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Member postings for Nick Clarke 3

Here is a list of all the postings Nick Clarke 3 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Measurements from the past
31/12/2018 19:39:07

While the metric system has now taken over here in the US imperial still rules (can I say that after the trouble George III had with our American colonies? - who knows thinking)

But in my opinion the biggest innovation is not the change of units, but rather the unification of all units into one system - so we no longer have fluid ounces, pipkins, gills, tuns, hogsheads pints etc, but just litres and multiples thereof. Similarly it is grams etc not drachms, troyounce, ounces, pounds quarters, tons, long tons etc

Not so long ago (even in my parents time) every trade or profession had its own favourite units of which few now remain - points for type perhaps, although that is often wrongly applied and carats for gemstones spring to mind.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 31/12/2018 19:40:13

Thread: What Wonderful machinery was made back then!
31/12/2018 11:56:32

If you go to you will see information on many machines, but look at the page on Rolls Royce precision lathes.

I think you may find it to your taste!

Thread: USB memory sticks
31/12/2018 11:14:29

In the day job I buy and use 50 or so memory sticks every year, most of them Kingston, but I have never heard of any issues with Integral as has already been suggested - PROVIDED they are genuine!

The only fake stick I have ever had time to investigate was marked up as Sony (it wasn't). I bought it very cheaply to see what had been done to it. The controller chip had been re programmed to tell the host it was 64Gb but there was only 1Gb of memory present. It worked perfectly with small amounts of data but as soon as the chip was full everything became corrupted and the stick could not be used or reformatted.

Very small capacity sticks are now relatively expensive but I would not recommend the largest ones as solid state memory has a limited life and I have seen sticks 'wear out' as the directory or equivalent gets constantly rewritten. I suggest 8-32GB is the size to go for at present where the cost/capacity balance is about right and if a stick fails you do not lose everything in one go. But even so please back it up often.

One final thing, if you hold personal data (eg address book, club membership info or similar) Data Protection legislation requires you to keep this secure and a hardware encrypted memory stick, though expensive, is a good way to do this.

Oh and finally, finally, if you are using a stick away from 'home' remember to take it with you. I often fit cheap keyrings or tags from the stationers to them to make them more visible.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 31/12/2018 11:18:53

Thread: The Workshop Progress thread 2018
30/12/2018 10:17:57
Posted by JasonB on 29/12/2018 06:56:49:

What use is a tripod when you want to move the camera about to show different views of the engine? The actual square on shots are quite steady. Mark is more on the right track with his GT giro balanced gimble but even then would still be moving the camera to various positions.

Phones and ipads etc are inherently difficult to hold steady IMHO

If you are using a camera monopods are a good idea as is also a length of cord with a fitting for the tripod bush on the camera on one end and loop for your toes at the other. Tension the string and the camera is suddenly a lot steadier. (Works best when the camera has a central tripod bush)

Thread: What did you do Today 2018
30/12/2018 10:00:31

Began the day by picking up off the floor and sorting a box of nearly 500 stainless washers and another of about 200 20mm glass fuses.

Had to pile everything up on one end of the workbench in a heap to clear space to temporarily move a tumble dryer and install a new washing machine after removing the dead one.

Laundry reorganisation done and I retire to kitchen for cup of tea when I hear a crash. Cat has decided this is new I must climb on top to investigate - so I am picking up off the floor and sorting a box of nearly 500 stainless washers etc etc… See above sad

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 30/12/2018 10:01:34

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 30/12/2018 10:04:45

Thread: Centaur compression ratio
30/12/2018 09:53:23

Jason - While it doesn't affect your argument I can't get your figures to add up to your second total??

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 30/12/2018 09:53:48

Thread: Leaking camera batteries
28/12/2018 19:32:19

I collect old cameras and lemon juice or citric acid applies with a cotton bud is what I use after having seen it recommended on camera collecting forums elsewhere.

Meths and WD40 will both leave a deposit and the latter is frowned upon by camera repairers. Switch cleaner may be ok if it is designed to leave nothing, however some contain lubricants to keep the contacts clean. This can migrate inside the camera. Personally after the citric acid I always spray it onto a cotton bud or use petrol lighter fuel instead. This will normally clean the contacts of chemical, however if there is corrosion or rust this can be removed by gentle application of a glass fibre pencil.

Sometimes you may need to bring a contact up to size and here a small section of the metal covering the cork of a prosecco or cava bottle can work - I haven't tried it with champagne as with model engineering and camera collecting as hobbies I can't afford the good stuff!

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 28/12/2018 19:37:01

Thread: 9" junior hacksaw...?
28/12/2018 14:51:47

Just had a blinding flash of inspiration!!!

What about other things than Junior hacksaw blades that might fit this frame? - like Abrafiles!

Look at this (ended) listing on eBay:

Abrafiles are 9" long and need special clips to fit a 10" hacksaw frame!

The things some companies do to keep business to themselves.

Thread: Changes in heating equipment - and what else?
26/12/2018 10:07:15

Predictions for the next 50 years???

Domestic laser cutting - we already have the CNC routers so it is only the cutter we need

A process combining metal spraying with 3D printing to enable metal products to be printed - will be essential if small scale castings become unavailable

Thread: Forum under constant siege
25/12/2018 20:32:34

As a moderator in a different, far less busy context, all I can say is thankyou and I don't envy you your responsibility.

