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Member postings for SillyOldDuffer

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

28/07/2021 16:52:50

Try searching Graces Guide.

Might be untraceable; oil cans and similar were made by many companies, large and small, and it was common for them to be Brand-named on request. 'Abbey' might be the name of a long gone Ironmonger rather than a make.


Thread: 'Puter upgrade recommendations
28/07/2021 16:39:17

Gary's system doesn't sound too bad too me, so I wonder if something is adrift.

As mentioned, the SSD is a possibility. This website lists SSD health check software. I've never used one: my SSDs are all fine, so far!

Gary's mention of 12Gb raises another possibility if his RAM was upgraded in steps rather than all at once. Mixing different RAM modules can cause marked performance problems. The whole 12Gb should be of the same type and from the same manufacturer.

Malware and/or a corrupt Registry is always a strong possibility on Windows, so worth doing a full scan and clean if there's any suspicion. I'm out-of-date, but malwarebytes and ccleaner did a good job for me last time my daughter had trouble. (She's now a confirmed Apple user...)

These days almost any new workstation costing over £500 will run CAD easily, and more ordinary kit will do the job too. Unless the model is huge Fusion 360 is lightweight.compared with the average video game. Getting the same performance out of a laptop is considerably more expensive.


Thread: is a belt sander any good for hss tooling
28/07/2021 10:29:48
Posted by Pero on 28/07/2021 07:36:28:

There is an American program called Forged in Fire in which contestants typically make a hardened steel knife from various materials.

Of interest here is the extensive use made of belt sanders for shaping the roughly forged blanks - both pre- and post-hardening. These frequently start with the use of 80 grit and moving on to increasingly finer grades for final shaping and initial sharpening. The amount of metal that can be removed using the coarser grades is very impressive and well worth a look.


Recommended watching I think. The format is 'Great British Bake-off' except they make knives, swords, and replica historic edged weapons rather than cake.

Much to be learned about forging, and although contestants know their stuff, they have surprising gaps when it comes to ordinary metalwork technique. Watched dozens of episodes and only once has a milling machine been used, though blood is often spilled misusing a pillar drill to widen holes.

Anyway, the hardened steel blades on Forged in Fire are invariably finished with a belt-sander, much bigger than the device linked in Brian's question, and they remove a lot of metal. My small belt-sander is used as a linisher, and I hadn't thought of using it to touch up HSS. Although it would probably work I don't see any advantage compared with a wheel, and there are disadvantages too. A narrow HSS tool would wear the belt rapidly in one place unless it were kept moving side to side, in which case it would be hard to keep straight. Even done carefully, I doubt the belt on a small machine would last long because the layer of abrasive is so thin.

Horses for courses, I'd rather use the belt for linishing and a wheel for sharpening HSS. Both tools are worth having!


Thread: Centec 2B - New arrival and Q&A
27/07/2021 12:29:01

Posted by William Ayerst on 27/07/2021 11:45:16:


On a related now I'll need to do some drilling soon, and would love to do it on the mill. I'm a bit confused though. I can find almost no drill chuck arbors with drawbars at all, let alone the specific one I required - (JT6 to MT2 with a 3/8" thread).

Am I over-thinking it that I will need a drawbar for the drill chuck? So many are sold as tanged and I find it hard to believe that all of those are used on a lathe only?


Drawbars aren't normally needed for drilling because cutting with a drill forces the taper tighter, hence less likely to slip. So tight, a tang is needed to eject them.

Milling applies sideways and reverse forces to the cutter that tend to loosen a plain taper, causing poor finish due to movement, or the taper dropping out entirely. For the same reason, drill-chucks shouldn't be used to hold milling cutters - they are designed to grip up-down, and perform badly when the cutter moves sideways.

A drawbar pulls the taper home good and hard and is almost immune to sideways forces and vibration. Don't overtighten them though, especially if a cold taper is inserted into a hot socket and done up by Mr Gorilla. They can be a real pig to unstick.

