By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

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.

Thread: Ultrasonic toothbrushes
23/08/2019 15:12:28
Posted by pgk pgk on 23/08/2019 14:00:38:
Posted by JasonB on 23/08/2019 11:43:25:

Don't go putting human toothpaste into your dogs mouth,see item 3

Mine like Malt flavour, not the whisky type.

I would be very sceptical about that and suspect it's some sort of veterinary myth otherwise all dogs in naturally or artifically flouridated water areas would be toast.



My Humphreys Veterinary Toxicology says a dusting powder containing 40% Sodium Fluoride caused poisoning in a dog in 1946. I'm not surprised, that's strong stuff compared with toothpaste!

Also mentions castrated pigs bleeding to death after dosing with Sodium Fluoride - those poor animals certainly had a bad day. I can warn sheep owning members of the forum to beware of volcanic eruptions - acute fluoride poisoning is caused by high levels of fluorine in ash.

Reading on, I see I share most of the symptoms of sheep poisoned by Sodium Fluorosilicate pesticide: salivation, inappetence, dullness, dyspnoea and recumbency! Can't wait to tell my GP about it. She's always delighted to hear all the details of my latest self-diagnosed ilness...


PS. I picked the toxicology book up for 50p in a charity shop and everything else I know about Veterinary Science comes from watching the works of James Herriot on TV. I think that makes me an expert.

Thread: Outrageous?
22/08/2019 19:36:46

Got to say ""Paid instantly, seller said item not in stock & refunded - OUTRAGEOUS!!!" is over the top feedback in my book. Getting your money back rather than the item ordered is IRRITATING. OUTRAGEOUS!!!" is when someone sends you a turd instead.

Dozens of reasons why items might not be available. Gosh, Tesco's no longer stock my favourite coffee (Cafe Imperial) and they ran out of Peanut Butter one week. Last ebay item I bought was American made, ordered from a seller in Madrid, and delivered from Poland. Genuine item, works perfectly, and less than half Catalogue price : that's globalisation for you!

Chaps have short memories - remember 'Allow 28 Days for Delivery' and 'POA - Send Stamp Addressed Envelope'.


Thread: Simple table of potential hardness of metals
22/08/2019 14:30:36

Ifs and buts off the scale on this question because there are so many variables. Roughly though, and with many overlaps, softest first:

Dead mild steel (Car Bodies)
Black Mild Steel (Holding up buildings)
Cast Iron (varies)
Soft Brass (plumbing)
Hard Brass (cartridges)
Medium Carbon Steels (stronger than mild-steel, not so easy to work)
High Carbon Steels (Files and Razors, heat treatment essential)
Ultra-high Carbon Steels (punches)
Alloy steels, HSS, & camshafts etc

Hardness is a bit like Easter though - it moves about! Try stretching a length of solid copper core from a mains cable. Starts soft, then goes hard. Many materials can be softened by heat - annealing. Some, especially the high-carbon steels, can be hardened by heating and rapidly cooling - quenching. Metals like bronze and stainless steel work harden. Some types of stainless are vicious, going from usable to glass hard the instant a cutting tool is allowed to rub.

Hardness isn't the whole story. Though soft, pure aluminium is nasty to work with because it's sticky and highly likely to weld itself to a tool's cutting edge. Quenching steel for maximum hardness is rarely done because the process leaves the steel brittle to the point it can shatter like glass. Balancing Heat treatment for hardness versus toughness can be rather complicated. O1 (aka Gauge Plate) and W1 are favoured in workshops because they are easy to heat treat. O1 is designed to be quenched in oil, a slow process that strikes a good balance between hardness and toughness, as is needed in knife blades. W1 (aka silver steel) is designed to be quenched in water without cracking. The result is a bit harder for making drills, punches, and screw-taps, and it often benefits from being tempered (cooked in an oven) to reduce brittleness. The two alloys are similar.

When buying metal look for mention of machinability in the description. Many alloys are tuned to make them more suitable for turning and drilling etc. and life is made easier by buying them. Ordinary mild-steel is neither awful nor nice to machine but it's well worth spending a little extra on EN1APb, aka EN1A Leaded, or 230M07PB. Most Brasses machine well, but the Bronzes can be a pig, especially Phosphor Bronze.



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 22/08/2019 14:31:02

Thread: Scale gauges
22/08/2019 10:44:15
Posted by 34046 on 21/08/2019 19:47:56:


7,25 inch locos and rolling stock are built to a scale of 1.5 inches equals 1 foot.




