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Member postings for BW

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

Thread: A simple oscillating steam engine
13/08/2019 13:30:42

...................... and if you want something that requires a similar level of skill, very interesting and completely different to your first one have a go at this one



13/08/2019 13:03:35

You can try raiding a few springs from old biros, I got a boxful of various size springs from Aldi for $5.00 - keep an eye out for them - I used one of those.


Thread: Threaded Norman Toolpost
10/08/2019 14:03:37
Posted by Tony Pratt 1 on 10/08/2019 13:27:20:

Unless I am mistaken the toolpost only takes one tool or do you replace the whole unit when a different tool is reqd?


I think you could have a few tool blocks and also keep some notes regarding what height to set the tool blocks at if you changed the tool in the slot. I guess you could slowly build up to a set of 10-20 blocks - seems to me that there are a lot of people out there who have lots and lots of "blocks" for their particular type of QCTP.


10/08/2019 08:55:24

Hey Michael,

Think we were posting at approx the same time. I think thats it, will read the whole thing again maybe I missed something.

EDIT : Scanned the image from the magazine page. Got a whole heap of magzines and have been trawling through them for interesting things to have a go at.



Edited By BW on 10/08/2019 09:04:04

10/08/2019 08:29:20

threaded_tpost.jpgHave been pondering this Norman Toolpost - the block and the post are both threaded to allow for tool height control.

Locked at the top by a lock nut on the post.

But if you are cutting towards headstock, then surely the block could be pushed back towards the headstock as there is nothing underneath it to stop it it could rotate on the thread and it might simply drop away from the lock nut ?

Did anybody apart from the author ever make this one ? How did you stop it unscrewing ?

Gotta be a few different ways of doing it, however was wondering if I had missed something in the text


EDIT : Think I got it - relies upon the pinch bolt to squeeze it tight ? Would that be good enough ? That way no lock nut required and  the vernier arrangement is easier to understand.



Edited By BW on 10/08/2019 08:32:16

Edited By BW on 10/08/2019 08:33:41

Edited By BW on 10/08/2019 08:51:03

Thread: Boiler testers and material verification
07/08/2019 12:31:09

Thanks for all of the discussion above - initial question was prompted by me wondering how I (a total novice) might ensure materials are fit for purpose. All I can do is trust the suppliers to give me what I ask for and that trust has apply all the way back through the supply chain.

I will never sell a boiler, will only ever use them for my own amusement, and they will always be tiny compared to what some of you chaps are building.

Some of the discussion above mentions certificates, how are they relevant ? How does one prove that certificate XYZ is related to the piece of metal used to make the boiler that Fred Jones bought last week ? Unless all bits of metal are identified by a unique number or ID code that is stamped on them and that number is mentioned in the certificate then I don't understand how those certificates could be related to any specific boiler. Please forgive the question if its silly, I just don't "get it".

We don't see regular stories about boilers blowing up all the time so the current systems and checking must be working reasonably well. I am aware of occasional posts about old toy boilers failing due to dezincification of brass.

06/08/2019 22:40:52

If I present some materials to a boiler inspector prior to building a boiler how does he verify that they are what my suppliers say they are ?

I'd suggest that relying upon a piece of paper from the supplier would not be good practice.

To a beginner lots of stainless steels ( shiny silver colour) and brass or bronze alloys (shiny or dull yellow) will look the same

Do they use hand held x ray diffraction testers to identify material types or use simple physical tests such as specific gravity ie weight in air vs weight in water

Can you put a drop of chemical XYZ onto a piece of yellow metal to determine brass vs bronze or presence of lead / aluminium / other

If I can cut a thread with great difficulty does that mean its likely to be bronze rather than brass

Can simple scratch or penetration or streak tests be used to determine strength or hardness or true colour.

Whilst all of the above could be done in a laboratory what resources does a boiler tester have available ?


Thread: Is it a tool post?
04/08/2019 00:37:25
Posted by PETER ROACH on 03/08/2019 11:19:56:

Because it not a parting off tool !, read the text below, states can be used for general inverted tooling.

Ok, thankyou for the reply, let me ask that question in another way ............

What might that particular tool be used for, am a bit puzzled regarding what happens when that inclined tool meets the workpiece ........... is it a variation of an inverted shear tool perhaps ? Am off to do some googling and learn a bit more about inverted tools and the sloping face on that particular inverted tooolholder.

03/08/2019 11:09:45
Posted by Pete Rimmer on 02/08/2019 19:34:20:

That's a Hardinge tool post.

Edited By Pete Rimmer on 02/08/2019 19:37:52


6th photo down Rear Tool Holder Slide Assembly

Why is the parting tool presented to the workpiece at an inclined angle ? Looks to be tipped over sideways at approx 30 degrees ? Seems that the toolholder has an angled face cut deliberately to facilitate this ?



Edited By BW on 03/08/2019 11:10:55

Thread: Bits and Pieces in old magazines
01/08/2019 12:55:03

Was reading a heap of old ME Magazines (2000 to 2007)- found various bits and pieces that may be of interest.

Bourdon Tube Engine - There are some other interesting variations of engines on this web page - worth a look.

Twisty Steam Engine - on the same page as previous - very clever I thought - gotta have a go at that.

Laminar Flow Stirling Engines - seems interesting - worth a google if you are interested in stirling engines.

Interesting variation on Norman toolpost - with the toolholding block and the post both threaded 20tpi to provide fine height adjustment

A chap made a boiler by tapping a hole in the lid of a pressure cooker and putting a line out to his engines - carried on using the safety valve built into the lid of the pressure cooker. Seemed like a surprisingly easy and cheap way of getting safe steam if there is an unused pressure cooker in the cupboard.

