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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: Resin blocks drain
28/02/2022 18:21:23

I believe I have cracked the gully, Duncan, but the water seems to be staying where it ought to at the moment. If I see it going dry, I will find some goop to put on it.


27/02/2022 16:59:13

As you more or less predicted, the workers never came back to fix the problem.

It was worse than I thought - not resin, but about 8 inches of cements were gumming up the drain. I can see why they used cement as they had to raise the drain top to the new surface of the resin (about an inch or two). It seems a lot of slop (and a good deal of carelessness).

Several hours with a hammer drill, long masonry drill, a lump hammer and a crowbar has resolved the problem - though done my muscles and back no good at all!

I KNOW you're not meant to hit a crowbar, but it's the only thing I've got long enough to reach...


Thread: Making a die filer - how to build the eccentric
23/02/2022 20:05:22

Thanks for the input so far.

I've had a look at the quick return mechanisms and sketched half a dozen options and I think I've come up with the way I want to do it. My drivers have been ease of building, stroke length adjustment and compactness. Some of my sketches made devices which were far too high for comfortable use.

This should give the idea...


So we have a yoke suspended on two slide bearings (the rods). That's driven by an eccentric wheel where the stroke can be set through a pin (not shown in the sketch) on one of a set of threaded holes at different radii (radiuses?) in the eccentric. there's bronze (probably) bearing which connects the pin to the yoke.

round the wheel goes up and do the yellow bar rides. Simples.

Apart from any general advice and suggestions, I would like to ask for advice on material. Basically I would like to make it all out of steel, apart from the bronze bearing that drives the yoke.

My concern is that the rule is no similar metals on bearing surfaces (except cast iron).

The main concern is therefore two sliding bearing bars either side of the yoke and the yellow drive bar (probably all ground sliver steel)..

My view/ hope is that with a decent amount of grease, what is not frankly a huge load or speed and less than industrial usage that that will suffice.

I don't fancy cast iron for any of the bits both because of the relative fragility and the extra challenges of machine a bar to a nice parallel and fine finish. Something silver still provides for little cost (in this case I already have a bunch, so none).

In a pinch I could make the yoke of cast and perhaps put a lid on it to provide rigidity, but I'd rather not.

Please let me know what you think....


Thread: Resin blocks drain
21/02/2022 17:34:28

We had some resin laid at the back of our house to tidy up a nasty concrete area. Actually several of us in the terrace contributed.

The job looks good, but it appears that they've got some resin down one of our drains and it's clogged. This is fed from the utility room and a flat roof so at the moment getting quite some water.

The chaps who did it said they would come back Friday, then today and ... the drain is still blocked.

How would I clear resin from a drain? My thought was to scoop out and dry the drain to see what is happening then to set to to drill some holes, one of those reciprocating saws and a gently applied 4 lb lump hammer and chisel.

Seems hard work and likely to damage the drain...

Is there an easy / lazy way to sort this out?

Many thanks


Thread: Digital copies of MEW on disc
19/02/2022 14:40:14

I would also like to get digital access to magazines prior to when I subscribed. I would be prepared to pay a reasonable price to do so.


Thread: Here's an interesting one
17/02/2022 20:28:08

If you try and navigate the site, it quickly becomes clear it's a scam. Who sells heavy(ish) lathes and crab claws on the same web site (and not much else).


Thread: Steam Engine Number One
06/02/2022 17:24:36

Sorry about the long delay - no doubt you were all gagging to find out if it worked or not - though equally you might have guessed that things weren't perfect due to the lack of crowing...

In fact I've spent most of the time since Christmas re-organising my shed with various levels of success. Today, though, I had no more excuses and cracked on with trying to get it set up. NO more waiting ..

As you might guess my first go just didn't work and it was too late to mess about. With this one, I played with the timing and filled the glands with carbon wire stuff. I've only tried it in one direction and not tried to tune it past 'it works' (quit whilst you're ahead!). Still not put the piston rings in.
I am, of course delighted.

