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Member postings for Jim Nic

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

Thread: Death.
09/06/2021 10:21:36

A sad, but not unexpected, loss.

John had not been well for many years but soldiered on as long as he was able. One of my early modelling adventures was his Paddleduck design from which I learnt a tremendous amount, not just in the way engines work but also in how to think through construction methods. Thank you John.


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread 2021
27/05/2021 09:56:05

Nicely done Pete.


Thread: Small oscillating engine
25/05/2021 21:14:25

Well done smf, a good looking version of Steve's design.

This was my first engine too, although not as much modified as yours.


Thread: Water soluble coolant
20/05/2021 10:18:31

I use water soluble coolant quite a lot although not the brand you quote. I find that if left to drain, the water that doesn't drain away evaporates from the mixture overnight leaving an oily film on the machines and swarf trays. The only problem, if you see it as such, is that where it gets trapped under slides or vices etc it leaves a harmless (as far as I know) stain in the metal. Never ever had any rust develop.


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread 2021
19/05/2021 21:56:38

Making some more progress on my Norden engine. This is what I'm aiming at:

norden picture.jpg

The frame and crankshaft bearings are done, latest fumblings involved making the cylinder. Here's the main components which replace the casting of the original model, the top and bottom flanges will be fixed with Loctite and the port face with JB Weld.

cylinder 1.jpg

Here's the first scrapped attempt:

cylinder 4.jpg

You may be able to make out the top of the broken off 8BA tap. I haven't broken a tap for ages but my mind wandered while I was doing the eighth one and that was that.

So I recovered the top flange, the rest went in he bin and I started again:

cylinder 5.jpg

It's not easy to see why this also bounced off the wall but it moved in the vice when I was milling the brass port face and it ended up too thin and not square. So I started again again.

At last I successfully completed a cylinder and even got the cover done as well:

cylinder 7.jpg

Steam chest next.


Thread: Any info on this?
19/05/2021 21:02:30


The notion of winding in a hand held wench intrigues me no end.

Sorry, not normally pedantic but I couldn't resist.


Thread: Surface finish for aluminium sheet?
18/05/2021 10:18:01

Good to see you got it done, got any pictures?


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread 2021
15/05/2021 17:57:16

That's a good runner Rod. Well done.


Thread: GOOD NEWS ! Midlands MEX
13/05/2021 21:07:56

If it's on then I'll be there. Like Howard, probably not to buy much but exhibitions and exhibitors need to be supported or we'll lose them all.

As always, I expect I'll arrive home with a few bits and bobs I didn't know I needed until I saw them.


Thread: DRO scales
13/05/2021 19:59:13

Once again, a picture paints a thousand words. I fitted a 2 channel M-DRO magnetic DRO to my mill 8 years or so ago and I wouldn't be without it now. I have a numerical readout which works well for me but I understand that a graphical display is now available (probably a bit more expensive).

Here is the Y axis scale:

y axis.jpg

The backing piece is held to the machine base with a couple of M5 countersink screws and then the magnetic strip is placed in to it and the cover plate attached. A mounting bracket for the read head was made up and bolted to the table base.

The X axis:x axis scale.jpg

This was attached to the table in place of the stops and the read head is where the stop was. I put a piece of aluminium angle behind the scale to keep swarf from getting jammed in between it and the read head.

The system works well and has never missed a beat despite the scales and read heads being regularly doused in coolant and other miscellaneous fluids. Also, being mains powered there is no faffing about with flat batteries at inconvenient moments.

It wasn't the cheapest system for sure but I think it was well worth what it cost my good lady wife and was a great Chrissie present.


Thread: Surface finish for aluminium sheet?
13/05/2021 10:03:30

I used a round piece of softish leather glued to the end of a piece of wood dowel and impregnated with engine valve grinding paste:

Engine turning 2.jpg

Note that I didn't use it in my milling machine for fear of getting abrasive in the little important bits of the machine but my cheapo drill press survived the experience unscathed.

The finish I got was:

Popcorn base & plinth 1.jpg


Thread: miniature copper pipe
11/05/2021 14:33:26

Here is a picture of a set of bought in components.

pipe fittings.jpg

The pipe is 1/8" OD, the union thread is 1/4" x 40 TPI ME and the nut is 8mm across the flats.




Edited By Jim Nic on 11/05/2021 14:34:06

Edited By Jim Nic on 11/05/2021 14:34:41

11/05/2021 10:07:11


+1 for be careful.

I think you will find that your 1/8" OD pipe will fit in a 1/8" ID nipple which will require a nut with a 1/4" x 40 TPI ME thread.


10/05/2021 15:39:10

Macc Models sells 1/8 dia copper tube and associated fittings including complete unions, pipe ends and nuts or olives.

I use some fittings bought from Macc, some fittings I make and incorporate Macc olives and/or pipe ends and nuts and some I make entirely from round or hexagonal bar stock. The choice usually depends on what materials I have to hand.


Thread: Rothenberger Super Fire 2 Torch
07/05/2021 12:53:02

I would be wary of Bernzomatic torches. There are a number of U-tube posts, notably by a poster named "NOBOX7", which show the Bernzomatic to have the appearance of a Rothenburger by another name, to have a similar hole in the handle as the Rothenburger and to fail in a similar alarming way to the Rothenburger.

Just saying.


06/05/2021 20:59:48

I also have a Superfire 2 of about the same age. You have me worried now. Do please let us know if you find out anything useful.


Thread: Stewart Hart's Vertical Mill Engine
29/04/2021 15:15:48


As a fan of Stewart's with 4 of his designs built I have always found him to be very generous and accomodating. Although he doesn't post on here much these days I'm sure he won't mind me telling you how to get in touch with him. If you send him a Personal Message and ask him to send you a set of drawings I am sure he will oblige.

To send a PM Click on "Inbox" at the top of the homepage, Click on "Compose new message", address it to Stewart Hart and ask away.


Thread: Help please!
26/04/2021 10:36:07


Thread: Parkside controllers
25/04/2021 19:42:20

Google Parkside Railways and an announcement regarding temporary closure by a company of that name appears. I don't know if this is the same company you are seeking information on.


Thread: James Coombes
24/04/2021 16:53:26

+1 for turning off the square capital and using separate pieces which are free to turn on the longer threaded portion of the column. That is what I did on my first table engine, not a James Coombes but a Stew Hart. I actually drilled and tapped the columns to take studs to save making all new columns.


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