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Member postings for Phill Spowart

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

Thread: Parkinsons
07/11/2021 20:31:31

Really sorry to read this. I knew a chap when I was a teenager, volunteering at a local narrow gauge line. He'd not long been diagnosed with parkinsons when I first started volunteering. Apparently he was one of the first on some kind of wonder drug for it, and he went about another 5 or 6 years still able to drive, volunteer and be quite active, then another couple of years with his model railway at home. He was a lovely bloke. I wish you the best.

Thread: Hardinge HLV H
27/09/2021 18:59:43

HLVs are lovely machines. 5C collets are readily available from a few sources, ZMT in Nottingham specialise in them, and I'm pretty sure Hardinge USA still supply parts. As the Lathes.co.uk site will tell you, there's a good few clones too.

Personally, I'd try and keep the spindle nose original. It is a very well made system, as well as jaw chucks you can get collet closers for big or internal gripping collets. It also has some really nifty tricks for screw cutting, easily the loveliest machine I've ever done full threads to a shoulder on.

I'd love to track a good one down one day. The one I regularly use has, sadly, been hideously neglected and abused, but you can tell it was once a superb machine. They did some very nifty auto and capstan versions too.

Thread: Help with surface plates in Derby
03/08/2021 18:34:09

That herbert grinder looks excellent, that's the sort of work I plan tackling. Some bits will have to be farmed out, but the more I can do the better.

I'll get a roller, getting the blue even is something I'm struggling with. I did a very, very small amount of blueing work as an apprentice, the instructor there was of the opinion that if you can see anything useful in the blue at all, it's too much :O This is not helped by the variable finish of the plate, some areas have black oxide in the pitting bottoms and it makes judging the amount of blue very difficult.

02/08/2021 16:40:39

Been away for a few days, thankyou for the replies.

Ultimately, I'm hoping to learn scraping so I can renovate machine tools, hence the desire for high accuracy. The plates I have are just what has fallen into my lap over the years. The surface rust and finish on both is very varied, which makes getting an even coverage of blue dye much harder-and I don't have the greatest eye for it to start with. Not trusting them fully is a massive hindrance. I plan getting a proper granite table eventually, but I need to build a home for it first, currently said home is a muddy hole in my garden and piles of bricks looted out of skips.

This was very much an "on the off-chance post"-I'd feel pretty daft if it turned out a master machine rebuilder lived 5 minutes away AFTER I'd bludgeoned my way through learning it on my own.

27/07/2021 18:46:45

They come up on bankruptcy auctions sometimes. Right now I've not got room for one, once new workshop is built I'll get one. For now, I just want a good plate to work off. Didn't really intend buying a big cast iron one, but it was found in a junk shop for a tenner!

27/07/2021 18:34:33

Been looking out for granite plates, but not got anything yet. Once my big plate is flat, I figure I'm well away, it's just getting to that stage.

27/07/2021 18:02:52

"Unless you're rebuilding machine tools part by part"

That is the ultimate aim, yes

27/07/2021 15:46:18

I want to try and get my machines and tooling into good order, so I figure the best way is to start with a master surface I can rely on. Then I can be sure that any problems are my own ineptitude. I'm also finding that the current variations in finish are making it hard to tell if I'm applying the blue evenly.

27/07/2021 14:15:28

Anyone near Derby able to help me with a couple of surface surface plates? Both suffered surface rust and pitting, I'd like to surface grind out the damage then get it blued and scraped in against a decent master. Be handy to get a few pointers on scraping too, only so much you can get off youtube. One is 15 x 18", other is 8 x 12"

Thread: advice old British motorcycle
08/07/2021 20:40:29

Sure you can't be tempted by the japanese side? I've heard the Yamaha XS650 described as the best Triumph twin ever made...

Or, if you're near Derbyshire, I can put you in contact with a mate who has a very pretty Triumph Daytona (original triumph that is) going for around your budget.

Thread: Shock at low pay for high skill
06/07/2021 15:54:48

I can assure you that complex CNC programming to a good standard is every bit as skilled as a manual machinist, and with a much higher threat of making an expensive machine go bang...:O

I assume the OP meant salaries of £25k/year, assuming a 40 hour week that's nearly £12/hr. Minimum wage gets you £18.6K/year on same assumption, just gone up to £8.91/hr.

On Underground drivers, given that a fair proportion of their passengers will be executive or legal types who have inflated each others salaries well into 6 figures, I think they've done the right thing. Some of you may remember around 2005/6, The London Underground song was released. Recorded by two medical students, it was a tirade against greedy striking tube drivers (and not suitable for the sensitive, if you choose to google it). Fast forward a decade to the junior doctors strike... One of them, Adam Kay, wrote a brilliant book called This is going to Hurt, in support of the Junior doctors strike. Given what he's no doubt learnt about the importance of a strong union (which the doctors certainly did not have), I wonder if he'd still write that song?