Edited By Iain Downs on 06/02/2022 17:25:07

Thread: What Did you do Today 2022
06/02/2022 17:11:07

Today (well yesterday) I made a 3x6 (or 75x150) fixture plate.

fixture plate.jpg

I was delighted to have the benefit of a DRO otherwise this would have been both messy and even more boring that it was. Here's one situation where a CNC would have been very nice. Just watching it whilst I had a cuppa.

The M6 tapped holes were all power tapped and that worked pleasingly well.

Finally, this was my first successful fly cutting operation. I shall do more! (also showed I need to tram my mill sad)


Thread: Making a die filer - how to build the eccentric
06/02/2022 10:57:50

Old Mart. I think I see what you mean about a radial slot, but I'm not sure how I would secure the pin in the slot.

Jason. Many thanks for finding the term for me. 'Scotch Yoke'. Rings better than thingy which goes up and down. In reflection, the option I presented in the middle did have a pin, I just mis-remembered.

Martin. I have looked at that (you don't think I invented all my ideas do you?). Apart from the general desire to start from scratch (though the kit price is more appealing than I would have expected), I have the sort of modern mini-lathe with no slots on the cross-slide and I'm not convinced they could be added safely. As a matter of interest is the stroke adjustable?

John. I'm interested in more about 'bull wheel'. I've managed to find an internet source which explains how a shaper works (I only had the broadest idea before) and will follow that up.

Thanks all. Any other thoughts welcome.


05/02/2022 19:34:01

I'm planning on making a die filer and wanted some advice on how to manage the eccentric.

I have a Paralux motor with a DC speed control which runs at 150rpm max. I plan to gear that up to a max of 3 or 4 times that which should cover the speed range.

My main target is small things like crossing clock wheels, but I would like to be able to handle slightly heavier work if need be. So one of the requirements I think I have is to be able to adjust the stroke (clock files short stroke, 9 inch bastard a bit longer).

I've looked at various designs (and made some up) and would appreciate any input on which would be the most robust and reliable.

Please be aware the sketches are just to get the idea across. there will need to be a bit more design!

This is one of the simplest. A wheel with a button on which pushes the slotted bur up and down. Several holes in the wheel to allow different strokes.

eccentric 01 wheel with post.jpg

The next one is the same basic idea but the button runs into a bearing which pushes the containing bar up and down.

eccentric 03 wheel with post and bearing.jpg

I saw that one in a youtube build and wondered if the point was to reduce or spread the wear.

Finally, and this is my own idea.

In this case the axle is offset from the centre of the wheel. I thought that I could mill a flat on the end and remove the wheel and replace in alternate square holes.

eccentric 02 wheel with square thing.jpg

I think some of the commercial units (or kits) follow a design like the above, though only with one stroke and the wheel probably permanently mounted on the axle.

Oh - my first thought was to build something a bit like a steam engine eccentric, but that adds a lot of height/length and would be more complex than the ideas above.

I hope this makes a bit of sense and all suggestions and advice welcome!


Thread: Deep and narrow tool storage
30/01/2022 10:58:07

Thanks everyone. If you learn from your mistakes I must be really smart...


29/01/2022 18:05:03

As a matter of interest I've been spelling these items Drawer and most of you have been spelling them Draw.

Is there a difference? Am I showing my lack of professionalism by using a domestic term?


29/01/2022 18:03:43

Good news and bad news.

Yes I did joinery up some drawers. Yes they do fit in the space as I expected. Yes the open and close without TOO much effort.

(That was the good news).

On the other side they're more than a bit wonky. I going to fallback to the second favourite excuse and blame the materials (though the author accepts that limited skill and experience hasn't helped.

The ply for the carcass and planed timber for the drawer sides, carefully selected in B&Q for their relative straightness all turned into bananas when they got to my shed.and everything went all over the place. I ended up by putting it all together, loosening the top and letting the drawers find their own level.

It's worked. I'm happy that it will do what I want, but I won't be putting it up for a show!


And in their resting place...


Yes there is a gap at the top and yes it is deliberate. Sort of.

Tomorrow will be tidying up and then perhaps I can get back to messing things up with metal instead!


Thread: Workbench top
26/01/2022 16:20:16

I built mine of 2 layers of 18mm marine ply. I have two regrets. One I should have varnished it. Now it's quite black and ugly. Two I should have paid more attention to the levelness. somehow, despite 6 inch deep ply battons supporting the length, it's got all lumpy and twisted, which makes it a bit rocky with some tools and parts.