Like Merlin I'm confused slightly by scale and gauge.

A scale of 1½" to 1' is 1:8 so standard gauge ( 4'8½" ) rail track should be modelled 7¹⁄₁₆" apart. Not that it makes any difference, but why jump to 7¼" or even 7½" as is popular in the USA?



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 22/08/2019 10:45:12

Thread: How can this work?
22/08/2019 10:24:13

I think that's an advertising photo - wow, look! 2 more belt ratios. It's not showing how the lathe was operated in practice. Easy enough to swap belts over when needed. The user photos on show only one belt in position.


Thread: Garmin sat nav
22/08/2019 09:22:44

One of my Uncle's told a story about his contribution to WW2 and he may have been pulling my leg. Aged 18 in 1945 he was too young to see any fighting and found himself allocated to the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver, a skill he didn't have.

On arrival at Bicester instead of being taught to drive he was ordered into the cab of a large lorry, shown the controls, and told he was driving it in convoy to Greece! No map, street names, towns, or road numbers - the instructions for navigating across war-torn Europe consisted of a long mimeographed list of distances and turns:

  • At main gate turn right drive 100 yards.
  • At junction turn left drive 6 miles.
  • And so on all the way to Athens.

I like to think the jeep leading the convoy had a map, but perhaps it was just following a well defined military route, no civilians allowed to get in the way.

Uncle's memory of his journey across a recent battlefield was probably censored to save my delicate sensibilities. (Soldiers don't like describing what they went through to people who can't understand because they weren't there.) He mentioned being constantly shouted at by Military Policemen racing up and down the convoy on motorbikes, the fact that the convoy rarely exceeded a fast walking pace, and that the lorries whining gears gave him splitting headaches. Other than that, it might have been a picnic.


Thread: Piston/Cylinder Materials
22/08/2019 08:41:59
Posted by Steve Crow on 20/08/2019 22:23:24:

... I've never heard of graphite being used as a material in an engineering context. Is it a material that's readily available and used?


Graphite is fairly easy to buy - I got mine from Noggin End, other sources are available including ebay.

Many applications for it; good lubricating properties (unless it's mixed with something else); conducts electricity (motor brushes, electrodes and resistors); highly temperature resistant - it melts at about 3600°C, much better than steel at 1500°C, making it ideal for rocket venturi and crucibles. Also used to make high-strength exotics like carbon-fibre, carbon-nanotubes and aerogels (see 'Frozen Smoke' )

As a piston material, Graphite has the advantage of being about a third of the density of cast-iron. Light pistons are better than heavy ones in an engine. Downsides of graphite are it's brittle and burns in air. Being brittle means it doesn't scale up well for making bigger pistons, but it's an interesting alternative for small engines and Stirlings.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 22/08/2019 08:48:21

Thread: Torx head variant or faulty batch?
21/08/2019 16:10:57
Posted by Barrie Lever on 21/08/2019 15:24:26:
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 21/08/2019 14:23:14:
Posted by not done it yet on 21/08/2019 10:30:12:...

Just cheap chinese rubbish. No quality control. Slave labour production.





Whilst NDIY was a bit blunt, what he said was correct.



Apart from NDIY not knowing:

  1. The Country of Origin - assumed to be China, maybe not.
  2. What Quality Control is in place - assumed to be none, maybe wrongly
  3. The Terms and Conditions of the workforce - assumed to be 'Slave Labour', maybe not.

Three generalised assumptions from a commentator not involved in the purchase can hardly be described as 'correct' in the sense they are 'free from error; true; right'. Ironic that a criticism of a faulty product should itself be an intellectual quality failure. (A conclusion drawn in the absence of evidence.)

Personally I think it's a waste of time moaning about Chinese quality in the absence of affordable British alternatives. Whinging may be easy but it's also ineffective. The real challenge is to outperform foreign competition by doing the same thing better and/or cheaper here. Possibly it's not happening in the UK because there are better ways of making a living than making nuts and bolts, possibly it's because some mistakenly fail to believe other folk are just as clever and hard-working as them and go immediately bankrupt. Anyone wanting to bash China should look at their unpleasant foreign and domestic policies. Both are much better targets than cheapo ebay goods, but not really appropriate to this forum.