On the subject of unsticking, loosen the drawbar a turn or two then tap it sharply with a brass hammer. (I whack mine with an ordinary steel hammer via an aluminium block. The softer metal prevents damage to the drawbar.) Under no circumstance pound on the drawbar - a fast light crack to break the stiction, rather than several slow heavy thumps that will mangle the threads and do other damage.



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 27/07/2021 12:59:30

Thread: To paint, or nor to paint.
26/07/2021 20:25:47

Depends what you want to emphasise:

  • Unpainted brings out the quality of the build and the craftsmanship that created the object. Qualities normally hidden can be admired,
  • Paint makes the model look like the prototype, covers up blemishes, and brings out shape and style. Not easy to get right. Plain black would be appropriate for an industrial setting whereas the same engine could be authentically garishly painted if it worked a theme park. A military engine might be camouflaged. Many arguments about the exact shade of green used by the GWR in 1875! Paint adds another high-level of skill and involves aesthetics, but it hides much.
  • Grunge is realistic, which appeals on another level.

Of the three I prefer plain or grunge to superb paintwork, because perfection smacks of fleeting Sunday best fakery. Super-smart is posed and essentially unreal, and there might be a well-polished turd underneath. I dislike bling, others love it!


Thread: What on Earth would this be used for?
26/07/2021 17:01:21

My guess it's for soldering large lead sheathed power cables, chemical plumbing, or ornamental lead work like drain pipes and waterspouts. They all need more heat than a domestic blowlamp can provide. Do I remember early LBSC recommending 5 pint blowlamps for boiler work?


Thread: Stepper motors
26/07/2021 15:22:47

Baffling symptoms Steve!

Can you post photos of the wiring and your circuit diagram?

The misbehaviour of the oscilloscope may be a clue. As the oscilloscope's input impedance is about 1Megaohm, no way should measuring DIR and PUL together with it cause a problem. I wonder if the DM542 is wired correctly, because getting a pair the wrong way round would cause the symptoms. Note also the measurements are always taken relative to Ground, never between DIR+ and DIR- and Co.

The diagram in the manual is confusing because it shows the wiring done with shielded twisted pair, with the wires crossing over.


If the Controller is common-anode, PUL+, DIR+, and ENA+ must all be connected to Vcc (ie +ve)

If the Controller is common-cathode, PUL-, DIR-, and ENA- must all be connected to Ground (ie -ve)

What's not allowed is a mixture. Triple check the connections. A quick look at the Ruida manual suggests it's Open Collector, ie. Common Anode - Figure 3 applies, not Fig 4.


Thread: Downloadable issues
26/07/2021 14:30:32

Nothing to do with downloading the magazines, but as upgrading to Windows 10 has been mentioned, are members aware Windows 11 is imminent?

The free upgrade to 11 is from Windows 10 only, so if relying on anything earlier be aware the free upgrade path is melting away. May not matter, but generally the best strategy is to keep computers and self reasonably up-to-date. Partly for security reasons, partly to keep applications running, and partly to avoid the severe culture shock caused when finally forced to jump several versions in one go. I wouldn't care to switch directly from Windows-XP to Windows-11!


Thread: Leveling machines
26/07/2021 14:10:14

If I was installing my lathe again, I'd put down a layer of self-levelling floor compound (from any DIY store), just big enough for the stand to sit on.

What I actually did was assume my garage floor was level and plonk the lathe straight down on it. Turned out, although the floor looks flat, it has a few shallow bumps and dips, which are enough to twist the bed. I fixed that by putting roofing felt under the stand, the idea being it would squish flat underneath and fill the gaps. Which it did for about 6 months, before it became apparent the bed was twisting again. I fixed that with another bodge, steel wedges tapped under the stand, which for easy adjustment require a sensitive machine level. Tiny movements under the lathe can twist the bed enough to cause mild taper turning. Possible to adjust the lathe without a level by taking a series of test cuts but pretty tedious.