Thread: Deep and narrow tool storage
23/01/2022 10:27:04

That and the short supply of builders who, in any event are still catching up with work promised at the peak of the pandemic.

But I was quite surprised at the price of the wood. Madam suggested I should use my upcoming welding course to make them out of a more durable material. Ignoring that my welding (currently at least) makes my woodworking look professional, the cost of sheet would have exceeded both the cost of wood and the cost of the premade tool chests - at least the cheaper ones.


22/01/2022 18:14:42

I turns out that what I want to spend and what I have to spend are a fair bit apart.

I have found nothing off the shelf which comes close to fitting in the space I've got. In further review, the wheeled tool chests are too high and too narrow - not making good use of the space.

The only plastic trays I found (see above) are the about the right size for drawers, but the only web site that sells them (that I can find) doesn't work and in any event were going to cost quite a bit more than my final solution. In addition there is almost as much joinery in making the shelf unit they would need.

So. Despite everything, I have become a joiner again. The wood and runners are going to cost me around 100 quid which is more than I wanted to spend, but there you go.

So I expect to end up with 6 drawers, about 75mm hig0, 350mm across and about 540 deep. Good use of the space and perhaps I will learn some joinery. One drawer already made and looking better than I expected.

Thanks for the help and pointers.

I will post a picture when done if I'm not too embarrased.


20/01/2022 16:37:37

Woodwork is not my thing.

However, I have had the thought that I could make a box with shelves in it (no precision required) and use plastic trays as the drawers. I've found some the right size at around 9 quid a piece.

I may still look at what I can buy ( I found nothing at IKEA), but most options seem to run to over 100 quid and that's more than I want to spend.


19/01/2022 20:01:38

I'm struggling to squeeze all my stuff into my shed and am in the process of re-organising.

It turns out I have a space into which I would like to fit some drawers. The gap is about 46cm wide and 60cm deep and either 78 or 63 high depending on if my shop vacuum sits on top or not. I would prefer if it did .

I would favour many (relatively) shallow drawers over a small number of deep one.

The options I've found so far are

cabinets on wheels which are wide and not deep, that would need to go in sideways and pull out. This is feasible, but not ideal.

one (only) from halfords which is meant to be bolted to the side of a bigger system that would fit but I would lose quite a bit of space (35 wide x 45 deep).

ideally something 60 cm deep and close to full width.

Does anyone have any ideas or experience which will help? Oh - recent experience seems to indicate I have neither the time or appetite to make something.


Thread: The future of casting kits
18/01/2022 16:40:59

I chose to build my first engine out of barstock rather than casting and the reason was cost. What I've built (which may someday run) is roughly equivalent to a Stuart 5A. Castings would have cost me £800. My actual material purchases were nearer £120 - £150 - and spread over time.

Apart from the joy of starting from scratch, it's a lot easier to get a bunch of £50 quid purchases around the missus than one £800.

I expect it's taken me 3 - 5 times longer, but I don't charge for my time.

CNC would have made it much more palatable of course.


Thread: What Did you do Today 2022
17/01/2022 19:32:44

I'm almost embarrassed to Post this given the rather nice workshop image above, but one of my Xmas projects was to create some storage under my Bench.

10 years ago, I thought my shed was brim full and there was no way I could fit anything else in, but each time I buy something new, somehow (with quite some pain sometimes), I find room for it. This time the culprit was a scrollsaw.

Under my bench was a pile of stuff. Not very efficient and hard to get to. This was my response

shed drawers.jpg

Frankly, they are not as nice as they look.

I made (at least) two mistakes. Firstly, I should have let the timber merchant cut the pieces to size (and straight) rather than just to fit my car. I appear to be incapable of right angles with a circular saw. Secondly I should have built the drawers into a carcass rather trying to fit into the bench.

The drawers on the floor weren't too bad, but getting the drawer immediately under the bench aligned so it even vaguely worked was a bit of a nightmare. In the end it is hard to close and so has had stuff I rarely use relegated to it, rather that stuff I need all the time.

Still, its storage.


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