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Member postings for Iain Downs

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

Thread: Collet Chuck for my CL250M?
25/02/2021 18:06:48

I would be most keen to know more about Danny's widget (even the Howard version). Dropping nuts as I attach a chuck is a kind of hobby of mine. One I'd like to drop!


Thread: What Did You Do Today 2021
25/02/2021 18:05:20

Thanks, NIgel.

The sticky tape and glue goes as follows. Clear well both parts. put some masking tape (I went out and bought some blue philips because someone said so, but it turns out that was what they had not what was needed) on one both surfaces. Apply super glue to the non-sticky side that's up. Push the parts together (tape to tape) and let it set.

It's a variant of the superglue chuck, which is a variant of the wax chuck. I like the tape version (in principle) because you don't have to heat up the parts to break them free. In this case I suspect that the part got warm with the milling - or perhaps I should have taken a lighter cut. Who knows. But I think it's fine to drill / ream with and hten I can bolt it together

I do have a rotary table and started of by mounting the plate on some scrap aluminium and drilling / reaming / slot drilling some registration holes as can bee seen below

valvegear 03 on fixture.jpg

As you can see I'm a measure once drill twice sort of guy ....

I've cut another blank and we basically get to the same point and then I will bolt the two eccentric rod holes firmly to the ally. My other challenge is that the centre of the MT3 spindle and the centre of rotation of the table are not in the same place. We're talking 2 or 3 thou here which not going to affect this piece, but it's nice to be try and get it spot on.

The arbour cap has a 22mm protrusion onto which the slitting saw fits. This slides into a receiver on the main body and the two are clamped together with a cap head bolt in a counterbored hole.IN effect there is the same clamping force as on one of those arbours which are far too long and with a long thread protruding with a massive bolt.

This may make a bit more sense.

slitting saw arbor.jpg


Thread: Replacement lathe lamp suggestions?
25/02/2021 14:06:39

I have a couple of clamp LED lights which came from B&Q for around a tenner each.. They clamp to the shelf above the lathe and give a good light. May not suit you, of course!


Thread: What Did You Do Today 2021
25/02/2021 13:54:34

I've watched a lot of Joe Piezinski recently and find myself in awe of his pins - the metal bits not his legs, though no doubt they are fine too.

A quick tour of the usual supplies indicates that getting a suitable range of precision pins would require a moderate mortgage - and 0.01mm precision or better is not in my dictionary!

So I bought some silver steel (which seems to be generally ground 1 thou under nominal dimension), cut to size, trimmed in the lathe (with surprising accuracy!) and chamfered...


This is scarcely what did I do today as it harks back to before the cold kept me from the shed (and camera), but here is a snap of my low profile slitting saw arbour (again inspired by Joe, though I think Quinn's done a you tube on it as well) in action.

slitting saw holder slitting.jpg

Finally, I have been attempting to mill the reversing link for my steam engine, which is not going well. Mainly because my masking tape and superglue arbour failed and the part got ruined. I need to start from scratch. Still at least it's almost warm again so I can actually get back in the shed!


Thread: Collet Chuck for my CL250M?
23/02/2021 17:17:01

I bought an MT3 ER32 collet chuck for my REal Bull CJ18A and it was horrid. The run out was bad. I bought another one. It was just as bad.

I then bought an ER32 collet chuck from ARC which fits on the chuck backplate (that may be the wrong word. The bit of the spindle that the chuck bolts to) and have been delighted with it.


Thread: Building a small bench
23/02/2021 17:13:54

I don't have any answers for you. I've built my benches out of 2 layers of 18mm marine ply on (mainly) 4x4 wood legs.

What I've done wrong is not to have treated the wood with oil or varnish or something. I'm not sure what the right treatment is, but it's certainly not nothing. My main bench is now rather dirty and it won't come off.


Thread: Looking to learn CAD
19/02/2021 16:08:56

I am an amateur with no CAD background.

I tried quite a bunch of 'free' tools but found the learning curve daunting.

What I've ended up using very happily is an online product called OnShape ( which is relatively easy to learn and use, capable of great sophistication (comparable more or less to the likes of Solidworks and other top end tools) and is free to use.