Lathes don't have to be level as such, but the easiest way to remove twist is to ensure the floor is flat (no bumps), so the stand isn't stressed (as mine is), so the lathe sits flat on the stand. If that's done there's a strong chance the bed won't be twisted at all, or a minor twist can be taken out by shimming one of the lathe's feel, which can be done without a level just by taking a few test cuts. This compares with my set-up, where the floor isn't level, and the stand is stressed, which is likely to twist the bed. Both my counter measures are bodges: I ought to move the lathe, flatten the floor and start again! Annoyingly my garage floor is mostly flat - it's only uneven where the lathe needs to go.

Similar problems occur on wooden floors if they sag. For example if one end of the stand is well supported by a beam underneath, while the other isn't. Good idea to support a heavy lathe with pillars under the floor, not so much because the floor will collapse (unlikely), more cause the bed might twist due to the floor flexing. A sensitive level will show this up if the bubble moves when the operator steps away from the lathe.

Over sensitive bubbles are a pain in the butt! They take ages to settle, and quite small movements take them out of range. Frustrating to use. As I say with hindsight, easier to level the floor with a flattening compound, where gravity does all the hard work.


Thread: Silver Solder Stocks
26/07/2021 11:27:14
Posted by Pete Rimmer on 24/07/2021 10:16:34:

Does being illegal to put on the market automatically make buying it an offence too though?

Maybe, maybe not. Because English law is based on precedent, and punishments are set by tariff, it's not consistent. But broadly, if it's illegal to sell it, it's usually illegal to buy it. Off-hand I can't think of a counter-example.

Usually selling is a more serious offence than buying. A Cannabis user will get off with a warning, while a Cannabis Dealer will be arrested unless the quantity is tiny. It's illegal in the UK to buy or sell firearms without a licence, and illegal to possess one. You can't trade in firearms by barter or by gifting them.

I've no idea where Cadmium Solder sits between puffing Cannabis and buying a crate full of assault rifles with ammunition.

I don't see risky substances as being black and white. However, to my mind there's a big difference between ignorantly using Cadmium because it makes the job easier, and taking a properly calculated risk with precautions, including what happens to the finished product in years to come. I feel posts in favour of Cadmium solder are being made by practical men who don't know much about Cadmium, for example 'These symptoms are usually delayed for some hours after the exposure, and fatal concentrations may be breathed without sufficient discomfort to warn the workman to leave the exposure.' Common-sense cannot be applied to Cadmium.

Very odd; chaps who have a visceral fear of acid, which might be perfectly safe, are gung-ho about Cadmium, which is always dangerous. I suggest looking it up rather than hoping for the best. A substance being banned is a clear signal the stuff needs a plan, not cracking on regardless!

May help to know humans are p*ss poor at evaluating long-term risk, If it's not immediately and obviously dangerous (like a hungry grizzly bear), we don't get it. Millions are killed every year by prolonged tobacco, booze and sugary goodness...



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 26/07/2021 11:28:30

Thread: X2.7L vs SX2.7L
26/07/2021 10:30:14

I suggest the difference between 750W brushed and 750W brushless isn't worth worrying about much. Both motors are adequate to that size of mill.

Brushless have more low-end torque and no brushes to wear out, but the electronics are more complex. Brushed are a tad or two less efficient than brushless, but they don't fail my 'so what?' test.

All things being equal, I'd buy brushless, but either will do. My mill has a brushed motor because that's what came with the biggest mill I can accommodate. To me the physical size of the machine was more important than the motor.

The single-phase motors used on Myford lathes are a glaring poor motor choice. Compared with other types their performance is bumpy, and noisy, and they have low starting torque. They're also unreliable due to capacitors and a centrifugal switch, and are unsuited to stop-start operation as required by a lathe. Yet this long list of disadvantages hasn't damaged the reputation of Myford lathes, on which huge amounts of good work have been done! The reason is single-phase motors are 'good enough' - they don't need to be wonderful. However, if I owned a Myford with a clapped out single-phase motor, I'd replace it with 3-phase / VFD, or brushless, or brushed DC. The improvement is worthwhile, but not essential.

