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Member postings for Alistair Robertson 1

Here is a list of all the postings Alistair Robertson 1 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Cast iron welding electrodes
29/10/2019 12:07:21

Back when I was doing repairs off all types we often got broken castings to repair.

we always discussed the job with the client to make sure that welding was the best (or only!) option.

If a weld repair was all that could be done then we would usually use a high nickel content rod as it was easier to machine after the welding. What we always did is use a welder with a high voltage which made it easier to strike and maintain an arc. A really old Murex/BOC welder was the favorite tool with up to 120 volt AC or DC. Probably illegal now!

A modern inverter welder works really well when set at a high frequency and with the proper rods.

If you do it right it will be as good as the original casting.

Thread: High Paint Costs
15/10/2019 15:44:12

I work as a volunteer at a local railway museum where we recently repainted a wagon used for transporting prisoners. The wood primer was £130 for 5 ltrs. The undercoat was £155 per 5 ltrs. and the top coat was £178 for 5 liters. This was bought from a specialist paint supplier and was of quite outstanding quality and those were "Trade" prices as we are a charity. The "retail" price was 30% higher!

I suppose you get what you pay for.

I remember many years ago we made a system to dip wooden windows in some sort of preservative. We were supplied with the paint which came in two, one gallon tins, one completely full and one half full.

The instructions said that no more than 60 minutes before use we had to pour the full tin into the half full can and quickly stir with an old wooden spoon or stick. This didn't look right but with everyone standing around to see what was going to happen, the foreman started and to gasps of surprise the full tin poured in to the other can without any spillage. So it was given a stir and with all hands on deck the painting was completed in about 45 minutes. 30 minutes later the small amount of paint left in the tin was solid like plastic, hence the reason for the strict time instructions.

I have never seen anything like that stuff since but the dipping plant is still in the workshop where it was installed although no longer used, The dipping agent is probably banned from use nowadays!

Thread: Help and advice on a drill bit for hardened steel
14/10/2019 12:25:25

I don't know what your broken stud is screwed in to, aluminium,steel or cast iron.

Personally I wouldn't attempt to drill a hardened steel stud unless it was with a drill press or mill and with the component clamped in place.

A far better way is to build up a pillar of weld on the exposed end of the stud using a mig welder, then when the pillar is high enough to then weld a suitable nut on top of the whole lot. The heat of the weld is almost always enough to free off the stud and is a simple twist-out job. Use an aluminium bush to prevent the weld and spatter sticking to the surrounding metal.

I have never failed to extract a broken stud in this manner in forty years since I got a mig welder!

We had one welder who was so good he could build up a pillar on a 3mm stud and successfully get the offending stud out.

Thread: Is this chuck mounted on a 5C collet?
11/10/2019 16:13:52

When I was working we had a few Hardinge lathes with 5c built in to the spindle.

We could fit 3, 4 and 6 jaw chucks but it meant removing the draw tube etc. every time.

We bought a chuck like that and it was very popular with the guys, in fact we had to buy one for each machine to keep everybody happy!

The quality was very good for the price.

Thread: Murad Antarctic
09/10/2019 10:32:14

Just for interest I see that there is a Murad lathe for sale in the October edition of "Classic Tractor" magazine on page 146.

Not sure of the type but does look as if it is is on an original stand. It is single phase and apparently has lots of accessories. There can't be many of these around and at £560 it could be an interesting bargain!

Thread: Universal Joint Alignment
03/10/2019 10:49:58

A few years ago a friend who was helping a group with a tractor pulling sledge who could not get the traveling weight box to run smoothly asked for my help. I spotted that the universals on the driveshaft were not aligned and asked them to slide it out and realign on the splines. Problem solved!

I know that was the problem as a member of the group did not believe that was the problem and pulled the shaft off and put it back the way it was and "hey how" the problem came back!

Even a few degrees of input and output shaft misalignment can cause bothers and aligning the universals correctly can halve the included angle.

Thread: What the he**
24/09/2019 09:31:06

A couple of years ago our next door neighbors car, which he parks in the space outside my front window was sitting peacefully when there was the most almighty bang, the car took a lurch and a cloud of dust appeared from under the car, then almost immediately the car took a second lurch and dropped about another couple of inches!

The spring had broken after sitting without moving for a couple of days then the force of the car dropping had broken the remainder of the spring. Quite spectacular to witness and I wish I had had a security camera set up at the time. I might have made £250 from a TV show!

