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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: 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

Thread: Casino Bonus Email Spam
08/04/2019 11:32:48

Hi, over the last few weeks I have been getting spam emails about a casino bonus.

I have never clicked on any and deleted them when they appear in my inbox but I now find that I am getting an increasing number each day, sometimes 20 or 30. which takes a bit of time to sort out.

I alerted my ISP but they say that they can do nothing as each one has come from a different email address.

They said that it is a huge problem and if it gets too bad then they may have to suspend my email address!

Has anyone found a solution if it is bothering them?

Thread: Motor Gland
07/04/2019 15:19:24

Motor threads are "usually" 3/4" Condiut. 750" o.d. x 16 threads per inch, These are NOT BSP.

Condiut is designated by the Outside Diameter.

BSP threads are designated by the nominal bore of the pipe.



Thread: Pensions
21/02/2019 11:02:12

Hi, All.

Not just relevant to an engineering hobby but may have relevance for a lot of people on this site.

I recently retired and had several personal and works pensions to sort out.

All the personal and most of the works pensions were very good to excellent. One of them pays £125 per month and I worked to them for less that 3 years!

An older one has offered me a monthly plan that will mean I will have to live until I am 98 just to get my money back and if I chose to get 50% for my wife after I am gone she will have to live to 128 years old if I were to die on the day the pension comes in to force!

When I questioned them they said people were living longer and their rates were base on this.

I have tried to move it to other providers but they are much the same.

Has anyone else found a similar situation?

Thread: Single to 3 phase invertor and smart meters
10/02/2019 15:55:48

Some years ago my father-in-law was in a house with economy 7 or white meter as it was called in Scotland. He used to get up at 5.30am to switch on the washing machine etc to get the advantage of the supposed cheap rate electricity. The bill was not very detailed in those days but we noticed that the economy units and the final bill did not add up so he questioned it. The company were not really prepared to discuss it until he insisted and he received a chart showing the costs of the supposed "economy" units.

The price changed several times during the so called "economy" period and he found he was being charged nearly twice the "day" rate for his early morning clothes washing!

The company refused to explain why the "economy" rates were so expensive other than to say that is how the meters were supplied and they couldn't he changed!

Thread: AF socket sets. Are they extinct
11/11/2018 13:53:10

When I begun my apprenticeship I bought a Britool 1/2" socket set with BSW, BSF and A/F Sockets.

Some sockets were marked BSW, some BSF and others had BSW and BSF sizes on the same socket!

I never did work out what the relationship was as I had 3 different bolt size charts and they were all different!, so it was a case of "try it on and see"

I still have most of the sockets etc so I will look them out some day and see if I can work it out (or maybe not!)

I almost had a heart attack when I realised that I had paid almost £110 for the set.

My wages were about £8 a week then, so that is the equivalent of about £800 - £900 today or maybe more.

Thread: H80 bandsaw: bronze dust in gearbox
09/11/2018 13:05:31


Bronze dust would be common in a basic worm drive gearbox especially one that had been assembled but never "run in". I would drain it, wash the dust out and re-assemble with good quality worm drive oil.

I worked for a company where we made worn drive gearboxes for aerospace use and the worm and wheel were lapped in in a jig. When they were assembled and run on the test rig for a couple of days, They were then stripped and if any bronze dust was found, then the whole procedure was repeated (many times!)

The inspector's criteria was that his white glove had to be absolutely clean when he rubbed around in the gearbox to allow the "run in" certificate to be issued.

It must have cost a fortune!

Thread: Hay bales
20/10/2018 15:54:13

In Scotland because it was (still is!) difficult to get 3 sunny days in a row we used to stack the hay in "coles" about 8 feet in diameter by about the same high. They stayed in the field until any threat of "heating" had passed, then they were dragged tthe corner of the field and built in to a few "hay rucks" for winter feed.