Thanks again,


Thread: Changes in heating equipment - and what else?
25/12/2018 20:21:45

A recent poster was asking about Oxy Propane and It struck a chord with me as When I was a member of the Nottingham SMEE in the 1970's Martin Evans gave us a talk and one question was regarding the suitability of Oxy Propane for boiler work. Martin said he had no experience there and recommended Oxy Acetylene or Air Town Gas.

What has struck me is that while most workshop equipment has stayed more or less the same, with the exception of CNC and laser cutting, heating has changed considerably over the last 45 years or so. (not that I was a model engineer for all that time just the 1970s and resumed a couple of years ago)

When I was young there were still users of 5 pint paraffin blowlamps, most used air town gas and a few rich people used oxy acetylene. propane was available, but not yet used much.

Nowadays propane is used, air town gas has gone, as have fearsome paraffin blowlamps and oxy acetylene is just too expensive for many.

Unless anyone can suggest anything else I would suggest this is the biggest change in workshop equipment in model engineering in the last 50 years.

Do you think anything else has changed more?????

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 25/12/2018 20:23:04 to correct typo

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 25/12/2018 20:24:00

Thread: Merry Christmas
25/12/2018 10:14:16
Posted by John Paton 1 on 25/12/2018 09:18:49:

Merry Xmas one and all - and don't use your machinery until you have sobered up!

A merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year to everyone.

Of course I won't use machinery until sober! I never do, it's just the end result that LOOKS like I was drunk when I made it sometimes. 😂😂😂

Thread: Oxy propane guidance
25/12/2018 09:59:05

Posted by Martin Johnson 1 on 25/12/2018 08:58:09

To be honest, with MIG and TIG so relatively cheap now (Chinese electronics again), why would you want to be gas welding?


When stitching rusty cars back together it is very convenient to be able to warm metal up with a gas flame held back so it is able to be tapped down into close contact before moving in closer to actually weld. But in the general run of model engineering I agree with you.

Thread: Simplex water gauge connections.
22/12/2018 19:53:10
Posted by Paul Kemp on 22/12/2018 19:32:02:

Having said it is recommended I can't think of anywhere off hand where it is mandatory that the steam feed to the water gauge is independent, it might be in the new boiler code and I missed it!

It is in the new code, but only 'where practicable'

However the comment is in the preamble 'Before any testing is carried out on a boiler it must satisfy the following conditions' so presumably it could apply.

6.6 Boilers shall be fitted with at least one water level gauge which where practicable is to be fitted to the boiler independently of all other fittings, including the manifold. Where practicable the fitting of gauge glass protectors is recommended.

(Boiler Test Code 2018 Vol 1)

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 22/12/2018 19:53:23 for typo

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 22/12/2018 19:54:49

22/12/2018 19:09:13

I second Duncan's suggestion above to get in touch with your club boiler inspector as there are a few differences between this boiler backhead and the published drawing - the clacks have been blanked off and two new ones fitted lower down and the water gauge should go to a fitting on the top of the boiler not to the turret. Also there appears to be an additional blank behind the water gauge. These are possibly only trivial changes, but it is better to make certain you can certificate the boiler before you buy as it is not strictly to drawing.

If the lower clacks have been added later he may wish to check they have been silver soldered in place.

Thread: Gatwick Drone 'Attack'
21/12/2018 20:16:52

Dave - Thank you for the benefit of your direct experience.

Where I am still in a quandary is that while bird strikes are accepted as a risk of flying and aircraft are built to accept this, why the major shutdown for these drones. Are they so much more of a danger?

21/12/2018 19:03:11

But who was the simulation from, and is it based on experiment or assumption? Sorry just seen your clip - it took a few moments to load

Thanks for the suggestion Jason, but the cynic in me has seen too many items on the news that are (with perfectly honest intent) designed to show the possible not the probably or likely.

One thought is that a drone might be sucked into an engine or hit a windscreen, but if heading towards the wing wouldn't it be carried over the wing - isn't that what an aerofoil is supposed to do? In this example there is no continuous airflow over the wing to take the drone over it and while this drone penetrated the bird replica appeared to damage a larger part of the wing structure. 

Thanks again,


Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 21/12/2018 19:05:47

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 21/12/2018 19:10:22

21/12/2018 18:53:22

I should like to know what damage the drones are capable of inflicting from someone who actually knows, not presumes.

While hitting anything in a plane is not recommended; is hitting a plastic and light alloy drone worse than hitting say a swan or goose, or even sucking up some debris on landing?

I don't know and would like to have an idea of the actual risk assessment if anyone can help.

I am wondering if the danger is like that from mobile phones in petrol stations - totally illegal, not advisable, but no recorded dangerous incidents anywhere apparently!

21/12/2018 09:45:45

Working in education I reckon it is a disgruntled teacher - If they can't go away until Friday night why should their pupils skive off on Wednesday and fly away to somewhere warm!

Not that I am bitter - and I don't live near Gatwick either! smiley

Thread: Insulation tester - some guidance please
20/12/2018 14:35:53
Posted by Harry Wilkes on 19/12/2018 22:18:44:

Ah a megger 500v or a 1000v would break the will of any apprentice wink


A long time ago I used to drive for a firm that repaired fridges. One of the engineers used to get a kick out of asking an apprentice to hold a wire from a 'windy' megger which he then wound up and shocked the guy.

The apprentices learnt to keep away from him when he was in a 'joking' mood and recognised the megger as the source of his fun.

So what happens next - engineer buys a push button megger that they don't recognise and the cycle starts over!

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