The car had to be transported to the local garage to get the remains of the coil spring removed.

Thread: 0.300" & 0.400" 28TPI Tap
28/08/2019 12:46:32

Threads! Don't get me started!

When I was working at a research establishment we had equipment from all over the world and the headaches of connecting bits together was unbelievable.

We had a Robertson Guide to Screw Threads book and although it covered everything from 3, an Israeli copy of BSP. to Zs a Hungarian thread of 40mm x 6 tpi.? we still got some connections and fittings that defied logic.

I still have a copy of "The Robertson Guide to World Screw Thread Series Symbols" produced by W. H. A. Robertson and Co. Ltd. Lynton Works. Bedford. England. who made dies and chasers.

A truly wonderful publication with some REALLY strange threads, such as.

Artillerie (French)

British Standard Insulator (Cordeaux)

Sewing Machine 100 (German)

Round 30 degree. (Switzerland)

Bearing Form B (German "Klammergewinde" truly amazing and I don't know how you could make it!

or how about American Aero Thread or Dardelet.

Humans really know how to complicate things.

Thread: My digital calipersseems to give varying readings
15/08/2019 12:41:08

I bought a couple of digital verniers from Aldi a couple of years ago. One works perfectly but the other gains 0.200" when I move it in and out, Eventually it goes up to a reading of 9.999" if I persevere.

I took it back to the store but they were sold out and the manager was not prepared to send them back as she said they were working as they should!! I contacted Aldi at the number on the paperwork but they weren't helpful at all and said I had to return them to the store. I tried again but with no luck at getting them to understand the problem and they said they were a special buy and they wouldn't be getting any more. At this point I gave up and as they only cost about £8 it really wasn't worth he hassle. They are still somewhere in my workshop.

Thread: Looking for a locking stay for machine canopy.
13/08/2019 09:36:23

Hi, All.

Thanks for all the valuable information. I have bought a pair of the type suggested by Brian G from RS. Why I didn't look there before i don't know. I ordered some bits and pieces from them last week!

I didn't want to use a gas strut as when they have to be compressed to "go overcentre" they put a big strain on the perspex cover which weighs about 25 Kgs. as I well know when I knocked out the plastic tube I was holding it up with and had to visit the hospital for a neck X-Ray. It was sore for more than a week.

The pair I bought a few years ago were not the same as the Camloc I have bought from RS they were more like a drawer slide that locked when extended.

12/08/2019 19:25:01

I have a Denford Novamill and to gain a bit more room in the workshop I altered the central pivoting of the Perspex "bubble" top cover to a rear hinge. This allowed me to place the machine against the wall saving about 200mm space.

I was going to fit a couple of struts that lock when they are extended then release when you push them up again to allow the guard to lower. I measured up the length I would need and went to my local hardware store to be met with stony silence when I explained what I was after. I had fitted the same sort of strut to a previous machine for a customer a few years ago. "You can't get anything like that" I was told, But I had bought them previously so I went home and looked up my old paperwork as to where I had bought them. I had bought them from a different shop so a few days later I went to town and strode confidently in to the counter to be told "Never seen anything like that!" I showed them my old invoice which said "Self Locking Strut" but no part number and they also said "Never seen them!!"

I have looked on the Internet but I am not sure what the correct description should be! They are like a drawer slide but with no balls (I think) and when they fully extend a bit of metal pops out of a square hole locking the strut in place. Push the strut further up and it releases.

Can anyone give me a correct description as I can't remember what I asked for about 10 years ago!

Thread: Tyres for bandsaw
24/07/2019 11:52:25

I had to get new tyres for my Delta bandsaw and after a lot of faffing about with UK suppliers who said they couldn't help even when they said they were Delta dealers! I went on Ebay and ordered a set of Blue Max Urethane tyres (tires!) from the USA which were delivered about 10 days later.

There seems to be several USA suppliers on Ebay but their prices seem to be very similar.

They weren't expensive, are very good quality and have transformed my bandsaw so I can thoroughly recommend them.

Thread: What milling tip do I need?
22/07/2019 10:23:53

Thanks, SDL.

That solved the problem.

The information available on this Forum is second to none!

