss of sales ). The carriers do not seem to care. Business must be too good!


Thread: It's not rocket science
13/12/2018 07:10:23

Gafferovsky tape?

Perhaps this is finally the correct time to apply the term " Rocket surgery "

Thread: Fixing a bronze bush in wood.
07/12/2018 02:51:35

Quite a few comments on the metal part (as would be expected) but the timber component is also relevant.

I am not sure how much experience you have with these so I may be doing a little preaching here.

Epoxy is fine with wood although there are as many variants of epoxy as there are of metals. If fixing to a hard wood then a nice runny epoxy (as in 24 hour Araldite or one of the specialist woodworking/boat building epoxies) would be recommended. Softwood is less critical in this regard although you are still trying to achieve good penetration of the wood fibres. Depending on the type of finish required on the wood post-gluing the extent of penetration may be an issue as it may not be compatible with some surface finishes.

Also, beware of teak and some very oily timbers as these may pose issues with adhesion. A thorough degreasing with acetone or one of the more aggressive degreasers may be required. The area will appear to be bleached but this is mostly temporary although application of the degreaser should be confined to the gluing zone.

Hope this helps


Thread: Vertex BS-0 dividing head ?
26/09/2018 08:07:09

Yes, but the quality will be second to none!

On a positive note, I have a number of Vertex products, including a dividing head, rotary tables (4 at last count), adjustable angle table, milling vice and several sets of ER collets (ER8 to ER40), all of which I have found to be more than satisfactory for my use. I could possibly buy more expensive but I am stuck with the limitations of the existing operator and I confidently believe that to be the limiting factor.


Thread: New Workshop
14/09/2018 05:26:38

Quite right it is like a piece of string - but elastic as well.

When I built my (combined) workshop and double garage many years ago I thought the workshop part at 4 m by 7 m would set me up for life. I have recently kicked the last car out of the 6 m by 7 m garage and am still having trouble finding room to move. Apart from drowning in bits for unfinished projects, both large and small, I have along the way accumulated more and larger machines for metalwork and woodwork than I had ever anticipated. It's not only the space for the machines but room to get at the ends, and possibly the back, as well as the front that takes up much of the space (or should if I didn't have things all over the floor).

So, some things to think about:

  • What activities do you intend to do in the workshop - turning and milling being only a small part of the activities usually conducted.
  • How many machines do you have or envisage having in the future.
  • Will you be having metalworking and woodworking machines and if so what sort of separation do you want between the two activities.
  • What size machines will be accommodated and how much working space around them do you require.
  • Will you need to get at the back of any of the machines for any reason - in the case of big machines it is easier (possibly essential) if they stand away from the wall and you can do whatever needs doing without the need to move them.
  • What ancillaries will be accommodated - brazing hearth, grinding area, painting zone etc.
  • How much bench and storage space for tools and materials will required.

In my case, the 6 m by 7 m garage is ideal for my woodworking activities as it allows sufficient room for the free standing machines (planer, thicknesser, router table and saw bench and assembly table) in the middle and plenty of peripheral storage. Even so the machines have to be mobile so they can be moved out of the way to allow working room around the one in use at the time. Large pieces of wood and timber sheet take a lot of room to handle safely.

In the metalworking department 4 m by 7 m is definitely not sufficient for two lathes, two milling machines (one of of each of which is on steroids), a bench and limited storage. And that is without addressing additional needs for brazing, painting etc. Two large windows in one wall plus doors in two of the other walls are a further constraint.

If the workshop was a little wider, the option of putting the machines in two rows back to back would be well worth considering (does need pre-planning for electrification however) as it leaves the wall free for benches and storage.

So, do you need a workshop the size of mine (either in total or the two separate parts)? Probably not. If I cleaned up and disposed of some of the machines and materials I could probably manage in a smaller space. But since I have the space I might as well use it (but hopefully a little more efficiently in the future).

For your purposes, once you have worked through the dot points above, I would suggest the old graph paper method (or graphics package if you are one of those up to date people). Make to scale a cutout of the footprint of all of the machines and other space requirements lay these out on a sheet of graph paper in your preferred arrangement - not forgetting to allow sufficient space for movement and machine access - and measure the total required area.

Remember this is the inside dimension - you also have to allow for wall thickness if looking at external dimensions.

I am not sure whether this qualifies as a gem of wisdom but it does indicate how I would have done it if I had had a long distance crystal ball some thirty odd years ago.

Now looking at a rather reduced time span I think I could apply the above fairly successfully to come up with a sensible plan to meet my requirements.

If you have the land area available my advice is to go larger rather than smaller. It is better (and safer) to have more room to move in the workshop, even if the floor is not cluttered!

Regards, Pero

Thread: Is Model Engineering in Decline
18/08/2018 11:39:19

This thread is beginning to become a little worrisome.

I generally look a little scruffy and I am getting closer to being forced to live in the kitchen, only because the rest of the house, the garage and the workshop are full of tools and other modelling equipment. No claim to extreme wealth, probably because I spent it all on tools and other modelling equipment!

I also own a Land Rover bought new a little over 40 years ago. I like it because I can recognise the bits under the bonnet and can fix it when it wont go. I also admit I don't drive it a lot. It's uncomfortable (not designed for any human body shape that I can imagine), hot as Hades in summer, drinks petrol like it's going out of style and wont go around corners.

Now I am having to think about which lathe I am to be buried with. I think the Myford is a little small and likely to be rather uncomfortable and there is no way I could be set up between centers for burial. I knew there was a good reason why I wanted a lathe with 2 m between centers. As it is, with my large lathe only 1 m between centers I would have to be doubled up and goodness only know where the dead center would finish up!

Back to the original question. No I don't believe model engineering is dying. From the early days when ME covered every activity you could think of, it has split over and over into many different threads. For example model boating, once covered in ME has now diversified into RC model boating, model yacht racing, static model boat building, and probably a few others. Most of these people probably don't consider themselves to be model engineers and the die-hard metal manglers undoubtedly would not consider them to be model engineers, but they do fit under the umbrella and should be seen as part of the wider model engineering category. There are lots of people out there doing things and building things for their own entertainment, just not in the areas generally covered in the modern ME and MEW.

It is worth remembering that engineers engineered in wood and stone before they ever engineered in metal.

Just my thoughts anyway.


Thread: What did you do Today 2018
05/07/2018 02:01:22

Steady there Mark.

Those castings are for looking at, not machining.

That said, mine have now transitioned to such a high shelf that I can't even get to look at them any more. Still they are in two nicely labelled boxes so at least I can read the labels from time to time and contemplate further action.


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