Lesson learned from my beginner days was not to waste too much time dithering about details. If as a learner you don't know exactly what's needed, you might just as well buy the biggest you can afford and explore learn from it. Too much choice, many far eastern machines in various shapes and sizes, plus affordable ex-professional kit sold cheap and in good nick because they've been made redundant by CNC. Rather than spend months analysing the market, make a start, learn the ropes, and upgrade later if necessary. I suggest vertical milling machines are so similar, they will meet learner needs. Experts know different, but that comes with experience.


Thread: Tapers
26/07/2021 09:50:28
Posted by not done it yet on 26/07/2021 09:27:28:
Posted by Peter Ellis 5 on 25/07/2021 11:48:35:

Probably a daft question, but what are the B Series tapers, please ?

.... Machinerys Handbook didn´t seem to mention them.



Question: What year is your Mach. Handbook? Mine is definitely an older version, so may not include more recent european standardisations.

... As these comparisons will show, the B16 taper is the same as the MT2 taper.

My 20th Edition of Machinery's Handbook (1978) doesn't cover them either. (Only ISO threads are mentioned)

Looking up B-series, it seems the tapers are identical to the MT series, but much shorter. They are German in origin. Presumably German engineers needed a short version of MT, standardised it, and the sawn-off MT form has been found useful elsewhere. No idea what for!


25/07/2021 14:22:32
Posted by Peter Ellis 5 on 25/07/2021 13:14:46:


I wonder where the B series was necessary when the Jacobs ones have been around for years and are quite satisfactory.

Earlier tapers are proprietary and some of them downright peculiar, perhaps to protect licence fees. The B series are international, with no commercial restrictions.

Before standardisation, the plethora of different threads, gauges, tapers, measures, and other variations was a complete muddle. Collisions between proprietary or old and new standards still cause a fair amount of trouble. Jacobs tapers survive because a lot of them have been made and now there are no fees because the patent is expired.

I'm not aware Jacobs or B-series tapers perform any differently. It's just that they don't fit together!


Thread: Metallurgical coal
25/07/2021 13:46:27
Posted by JA on 25/07/2021 11:16:24:

I realise there is a potentially carbon free way to produce iron. All the processes are proven! The thermite process gives molten iron but at present it is usually used for welding. The aluminium needed in the process is produced by electrolysis that uses far more energy than a blast furnace. Hydro-electric schemes were used for generating the electricity but now it is generally by burning natural gas. Most aluminium smelters are close to gas fields, usually in developing countries. Don't even think about wind power.

"We're all doomed".


All true, but the conclusion is suspect. The mistake is assuming things are done in a particular for sacrosanct reasons and there no alternatives.

When I was a lad almost all aluminium was made with green renewable energy, mostly hydroelectric. Norway was good - plenty of rain landing on mountains producing more electricity than the population could use. Back then, most natural gas was flared off because it appeared in remote oil fields and was difficult to transport; it needed a network of expensive pipelines to be laid. The early gas supply situation is very like renewables today: a cheap energy source requiring massive investment to use it.

The gas problem was solved by applying fresh engineering. Today, there are many transcontinental natural gas pipelines and tankers ship compressed gas by sea safely. Result, for the moment, gas is the cheapest way of generating electricity we have - cheaper and cleaner than coal, with other advantages.

But gas is only at a temporary advantage. It's a diminishing fossil fuel with supply is reckoned in decades, not centuries. When the sources dry up, all those expensive pipelines become scrap-metal, and gas ceases to be the cheapest way of generating electricity. At some point Aluminium will switch to something else.

JA suggests wind power isn't the answer, but it could be. Not by expecting a lone local wind-farm to power a smelter, but by connecting the smelter to a multinational power grid fed by multiple different sources. As most UK energy is already imported from abroad, this isn't a fundamental change. The difference is in how energy is collected, transported and managed. Yes, technical challenges, but there are plenty of solutions to them.

Think big, think different! Engineers fix problems. We never give up at the first obstacle or assume the only answers are old school.