The drawback is that it's only free if your designs are visible to the public. I don't embarrass easily, so it's OK with me.

My current work in progress steam engine (see is being designed in that, and I can even to animation to see if the parts fit (sadly, the don't do so all the time, but it's easy to sort out!). At the other end I can knock up a toolholder stand in a few minutes, download the STL and print it.

One of the nice things about it being 'online' is that you get updates pretty much weekly without complicated installs. I should say that I've barely touched 10% of what it can do.

OH and they have a decent help forum and documentation


Thread: Workshop/Garage Insulation/Space Heating
11/02/2021 16:33:26

I have been using a small electric fan heater to bring cool up to bearable, but I've given up for now.

Partly, it's not man enough to take -2 up to something bearable. However, more so because I noticed that I was getting A LOT of condensation on the bigger machines. They just don't warm up. Particularly the rotary table was attracting some rust.

What I really need is an attached double garage with central heating, or a decent cellar.

Perhaps the next house.


Thread: A Quiet Air Compressor?
05/02/2021 17:01:31

That might have been me.

I did buy the KIEI compressor and it arrived in good order before Xmas.

It is quiet. I mean I can talk to the wife whilst it's on. I've had very little use of it so far, a) because I need to get it plumbed in and b) it's been too damned cold to go in the shed.

I've mainly used it for an air gun for cleaning swarf off lathe and mill and it works very nicely for that.

It seems well build, but there are no assembly instructions (just bolting wheels on) and the manual is very close to incomprehensible.

I don't know how it will last, but so far I'm happy.


Thread: Milling machine enclosure
27/01/2021 17:33:27

What I've done is to make some removable screens.

This is a set of various sizes (determined more by available scrap, then design!). Each has a piece of perspex, and one or more mounts set with small cylindrical magnets on the base.

The mounts were made with a 3D printer, but you could use a bit of wood or even Ally.

I put tape on top of the magnet to make it easy to wipe away the inevitable swarf.

All assembled with super glue.

In fairness, they don't stop all the chips getting on the floor, though the do stop the bulk. What they do do is to keep the large majority of blue hot chips off me. Which was my intent.

The nice thing is you can decide how close you want to get to the part being machined and pick a bigger or smaller screen.

I might have some pictures somewhere or can take some if it ever warms up enough for this lightweight to brave the shed.


Thread: New ways to skin a cat
17/01/2021 12:25:44

I was slightly amused to find that the best way of making a square hole involved buying a $150 rose index rather than a $150 broach...

However, it does look like a handy piece of kit - though quite expensive (even before the carriage).

It's gone on my todo list!


Thread: Real Bull CJ18, metal spindle drive gear (Pulley)
13/01/2021 08:42:55

I use OnShape which has a gear generation module associated with iit. It's free to use if you're OK with your designs being public. I've printed gears for my CMD10 mill which worked for a while.


09/01/2021 16:29:50

For what it's worth, I've had varied success with parting off with my CJ18A.

Currently (hoping nothing falls on my head), I'm having decent success. The main recent change for me was throwing away a parting tool which I'd fettled and replacing with an indexable carbide parting tool. this sits on a steel QTCP (250-000 type I think) available from china and ARC (the parting tool is from ARC).

This is working well with various steels and aluminium. I've also got a HSS parting blade from ARC which works for aluminium but is rather more erratic on steel (it's a delight on EN1A leaded).

I actually think the main improvement from when I got the lathe is increasing the saddle rigidity. I did that by replacing the mechanism which holds the saddle to the bed with something more substantial and tightening it up.

Which is not dissimilar to Ron's experience.

What I've struggled with are attempting to do threading, particularly of large diameters and also cutting large diameters (say 6 - 9 inches for flywheels and the like). Cutting at 100 RPM or less just doesn't really work (though that's around what it should be I think), so I cut a lot faster, which has it's own issues.


Thread: Hello from Yorkshire
09/01/2021 11:28:50

Metals4U based in Weatherby will sell in small lengths and have a good range of metals. They will deliver (for a cost), but you can drop in and collect (Covid rules permitting) as well.

