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Member postings for Neil A

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

Thread: Flexispeed meteor-II lathe Cross-Slide / lead-screw specs.
19/01/2021 22:15:29

You need to be careful with the threads on the Flexispeed Meteor 2. I found that the threads on my particular one were UNC and not Whitworth.

When I made a longer cross slide the thread I used for the lead screw was a No 10 - 24 UNC, this has a 60 degree angle against the 55 degree angle of the Whitworth. This could be why your die does not fit the good lead screw very well.

I hope this helps and does not confuses the issue.


Thread: flexispeed lathe/chuck problem
29/12/2020 17:41:27

I can confirm that a Flexispeed Meteor 2 lathe has a 1/2" x 16 BSF thread on the spindle nose.

You have stated that both of the chucks fit the spindle, so no problem there.

It is just when you try to produce a dummy spindle that you run into trouble, although you have not said if the thread you have cut is too big or too small.

It is possible that the lathe you have is not a Flexispeed but a Simat 101. This lathe is the next version made by Alphabeta Engineering and has a 14mm x 1,5mm thread on the spindle nose.

I would suggest measuring the diameter of the spindle nose thread before trying anything else.


Thread: Gear Cutting
26/12/2020 20:07:33

My understanding of the construction of the Simms Vernier Coupling is that it comprises of two serrated flanges, with a one serration difference, and a moulded hard rubber disc fitted between them. I assume that the rubber disc is to allow for slight misalignment between the two shafts, it may also cushion the drive depending on the hardness of the rubber. As has been stated, the serrations look similar to the teeth of a knuckle gear and seem to be cast rather than machined.

While machining the metal flanges and serrations, once the shape needed has been determined, would be reasonably straight forward, I think that you will still need to use a moulded rubber centre section to complete the coupling. Using metal for the centre section would result in fretting between the parts as there will be no way of lubricating them.

The link given by Phil P shows all the parts of the coupling, including the rubber disc. You may wish to purchase the rubber disc to get the profile you need. Remember, you could spend a lot of time making a part from scratch when you could purchase parts which only need the bore machining.

An interesting project, I hope it turns out well.


Thread: Flexispeed top slide
08/12/2020 21:23:05

I checked the 4 holes in the top slide, they are tapped 2BA on a 15/16" PCD centred on the 1/4 x 20 UNC hole for the tool post.

The angle bracket is quite small, 1.75" on the long leg and 1" on the short leg and 1" long. The long leg has a central 1/4" diameter hole and 4 holes 3/16 diameter on a 1" square pattern centred on the 1/4" hole. The short leg has 3 holes 3/16" diameter in a line spaced 7/16" each side of the centre one. The bracket shows signs of being used, but I cannot remember how I used it.

The vice has 2 holes 3/16" diameter on 15/16" centres, which would fit on the top slide, but not the angle bracket !!

I have no idea what the original intention was with these parts, I always juggled the setup to suit what I needed at the time.

I also found the original single 1/4 x 20 UNC capscrew holding the top slide assembly in place a bit of a problem to keep tight.

On my machine, for a particular job, I fabricated a longer cross slide from some cold rolled steel plate and I tapped all the holes in it 2BA, This means that I am only using a 2BA capscrew to hold the top slide in place and I have not had the same problem. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but I think it may be that the 2BA capscrew has a 1/2" long spacer giving it a longer stretch length and so holds the tension better than the short 1/4" capscrew. I could be wrong though.


07/12/2020 21:17:25

I have just been out to look at the top slide of my Flexispeed Meteor 2 lathe, on my model this hole is tapped 1/4 x 20 UNC. I don't know what the intended purpose of the hole is, but the metal is only about 5/32 thick so only a few threads of engagement, not really enough for most purposes. Perhaps it could be used in conjunction with an angle plate to give a light vertical slide, my top slide has 4 tapped holes under the tool post. Tomorrow I'll check and see if they line up with the holes in the machine vice and angle plate that they supplied, it's only a guess mind you.

There is no reference to it in the assembly or operating instructions. It could just be part of the manufacturing process.

My lathe came as a kit of parts from the Norfolk Lathe and Tool Company Limited at Royston House, North Walsham in the early 1970's. The thread system on my lathe is all UNC. As the lathe has been made by a number of different companies during it's lifetime, you may find other thread systems have been used, you have to check carefully. The usual giveaway is the diameter of the threads for the gib strips, (6-32 UNC and 4-40 UNC) and the setscrew for the tailstock offset, (1/4 x20 UNC).


