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Member postings for Dr. MC Black

Here is a list of all the postings Dr. MC Black has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: BA sizes
12/05/2021 12:28:27
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 12/05/2021 12:17:46:

I have resorted to Tubal Cain's Model Engineers' Handbook (3rd Edition).

Going through the table of BA hexagon sizes (page 4.13), it's clear that 4BA is about the only size at 0.498" that is close to a regular size in both inches and millimetres.

Many other subscribers have indicated that 4BA is 1/4 inch AF.

I'm sorry to appear dense but exactly which dimension of an 4BA nut is 0.498", please?


12/05/2021 09:59:26
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 12/05/2021 09:39:45:

Hi MC, no problem. Delivery charges for under £17.50 is £4.99 ex- VAT which is found in their T&C's 6. Orders paragraph.

Regards Nick.

Very many thanks for your prompt, helpful and courteous response.

In my view, Companies should make the postage charge for small orders visible next to where it advertises "Free delivery for orders over..."

This exemplifies what I wrote about something fitting in a "Large Letter" for less than a pound!

With best wishes and thanks again.


12/05/2021 09:55:29
Posted by JasonB on 12/05/2021 07:57:24:

If you do get a 1/4" screwdriver handle don't forget to remove the magnet otherwise nuts will get pulled in and unlikely to engage on short studs.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

That sounds like the voice of experience!

Any suggestions as to how to remove the magnet, please?

12/05/2021 09:51:28
Posted by Hopper on 12/05/2021 07:51:30:
Posted by Dr. MC Black on 11/05/2021 13:44:06:
The stress of doing this has convinced me to be VERY cautious about buying anything by Mail Order from anywhere, especially from overseas.

That seems a bit overly cautious perhaps. Millions of people worldwide buy millions of things online every day with relatively few problems. If you buy from one of the reputable UK suppliers that advertise on this site or in ME magazine etc, you should be pretty safe. Most have eBay shops too. And if you have an unsatisfactory purchase eBay will organise a refund etc, as will Paypal. Pretty much no risk these days.

Postage costs within UK surely are not that much are they? I get most of my ME supplies from the UK and I live in Australia. Postage costs are not prohibitive. And if you are prepared to take a punt on some of the cheap as chips stuff on Aliexpress etc, postage from our highly esteemed trading partners in the Orient is mostly free.

Just seems like it should not be that hard to get a 1/4" nut driver, or a full set of BA drivers for that matter.

I was taught to be cautious at University !

Postage costs within the UK are NOT unreasonable but the "P+P" charges made by some sellers ARE, in my view, way too high.

I don't think it's fair to charge £5.00 postage for something that will fit in a "Large Letter" and could be sent for less than a pound.

And I don't want something that I've bought for a pound or two to be delivered by somebody in a White Van.

I have bought things from the far east in the past but only very cheap items. Sometimes, I've abandoned the project by the time the item has arrived.

I am currently thinking of buying some electric candles for another (theatrical) project but there's insufficient information as to whether it will prove suitable so, even though the postage will be less than petrol, I'm thinking of visiting the seller's premises to actually try the various candles in the chamberstick. Since I've NOT used my car for 14 months, it will do it good to have a run of 100 miles. Since I have a Blue Badge, I am rarely required to pay to park.

I appreciate that many readers will disagree with my views but please do NOT attempt to persuade me to change them.

I hope that you and your families are, and will remain, safe and well.




Edited By Dr. MC Black on 12/05/2021 09:53:04

12/05/2021 09:29:01
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 12/05/2021 07:05:15:

Hi MC, some at CPC but the postage for a single item may put you off.

Regards Nick.

P.S. you get free delivery for orders for £17.50 or more, currently, excluding VAT

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 12/05/2021 07:16:21

Thank you for taking the time to write.

I tried to find the cost of delivery for orders under £17.50 but failed!

I was thinking of a "screwdriver shape" nut spinner. I do not think that the extra torque provided by a T-shaped handle would be needed for 4BA nuts.

With best wishes and thanks again.


12/05/2021 00:30:33

I'm looking out for a 1/4 screwdriver bit handle at a reasonable price since it's been shown that 4BA is almost exactly 1/4" AF.

I tried looking for 1/4" Nut spinners - but I think it would be easier to buy Hen's Teeth

With best wishes and thanks again.


11/05/2021 13:44:06

Very many thanks to everybody for their comments

I will manage with a 1/4" Screwdriver Bit handle for the time being.

The cost of postage often makes buying things from Ebay uneconomic - apart from NOT knowing if any descriptions are fair and accurate.

I recently bought a book from an overseas bookseller - although he described it as "Acceptable" many of the pages had been scribbled on and I told him that a fair description would be "Poor". The stress of doing this has convinced me to be VERY cautious about buying anything by Mail Order from anywhere, especially from overseas.

