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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: 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.

Thread: Should I have 3 phase supplied to my house?
30/05/2019 10:24:17

A few years ago I built a new workshop behind the house, intending to take a supply from the domestic distribution box. Lo and behold the electricity company, Scottish Hydro were working in the street.

I got chatting to the guy in charge and asked if 3 phase would be possible. "No problem, we will run a cable in the duct to your house, under the floor and through the duct to your workshop. You will have to get an account for the supply and meter etc. but we could put it in tomorrow"

The next day after about an hours work I had a distribution box, meter and everything installed ready to have the supplier fuse installed. I filled in the form, sent it off and two days later I was up and running.

I cannot remember paying anything for the installation other than giving the guys some tea and some of my wife's hot oven scones freshly baked!

That could never happen today with all the rules and regulation in place but it brings back very pleasant memories of how things used to be!


Thread: Ballscrews?
29/05/2019 12:13:12

Ballscrews should not be used to carry/hold weight. They have no locking capacity unlike an acme or trapazoidal screw which is (usually!) inherently self locking.

I used to make lifting mechanisms and ALL ball-screw applications need an efficient braking/locking system.

We made a system to lift 5 ton ingot ladles and the braking system cost twice as much as the lifting system!

Thread: Oh Dear, I've blown the chop saw...
22/05/2019 19:41:30

We used to get guys managing to get grinder cables damaged where it entered the body.

I always told them they were putting too much pull on the cable.

But at home one day the good lady switched on the Deep Fat Fryer and "BANG" the cable blew out of the cover and the fryer shot along the worktop for about a meter and crashed to the floor.

On examination I found it was the cable clamp was responsible. it was a really bad one piece design that clipped together and bent the cable in a really tight bend.

When I examined the grinders I found the same stupid clamp.

I got our electrician to fit better clamps and I can't remember another failure.

We never replaced the fryer!

Thread: Drilling cast iron - where did I go wrong?
16/05/2019 18:16:03

When drilling decent cast iron then any pilot hole should be no bigger than the chisel point of the drill.

When I was an apprentice our foreman would not allow a pilot hole for any hole that was smaller than 1 inch! "What do you think they put that sharp bit on the drill for? Cutting thin air" he would say!

I remember him drilling 2 1/4" holes in 4 inch thick steel plates with no pilot hole on a horizontal driller. There were 100's of holes to be drilled and he said if he had drilled a pilot hole the 2 1/4" drill would have chipped and probably smashed on the broken bits. He had the ability to sharpen the chisel point to his own special shape and 100 holes without having to re-sharpen the drill was the norm. The steel spiral swarf had to be seen to be believed!

Thread: Shipping to USA
15/05/2019 12:01:20

A couple of years ago we got a bit of kit from an oil company in the USA in a lovely sturdy wooden box. We modified the bit of kit with our own improvements, We carefully put everything back in the crate and phoned the shipping agent to pick it up. They came, picked it up and returned it a few days later saying the crate was not acceptable to US standards. The fact that "Made in USA" was emblazoned all over the crate did not seem to occur to them!!

They simply would not accept the crate and said we had to get another empty case sent from the USA with the correct paperwork, transfer the kit and return to the USA. The American company gave up and got it picked up, sent to France and it was sent to the USA that way.

About a month later an empty crate arrived fro the USA with all the paperwork exactly the same as the previous one. One of our machinists took the crate home to make in to a kennel for his dogs! While dismantling he found a copy of the bill for the crate, $2700!

Thread: Dual speed motor on Hardinge HLV-H - Fast not working
01/05/2019 09:24:19

When I ran a small workshop we had a few of these machines and from your description of the noise i would almost guarantee that your motor is missing a phase in the high setting.

Our maintenance man would get on the job immediately and generally had it fixed in less than 30 minutes.

It was almost always a dirty connection and a good clean soon fixed it.

Thread: Homeworkshop login problem
24/04/2019 09:37:46

Hi, Adam.

I am trying to register with Homeworkshop as I have a few bits and pieces to offer for sale or free.

The registration process comes to a halt with the message "This email address does not accept incoming emails, Required for registration"

I have four separate Email addresses including my University work address but it will not accept any of them.

If new users cannot register then things will come to a halt and a valuable resource will be lost.

Thread: Dialect expressions
15/04/2019 16:45:58

An expression that is used in the local north east Scotland and probably a lot further afield is "A sooter's bairn is aye the worst shod" (A shoemaker's children are often in the poorest shoes) Meaning that things to be done at home are often neglected but carried out for someone else! That probably applies the whole world over!


Thread: Bridgeport vibes
15/04/2019 13:34:47

Hi, Bill.

What I should have added is that in the back gear the spindle pulley is not connected directly but through the gear train which dampens out the transmitted vibration.


15/04/2019 11:51:57

Hi, All.

Vibration in high is usually caused by slight variations between the drive and spindle pulleys and most important the quality if the vee-belt. A cheap belt has quite a big tolerance on section size and width. A cheap belt is a couple of pounds and a quality and correct one is nearer £20!

I bought a Warco drill and just replacing the vee-belts transformed the machine with no vibration from the motor. Previously the whole machine had a vibration. I can now balance a £1 coin on the drill table when it is running.



Thread: Changing Broadband
12/04/2019 10:13:54

About six months ago I upgreded to fibre when it became available in our village.

The date and time was set for the change-over.

It is broadband to the cabinet at the end of our street so no re-wiring required at home.

At 9.30am my existing broadband went dead and I was to try and connect with the fibre router after about an hour. Nothing happened for a couple of hours so I phoned my ISP who said "everything is working OK. When I said no they said the router must be faulty, we will send you another one. I said the router is OK, the line is showing an error with a tester I had bought on-line. They insisted the line was OK and I had to fit a new router which duly arrived, was fitted , with exactly the same result! Again I was told the router was faulty and a new one was on the way!!

I insisted that the line was checked by Openreach and next day a very nice guy who lived about a mile from me arrived, checked the line, said there was something wrong in the cabinet and went to investigate.

He returned to say that it was the strangest fault he had seen. The cable from my home had been split with one wire in one cabinet and the other in the next about a meter apart!

He said the first thing an ISP will do is send out a new router. He had one customer with 5 replacements stacked on the shelf above the phone socket!!


Thread: Drill too high? Use a milling machine stand!
11/04/2019 09:31:59

Hi, Guys.

Thanks for the positive comments but my main workshop is not nearly as tidy as that one, which is my CNC Mill and Lathe, computer and more technical bits shop.

I have Harrison lathe and a Bridgeport mill in my main shed and the reason I bought the drill was that if I just wanted a hole drilled in something then I had to leave the CNC shed, go down some garden steps and along a 40 toot path just to find I had to set up the Bridgeport to put a hole in something! This was OK on a fine summer evening but when it was cold and wintry then it got annoying.

I forgot to say that I have recently fitted a digital speed read-out to the drill which reads directly from the spindle so I can still change speed using the belts and get the speed exactly what I want with the VFD inverter.


10/04/2019 19:11:44

A couple of years ago I bought an SB12 benchtop drill from Warco, A good drill for the price but I wasn't sure which bench it was supposed to fit.

Lifting it on to my bench meant that the point of any drill and the swarf flying from it was directly in line with my eyes. That was a no go so the thinking cap had to be looked out!

I didn't want to build a smaller bench so with faithful measuring tape in hand I came to the conclusion that perhaps a milling machine stand would work.

So it was back to Warco to buy a 3240 milling machine stand. This was not cheap but it was the correct height and had various drawers and a cupboard etc, with a proper splash tray.

The various holes did not of course line up and there were bits of thin air around but a trip down the road to my local fabrication shop produced from the back of the guillotine a suitable bit of 10mm plate. A couple of trims in the guillotine had that sorted and I came home as happy as anything.

A bit of measuring and marking some tapped and clearance holes then a coat of primer and proper Warco green top-coat, delivered in the drawer of the stand. meant it was all ready to bolt together.

This modification has produced a drill as good as, indeed better than any industrial machine I have used for the last almost 40 years after I fitted a 3 phase motor and an inverter.

I have included some photos of what I did but although I took a couple of pictures of the plate when I made it they seem to have gone AWOL.

I am absolutely delighted with the drill and mods so perhaps it is something that suppliers should be looking at supplying as an option at least.warco drill in box.jpgwarco stand.jpgwarco difference two.jpgwarco plate at rear.jpgwarco drill at angle.jpg

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