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Member postings for Mick B1

Here is a list of all the postings Mick B1 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: The most complex clock built in our lifetime
25/09/2021 20:19:21
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 25/09/2021 14:38:03:
Posted by Calum Galleitch on 25/09/2021 14:31:25:

In the context of hobby engineering, the question "why" is not a valid one.


yes star


Yes it is.

However "because I wanted to, and I could" is a legitimate and sufficient answer.


Thread: Pendulum spring steel hangers
22/09/2021 21:45:48

Well, thanks for the advice everyone. I went with David's suggestion and got 150mm of 1/2" x 0.008" suspension spring steel from Ian T Cobb, £5.75 including postage, which arrived this afternoon - excellent service!

Subjectively, it feels similarly springy to the original.

Seeing as I had enough for more than 1 attempt, I cut 2 strips 30 x 7mm with tinsnips, then put together one of my teeth-grinding setups, using two slightly longer strips of 1/16" thick alli to sandwich the spring steel in a pair of toolmaker's clamps:-


My hope was that the alli would support the drill and the spring steel and allow me to drill the 2 x 3,5 mm holes with a clean breakthrough - and this definitely worked:-


The upper, rust-spotted strip is the unbroken original; the lower 2 are my copies. OK, so the holes aren't laterally central, but I don't see that that'll matter much because it's the clamping force of the upper and lower blocks that holds the strips, rather than the screws in shear. Anyway, the original is offcentre too. What probably does matter is that the hole spacing is the same as the original and identical for the 2 strips, which it is.

I'll put this together, and I think it'll work. If it doesn't, I'll make another pair more precisely.

Edited By Mick B1 on 22/09/2021 21:47:16

Thread: Recommend a grade of steel
22/09/2021 11:54:27

B&Q do lengths of black mild steel flat bar that's about 11 x 4mm. It machines nicely, but I've not needed to try bending it.

Edited By Mick B1 on 22/09/2021 11:54:56

Thread: Pendulum spring steel hangers
20/09/2021 11:14:14
Posted by duncan webster on 20/09/2021 00:22:02:

I've got the return spring from a retractable dog lead here. It is 0.2mm thick * 8mm wide. If It's any use pm me your dirt mail address and I'll send it to you

Thanks very much, but I don't know whether the spiral set and possible work-hardening would be an issue, or how well I could correct it if it is...


Hopefully Ian Cobb will return a quote shortly for the strip material they sell.

Edited By Mick B1 on 20/09/2021 11:15:40

19/09/2021 19:51:20
Posted by the artfull-codger on 19/09/2021 19:00:32:

When I used to repair clocks I used an old steel tape measure taken to bits & the spring at the back of the measuring tape was just right for the ones I repaired...

Hi Artfull, if Ian Cobb's still selling suspension steel, that'd be easier and cheaper than trashing a tape rule. Anyway, mine keep being taken by gremlins...


Guess I'll be finding a feeler gauge set if there ain't no other option.

19/09/2021 18:37:18
Posted by David Noble on 19/09/2021 16:39:59:

Ian Cobb is your man. PM me if you can’t find him.


Thanks to you too. I guess what I'm after is 'suspension spring steel' as on Ian's website.

19/09/2021 18:33:45
Posted by Martin Kyte on 19/09/2021 16:45:41:

Try and stick to the dimensions of the original as far as possible. Slightly thicker wont matter much. Source the material from either shim stock, feeler guages or take a look on the Cousins or Meadows and Passmore sites. Your best bet for creating holes is punching. Make a simple tool comprising a couple of pieces of steel plate doweled together with a nicely drilled and reamed hole/holes to take a silver steel punch. For one off use dont bother hardening. You will get a nice hole without raggedness or burrs to create failure points.

best of luck.

regards Martin

Thank you very much, Martin. Helpful advice, and the websites are quite an education!


19/09/2021 16:30:21

I've done some work on clocks as volunteer for the railway, and now they've given me a pendulum to fix, and a pretty substantial one in my view. It's nearly 1,20 M long and probably weighs more than 5 kg. It has a hanger bar with turned ends at the top and the whole of the rest of the mass is suspended from 2 spring steel strips 7mm wide and 0,19mm thick (say .0075" ). They're 30mm or 1 3/16" long, with 2 holes 3,5ish or 9/64" diameter and 19mm or 3/4" apart.

One of these strips has broken (age or fatigue) and they'd like me to replace both. The steel feels pretty hard and springy on the remaining unbroken one despite its thinness.

My questions are:

  • Are railway master clock pendulum suspension strips a standard component, and if so, where if anywhere could they be bought?
  • If not, what might I get away with as a substitute? I have some 10-thou shim somewhere that I could cut and drill to suit. Not sure how critical the deflection-per-unit-force might be.