PS Jason asked for a shut-up while I was typing - sorry.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 21/08/2019 16:13:02

Thread: Profiling tools
21/08/2019 08:56:56

Posted by Robin Graham on 20/08/2019 00:36:57:.


Question is - how big a profiling tool can one run on a 'domestic' lathe? ...

I have a 12x36 lathe and I'm working in brass.





Looking at it another way, what would stop a domestic lathe using wide form cutters?

  • The ultimate limit is the power of the lathe's motor. How much energy is needed to cut a particular metal is determined by the metal's tensile strength, and, although brass is weaker than steel, the difference in tensile strength isn't massive. Therefore the rule of thumb 1HP will remove one cubic inch of steel per minute can be used as a guide to guestimate the HP needed to achieve a particular depth of cut and feed-rate. The minimum power motor needed to drive a form-tool can be calculated from the minimum feed-rate needed to take a satisfactory cut along the edge, say 0.001", while the maximum theoretical feed rate would be the one where the motor is just powerful enough to meet the demand. (You can't remove more than a cubic inch per horse power per minute).
  • BUT a second limit will be more important on a hobby machine. The amount of power that can be put into a cut depends on the machines ability to absorb the forces involved without vibrating or distorting. With heavy cuts the tool and tool-post are the first features likely to bend, but the saddle and other parts can move as well. A heavy industrial lathe will do better than a hobby machine because it's more rigid.
  • Other issues are the shape of the form and the strength of the work-piece. A form shape that clears swarf naturally will do better than one that tends to trap it, as parting tools do. And a thin or poorly supported work-piece might bend away from the cutting edge, or break.

In practice a hobby lathe should work reasonably well with larger form tools than might be expected especially if light cuts only are taken. I'd experiment to find out the maximum a particular lathe can do because so much depends on the machine and how fast you need to work. To find the limits start small and move up in stages. As an index Jason's encouraging example shows what can be done on a WM280, a lathe heavier and more powerful than a Super7, but smaller than a Boxford. Form tools on a mini-lathe would be more restricted, but scaled to suit they should still be usable.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 21/08/2019 09:03:09

Thread: Piston/Cylinder Materials
20/08/2019 21:12:20

Bump really, as I'm no expert.

My feeling:

  • No need for Bronze unless the engine is expected to work hard.
  • Cast Iron is good for cylinders and pistons because it's self-lubricating. Ditto Graphite for an air engine. (Graphite is light-weight, but not satisfactory for IC engines because it burns in an oxidizing flame.)
  • Usual to have one material softer than the other when they rub together. The piston is generally the softer metal, mainly I think because it's easier to replace a piston (or rings) than to fix a damaged bore. But either way round will work.
  • With an air-driven piston no need to worry about temperature coefficient expansion of the metals used. For example an engine fitted with a pair where where the piston expanded much faster than the cylinder would tend to seize.

I think a Silver steel piston in a brass cylinder would work fine. Most engines I've built have used brass pistons in mild-steel cylinders. Also used graphite in brass and brass in aluminium. They all worked.


Thread: Need a lot of help from you good people
20/08/2019 19:09:36
Posted by Tim Stevens on 20/08/2019 18:01:10:

SoD says (above) - A 15 Ah battery can deliver 15 Amps for an hour.

Sorry, but this is based on a misunderstanding. It is true that a 15 Ah battery willl (should) deliver 1 Amp for 15 hours, but that is not the same thing. 15 Amps would overload a small battery, causing overheating, and likely damage to the plates, if continued more than a few minutes.

It is just one of life's (many) swindles, sorry.

Cheers, Tim

Not quite, Terry mentioned using an ebilke battery. They're Lithium Ion high current batteries capable of delivering quite a wallop. This ebay example claims to be good up to 1200W.


Thread: my knowledge of steel needs improving
20/08/2019 16:09:06

Silver Steel is usually sold as Silver Steel, aka Drill Rod in the US, with no magic number needed.

O1 is an American specification for a Tool Steel, not an Engineering or Structural Steel. It's European Specification is 100MnCrW4, but it's often called O1 in the UK, for example as sold by Metal Supermarkets.

For historical reasons steel specifications are a confusing muddle. Nationally, internationally, commercially and over time. Following old plans can have you frantically searching for apparently exotic materials simply because the terminology has changed. Not many know what Muirkirk No 1 is, nor is it likely to matter much, because mild-steel is better!