When I was a kid those pressure cooker safety valves were just a heavy lump of metal that wobbled around on top of a vent. Are they a bit more sophisticated nowadays ?

Was pondering this and I realised that those little octagonal coffee pots come complete with safety valve - the springs inside those must be quite small and quite strong .... Do you chaps buy springs or make them on your lathe ? I have got the WP Springs book will have a read. Am currently waiting for springs and tiny balls to finish my safety valve for my tiny boiler.

Making a multi cylinder engine by putting a heap of wobblers in a row

Magnetic drive clock - photo looked surprisingly simple and elegant with a distinct lack of complicated nests of toothed wheels. Magnet in the base gives the pendulum a nudge as it swings past.

Hypocycloid model engine - looked quite snazzy

There was lotsa other things beyond my understanding at the moment nevertheless am thoroughly enjoying browsing this lot and adding items to "the wish list"

Anyway - have a look at those first two engines above.


Thread: one tiny boiler to run several tiny engines ?
21/07/2019 11:25:59

...... and ...... if the manifold block is too big and too cold can it instantly absorb all the heat from the steam, condense the steam and turn it back into water and then nothing will run at all just a big puddle forming in the manifold ?

Now that I think about it wouldn't that happen when the first steam hits a cold engine ? Do you get water inside the cylinder ?

Any suggestions for books websites I should be reading to better understand gratefully accepted

So first try with an air compressor then build a bigger boiler.


Edited By BW on 21/07/2019 11:28:03

21/07/2019 11:19:06
Posted by Paul Lousick on 21/07/2019 10:31:31:

Small valves are available from steam model suppliers if you do not want to make your own. You could then run each engine in turn or possibly more. Worth a try.


Thanks for all of the replies.

Am keen to learn how to make my own little taps, safety valves, manifolds, knick knacks, wattchamacallits etc. Etc.

Is there a book or a web site called "All the little fiddly fittings for newbie steam engineers" ?


21/07/2019 10:11:24

I have made 3 tiny engines and working on the 4th.

I've almost finished a tiny Jenny Wren boiler. Steam line out is only approx 2mm diameter.

In Tubal Cain's plans (Building Simple Model Steam Engines Vol. 1) the boiler is committed to serving steam to the one engine.

Could I make a little manifold to run 3 or 4 engines at once off the same tiny boiler or is this simply impossible and silly for reasons that a Newb like myself may not yet comprehend ?

I wouldn't expect all 4 engines to run for very long at the same time, I'd be happy with 20 seconds, would be fun to see them all running at the same time.

If a manifold is impractical how do people avoid committing one boiler to one engine I was thinking that the boiler line could terminate in a small brass block and I could somehow plug and unplug the engines one at a time into that block.

My boilder below and some pictures of finished Jenny Wrens made by other people can be seen here

The one in the palm of the hand gives a good idea of scale.



Thread: my work
20/07/2019 12:52:45

G'day Phillip,

I know what you mean about the satisfaction when it all starts spinning around. I've only made little tiny wobblers and that was a buzz, must be great when those more complicated ones start spinning around. Well done on those big things,

Here are a couple of links to IC engine plans that I saved a while back I think these are relatively well known and respected sites


Edited By BW on 20/07/2019 12:56:13

Thread: Best of Model Engineer and Wayback Machine
16/07/2019 14:58:40


Do you know about the Wayback Machine ? - It stores copies of extinct websites

ie look at this

and then click on one of the bars in the calendar and you get access to stored copies of the "Start Model ENgineering" website which dissappeared a little while ago.

.............. and whilst I was looking around I found a reference to "The Best Of Model Engineering Volume 1" a bit of googling leads me to Volume 3 on the pocketmags page but where can I buy copies of Volume 1 and 2 please ?


Thread: DIY Expanding Hone
15/07/2019 13:36:31

Thanks Phil, off to have a look now.


Thread: Different ways of boring a hole
15/07/2019 13:20:03

Thanks very much for all of the help and comments above, now I gotta read it all again and digest it a bit better.


Thread: DIY Expanding Hone
15/07/2019 13:08:29

Posted by Phil P on 14/07/2019 16:46:26 in this thread

But for something like an engine cylinder bore, the between centres bar is the way to go, and even after boring it to a few tenths under size I will make an expanding hone/lap to finally finish it to size (I DO NOT mean those three legged glaze buster contraptions).


Hey Phil,

Is your diy honing tool written up in another thread somewhere please ? Or is there a book or website I could look at ?

I have used a piece of wooden dowel with metal polish on it - that seemed to work ok on the very small amd simple things I have built so far, but I'd be keen to learn about how you experienced people make hones for cylinders.


Edited By BW on 15/07/2019 13:14:33

Thread: Different ways of boring a hole
14/07/2019 13:45:58

Thanks for all of the tips above.

I remember in one of the Harold Hall books where he needs to bore a hole for a shaft in a block (dividing jig) he emphasised that its very difficult to get the hole absolutely straight and same diameter all the way through.

He recommended boring the hole as best as you could and then enlarging the hole at each end and inserting a snug fitting collar at each end to grip the shaft.


Thread: Worm and Wheel manufacture
14/07/2019 10:52:12
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 13/07/2019 18:22:29:

If you use a standard V-thread it's easy enough to screwcut the worm and use a commercial tap in the lathe to make the worm wheel:

A spiral flute tap helps, but isn't essential.


Is there a trick to calculating the diameter of the blank for a given tap and a given number of teeth? At the moment I've got the impression there is a bit of trial and error involved but happy to be corrected.

For the photo that was posted was it as simple as 10tpi tap and I want 20 tooth pinion therefore diameter is calculated by PI X D = 2"

Therefore D = 2/PI = 0.637" ?

Does it help if the blank is gashed first before applying the tap ?

Far too cold out there to go out to my shed and have a go.


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