Thread: Strange type in the Lates Posts ?
25/07/2021 10:01:18
Posted by JasonB on 25/07/2021 08:35:53:

Not just quote, I've just added a pound symbol to the end of the thread title which comes up as a question mark.

That's right. Michael's example was caused by his mac inserting fancy quote marks, but the underlying issue is the forum not supporting Unicode fully, in particular - for reasons unknown - titles in 'Last Forum Posts' misinterpret Unicode characters.

In the good old days, when life was soooo simples, computers (mostly), used ASCII characters. ASCII supports US English characters, digits and punctuation with a straightforward 7 bit binary code. ASCII is OK for English speakers, though it caused trouble in the UK with # and £, but unhelpful for any language with accents, and hopeless for non-Latin alphabets like Greek, Hebrew or Chinese. In French and la are different words.

Modern computers use Unicode rather than ASCII. Unicode can use 8 or more bits to represent characters. Unicode allows us to type non-ASCII symbols such as ° ± ² ´ µ ¶ · ¸ and ¹ plus other alphabets שׁ

On an engineering forum it's handy to type mathematical symbols like ∴ and fractions such as ⁷⁄₃₂. Special characters can be looked up by searching for Unicode plus minus, how the magic numbers are typed in varies by operating system, but they all allow cut and paste of the actual characters. I use this nice website for generating fractions.

As Unicode is almost universal these days, many software packages use it automatically, and correct single quotes from 'hello' to ‘hello’, and in other ways. The cost is added complexity, and a risk the software will get characters wrong. This forum seems to get Unicode right apart from in Last Forum Posts, where complex Unicode characters are in titles are misinterpreted. Probably a bug. Best to avoid anything other than plain text in titles. As far as I can tell Unicode works correctly everywhere else on the forum.


Thread: Metallurgical coal
24/07/2021 15:02:31

Posted by JA on 24/07/2021 13:16:55:


Some organisations, even respected ones, believe that the money representing the cost of opening this mine and the saving of transport costs (at present metallurgical coal is shipping into the UK) would be better spent developing a carbon neutral method of making iron.

Question - Is this possible?

Yes. Iron is a reactive metal and the ore, which comes in many forms, is mainly Oxides and Carbonate, plus many impurities. Steel makers go to considerable trouble to remove unwanted elements, including Silicon, Phosphorous, Manganese, Cobalt, Magnesium, Sulphur, Copper, Nickel and Calcium. However, the main problem is removing Oxygen. This is usually done by reducing the Oxide or Carbonate with Carbon: at high temperatures Oxygen has a higher affinity for Carbon, so Oxygen transfers producing Carbon Monoxide leaving more-or-less pure Iron behind.

Although any Carbon will reduce iron ore, it pays to use high purity coke, which is made from particular types of coal. Early iron-makers used Charcoal made from wood and many miserable failures resulted from using the wron sort of coal.

However, though metallurgical coke is cheap and clean for steel-making, any reducing agent would do, though many of them are toxic and expensive.

Of the likely future methods I guess electrolysis holds most promise. It's already used to make any metal more reactive than Iron such as Aluminium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Lithium, Scandium and Titanium etc.

About a third of the world's steel is produced electrically by melting scrap. Same job could be done with coke but electricity makes purer steel that's more profitable.

Until recent times Coal was the cheapest way of making Iron and Steel. The cost advantage will fade over the next century or so, but Global Warming is pushing it out too. The world is moving towards 'polluter pays', and burning coal would be expensive if wasn't dumped for free into the atmosphere. Fortunately there are alternatives, though I suspect steel prices will be higher in future.

Most chemical conversions in any direction are possible provided energy is available.


Thread: moving machines
24/07/2021 10:05:28
Posted by Brian Wood on 24/07/2021 09:37:29:...

The Ice factory is now no more, having burnt down I believe in the late 1960s


How ironic is that! Was Wile E Coyote implicated:

Thread: Silver Solder Stocks
24/07/2021 09:47:27
Posted by Stueeee on 24/07/2021 08:54:29:
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 24/07/2021 07:50:44:...