Thread: Eueka! - Has music been redefined?
27/04/2021 15:11:29

Probably a dodgy algorithm, spotting some match undetectable to human ears. It'll be done automatically, probably by the record label. Welcome to the future...

Thread: Boremaster Tiplap Grinder
28/03/2021 19:41:56

There is one of these machines at work, I'd be grateful if I could get a copy too.

Thread: Boxford 300 VMCI mill centre
27/12/2020 10:26:25

Are you looking at buying new from Boxford, or buying one of the many ex school machines second hand?

If the former, pretty expensive route but you'll get a nice machine. I have a feeling you'll need to keep paying for software updates/licencing etc, and I'm not sure they're that keen to deal with random blokes in sheds. I could be wrong on both counts though.

If you're buying second hand, you'll be looking at doing a conversion on the electronics. I have a TCL160 lathe, which the following is based on. Not got my hands on a mill, but I assume they'll be similar.

Mechanically, they are lovely little machines, with everything you'd expect from a proper CNC machine. Only flaw I found was where some threaded holes broke in to the V way on one slide, which would allow swarf to get in-some blanking plugs cured that. Check for similar pratfalls on a mill.

With regard to the electronics, you cannot get software for the older machines. Boxford will take an old machine and rebuild it to new spec, but it costs a fair bit. (I was quoted around £6K 5 years ago, vs the then price of around £12K for a new lathe from them). I cannot find any alternative software, and would warn against any dodgy downloads. I think Boxford get a bit lawyery about that sort of thing. In addition, the older machines electronics are very primitive compared to what you can get now.

Conversions are pretty easy. I used PlanetCNC stuff, which is nicely made and seems to work well. Their software is pretty intuitive, support is excellent and the price is pretty reasonable. There's a couple of things that don't work quite as I'd like, but they're lathe related so won't worry you much. To do my lathe cost around £1000, of which £655 was PlanetCNC bits. That included new steppers and power supplies, but I managed to keep the original spindle drive system.

Other systems are available, I'm thinking of using AcornCNC for a future project as it has more features (e.g. encoder feedback), however the control board alone costs the same as my whole conversion IIRC.

Thread: Alternative to PC based Cnc controllers
20/10/2020 11:57:23

Forgot to say-I'm running a Mk3/4 board. Other than the CSS/FPR issue, I'm really pleased with it.

20/10/2020 11:55:34

Morning Joseph,

According to their blog, you can (or maybe could) set up a machine to run off an SD card. It does say that in this state, you can run sans computer:

https://planet-cnc.com/using-sd-card-adapter-planet-cnc-controllers/

Although personally, I wouldn't.

My spindle problem still needs a good coat of looking at, I only mention it as it is about the only unsolved problem I have atm. I've been through all the parameters with no joy. I've not tried threading with it yet, in fact the project has spent 6 months gathering dust as I rebuilt part of my shed over summer.

Why do you think PlanetCNC might be better than Acorn? I'm actually considering going the other way if I ever do a conversion on my mill. PlanetCNC does not support CSS, feed per rev (for turning, of course) or encoder feedback, whereas I think Acorn does? Or am I mistaken?

20/10/2020 10:35:24

If it is of any use to anyone, I've rebuilt a boxford TCL with PlanetCNC stuff. It's not bad for the price. The cost of all the electronics, including two steppers and two power supplies, was £655. You still need to plug it into a PC through the USB port to set up, but I think you can get it running off a flash drive of some kind. Support is excellent. Only drawbacks so far are that it doesn't support constant surface speed or feed per rev for turning, which is a shame. I'm also struggling to get the spindle speed feedback loop to work.

Thread: BBC Micro Boxford TCL125
26/04/2020 15:08:05

Thanks Martin. I've found DolphinCAM lathe basic, which is £150, that works nicely. I also use nanocad free for drawing the profiles as dxfs.

None of the free stuff seemed to work, it's either too router/mill focused, or full of bugs. Or both. No doubt someone more computer literate than I could fix them, I just want something that works.

26/04/2020 14:00:29

I had a problem with the spindle cutting out on mine. Actually turned out to be a faulty e-stop, the vibration from the spindle made the switch lose contact. Cleaned it up and now all is well.

17/04/2020 22:49:33

Just so happens I'm finishing up converting a Boxford TCL 160 to PlanetCNC control. Should be a handy machine. To build, the PlanetCNC stuff is excellent, and the support is good too. Only done a few test cuts so far, I need to get it some cutting tools and sort a decent CADCAM out. Hopefully I'll get it wrote up at some point.

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