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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: Battery Packaging Teaser
25/02/2021 09:22:52

Indeed it did fox my tester as open circuit andI didn't even mark the plastic when I stuck the test probes of my Lidl tester on to the battery.

I don't know why I decided to stick it in the stopwatch as I was convinced that the battery was dead! Perhaps the fact that I had removed the old battery and left the cover off triggered a reaction to try another battery.

If I hadn't tried to fit it in the stopwatch and found it tight then it would have been placed in the dead battery box and be on it's way to the re-cycling centre.

24/02/2021 10:44:48


A neighbour has one of those "Weather Station" gadgets with an outside sensor on the window and a screen inside. It wasn't working so he fitted a couple of 2032 batteries but it still didn't work so I was called in to see what was wrong.

Well the batteries were both dead (or so I thought!) after a bit of "are these the new or old batteries etc." we established that the new Duracell batteries were indeed dead although the packet had an expiry date of 2023 and had been bought as spares when the weather station was bought.

I went home and got a couple of new batteries from my stock and the weather could be updated but I found it strange that both batteries were dud. I tried one in a stopwatch I had and I found the battery was slightly stiff to push in and remove so after very close examination I found that the battery was sealed in a very thin skin of plastic. I had to go round the periphery with a craft knife to get it off and the plastic was 0.007 mm thick.

They were in a sealed packet and there was nothing on the packet to say that the individual batteries were sealed and I have never seen any others the same.

Any one else been caught out?

Thread: Bridgeport power feed
27/01/2021 13:54:14

I have recently helped a friend to renovate a Bridgeport Varispeed. There was no table feed fitted but we used a new Align 110 volt kit and took the 110 volts off the existing transformer fitted in the control box. We also used the 25 volt feed through a rectitier to power a new control panel which works everything including motor, table feed, coolant and work light. So there are no high voltages in the hand controls everything is powered by solenoids. The DROs we powered from a 13amp socket which is also fed off the original Bridgeport Control box transformer.

Thread: Yet another scam lathe sale on ebay to be aware of
06/01/2021 12:26:29

I think this is the same guy who was supposedly selling a Haas CNC milling machine that was listed as being in Orkney in the north of Scotland. The listing mentioned my friends post code as the location. When I said my friend would have a look at it, the listing was withdrawn as "sold" and that was that, but during the next month the machine was listed in Spain, Germany, Canada and twice in the USA with the same photos and details.

The company in Colorado who actually had the machine on their premises and on their website (and whose photos were used) but not on Ebay were contacted by a company who offered to list their machine on Ebay and other selling sites!

He obviously gave up on expensive machines and went for cheaper machines in the hope that someone would fall for his ploy.

Thread: PAT - Portable Appliance Test
01/01/2021 18:15:52

When the legislation was introduced, because we had students in the facility, a "company" was employed to PAT test equipment. When i saw them disconnecting the wall outlets of fixed equipment such as heaters and lighting I told them that they were not allowed to test them as only PORTABLE equipment needed to be tested. The company would have none of it and insisted they had to test everything. Our Electrical manager stopped them and they were not happy at all. The company called the Inspectorate and were told that they were not allowed to test everything only Portable equipment but they still insisted that they were in the right!

The Factory inspector said if you need a tool to reassemble the equipment after the test it is not portable!

We later found out the company were charging £20 for each item tested and the guys were told to test every bit of kit they could find! The company was set up to get as much money as they could and disappeared about six months later. A Scam!

Thread: Taper-Lock Bushes - tolerances
30/12/2020 10:16:01

We did work for a local quarry and we fitted 100's of Taper-Locks and I can honestly say we never had any problems with them fitting on to often abused shafts and even after years driving crushers with 120 horse power motors they were far, far better than on-size bore pulleys and gears. They survived even when they cracked at the split, in fact we had one fitter who said that if a shaft was a bit rough that they gripped better when split!

Thread: Elliot 2g drill press
22/12/2020 09:09:49

Hoover motors from Cambuslang were fitted to many Elliot machine tools.

I had an Elliot shaper (I wish I had never sold it!) and a couple of Elliot Victoria mills at the same time all with Hoover motors.

Thread: Tracking
20/12/2020 13:04:12

I sent an expensive bit of test kit to France. The tracking number was entered into the on-line tracker and I saw the package moving through the system to almost it's destination when it suddenly popped up in Belguim! It then seemed to visit Italy, France, Germany then Bulgaria (all in the same day!).

I queried what was going on as I had paid over £150 for the delivery. I was told it was a PNP tracking and that meant "Package Not Present" and two days later my customer received the paperwork but no package!

The company agreed something had gone wrong and the insurance paid up several thousand pounds. I managed to build up another test kit and get it delivered to my customer. About six months later the local depot phoned me up and said "we have found a parcel in our warehouse that was supposed to go to France but it is still here!" They delivered it back to me with no real explanation. The documentation on the package was absolutely correct so I have no idea what went wrong!

I now have a spare bit of kit but as it was a special build I haven't got another customer for it. I may offer it to my French customer at a bargain price.