The method of dragging was that a rope was attached to the tractor drawbar, round the "cole" then back on the drawbar pin. My job was to stand on the drawbar holding on to the rope as my uncle drove the tractor at top speed (about 18 mph) to the next "cole". Health and Safety not even thought about!! I then had to take one end of the rope, run round the "cole" re-attach the rope to the drawbar. then back to the "cole" to loosely hold the rope about 6" off the ground, shout OK and the tractor was drawn forward to tighten the rope and me with, feet standing on the rope and balancing against the "cole" away across the "park" at top speed to where the "big" men were building the "ruck"

On one occasion, somehow my foot went down the back of the rope and I fell back, flat on the ground. My Uncle took off with me trailing behind but my shouts were drowned out by the roar of the exhaust from the old Fordson at full throttle! I was dragged for about 400 yards and suffered a bruised ankle but I was expected (and went ) out to drag the other "coles"...I was off school for a few days as I couldn't get my school shoe on that foot ( I had been wearing gym shoes and they were not allowed in class!)

This thread has brought back wonderful memories of a time long past but fondly remebered.


Thread: Deburing holes
18/10/2018 13:05:24

Back in my machining days we used a 90 degree countersink in a cordless drill to beburr holes for tapping and appearance. Our inspector would not accept any unchamfered holes and woe betide any draughtsman or designer who produced any design without the sharp edge removed! He was not averse to telling the boss that it was not acceptable but he was such a sharp guy that his position was secure. He could spot when there was an error in any project and must have saved the company a fortune over the years.


Thread: Hay bales
18/10/2018 12:51:47

Hi, Dave.

I believe you are probably right about the "thrash" expression but I didn't think about it at the time. The expression is still in use today in north east Scotland describing a determined pub crawl with nothing in particular to celebrate. just an excuse to have a hang-over for a few days!

To get back to the topic of this thread I wrote a paragraph about bales and I forgot to add it to the text!

When the straw came out of the end of the "mull" (Usually a Barclay Ross and Hutchison, made in Aberdeen) it was fed in to a horizontal baler with the most fearsome "nodding donkey" sort of serrated head that moved up and down about six feet and packed the straw in to the chamber where it was compressed by a square piston driven by a crank with an attached flywheel about six feet in diameter. I cannot remember the name of the baler after all this time but it was a most impressive bit of kit. The bales were about 1 cwt. in weight but awkward to handle, the tying string bit in to your hands and only bits of sacking wrapped around the fingers helped to prevent your fingers getting red raw, By the end of the day your shirt was covered with blood from your hands. The bales were then stacked in a square "soo" (it resembled a fat pig! The bales were stacked to put a pitch on the roof and covered with a canvas cover. This served as bedding for any animals over the summer and early winter.

17/10/2018 11:04:24

I remember when my grandfather cut round a field of corn (oats) with a sythe to allow his binder, an american Deering with a left-hand cut, to get round the field to begin the cutting. The binder was pulled by a Fordson tractor and was supplied as new with a drawbar but if you looked closely the brackets were still on the frame where shafts for converting to horse drawn were still there.

The sheaves were stacked on "stooks" of eight sheaves for a few days for drying in the wind and the sun. When they were dry they were forked on to a horse drawn wagon equipped with "shelvings" which allowed two rows of sheaves to be stacked, top and tail. They were then taken to the "corn yard" where the "rucks" were built on stone bases. This was a most important job as the "rucks" had to be built to the highest standard and with great pride as these would stand for many months for all the neighbouring farmers and visitors to see. They also had to with stand the worst of winter and it was a huge blow to a farmers pride if a "ruck" was blown down in a winter storm.

A "ruck" was dismantled every few weeks to allow the sheaves to be "thrashed" in the small mill at the farm for animal feed as required but in the spring any remaining "rucks" were "thrashed" by the "traivlin' mull" anbd the resulting corn sold as a cash crop to help the farm finances. The coming of the "mull" was the high point of the farming year as neighbouring farms sent their workers to man all the jobs that had to be done. The "mull" would arrive the night before and set up, often in darkness to start at 8 o'clock next morning. The "mull" crew had to be up at 5am if they had a steam engine but the coming of the Field Marshal tractor gave them a while longer in their beds!

The "thrash" went on all day but always concluded by 6pm. to allow the neighbouring farm workers to get home to their beds as they probably had to be back next morning to continue or at least move on to the next "thrash" 13 men and 2 women were needed to keep a "traivellin' mull" going and I very much doubt that you could get that amount of fit and able men within 25 square miles today!

This way of life ended by the late 60's as the availability and acceptance of combines took over although I remember a couple of brothers who used a binder for the last time about 1998!

Thread: Three flute drills
05/10/2018 17:53:01


Many years ago when I was an apprentice we had u-shaped steel castings that had cast in holes through the two lugs. The holes were 35mm (actually 1 3/8" !!) in diameter. As cast they were about 1" diameter. We used a 1 3/8" 3 flute drill to begin with but later we got 3 flute drills with a reamer section half way along. This enabled us to bolt the casting in a jig, drill and ream in one operation in an old Ward capstan in about 3 minutes, the previous time was nearer 10 minutes. It was so efficient we only needed to make them for 3 days a week to keep up with production instead of a full time job!

Thread: Vertex BS-0 dividing head ?
25/09/2018 13:06:07


When I was senior Engineer at a local University we bought some CNC mills.

The supplier included a few BT40 ER chucks but not nearly enough for our needs,

As we hadn't set enough aside in our budget to fully kit out all the machines we had to try and buy at a cheaper price. Some of the technicians weren't too happy about buying cheaper holders as they were working with REALLY expensive materials and precise jobs.

We bought a few Vertex chucks from a local supplier at about 40% of the mill manufacturers cost to see how they did. Within a few weeks the technicians said to buy Vertex in the future as they were superior to the original supplied chucks. We bought several hundred Vertex products after that and everything was 100% although we never bought a BS-0 dividing head.

Thread: Centroid Acorn
19/09/2018 10:44:13


I have a couple of Denford CNC machines, Orac lathe and Novamill mill.

They have both been converted to Mach 3 many years ago and work pretty well.

As Mach3 is now an old system and is not being updated I think I would like to move on to something that still has manufacturer support and can use more modern computer hardware.

Has anyone any experience/feedback on the Centroid Acorn system?


Thread: What a waste!
27/08/2018 10:03:22

Last year I bought a Bluetooth USB adaptor from Amazon.

My wife said "what have you been buying from Amazon, there's a big box in the hallway"

A box was there with a size of about 300mm x 200mm x 200mm with no weight and as far as I could see no USB adaptor! My good lady had a look and found the adaptor in a 30mm square plastic bag tucked under one of the bottom folds of the box. Luckily no plastic beads to fly out this time!

Packaging and delivery must have been more than I paid for the adaptor!

Thread: Aluminium thread strength
16/08/2018 11:36:46

Many years ago we used a lot of Italian made gearboxes and occasionally a couple of 8mm bolts would strip their thread for some reason. Using an insert was not really an option as there was a cross-hole in the way.

When we were having a look at another failure, one of our more experienced (older!) engineers said "replace the bolt with a 5/16" BSW one, a 60 degree thread is no use for aluminium!"

After negotiation with the gearbox manufacturer they supplied some boxes undrilled. We drilled and tapped them and had no more bother. About a year later the manufacturer started tapping the critical holes BSW and we never had another problem in the next 20 years we used them. The bolts are listed in their parts list as metric 7.97mm x 1.39mm pitch, (5/16BSW!)

Thread: UNEF to BSP adaptor - a question.
13/08/2018 10:34:47

I think you will find that on the taper fittings that the male and female angles are slightly different to ensure a line seat type of seal which is far more reliable that trying to match in (blue) the tapers.

Regarding regulators being fuel gas specific you will find that when you buy a regulator from a supplier usually in the box are the stickers for the various differnt gasses that it works with, the usual Propane, Butane and Acetylene and some I have never even heard of!

When I was working we had a huge Chemistery department and we had to make a lot of very odd fittings to connect equipment that came from all over the world. The technician had details of over 70 types of threads and he always found one that he had never seen before!


Thread: The colour of threshing machines.
05/08/2018 18:58:07

Re. The flat belt joining clips.

They were called Alligator Clips. About 15 years ago I was helping to clear out an old engineering store when I found an unopened cardboard box of these clips. I laid it aside to save it as almost everything was going in the skip. (I was almost crying!)

When it was time to go home I went to pick up my prized connectors. They were gone and I was told someone had picked them up, looked at them, said "these are no use now" and had thrown them in the bottom of the skip!!

Oh well, I probably wouldn't have used them anyway.

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