Thread: Meteror II Screw cutting lathe
03/12/2020 13:38:34

I don't think the fixed steady for the Cowell will fit, the Cowell has a 1.75" centre height against the 2.00" of the Flexispeed Meteor 2.

Years ago I did start making a fixed steady from a piece of 1/2" steel plate, but never finished it as I acquired another machine. I still have the unfinished parts in a draw.

I did manage to make a screwcutting setup, this was based on the design in L.C. Mason's book "Building a Small Lathe". I used his idea for the locating pins in the gears.The Flexispeed arrangement did not allow me to cut some pitches that I needed. I cut my own gears from aluminium plate on the Flexispeed itself using a single point cutter in a clockwheel style cutting frame. 24DP from my notes, it was about 40 years ago now.

Funnily enough, I pulled the Flexispeed out about a month ago to cut some threaded adaptors in brass, 3/8 x 16 BSW, 1/2 x 26 Whitworth form and 5/8 x 27UNS. The leadscrew was kept engaged and the lathe pulled round by hand both for the cut and reversing, the slowest motor speed is far too fast. I also pulled it round by hand for parting off, takes a bit of time but far less "exciting".


Thread: Soldering Iron Tip
27/11/2020 11:23:52

Many modern soldering iron bits are iron plated to increase their life. When the plating disappears the bits wear at an increased rated. I have had a 1mm diameter bit reduced to about a quarter of it's original length while soldering around 60 DIL sockets onto a board.

As has been said, if you have worn through the plating, then you have nothing to lose by filing the bit. It will just wear a bit faster.


Thread: C0 Lathe Blowing Fuses. Control board short?
02/11/2020 21:43:04

I stand to be corrected, but I think you will find that the 10A6 rectifying diode is rated at 10 Amps and 600 volts.


Thread: ET Westbury Seal engine drawing error?
12/10/2020 23:10:47

Thanks Clive, I could not remember what it was called.

Also I stand corrected on my statement about modern designs, from the internet, I find that it is in common use for automotive and smaller engines. I just had not seen it on newer large Diesel engines, I'll probably be corrected on that as well!


Thread: Chuck accuracy gone AWOL
12/10/2020 22:19:18

If it were my chuck I think I would be happy to live with the Rizla paper when needed. Perhaps as time went by I might consider grinding, but I would have to weigh up if I could actually improve the accuracy or not.


Thread: ET Westbury Seal engine drawing error?
12/10/2020 22:11:50

Offsetting the cylinder centreline to the crankshaft was a design feature of older engines, it was used to reduce the side thrust on the piston on the firing stroke. I think it was offset in the direction of rotation, but I would have to check. Someone will probably remember which side it is. You rarely see it done on modern designs.


Thread: Why is the 9 leaf clock pinion ommitted?
10/10/2020 20:22:33

I don't think Lord Grimthorpe would have changed his opinion on small numbers of leaves on a pinion, he had very strong views on many subjects, rightly or wrongly. He was a very talented engineer, his double three legged gravity escapement is still regarded as one of the best for turret clocks. If he had a failing, it was probably of his uncompromising belief that his own opinion being always correct one.

His 'Treatise on Clocks, Watches and Bells" is available for download from the Project Gutenburg website and is worth reading, but remember to consider his opinions with caution.


Thread: What cleaning solution?
03/10/2020 22:56:53

I well remember the "trich" tank from when I was an apprentice at work, it was a very large affair, about 8 foot x 4 foot x 4 foot deep, so large components could be lowered in with the crane. The actual liquid was below a perforated bottom plate and was heated, you could see the vapour swirling in the tank. There were cooling coils around the top of the tank to keep the vapour in, although when a part was lowered in some of the vapour would come out and that was not very nice. It was interesting to see the vapour condense on the part and the oil and grease just wash off. The tank also had a nozzle that could be used to flush the part with liquid if needed. I can't remember the name of the stuff that replaced it, but it was never as effective.

Other cleaning at work was done it what was referred to as a paraffin tank, but I saw it being cleaned out one day and it was refilled from a 45 gallon drum of white spirit.

At home, I use either white spirit, brake cleaner, isopropyl alcohol or soapy water in an ultrasonic cleaner. It depends on how clean I need the parts to be. For grinding paste I think the first two would be my choice.


Thread: What Did You Do Today 2020
03/10/2020 22:11:19

Spent the morning cleaning up the aluminium swarf that had accumulated in and around the milling machine. It had got deep enough to make positioning parts in the vice difficult. I don't mind machining aluminium, but it seems to go everywhere and stick to everything.