Thread: Re sharpened machine reamers
14/12/2020 10:25:41

When I worked we regularly reground the leading edge of 35mm reamers as we had to drill and ream steel castings for excavators and "hard" spots in the casting were common. We used 3 flute drills to open out the cast bore then a reamer, all done in a capstan lathe. The reamer had a hard life but we simply cut off the damaged bit about a half inch long with a chop saw and reground them in a jig in a tool grinder. They always cut on size with no problem whatever.

Thread: Delay to Issue 299
07/12/2020 11:17:24

I haven't received my MEW 299 but my local W H Smith has about 10 on the shelf (Usually just 3 copies the lady says!)

I was going to buy one but I thought that mine would appear from Royal Mail shortly but it appears not. W H Smith got their copies last Tuesday 30th of November.

Thread: New scam to beware of
04/12/2020 15:18:05

A few days ago I had a call from "OpenReach" saying there was a problem with my broadband connection at which I asked when they were coming to get it repaired as I had been waiting for the last two days and nobody had appeared (Not true as everything was working OK!).

The guy asked me to log on to my computer and enter a website address but I asked how I could do that when my Broadband was down and I was waiting for Openreach to come and fix it! This flummoxed him completely when a invented a repair code for him and asked for an update!

This threw him off his script completely as he then asked me to log on six or seven times and he always got the same answer from me that my Broadband was down and I was waiting for the enginer to call. I then told him to wait until I had checked something out and he was still on the line when I returned and told him the Openreach engineer wanted to speak to him! Well he dropped the line instantly and I had about 10 minutes of entertainment.

Thread: Level of qualifications in the UK
25/11/2020 21:10:21

Hi, Tony.

That was my sentiments exactly but they said that as it was arduous work then only young lads would manage it!

I was nearly twenty years over the age limit myself so you can understand how I felt!

25/11/2020 18:38:54

Over-qualification is certainly a problem for all the reasons that have been mentioned above but we had a very strange qualification problem.

About 20 years ago we were desperate for off-shore engineers and we decided that we were looking for guys with at least 15 years experience. Personnel placed the vacancies in the top media (at enormous cost) and we waited for the department to provide a short list for interview.

Well they said that no qualified applicants had applied. This I couldn't understand as we were paying very good salaries indeed. On digging deeper we found that Personnel had a strict "under 30 only" policy and they would not change it. When we complained to the Managing Director that it was impossible to get 15 years experience with a 30 year old limit he had to call a world-wide directors meeting to get the rules changed.

Thread: Calling all Startrite Mercury drill owners - opinion on noise
24/11/2020 17:57:26

Gates notched belts are usually very good and will be an improvment on non-notched type.

I replaced the standard belts on a new Warco drill I bought (for my home workshop) with notched belts and it transformed the smoothness.

I used to pay about £75 for one 800mm long belt for a test machine and 24mm x 5 meter belts were several £1000's each and we needed 5 matched belts at a time!!

24/11/2020 09:45:22

Knocking splines are very common on basic pillar drills.

We used to have a French built drill and it had a very clever split sort of key that kept the splines in contact at all times with very short and stiff coil springs maintaining the contact. It was impossible to "clunk" the splines so to speak.

A good quality notched belt is a great asset to smooth running. Use lab quality belts but sit down before you get the price. 10 times the cost of a standard belt if you can get it in the right size!

Thread: Machining Ball Screws Accurately
17/11/2020 20:34:31

When I worked for a jack manufacturing company we had a split sleeve with matching internal grooves that was screwed on to the ballscrew, pushing out a ball retaining sleeve. The whole setup was gripped in a collet with a supporting guide bush in the tail end lathe bore. A lot of work to make the split jig and all the bits but when you had about 100 to machine each day every little helped!

Thread: Multifix toolholder Vendors
10/11/2020 08:51:24

Some years ago we bought some new lathes as part of research project and we equiped them with full sets of Multifix tooling from Rotagrip

The tooling was good quality and worked perfectly. Certainly not cheap, in fact we could have bought another lathe for the cost of the Multifix tooling for 6 lathes!

Thread: Rubber mat.
01/11/2020 11:40:40

I bought a couple 600 x 900 mats from BigDUG **LINK**

They wanted to charge £15 delivery but I objected as the charge did not show until checkout so I got free delivery!

They are very good mats and perfect for a workshop.

Thread: Taper identification
30/10/2020 13:00:53

Ah, Then it is most certainly BT35 which was used in the early 60's but is being used on some mainly Japanese CNC mills today.

Not common so machinung out to BT40 would certainly be the way to go, both practically and financially!

30/10/2020 12:13:31

The only real advantage of a 40 taper is that you can sometimes get a bargain lot at a factory clearance/liquidation.

About 25 years ago a friend bought what he thought was a box with 10 bits of 40 sized tooling but when he went to pick it up after paying the cashier there were 10 boxes with 10 holders in each!!

I really don't know why you want to change it from the 30 taper as it is lighter to hold in place when inserting the drawbolt and easier to catch when it is released. also remember BT30 is an M12 thread and BT40 is M16 so the hole through the spindle has to be drilled out if not big enough.

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