At the time of writing that's true. Apparently a crime being committed. From my experience, I can state that the product arrives with Johnson Matthey's paperwork pointing out precautions to be taken in use, the product's unsuitability for use in a food environment etc. So where is the victim here? Some people don't want to use Cadmium bearing Silver solder. Fine, don't buy it.

So where is the victim here? Good question! Could be you, me, the neighbours, children yet unborn, and the taxpayer.

Cadmium's poisonous and suspected carcinogenic properties don't just effect the operator. Though most obviously dangerous when Silver solder is fuming it's also a problem for the Cleaner, whoever disposes or recycles the finished item in years to come, and anyone who drinks water from contaminated landfill.

Of course one or two folk quietly soldering the odd joint with cadmium loaded solder doesn't matter. What does is large numbers doing the same, which happens as soon as products like this hit the market.

Think 'other people'. What's OK on a private ranch in deepest Montana might not be OK in a central Manchester tower block. Neighbours have rights too, and why should the taxpayer pick up the cost of our mistakes? The worldwide ban on Cadmium is aimed at protecting the public, and the practicalities exclude making hobbyists a special exception.

Easier to buy solder from someone reputable and take their advice. See Keith Hale's comments.


Thread: The beginnings of Mobile Telephony
23/07/2021 12:51:11
Posted by ega on 23/07/2021 11:01:44:
Posted by Tim Hammond on 21/07/2021 19:03:01:

Here's a point for the pedants among us: in the early 2000's I was employed at the Southampton Goods Vehicle Testing Station and in the test hall were several notices informing the customers that the use of portable telephones was forbidden in the hall. Quite right really, as the instrument cannot move a millimetre by itself. Perhaps we should start using the American term "cellphone".

The French for mobile phone is "téléphone portable" or "portable " for short.

I'm surprised that the Americanism has not caught on here in the UK.

Pedant's paradise!

  • Cell Phone not cellphone
  • Cell is an abbreviation of cellular network and phone is an abbreviation of telephone, so it should be a Cellular Network Telephone, which has an unfortunate TLA.
  • A Cellular Network is a type of mobile network, and this sort of mobile network isn't mobile
  • Not all cellphones are cellular
  • My nephew who's in the biz calls them 2G, 3G or 4G phones.
  • Lots of Americans call them mobiles too, possibly a Britishism. Or not - CB radio fans may remember the expression 'I am mobilated on the pike' followed by a 'Roger Bleep'
  • A Wireless Set is full of wires
  • The Fi in WiFi is meaningless, a carry over from HiFi (High Fidelity), also of dubious meaning!

Thread: GigaFactory
23/07/2021 12:15:59

pgk's link to the government's EV market study is interesting because it's much more concerned with finance and making the change happen than technical details. This is worrisome because politicians have a track record of skipping details in their costings, leading to budget overruns during the build. For example, HS2 costs are rising because the track survey was minimised when preparing the Business Case. I doubt an engineer chose to cut back on surveying the ground!

However, an interesting side-effect of what's going on behind the scenes to enable Electric Vehicles might be a big improvement to power available in out workshops! Depending on where you live relative to the network, installing three-phase is often prohibitively expensive, because, as Ofgem put it:

'Customers connecting to distribution networks currently face an upfront charge made up of the cost of new assets needed to connect to the existing network, and a contribution towards the reinforcement of existing shared network assets. This approach was originally intended to provide a signal to customers to avoid constrained parts of the network where expensive reinforcement is required.' (My bold.)

In other words, don't buy a shed miles from anywhere and expect the supplier to wire it up cheap for you! (See Roberts post quoting £45000 to replace 480V split phase with three-phase!) They want consumers to position themselves to suit the supplier.

As the 'signal' collides with the need to roll out many more car charging points, Ofgem propose to off-set the reinforcement charges, which might make it much easier to plumb our workshops with real 3-phase.


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