I'm now ready to start making another heap of swarf, perhaps not quite so big this time.


Thread: crankcase construction
13/09/2020 22:47:54

The tab and slot location system is very similar to the Steven's Patent for producing fabricated diesels engine crankcases introduced into Britain at the Olympia Exhibition of 1931. Here the firing loads are carried through the vertical plates from the cylinder head to the main bearings without loading any welds. Some of the submarine engines of that period were constructed in this way.

Fabricated crankcases are also easier to repair if one should suffer a mishap, more than can be said for an iron casting.

The only drawback to fabrication is that it requires more work to get it to the machining stage, with a casting, once you have a pattern, it is a fairly quick process to make more castings. Probably not much in it for a one off project.

The MOD used to favour fabricated steel crankcases for shock loading purposes in their ships, but I think that may no longer be the case as modern resilient mounts can now attenuate some of the load.

The original Paxman Ventura and Valenta engines were fabricated mostly from pre-machined steel plate, although the more complex shaped drive end gear housing was a steel casting, as were the main bearing plates. Later HST train engines were however, SG Iron castings.

Nothing wrong with a fabrication, just think, they don't cast submarines!


Thread: Warco WM180 or Sieg SC3-400?
28/08/2020 21:41:04

At present I am looking to get a new small lathe and my choice is between the Warco WM180 and the Sieg SC3-400. Both would suit my needs and I don't really need anything larger now. I like the more robust build of the WM180, but I am concerned about the brushed motor that it uses.

It would seem from various posts on this forum that brushed motors are more liable to overheating and failure if used for prolonged periods, particularly at low speeds. Unfortunately these are usually quite common operating conditions when turning a component. Brushless motors don't seem to have the same problem.

There are perhaps hundreds of these machines being used without any problem at all, but we only ever hear of them when something has gone wrong. I would like to hear from anyone who use one these machines to see what their experiences have been, is the brushed motor a real problem or not. Is there a duty cycle that must be observed?

I look forward to hearing what people have to say.


Thread: Are these Flexispeed accessories?
12/08/2020 22:09:12

I'm afraid my memory is a little bit hazy on how exactly I arranged the angle plate and vice, it's been over 40 years since I last used then. They got put away when I acquired other tooling. The lathe still gets used on the odd occasion just to make sure it still works, but just for very simple turning jobs now.

I think that I bolted the angle plate directly to the cross slide tee slot and then the vice to the angle plate. This would have given very limited and not very accurate vertical adjustment. I cannot remember if I managed to arrange any fine vertical adjustment, if I did it was probably some lash up using the compound slide as I had nothing else in those days.

The block (B) is still a bit of a puzzle to me, I can only speculate on its use now that you say there could be a locating detent in the face.

I'm sorry not to be more helpful, I just wish that I could remember more clearly just how I did.


11/08/2020 17:26:52

The angle plate (A) and the small machine vice (C) look to be the same as the ones I got for my Flexispeed from the Norfolk Lathe & Tool Co when they were being made in North Walsham. The angle plate is a bit crudely made but the vice was machined all over.

I don't know what the block (B) is, as you say, from the paint it is associated with the lathe. Judging from size and the single hole it could fit on top of the compound slide instead of the tool holder. But what you would use it for I don't know, maybe as a pivot for a hand held tool?

Item (D) could be homemade clamps for the face plate, but I'm guessing there. Item (E) I have not a clue!

I hope someone else with a Flexspeed can provide some more answers.


Thread: What Did You Do Today 2020
11/08/2020 17:05:33

What a lovely little watchmakers lathe, even if you never actually use it. It deserves to be looked after.

A similar lathe, described as a "Burin Fixe" watchmakers lathe sold for £550 in 2018 at Flints Auctions.

A search under that name brings up quite a few images, you may find a suitable image to copy.

I think you were very lucky to find it.


Thread: EN8
07/08/2020 21:49:41

Just an observation, the near equivalent of BS970 431S29 is actually EN57, usually supplied in the T condition (55 ton tensile), although the impact strength is only about 60% of the alloy steels. The EN58 series cannot be heat treated and are supplied in a soft condition (35 ton tensile). Could make a difference to your project.

Also be aware that you acquire material close to your finished size, remember that the core of a larger diameter bar will not have the same properties as the outside layers because of the "speed" of the quench through the material in the hardening process. In small diameters this is not a big issue.

As others have said, getting small quantities of the right material can be your biggest problem.


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