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Member postings for Farmboy

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

Thread: Box-Shifters and Quality Assurance
12/05/2020 10:06:55

Surely it's purely economics? If you want quality assured 'out of the box' someone has to pay for all the checking, setting up and testing throughout the whole production process. If you are on a tight budget you have to accept that you might need to do a lot of that yourself. We all have the opportunity to take the first option if we can afford it, but for many the choice is between the second option or nothing at all. At least there is usually the third option of returning the faulty item for refund or replacement.

If there were no 'box shifters' many of us would not be able to afford so many toys important pieces of equipment. Without Clive Sinclair, whatever you think of some of his products, we might have waited a lot longer before computers became so widely available. In the absence of cheap imports from the far east, second-hand machine tools would probably be even more expensive due to supply and demand.

In my early teens I developed a huge interest in all things mechanical and steadily built up a tool kit of my own. At that time there were a lot of cheaper hand tools coming from Spain, some of which I bought with my pocket money and still have to this day. Maybe I was lucky, but I would have waited a long time before I could afford the same items from the likes of King Dick.


P.S. I do have plenty of better things to do really, but I picked some rhubarb yesterday and I'm waiting for the rhubarb crumble to finish cooking . . . and by the smell coming from the oven I think it is done smiley

Thread: Startrite Mercury drill
22/04/2020 10:34:08

Since the consensus among those who actually own the machine corresponds with the measurements in the original posting my money would be on 5/8 BSF. The supplied nuts would appear to be wrong, as MichaelG and others suggest.

I never take anything for granted, but I can't think of any reason the makers would have chosen an obscure thread for such a simple device. A call to Machine Spares might clarify the matter as they do list most of the spares. ( I have no connection with the firm, not even as a customer )


21/04/2020 12:31:09

Can't tell you the size as it is completely missing on mine and replaced with a bit of threaded rod and nuts, but spares do seem to be available ( for more than I paid for the whole drill ) from Machine Spares Ltd.

Mine is actually a benchtop model but I believe the head is the same as the floor standing one, although there are several models, I believe.


Edited By Farmboy on 21/04/2020 12:39:34

Thread: Wow, what a battery
04/04/2020 10:26:49

Long before we were inundated with Chinese imports I was once very tempted to buy what was advertised as a "2MW Laser Pointer" sarcastic 2

Thread: What are you reading?
20/03/2020 12:14:49

A lot of earnest stuff so far, and nothing wrong with that, but for something a bit lighter I'm re-reading some of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman books . . . also available as audiobooks on YouTube. One of the most enjoyable ways to learn some 19th century history smile

Thread: Holding End Mill on small lathe
16/03/2020 20:31:17

Having done a limited amount of milling on my C4 lathe, using MT2 collets in the headstock, I am genuinely puzzled as to why anyone would deliberately introduce extra flexibility into an even more lightweight machine than mine by putting a secondary collet chuck in the morse taper, moving the cutting point further from the headstock bearings for a job where rigidity would seem to be one of the most important factors.

I have also achieved quite good results with a MT2 mounted fly-cutter. Again, the rigidity is better close to the bearing.

There must be a serious 'down side' to morse tapers that I haven't yet discovered if so many people dismiss them so easily . . . dont know

Thread: New computer possibly required
01/02/2020 10:47:33

I have had two PCs and a laptop over recent years from It might be worth looking at their web site where you can 'customize' your own machine. They will also supply without an operating system installed. The only drawback is that, being built to order, you might have to wait a week or so for delivery.

No connection except as a customer.


Thread: Why does everyone disagree with you
30/01/2020 17:18:52

Well, I don't know much about angels but this thread certainly seems to have grown wings and ascended to a higher plane. Such erudition and eloquence is rare on the interweb; long may it continue . . . well, at least until the weather improves and the sheds warm up a bit.

As a 'farm boy' my knowledge and abilities are wide-ranging but generally lacking in depth so I do enjoy being prompted by such as MichaelG to investigate topics of which I was aware only as a few names and phrases.


Thread: Desoldering how to?
24/01/2020 12:54:51

If they are normally open switches you could leave them in place and just solder the leads for the remote switches to the pins. Hard to be sure but they appear to only use two pins of each switch so it should be fairly simple.

Edited By Farmboy on 24/01/2020 12:57:01

Thread: Havenít done this for a looooong time!
27/09/2019 20:12:35

One of my first lathe bodges was filing two parallel flats on the head of a cup square head coach bolt to make a passable tee bolt. It needed a little refining of the square shoulder to fit the tee slot without binding. Often it is irrelevant whether the nut is on top or bottom, although clearly not always the case.