Fortunately most of us only use a few common alloys and it gets easier once you know what 's needed in your workshop and stocked up, perhaps from a Horological specialist. However it's rarely necessary to use exactly the steel specified : for making a clock I'd think 4130, 4140, and En19 are so similar as to be indistinguishable.


Thread: Anyone good at fault finding with amplifiers here?
20/08/2019 15:14:46

Posted by Joseph Noci 1 on 20/08/2019 14:54:29:


What intrigues me is ( assuming the amp's original offset was 'good' ) what causes it to change? Unless the transistor is abused, over-voltaged, overheated, etc, hfe should not really change much in years, and in a matched pair, the changes should be similar in both.


But,boy, did it now make nice ocean sounds....


Maybe the can's seal gradually failed over the years and the innards are exposed to dirt and moisture. Perhaps Neil's transistor has gone rusty.

Ocean sounds invariably produced by my amplifier efforts too. Motorboating...


Thread: All things Beaver Mill
20/08/2019 14:38:21
Posted by Peter_H on 20/08/2019 13:40:25:

Here is an uncompleted QCAD drawing/tracing ...

Yes, I know the perspective of the caphead screws is wrong, nothing looks right however I do them!



Now that is impressive! Despite being a committed Qcad fanboy I've never attempted any that complicated. Just shows what can be done.


Thread: Need a lot of help from you good people
20/08/2019 14:13:57
Posted by terry callaghan on 20/08/2019 11:21:00:

Hi. Thanks for all the physics. I have a question. Would fitting a motor from an electric bike and a 48v 15ah battery with new controller work. These motors come in 350w 500w and 1000w. But getting information on the torque they produce is hard to get. Surely there must be an answer to this.

An electric bike motor and controller would certainly work. The power needed is decided as per earlier physics by:

  • the need to overcome friction in the bearings, drive train and motion work (in good condition). This can be gauged by pushing the engine by hand. A man working steadily can deliver about 250W, up to say 500W in ten minute bursts, and Olympic athlete up to 1500W for a few minutes. If the engine is easy to move 350W should drive it, otherwise 500W. If it's very stiff, check the bearings etc.
  • How fast the train needs to accelerate in service. A 100W motor can do the same amount of work as a 500W motor, but it needs 5 times longer to do it. That might be too time-wasting for comfort! If it wasn't for friction, a 1W motor and gearbox could move your engine, but it would be incredibly slow. You're looking for a reasonable balance between power and performance. Having plenty of power is exhilarating, but it's not necessary on a track model. Steam engines don't accelerate quickly in full-size and an electric model pulling wheelies down the track might not be popular!
  • Any hills the engine needs to climb. Once it's moving, pulling a train around a flat track doesn't do much work, but going up hill does! As railways are built flat, I think in practice this would just limit the weight of carriages and passengers that could be pulled at a particular site. This is echoed in full-size practice: railway freight engines are sized powerful enough to restart their load in the event the train is forced to stop on the journey's steepest incline. Engines for passenger trains are sized to accelerate to meet the timetable.

Other issue that might suggest a big motor is whether or not the engine is to be run continuously. A 350W motor run flat-out for hours will have a shorter life than a 1000W motor run at 350W simply because the big motor stays cooler. So motor size matters less on an engine run intermittently for fun at the track by the driver and a few bystanders than the same engine expected to haul hundreds of paying passengers continuously over a Bank Holiday weekend event.

A 15Ah battery can deliver 15 amps for an hour. That's 48V*15A = 750W for an hour. Actually, because deep discharging is undesirable, it would be unwise to assume more than about 75% of that, say 750W for 45 minutes, which isn't unreasonable for fun use. A 350W motor would use half the power and run for about 90 minutes, 500W about an hour. In practice because the motor probably wouldn't be run at full power all the time, it would likely last longer per session. But so much depends on stops, starts, how hard the driver accelerates, the rolling resistance of stock, slopes and the state of the track it's hard to predict.

I bet the original builder would have used a modern electric bike motor and batteries if they'd been available at the time.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 20/08/2019 14:21:55

Thread: What coating/grease for long term tool storage
20/08/2019 10:32:33

Trivia: the proper name for the 'bunch of hay' is Excelsior.

The best known preservative used for long term storage of guns is Cosmoline. It's a family of similar products, all based on an oily wax. Cosmoline in an American trade-name and similar mixes under other names were used by the rest of the world.

I think Cosmoline is remembered because it's a right pig to clean off. No-one who ever had to apply or remove it forgot! A whole range of protective products are available today ranging from heavy waxes to light silicone spray-ons.