Tips ordered first thing this morning and they are on their way,


Thread: What mills have you had
21/07/2019 22:28:42

I have had a Polish AJAX horizontal that came out of the Hillman Imp factory in Linwood. We used it for 24 hours a day on one job for about 6 years and I was sad to see it go but we didn't have a job for it.

I had a Huron for a few years which was a wonderful milling machine. Designed by people (in France) who had worked out how a manual machine should work, a bit like a Dean, Smith and Grace lathe. I sold it for twice the price I paid for it after 10 years!

Various Bridgeports including a round head machine that came out of the Hughes Aircraft Factory at Culver City in California and would have been used to build the "Spruce Goose" aircraft. I still have that one with all the Hughes Aircraft and local Californian dealer name plates.

A Schaublin 53, another very well designed machine and very rare in the UK.

A fully kitted out Aciera F1 which I still have.

Thread: What milling tip do I need?
21/07/2019 21:05:20


I have an 80mm dia. Facing milling cutter with 7 insert locations.

It came to me in a box with a lot of tooling at a local auction a couple of years ago. I have just got to the bottom of the box recently and it was a pleasant surprise as it is in excellent condition, BUT there are no tips to fit it, but the screws are there and don't look as if they have been used!

The only identification is the code A241.80.R.07 The rectangular tips look to be about 12mm x 8mm x 5mm thick with a 3.5mm screw hole. (These sizes are approx)

I have been in contact with several tooling suppliers but as yet none of them can identify what tips I need. I may have to go to a few suppliers and ask to see if I can get something to fit, but perhaps some of the very knowledgeable folks on this forum can identify what I need.

Thread: An electrostatic mystery ...
16/07/2019 15:09:48

On a related vein I remember a local shop keeper who could tell the voltage and health of a battery simply by touching the terminals with the fingers on opposite hands. A local physics teacher refused to think this was possible but he went to visit the shop with his trusty meter. The shopkeeper called Bert was able to tell him which batteries that he had in stock were the best for voltage and he told him which would last the longest when in use. He could tell the difference as good as the meter could read.

Bert suffered from static shocks from nearly everything he touched and used a cloth over his fingers when ringing up the till. When he forgot or misjudged his prod at the keys it was a bit like a scene with the till from "Open All Hours" !

Thread: Five Sided Bolt
08/07/2019 16:53:41

A few years ago our team had a new racing car chassis delivered from the USA and almost all the bolt heads were aircraft type with 5 sides. When we asked why, the manufacturer said they were stronger and smaller to save weight. We asked them to send us the spanners and sockets to fit the car. A few days later some sets of Bonney tools arrived with a bill for several $1000s of dollars! They cost more then 10 times the price of regular Snap-On tools for regular hex bolt heads! They were not the easiest tools to work especially the open-enders as they couldn't be slid in normally they had to go over the head of the bolt.

We replaced all the bolts with regular hex and sold the 5 sided stuff to an aircraft repair company who were delighted to get tools with official paperwork for aircraft use. Every spanner, socket and ratchet etc. had it's own serial number and paperwork!

Thread: Gents impulse clock
13/06/2019 10:44:41

A factory where I worked for a couple of years about 15 years ago had a Gents master slave system with about 30 slaves at least. Even the stamping in and time jobbing clocks were linked.

When a new digital swipe card system was introduced the guys who installed it couldn't believe that a system that was at least 60 years old could do almost as much as their fancy system with all the bells and whistles!

The master was a long case clock as described by Mick so I think you have found what you need.

Thread: Hexagonal Socket Drive
07/06/2019 11:52:23

I remember when I bought my first Britool socket set in mid to late sixties I was offered either square or hex socket sets. I went for the square because there were AF sockets in the set (There were only Whitworth in the hex drive set although some of them were 8 sided for square nuts!

My Uncle who owned the garage where I got to use the ramp etc. bought the hex set. I think it was a lot cheaper than the square one (He was always tight with his money!) and was probably old, old stock.

When he retired and sold out I looked for the Hex set but I never found it and he could remember nothing about it!

Thread: Plug and Socket
06/06/2019 18:23:39


For any sensors or transducers I always use XLR connectors (Microphone Type) as they are so versatile with up to 8 pins and with the correct screened cable are very resistant to RF generated by motors etc. Fully sealed types are available but they are very expensive compared to the standard type which are reasonably cheap.

You have to solder in the cables and that can be fiddly but take care and all will work well. I have a machine that has been in daily use for about seven years and I have had no problems with these connectors.

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