The option I mainly use these days is eBay. There are a lot of metal suppliers whose prices (even after postage) are quite keen and it's quite convenient.

I'm in Harrogate, so just round the corner.


Thread: Real Bull CJ18, metal spindle drive gear (Pulley)
09/01/2021 11:24:48

Amadeal have a good selection of spares for the CJ18(A).

If this is the gear on the motor (it doesn't look like how I recall it), I've burst 2 or 3 with interrupted cuts and replaced them OK.

If you replace the gear with one with more cogs on then you will increase the speed and reduce the low end torque. Reducing the low end torque on my CJ18A is about the last thing I want to do...


Thread: Oil Blackening and other Oil Issues
09/01/2021 11:17:44

For blueing check out various clips by Clickspring on youtube.


Thread: What air compressor should I buy?
06/01/2021 17:55:00

Thanks for this. I've found the john guest site which looks like it has useful information on and I will review this.

In the meantime, I see that they have a range of pipe sizes (6mm up to 22mm). Is there a preference for one above the others? I would guess that even the smaller diameters won't restrict flow much at the pressures and volumes were' talking about (and are a tad cheaper)?


Thread: Steam Engine Number One
05/01/2021 17:47:57

Thanks, both.

It's a relief to see that people who know what they are doing have used the same approach.

Jason - I've some fixtures that will centre the rotary table quickly, but in this case I want to centre the table, fix one end of fixture at the centre with a pin in the MT3/MT2 centre and then move the table X wise to fix the origin of the reversing gear. Then of course clamp everything and start cutting.

Just had a trip to test the shed. There will be no work in there tonight. Cold and clammy and threatening snow sad


04/01/2021 21:19:02

There's been quite a gap since my last post - a time in which no work has been done on the steam engine, though a bit in other areas.

The next item on my list was the Stephenson's reversing link. This is generally a curvy little thing and if I was Clickspring, I would get out my fretsaw and files and carve it to within a micron of it's life. Indeed if I had a motorised fretsaw, file and sander I would still consider it. But doing the whole thing by hand struck me as being a bit of a bind.

Plus I wanted an excuse to buy a bigger rotary table.

Despite having a bigger rotary table it's still a little small, but I think I will make do. My basic idea is to make a fixture which will sit on the rotary table and extend a bit beyond it.

The fixture will have some alignment holes and a piece of 4mm steel will be (probably) superglued to it. The image below gives an idea of how that would work. I'm still not certain if I will drill the 3 holes in the steel (referenced from the small circle between the lower holes or just glue it in place and not worry too much about orientation

reversing link 02 - plan.jpg

Next is to carefully move the X axis and rotary table to carve the basic outline. Angles in the diagram below would be converted to degrees and minutes and I would end up with a piece which looked like the below but with squared off ends.

reversing link 01 - plan.jpg

Finally, the piece will be removed from the fixture, centered around the round holes and the curves formed.

You will see that pretty much all the link will actually sit outside the 200mm rotary table. Not ideal, but I think that with a reasonably stiff fixture I'll be OK.

I'm not sure when I will get to this. My shed is unheated and uninsulated. The fan-heater will bring the air cold up to cool in reasonable conditions, but the machinery remains cold and catches a lot of moisture.

Yes, I know. I'm a wimp.

One thing I want to do is to chop down an MT3 blank end arbour so it sits below the surface of the rotary table and put an reamed hole down the centre so I can centre fixtures and the like with a pin. I'm still debating that.


Thread: What air compressor should I buy?
04/01/2021 20:59:08

Jason - I've ordered and received this from Amazon. It's bendy pipe and quite cheap, Mainly, I was expecting to cut it into bits and use some barb connectors (with Jubilee clamps).

I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't have been thinking something more rigid - either 15mm copper pipe or there seems to be some plastic which claims to be good for air.

One of the reasons for that is that it seems to be much easier to find fitments for copper pipe (e.g. there are MT cocks in toolstation, but they all seem to be solder shanks (or bigger threads).

I'm actually fairly comfortable with plumbing soldering, though having flexible pipe would probably be easier to route in my rather busy shed.


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