Thread: Need a lot of help from you good people
20/08/2019 09:29:08
Posted by Les Jones 1 on 19/08/2019 21:50:52:

I think those motors are WW2 vintage motor/generators. ...


+1 for that; When I was growing up WW2 surplus was my playground. Motor/generators were the best way to produce the multitude of voltages needed in large aircraft, less desirable second-hand than motors and cheaper.

Frances suggests the control system is pre-electronic and I think she's right. It may even be cruder than a field-winding control system - big wire-wound resistors straight off the 'regulator'!


Except the potentiometer top right hints at electronics somewhere!


19/08/2019 16:59:31

I'd give it a try before ripping it apart. The two doubled black wires ending in eyelets look like battery connections to me. One of them is marked Blue for negative. (Circled in Blue), the other will be Positive (circled in Red)


With the wheels free to turn, I'd try dabbing the eyelets on a car battery to see if there's any sign of life. Provided they've not been soaked electric motors are tough old birds. Any markings on the motors? I'd guess they're 24V or more rather than 12V, which effects the battery configuration.

Only a guess about the small motor dangling bottom right off a choc bloc; it might be belt driven off the shaft as a generator to drive a speedo in the cab. Or perhaps it drives an oil-pump.


Thread: Using the faceplate and dog on a Sherline lathe
19/08/2019 13:55:59
Posted by Christopher judd on 19/08/2019 12:26:25:

Not sure I understand are you saying just centre using the 3 jaw chuck after checking alignment?... Also what then is the purpose of the faceplate and dog as the 3 jaw can be used instead/


Yes, because - within reason - the exact placing of the centre holes may not matter much. When turning between centres with a dog the axis of rotation is the line between the two centre points, nearly independent of any chuck run-out. If top accuracy or a known taper is to be cut it can be achieved by nudging the tail-stock sideways while testing with a DTI.

How easy it is to set and reset a tail-stock may be the sign of a quality lathe. The adjustment on my mini-lathe was distinctly crude and could take ages to get right. Not sure what a Sherline is like, but many lathe owners avoid altering tail-stock alignment if they can!

On a big lathe, centre drills are the best way of drilling the holes. They put a chamfer on the end of the hole that the well-greased centre runs on. Watchmaking may be too tiny for a centre drill in which case the centre is caught with the sharp point of a graver. As the centre of axis has no rotational velocity, the graver tends to find it.

Personally I've yet to use a face-place or a dog on any of my adventures. Much quicker to use a chuck or collet unless there's good reason not to!


Thread: This weeks offer at Lidl
19/08/2019 09:18:51
Posted by Hacksaw on 18/08/2019 20:04:46:

Umm ...I've read that the electronics in mig welders dislike being run from a generator , or rather the generator needs to be a much larger kw for it to work ? Well , today i used my newish Lidls variable speed 1200w angle grinder with my Honda EX500 genny...( 500w ) It ran it ok to start with, I didn't overload it , as obviously it wasn't making much power running on 500w ..and i was only using a 1mm disc to cut off a 8mm bolt so i wanted it to keep spinning fast . When i went to cut off a second bolt , the grinder wouldn't work.. Nor on mains .. Fetching my second Lidls grinder , that worked ok with genny power and i finished the job .. Do you think i've damaged the variable speed board ? I can't see that I could have burnt out the motor windings...

Small generators are notorious for poor voltage regulation and mucky output. The waveform can be non-sinusoidal and spiky, while the output voltage swings wildly with the load. A simple generator won't be good at handling intermittent loads - like an angle grinder - and is likely to over-volt the angle-grinders electronics.

Root cause is the motor's throttle reacts too slowly, first failing to accelerate fast enough and then failing to slow down quickly when the load drops. Older generators are particularly prone to voltage swings because their regulators are slow acting, perhaps even a mechanical cut-out.

Apart from the cheap basic models, modern generators are better regulated with the posh ones putting an inverter between the generator and user to clean up the output. They still don't like being overloaded, but they're less likely to damage electronics.

An oversized generator is recommended for a varying loads like an angle grinder because the larger mass of it's spinning parts store enough inertial energy to smooth out peaks and troughs.


Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Advertise With Us
Eccentric Engineering
TRANSWAVE Converters
Eccentric July 5 2018
Meridienne Sept 2019
Allendale Electronics
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest