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Member postings for norm norton

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

Thread: 5BA Threads
27/09/2020 13:56:14

BA Bolts have one of the biggest ranges, and he makes a lot of his own.

Thread: Left Hand Milling Cutter
09/09/2020 22:06:59

They do exist, found these from America, bit too expensive to import, so might keep looking. 2AAAOSwNhpa55Zd">link



Edited By norm norton on 09/09/2020 22:08:06

09/09/2020 21:43:52

Pleased I have caused a little bit of enjoyable thought Some interesting feedback, thank you.

Responses in reverse order.

-touch a clockwise rotating cutter on the edge of a round object and that object will try and rotate counter-clockwise, i.e unscrew upward.

- Fly cutters by definition have a moderate radius and this means a thumping wallop each rotation.

- Putting a small piece of work in a Stevenson hex ER block, and rotating that in a chuck manually, produces errors of at least 0.010". Been there, tried it, a mess. I am looking for 0.0001" in the vertical otherwise that small hex I show in my photo has all manner of irregularities in the horizontal land around it.

-The above is why working with the rotary table horizontally is better by keeping the cutting tool at a fixed depth of cut as it runs in the X or Y past each of the six faces in turn. Hence a perfect face around the hex sides.

- A small, 6mm, three flute carbide cutter is the ideal cutting tool for the brass of this size. I just wish the Chinese made left hand cutting ones!

- I like Neil's suggestion and it is what I thought I would do. Make a 6mm dia cutter from silver steel, mill cut a pair of teeth with rake and relief, harden to a straw temper, then diamond hone the tips

Thread: Steam Flow through a fine orifice
09/09/2020 21:15:35

Steve, thank you, your comments are helpful in that you have not challenged anything I am doing. I shall have to read a little more elsewhere as I would like to understand whether my limited understanding from 40 years ago (viz: a CFO is a pure hole with no length and the critical flow point is related to the speed of sound in that fluid) is correct or not.

To help others who are wondering what I am doing with this safety valve, it is a proven design that adequately discharges the necessary steam, but I have changed the holes in its vent cap for appearance only and I want to understand whether, theoretically, this may adversely affect its safe operation. I have also made the single row caps and I can, and will, compare the two versions in an actual test in a few months. For now, the feedback above, gives me confidence that the modifications will be ok.


Thread: Left Hand Milling Cutter
09/09/2020 14:53:15

I often have small work items (e.g. valve blanking caps) that I want to hold on the rotary table in order to machine a square or hex head on the top. These often have a thread on the other end and so easily screw into a threaded mandrel that I can grip in a collet chuck on the rotary table. They are short and offer little other surface for gripping.

valve cap.jpg

The problem is that if the mandrel is held vertically, and you touch the work with a conventional (clockwise) rotating tool, the work item will unscrew from the mandrel. Ahh, I thought, I need a left hand spiral milling cutter to be running anticlockwise. But there aren't any, why not? There are LH taps and drills. The only LH spiral milling cutters are designed to turn clockwise and the spiral forces the swarf and hence work item down on the table.

So far I have got round this by setting the rotary table vertically, the mandrel thus horizontally, and now a clockwise cutter drives the work into the mandrel. But the bulk of the rotary table gets in the way of the milling head.

The thread on the work is cut first on the lathe, then the item is parted off. I cannot see that there is another work sequence to let me cut the hex first on a longer piece of stock.

Any thoughts people? and why are there no LH cutters I can find? I shall have to make a simple one.

Thread: Steam Flow through a fine orifice
09/09/2020 14:22:05

Thanks, reassuring answers regarding the conclusion that as long as I have a greater total area, the actual diameter of the holes does not matter (seems counter intuitive to me, is this true even with a large number of (e.g.) 0.1mm dia. holes? which then create very long, narrow cylinders? but lets go with it for now).

I though that if a fluid flow system got anywhere near to criticality then the pressure drop rose rapidly to become a flow limiting absolute. I can't see that these vent holes could work if they were anywhere near that. I clearly need to know the volume of steam generated per second and then calculate the steam velocity.

I am trying to work out the implications of your comment Gareth. The boiler will be 6 barg (90psi). Perhaps in a safety valve most all the pressure drop is across the ball to seat gap, and this gap increases as a greater volume of steam has to be released. Meanwhile, the pressure drop across the vent cap is only a small fraction of the ball to seat one and thus the small holes stay away from criticality?

08/09/2020 17:07:35

This is a bit of a specialist question, but perhaps a fluid flow specialist might know the answer, and others might like to speculate.

I have built a pair of safety valves for a 5"G locomotive, and to make them more prototypical in appearance have drilled the vent cap with two rows of very fine holes (18 off 0.9mm dia. and 18 off 1.2mm dia.), rather than a single row of larger holes (12 off 1.7mm dia.). Now the cross sectional area of my two rows is substantially greater than the singe row, but I am concerned that the diameter of the holes is such that they act as critical flow orifices. However, if the flow through the single row is not supersonic, it cannot be so in the two rows. Or am I missing something?

I have used this website that provides a calculator

but if I plot the data for smaller and smaller orifices I still see a liner flow vs. area response, so has this calculator allowed for a critical behaviour? I don't think so but what do others think?

I appreciate that I could answer this if my physics knowledge included Reynolds number and fluid physics, etc. but it dosen't. Anyone have a quick answer? Sorry I don't have a ready number for the mass of steam that the valves have to shift other than an estimate that we are talking about 10 to 20kW of thermal energy generating that steam.


Thread: David Noble
25/08/2020 10:05:22

Dave Noble is around and active. I don't think he has a connection with The Steam Workshop, nor am I aware does Doug's son. Dave has cut out all his previous, extensive manufacture of engine and wagon parts, but last I spoke to him he was continuing with the water gauges. He did supply several retailers, try Blackgates first.

Thread: Hardware for the shop
22/08/2020 10:13:15


Could you get on with just having all Metric screws and bolts in your stock, and then buy any special UNF/UNC/BSF/BSW/BA only as and when needed? I would now recommend any younger newcomer to convert any drawings to metric and certainly the fittings.

I do like imperial, but I have BSF/BSW in zinc and stainless for motorcycles, and 26CEI for engine parts. Then an awful lot of BA in brass, steel and in hex, reduced hex and slotted. My Allen Head and Grub Screw box contains BA/BSF/Metric sizes in steel and stainless. And then, of course, I have a whole range of Metric screws and nuts in zinc mainly to cover the sizes above BA. And I still end up turning custom screws and nuts for steam engines which need 32 and 40 TPI.

It's all a bit too much really. Plan all jobs in Metric and stock those only. Buy good sets (Tap and Die Co) of all the other thread forms for the specials, and you will be fully equipped.

Thread: The making of Steel Balls
06/08/2020 13:51:15

Yes that was a good little video to see, thank you.

It appears that rolling the balls repeatedly up a series of spiral channels eventually forces them to self wear and become spherical. I wondered if any grinding paste/suspension was included or if their own grit did the job? I think they mentioned lapping paste for the final polish.

I thought I read many years ago that early ball bearing manufacture involved dripping molten steel from the top of a tower, with the molten steel forming a ball before it cooled and hit the sand at the bottom? or have I muddled this with another process?

I think that Britain has never (?) had its own ball bearing manufacture, which is why we were in trouble for the two world wars. Industry was using imported metric bearings in the 1930s because you find them in otherwise fully imperial motorcycle parts.

Thread: Seig X3 has died
06/06/2020 18:01:35

Thanks for all your help, it's now running again after taking it all to bits and reassembling.

I apologise for for jumping to the wrong assumption that the PCB or motor had failed, when I should have checked the wiring first. I apologise to Mr Sieg for spelling his name wrongly in the title and my text (I before E except after...) I apologise to Ketan for wasting his time with his kindly offering to help.

Yes it is a 2008 machine with the later aluminium end to the motor. I took that off, checked that it ran on 12v and it drew just 80mA, so that seemed ok. I took out the PCB and could see no surface evidence of overheating. I then worked out where all the wiring went through the switches and measured the resistances - no breaks found. Hmmm. Lets put the PCB back in as a lash-up and connect the motor again to see if there are any volts at all. Oh, it now works!

So, a whole day and somewhere in the process I have cured a poor connection. I would guess it might have been in the cut out switch circuit - I had many years ago removed the chuck guard and joined those wires to the switch together, but perhaps not very well.


Edited By norm norton on 06/06/2020 18:02:45

06/06/2020 12:31:10

I have just found Les Jones' website with information on his X3 motor that he took apart in 2008. It is a two wire DC supply, 13 slot and 39 segment brushed motor. DC 230v max, 600W, 3.2A. It seems I can test it with a DC power supply and watch for a smooth current draw of up to 200mA at 40v with no load. So I will do that next. Apparently if the motor has a failed winding it will have popped the PCB.

I have had a call from Ketan at ARC and he has been really helpful. Apparently I might have one of the longest running and oldest X3s and it has probably benefitted from my humidifier dried workshop. He has motors available and has kindly made enquiries about getting me a controller.

What he does not know is whether any other, modern DC power supplies will work. Fair enough, you need to be a DC brushed motor expert. Anyone out there have a view?

Edited By norm norton on 06/06/2020 12:32:01

06/06/2020 10:54:10

Thank you Chaps. I will have a look at the PCB carefully for a broken section. I think also I need to note down a few details about the circuitry and see if one of the Chinese £25 controllers will wire in, or I follow my new inclination to avoid China and support the British company.

I assume I can just put 12v DC across that motor and see if it drives forward and reverse smoothly? I guess it will want to suck a few amps so I would use a battery rather than a power supply. The label says - ZYT-600 DC 230v 600w 4000r/min 3.2A CLASS E FORWARD. I am not sure what the 'class E forward' means?

05/06/2020 15:07:25

I have a nice old Seig X3, bought more than ten years ago from ARC, in the days when you had to take them apart and clean it all before switching on!

It has been a good machine and I listened to others' reports of motors failing and thought, well maybe one day.. and that day has come, perhaps.

I know there are a few X3 users on the forum so I am asking if anyone can comment from personal experience. I know I can contact ARC and will do that next.

Yesterday I was running the motor at maximum speed for a 1mm drill and switched off by putting the forward/reverse switch to zero, which is what I usually do. Today I get the green power light on the front motor panel, there is no yellow trip error, and the single fuse I have tested as ok. I can switch on in the 'wrong' sequence and cause the yellow error to light, and clear it, but no power to the motor and no noises whatsoever.

Looking at the PCB in the back it all looks clean and I can see no overheating.

So have I got a failed PCB or a failed motor? Anyone got some tips for simple circuit checks to look for volts or continuity in the motor?

I wonder if ARC might carry parts? I have thought in the past about fitting a half horsepower 3 phase motor and VFD if mine ever went pop. For now I would just like to get the DC motor running again.



Thread: Synthetic and enamel paint explained
27/05/2020 09:56:13

Choo, I agree with your thoughts to want to try and understand what goes on with paints. We need someone who has written a book on the history of paint to comment, but I doubt there is one.

I agree with some of what you have said, but not all. Here is my summary of understanding. I have messed with paints for forty years but I have no specific competence in the subject.

1. Traditional paints were called 'enamels' and were pigments ground up with oils and resins of animal and plant base. Designed for brush application. The solvent was turpentine and more recently white spirit.

2. Natural materials have been replaced by synthetics (chemical industry products) and the word alkyd appears. Synthetic enamel can be thinned with white spirit but synthetic thinners is available. Toluene is a constituent. Synthetic enamels dry more quickly (which can make brushing more difficult) and are relatively easy to apply by spray because of this.

3. Cellulose paints were (I think) developed purely for spray application (1930's?) and were quick drying for industrial speed. You cannot brush apply because of this. The solvents are based around cellulose acetate. Cellulose thinners is a powerful solvent and will dissolve and melt most other paints. Hence, never put a cellulose paint on top of other paints or primers.

