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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: clarke cl500
26/10/2020 09:25:20

Machine Mart are the retail operation of Clarke International.

Clarke International also supply their equipment to most tool dealers in the UK and Europe.

They are usually very good at sourcing even very obscure spare parts for older equipment.

Thread: DRO errors, or are they??
25/10/2020 11:32:35

I will say that if the scale is not absolutely parallel to the movement of the slide then there is a (very) strong possibility of an error in your readings.

We had a Dro fitted to a large lathe and the big shafts we were machining were giving problems with errors. On checking the cross-slide scale we found a 0.05mm error on the alignment the DTI from one end to the other. The supplier assured us that that amount would not matter but when the service engineer came along we were able to prove to him that it did. He said that most crossslides were much shorter and any error would not show up.

So very careful alignment is uaually the answer!

Thread: Electric Smart Meters
13/10/2020 11:07:25

I posted a few days ago about the problem we are having at our church with a new electricity supplier.

They insisted we have a Smart Meter fitted before the contract begun but that was fine with our Treasurer as it would mean we wouldn't have to send in the readings every 3 months.

The meter was installed by the company but they admitted that they couldn't read it as their software was incompatible! The company has been an absolute nightmare to deal with, with monthly bills that are higher than the 3 month bills from our previous supplier. and they cannot supply us with usage bills.

They are now saying that as they cannot get the Smart Meter to work then we have to pay for an accredited meter reader to read our meter every month at about £80 a visit!

You couldn't make it up!!

Thread: Bleeding hydraulics
09/10/2020 10:36:15

Hi, Kiwi Bloke.

I must agree with you that you are thoroughly over-thinking the (non-existant!) problem!

I did some work for the worlds largest digger company and they did not see a need for bleeding the system in production. By the time the linkages were fitted up and everything was checked out to the various tilting and opening and closing buckets the job was considered finished.

Believe me if bleeding was required they would have done it and to the ninth degree!

08/10/2020 14:47:52

As others have said a new hydraulic setup should be cycled a few times which will cause the air to be encapsuled in the oil and once it has circulated through the system the air will naturally expell when in the reservoir. We used to assemble about 10 loader combinations a day and we never had a problem with trapped air.

As an aside a friend of mine worked for a very prestigious sports car manufacturer and they had a tool that they fitted between the seat frame and the brake pedal which pushed the brake pedal down and it was left overnight. When it was removed in the morning the feel of the brake pedal had improved out of all recognition and they didn't have to spent a long time firming up the pedal!

Thread: New Energy Supplier Companies
04/10/2020 15:40:55

Hi, All.

Although this question is not connected with Engineering I appreciate the experience and wisdom of the members of this forum, so, our local church has a supplier contract for electricity with one of the new energy companies as we were told it would be considerably cheaper than our previous contract (with Scottish and Southern Energy ) if we joined the group scheme.

Well I have to say the new company is quite the most incompetent organisation I have ever come across. Before we began they insisted that a Smart meter had to be fitted so that they could send us correct and up to date bills every month.

Our treasurer though this would be great as with the previous supplier we were billed every 3 months and it would ease her budgeting requirements.

First thing was they couldn't read their own Smart meter! Incompatible software we are told! then they did not have the meter readings from before they took over even after ourselves and SSE sent them about 8 times.

They are now taking a Direct Debit payment every month of more than the 3 month average was before but they cannot provide a bill with the units used which we send them every month. They now wish to double the monthly Direct Debit as they have no record of any payment we have made!

They have just sent us a bill intended for another local church and it has no usage information either! Our Treasurer has said she will cancel the Direct Debit but they are threatening to cut us off if we do that.

Has anyone else had problems with any of these new companies?

Thread: Unusable Tracking Numbers
01/10/2020 15:27:23

Thanks for that infofmation, Ian.

Unfortunately there still seems to be a problem with un-identifiable numbers and even fully tracked not working as they should. I have four items that are still showing as "outstanding" although they were delivered weeks ago.

I think Royal Mail and their workers are outstanding. I had a bad experience with a package I sent to Ohio in the USA, The USPS said the package was delivered to No. 342 Whatever Street and sent me a photo of the parcel at the door of 1342 Whatever Street! It took them 6 attempts to try and deliver the package in three different towns with a very irate customer bending my ear every other day! Stressfull!!!

01/10/2020 14:16:30

Hi all.

I wonder if anyone has noticed that tracking numbers supplied by Ebay suppliers do not work. Often you only get the number and when you click on it it just says "Tracking Number Provided".

I had a parcel that was about 3 weeks late and when I contacted Royal Mail with the number they said it was not a number supplied by them. However the package arrived a few days later delivered by our postman with the number printed on the label! I asked the postman to scan the number/barcode but his scanner could not decifer the number.

I thought this was perhaps an Ebay thing but I bought something from a very well known retailer and it was exactly the same, the Royal Mail generated Tracking Number was not recognised!

It used to be handy to have some idea of when a package was to be delivered but obviously smething has gone wrong with the system.

I ordered some parts from China and the Tracking Number worked perfectly when it was delivered by our local Postman!

Thread: VFD for M300
04/09/2020 15:26:14

I was discussing the star/delta thing today with our old plant engineer and when I said there was no difference in star or delta windings and output he said "well why do we need Star Delta Starters for larger motors?" He couldn't remember the de-rating percentage off hand but it was always listed in the motor and starter configuration paperwork.

03/09/2020 16:27:35


I am only going by my experience with the M300 I worked on.

In "star" the lathe starts in it's top speed of 2800 almost instantly but in "delta" it would not start until we adjusted the "ramp up" setting. I cannot remember the figure we set in the VFD but it did start after a few seconds.