Edited By Mick B1 on 19/09/2021 16:30:45

Thread: Back to Imperial
18/09/2021 19:54:31

Will Putin take Russia back to arshins and vershoks after their next election?

17/09/2021 22:13:34

Edited By Mick B1 on 17/09/2021 22:16:06

17/09/2021 14:27:10

I've still got the marks on the handle of the coffee spoon I pinched from my dad in 1973, where I set the magneto on my BSA A10 to 13/32" BTDC.

But my 2 sons and their families can't abide Imperial - they think it's deliberately arcane and difficult, which perhaps is part of its quirky charm.

Thread: Clive Sinclar
17/09/2021 11:09:12

I first heard of him at Uni in 1969 or thenabouts - a few were trying his Z12 amplifier to put together decent sound systems. Opinions varied, but then surrounding equipment such as decks, cartridges and speakers did too, to the point that fair assessment was effectively impossible.

Didn't really come across him again until '76 - ish when quite a few machine shop workers I knew bought his scientific calculator kits and Black Watches. There were endless issues with missing LED display lines IIRC. I was using an early LCD 4-function calculator and a set of printed trig tables for much better reliability and battery life.

I didn't buy a ZX81, but by '83 had more-or-less forgiven him the calculator kit/Black Watch debacle that had cost colleagues quite a bit of hard-earned, and got a 48k Spectrum. That wasn't without its problems - most especially getting it to load programs from cassette recorders - but started both my (then small) sons on the path to developing careers in software and related industries. Perhaps it was his most successful piece of market-leading.

His Quantum Leap really wasn't, and was soon hugely outgunned by the Apple Mac and the great UI changes it brought about industry-wide.

I think the C5 was the Big Mistake - he seems to've thought he could create and lead demand irrespective of practicalities.

He was certainly clever and energetic, but both his technical and business sides had flaws. Perhaps he needed someone who could've advised him better, but then again, maybe he'd've ignored that anyway.

RIP Sir Clive.

Thread: Leadscrews and other features of Asian milling machines
16/09/2021 17:26:32

+1 for Tony's and larry's comments.

I've always thought that rolled threads were done for strength, wear resistance and rapidity of manufacture rather than specifically for accuracy. I worked in the 70s for a company that made jacking screws for artic trailers, and their thread rollers would run off a 10 foot length of 2-start inch-and-three-eighths Acme in a couple of minutes. I don't know of any particular reason these threads should be more or less accurate than turned.

Thread: Myford ML7 accuracy
16/09/2021 09:01:16

Posted by not done it yet on 16/09/2021 07:58:41:


I note that some Warco machines have been changed from those dodgy DC electronics - they have actually fitted a 3 phase motor with a VFD.

I wonder how many commercial machines use DC motors with dodgy electronic control. Not many, if any, I suspect….

Perhaps that's why my WM250V has given no trouble, despite occasional stalls in over-heavy cuts and screwcutting (which has saved me a few tool breakages), in several years of regular use. Other users have reported similarly. And I've never bothered to start every run with the pot set to minimum revs.

Thread: photos
15/09/2021 21:29:08

It's a 2-stage process. You gotta upload the photos, then save the changes to the album. I think it might be possible to not notice the save stage...

Thread: Recommended Vice for Double Swivel Milling Slide
15/09/2021 10:06:06

It looks wasteful of space to bolt the vice to the slide with slotted flanges, as the Myford offerings appear to. The RDG item 10036 on their 'other vices' page looks most like the one I've been using successfully for 18 years - it uses counterbored capscrew holes through the floor to T-nuts. The Warco version 9552 looks similar, but they ain't got 'em in. However, mine's 3" wide, and I've not found another to match that.

Just make sure the spacing matches the vertical slide slots. On mine it's 1 9/16" (39,68mm), as described above by Clive and others. If more recent slides use, say 40mm, it shouldn't be difficult to find ways to accommodate that.

Edited By Mick B1 on 15/09/2021 10:12:44

Thread: Which grade of. bronze
13/09/2021 20:08:51

The cylinder casting on my Murray's Hypocycloidal was made of something that behaved - as far as I could tell - very similarly to LG2.

Thread: Myford ML7 accuracy
13/09/2021 15:43:08
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 13/09/2021 15:09:48:


Not sure where the idea Chinese lathes only last a couple of years comes from. Not my experience.


C'mon, we all know where it comes from - seller greed playing to buyer prejudice.

Not my experience either, from my 6+ year old Chinese lathe.

+1 on your other comments. Cowells are certainly impressive little machines.

Thread: Workholding Problem
12/09/2021 19:51:54
Posted by Zan on 12/09/2021 14:07:04:

Soft jaws! Soft jaws and I repeat again!


Edited By Zan on 12/09/2021 14:07:41

Yes! Buy some! You'll never regret it.

Thread: A machine used for what?
11/09/2021 19:09:14

Stitching saddlery leather?

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