4. The automotive industry moved away from cellulose base to polyester many years ago. You cannot buy cellulose paints now (generally) and for home spraying it is polyester and a slightly more friendly 2K thinner. Gloss polyester is mixed with an activator (urethane or isocyanate reaction?) to make it harden. The solvents evaporate more quickly than cellulose. It sprays easily, drys fast and is much more durable than cellulose (modern petrol resistant) The majority of car respray systems involve a 2K clear lacquer topcoat. Safety breathing equipment HAS TO BE WORN. The car world has moved to water based paints and this will also arrive for home use, which will be a good thing for spraying, but not so for brushing perhaps.

The above relates to top coats. There is another subject on etch primers and on undercoats.


Edited By norm norton on 27/05/2020 09:58:53

Thread: Which Mill
04/05/2020 10:20:47


Yes, fully support your thoughts of an SX but go for the SX3 like Adrian at £1640. It is 70% heavier than the SX2.7 and mass is a good thing in milling machines. Both come with an R8 spindle which is the best choice for a home workshop.

Enjoy it! and then plan to fit a quality DRO!


Thread: Possible protection from Covid
03/04/2020 14:16:38

When I first saw this yesterday I also wondered for a second or two what the meaning was. Then I recalled that the eminent person describing it was an anaesthetist, as well as steam engine rescuer, and I would trust him totally. The more you think about it the more sense it makes.

Thread: renew driving licence
07/02/2020 20:05:09

RMA thank you for making me go back to square one and recheck. Maurice I owe you an apology and I am sorry I was wrong and you are right.

I am grateful that this forum discussion has caused me to find out the facts and it will be a big help to me when I have to renew at age 70. I have been led astray by friends who told me that I would lose my over 3.5 tonne GTW (Gross Train Weight) towing rights at age 70 renewal - they are wrong. A confusion has been that post 1997 licences only have category B and that this is restricted to 3.5 tonnes GTW. However, pre 1997 licences also have category BE, in addition to B, and this BE permits the vehicle MAW (Maximum Allowable Mass) to be up to 3.5 tonnes and for it to tow a trailer upto the vehicle's plated limit, just as RMA says.

At renewal at age 70 the pre 1997 licences retain category BE.

Thank you to those who were patient enough to tell me this. You have saved me going through the forms D2+D4 palaver.

07/02/2020 09:46:58
Posted by Maurice Taylor on 06/02/2020 18:15:58:

Over 70 you only lose C1 and C1E you still get BE which allows you to drive vehicle upto 3.5 tonnes and pull any size trailer upto the maximum weight specified by the vehicle manufacturer.No need for medical

No, not any size of trailer. Only up to a combined vehicle + trailer weight (MAW) of 3.5 tonnes.

A VW Transporter for example has a MAW, or gross vehicle weight, of between 2.5 and 2.8 tonnes depending on specification. Most caravans, or trailers capable of carrying a small car, will easily take you over the 3.5 tonnes total.

06/02/2020 10:41:10
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 05/02/2020 18:56:58:

And [whilst not a site that I would normally visit] this might be the best ‘Plain English’ guidance available:



That is an excellent document, thank you.

To reiterate, if anyone is like me under age 70 (just) and holds a driving licence issued pre-1997, the licence will include categories C1 and C1E(107) which permit that driver to use a vehicle and trailer where the combined GTW is over 3,500kg. I make the point that a number of caravaners and others fall into this group of individuals. C1E(107) differs from C1E in that it downgrades the maximum GTW to 8,250kg.

At licence renewal at age 70 those C1 and C1E(107) categories are lost IF one does it online or at a Post Office WITHOUT additional documents. These are forms D2 and D4, one of which has to be signed off by a doctor, and there will be a fee for this. The forms have to be submitted by post or through a Post Office. The licence has to be renewed every three years and the D2+D4 process repeated.

Edited By norm norton on 06/02/2020 10:45:05

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