Thread: How to repair old King Dick socket extension?
27/09/2019 20:08:21

oops! wrong thread blush

Edited By Farmboy on 27/09/2019 20:11:22

Thread: Havenít done this for a looooong time!
27/09/2019 10:25:21

My admittedly limited experience with a Unimat SL taught me that one of the most important things was to use really sharp HSS tools. I never tried carbide but my subsequent experience would suggest it is not really rigid or powerful enough to make good use of them, although someone will probably come along who uses them all the time.

It was a sweet little lathe and I still have some regrets about selling mine a few years ago but it was far too small for some of the jobs I wanted to do.

Thread: Blown Fuse
13/08/2019 22:57:28

Finally found a reference here to prove my memory still hasn't completely failed regarding aluminium burning.

It clearly requires a particular set of circumstances, but I would suggest it is a possibility.

I would be really interested to find out exactly what did happen.

Edited By Farmboy on 13/08/2019 23:02:18

13/08/2019 15:02:26

Just a further thought, pursuing the lightning theory: is the workshop supplied by an overhead power cable? Or is there anything else that might act as a lightning conductor in the vicinity of the lathe? Having asked that I'm thinking you should have felt something if it was a bolt of lightning while you were hand feeding!

Reading the original post again, and some of the answers, I'm more incliined to wonder if there might have been some sort of inclusion in the aluminium which caused a spark. I seem to remember reading that fine aluminium swarf/dust can ignite violently when suspended in air, although I have no experience of it. I still can't think of a connection between either event and the fuse blowing though . . .

12/08/2019 23:13:40

As Phil says, it should be almost impossible for there to be a potential difference between tool and work . . . unless there was, say, a plastic sleeve protecting the workpiece from damage in the chuck jaws dont know Even then the tool should conduct any charge away from the workpiece while it is cutting.

The metal-to-metal contact between component parts of the machine, including the bearings, should equalise any static charge build up. I'm not sure any sort of static charge would blow the mains fuse anyway as there should be no connection between that and the machine chassis. The fuse 'blows' when it passes excessive current in the live supply lead.

Very strange . . . can we asume you don't have a modern consumer unit with MCBs etc? If you did, surely this would have tripped out if there was a short-circuit anywhere in the power supply.

Just some random thoughts to throw in the mix . . .

Thread: Floor Paint
02/08/2019 11:15:07

I may be getting over-cautious in my old age, but I would never use just paint or varnish on stairs since slipping on someone else's varnished stairs a couple of years ago, wearing socks without shoes. Still feeling the result of a very nasty sprained knee even now. Her grandson did the exact same thing the following day, but they bounce better at that age wink 2

I always make sure not to use those stairs without rubber soled shoes on now.

There are proper non-slip floor paints but I don't know of any in colours I'd want indoors sarcastic


Thread: A little rant about Emojis and their kin
18/07/2019 10:12:31

Anyone know what they're for ? dont know

I can see the point of a little smiley face, winking smiley face, etc. to indicate the perhaps humourous intent of the sender and avoid some of the bad feeling generated in recent threads on here, but I'm not sure what any of the new issue would indicate to the reader . . .

Thread: Electricity Supply
14/06/2019 09:57:16
More good news if you're Australian; not only does the continent have generous reserves of fossils fuels, there's also plenty of sun! It may be necessary for 60,000,000 winging poms to move in...

But if we all move there, surely the World will tilt on its axis and Australia will end up at the south pole dont know

13/06/2019 10:45:43

To answer my own earlier question I looked up the energy equivalent of petroleum (crude oil) which the International Energy Agency defines as 11.63 MWh/tonne.

1 million tonnes of oil per week (total used for all transport) = 5,952 tonnes/hour = about 69 GWh.

Current UK demand on the National Grid seems to average around 35GW, so switching all transport from petroleum fuels to electric traction would seem to require an increase of almost 200% in generation capacity, although potential efficiency savings might reduce this figure. However, roughly half current generation appears to be from fossil fuels so we will need to increase generation by at least 400% from 'other sources' if we are to stop using petroleum fuels altogether.

I can't begin to imagine the changes my grandchildren will see, but our current systems will certainly need upgrading pretty soon if they are to have any hope of a decent life, even if my figures are inaccurate . . . which will no doubt be pointed out shortly teeth 2


09/06/2019 10:45:46

However you juggle the figures around, the UK apparently uses about 1 million tonnes of petroleum per week for all transport. plus almost another half million for other uses (according to Gov't figures)

Someone will no doubt be able to work out the electrical equivalent, but that sounds like a lot of gigawatts to me dont know

Think I might start breeding horses teeth 2

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