The VFD supplier said in the paperwork that there would be a reduction in torque when running in "delta"

03/09/2020 15:33:43

I have recently installeed an M300 for a friend and I can confirm that although the motor is marked 380/440 AC volts it is in fact dual voltage. The six terminals are connected in a "star" point configuration but if you remove the brass links there are in fact three linking bars allowing you to configure the motor in "delta" mode.

We did connect a vfd and it worked fine although we didn't fully configure it as we bought a Clarke 60 phase converter for powering a mill as well. You have to remember that connecting in "delta" does reduce the available output power but unless you are really taking big cuts and trying to drill a 25mm hole in a "oner" you will not notice the difference. What you will notice if you fit a single phase motor is a reduction in smoothness of cut and of finish.

Thread: Who trains these ideots?
19/08/2020 14:57:31

A few years ago we made some special gearboxes for the MOD. A simple bevel gearbox with one input shaft and one double ended output shaft, simple!

The MOD fley an "expert" up from London to check them out and sign the acceptance paperwork. Well I never saw such an incompetent person. He checked the specification from his paperwork and couldn't work out the ratio of input turns to output turns. We had assigned him an apprentice to help him and after about half an hour the apprentice came to me and said "That guy is a complete *********!***** I went to see what was going on and had to agree as the guy was measuring the turns of one of the output shafts and could not get it to agree with the other end of the same shaft!!

I was able to put up with this for about 30 minutes when I lost the plot and ordered the guy from the premises, he had used a taxi from the airport 30 miles away and the taxi was supposed to wait for him all day if needed.

I phoned his boss in the MOD and said I had never seen such incompetence and I was told he was the best guy they had! I said "well I wouldn't like to meet your worst"

I told them I would not supply the gearboxes and cancelled the order there and then. Well! all hell broke loose and they said "You can't do that as we are desperate for those boxes" My reply was "I will see you in Court!"

Next day a very nice phone call from the MOD big cheese pacified me and that afternoon four senior engineers flew up and checked out the boxes, in about 30 minutes they were checked and the paperwork signed.

On asking about the first engineer I was told he was their boss and did not have a clue about engineering!

Sometimes you wonder how the world has survived when people like that are in charge!

Thread: HSS replacement tool tips.
09/08/2020 10:13:41

Thanks for all the info and yes Plansee was the name I was looking for!

There was also an American supplier but that was many years ago!

Just got to find a supplier but at least I can now search for something.

Thanks to all!

08/08/2020 20:10:18

I wonder if anyone can help me with a source for HSS TCMT 1603 replacement tips? I worked for a company about 20 years ago and they had various types of tips in High Speed Steel.

The supplier was a common supplier of tips at the time but the name totally escapes me. Can anyone remember and if they are still available?

Thread: Useful Tapping Drill feature
24/06/2020 17:35:50

Many years ago a workmate had a set of taps for AF thread (American Fine, the same as UNF) on some the drill size was marked in 128ths of an inch!! I think it may have been made by Greenfield Tap and Die Co. Greenfield. Mass. but I could be wrong in that, it just came in to my mind and seems to have stuck.

Thread: Machine Tool Peripheral Hoists
30/05/2020 21:31:37

We had a Colchester 500 which was supplied with a "Skyhook" when it was new. It mounted directly in the Dickson toolpost. It had been used for years with no problem but the safety officer wanted a certificate of suitability or something before he would allow us to continue using it. We contacted the manufacturer in the US and they returned a very impressive document folder with full certification for use on the Clausing version of the 600 group lathe complete with CE certification for use on european supplied machines. The safety officer deferred to the weight of paperwork! Ironically we never used it again as the lathe was moved to an area covered by an overhead crane.

Thread: Earthing Issue on new machine
28/05/2020 13:48:08

I remember our Safety Officer getting very upset at contractors who applied a PAT test to fixed heaters.

They said they were correct but as he said if you need a tool of any kind to assemble the connection/supply then it is not portable! The only tool you can use to connect/disconnect is your hands!

Thread: Hydraulic Motor
26/05/2020 12:14:33

I've just had a thought. Many years ago we got a call to look at a piston type hydraulic motor, I think it was a Dunlop/Dowty type. It consisted of I think 7 radial pistons bearing on an eccentric central shaft/cam. The guide plates at each side had broken. We managed to get or make replacements and when we looked for a cause it was a sticky valve that was restricting the return flow and creating over pressure in the system. Whatever we did must have worked as we were never called in again and the company was only a few hundred yards down the road and we did lots of other work for them.

26/05/2020 09:39:14

Hi, Chris.

There are multiple types and makes of hydraulic motor but they almost all do the same job. They take hydraullic flow and pressure and convert it in to rotary motion which does the work required. Get the make of the motor and any numbers and I am sure an equivelent can be found that will work. You mention pistons and huge cost, perhaps it is a Hagglands motor as these two things go together when mentioning them!

Thread: Macro rust spots.
21/05/2020 09:08:16

When my company was having some research undertaken by a local University we checked on the various experiments every day just to make sure that proper procedures were being followed and thing were going in the right direction. I went in one morning and there was a strange smell hanging around. Everything was fine with our research but I thought the smell was getting stronger and following my nose I moved to the next door Lab. Well somebody had left some concoction in a stainless sink about 2 inches deep and it was fuming. We called out the fire service who called out de-contamination experts and the lab was closed for more than a week until it was made safe. When the sink was removed it was found to be only about 20% of its original thickness and absolutely brown with rust and this was a proper laboratory sink.

I don't know what was in the sink but I have never seen anything like it defore or since. I have seen powerful acid in a stainless container and that just leaves a slight gum. They were very lucky it didn't go down the drain or who knows what damage it would have done.

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