11/05/2021 10:04:41
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 11/05/2021 06:50:30:
Posted by Dr. MC Black on 11/05/2021 01:10:13:

I have tried using a 1/4" screwdriver bit handle but the 4BA nuts do NOT seem to be a consistent size. Some fit but others do not, even though they all have a 4BA thread.



If some of the hexagons are over-size, then it seems you are ‘on a hiding to nothing’

... You need to find whatever wrongly sized socket happens to fit them.



Edit: __ maybe useful link


Thank you for taking the time to post.

Actually the nuts are smaller than the 1/4 driver.

The BA-bolts data is interesting - on both of the sites for which links are provided, the figures are in inches - but I was told years ago that BA is actually defined in Metric.

When I find useful data, I like to print it, laminate and keep in workshop. Sadly both the tables are NOT in an easily printable format.

With best wishes and thanks again.


11/05/2021 01:10:13

I have tried using a 1/4" screwdriver bit handle but the 4BA nuts do NOT seem to be a consistent size. Some fit but others do not, even though they all have a 4BA thread.

Can anybody tell me what size Cap head screws have a 1/4" socket in the head, please?

11/05/2021 00:58:03
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 10/05/2021 21:14:34:

I'm a bit surprised you could not find BA nut spinners or similar. Have you tried Chronos or ModelFixings? They may have them.

I have tried both; Chronos does NOT sell nut drivers and Model Fixings do NOT have BA sizes in their range - only metric.

But Very many thanks for the suggestion.

Thread: MT end mills slightly corroded
11/05/2021 00:55:52

I was given a lot of tooling by an old chum whose wife decide that they would be moving into a flat so he had to give up his workshop which was larger than a double garage.

These End Mills have never been under MY bench - generally, I don't keep this sort of thing in my shed but in my centrally heated home from where I take what's needed to the shed.

They will go into the forthcoming projects drawer until I can get the use of a bigger lathe using which I can turn the tapers parallel.

Looking at the cutting edges, they look to me as if they have had little use and will probably last me out.

Thread: BA sizes
10/05/2021 19:43:48

I have nut spinners for 0BA, 2BA and 6BA but I have NOT been able to purchase a nut spinner for 4BA (at a reasonable price).

I have looked at the data, and that suggests that 4BA is very similar to 1/4 inch A/F

Is this a reasonable inference?


Thread: MT end mills slightly corroded
10/05/2021 18:29:10
Posted by not done it yet on 10/05/2021 13:27:04:

In my view, the practical hole size cut is likely more accurate than the theoretical assumption (of concentricity).

Further to previous, all four of the cutters are right hand with an even number of flutes.

I found that I did have some thread gauges with large holes and determined that two are 1/2", one is 9/16" and the last is 1".

But one of the Morse Tapers has been machine to a fairly constant 15mm and fits in a collet.

I'm now seriously considering machining the other three in a similar way. Unfortunately, the spindle on my lathe isn't sufficiently large to hold these End Mills while I machine the tapers to parallel.

The Scotchbrite arrived today but I may no longer need to use it!



10/05/2021 12:25:43
Posted by not done it yet on 10/05/2021 12:21:45:

I shall see if I can determine those.

Easy enough. Drill a hole as a pilot, apply cutter axially, then measure the new hole diameter.

I was thinking of using a Digital Caliper across the end to measure the diameter directly.

I appreciate that this would NOT work with an odd number of flutes.

I think the cutters are too large for any drill gauges in my possession.


10/05/2021 10:38:51
Posted by Graham Meek on 10/05/2021 08:03:11:

Morse Taper cutters that resemble an endmill, but have a Tang, and not a Tapped hole, are usually used to produce counterbores.

That's very useful information which I shall bear in mind.

Unfortunately, they are NOT marked with size; I shall see if I can determine those.


Thread: T Handle Allen Key Sets
10/05/2021 10:31:29

I did a three afternoon workshop course as part of my Physics degree over 50 years ago. One of the exercises was to make a T-shaped Allen Key Holder on lathe. I think that I must still have it somewhere and my executors will find it when they clear the house!


Thread: MT end mills slightly corroded
10/05/2021 00:44:59
Posted by old mart on 09/05/2021 17:29:49:

I would also avoid using any tanged cutter sideways, it is looking for trouble. That is why mills use drawbars.

Which prompts me to ask why does anybody manufacturer tanged MT2 End Mills?


Thread: Milling on a Lathe with a Vertical Slide
09/05/2021 12:53:05
Posted by Andy Carlson on 09/05/2021 12:15:06:

FWIW the two I bought most recently were

SDFC3-10.00-S 10.00 HSCo Multi-Purpose Cutter Short
SDFC3-6.00-S 6.00 HSCo Multi-Purpose Cutter Short

Where did you buy these,please?

Clicking on them had no effect.


Thread: Cheap Calliper which holds reading
09/05/2021 12:18:42
Posted by Peter Cook 6 on 09/05/2021 12:10:42:

Ady1 interestingly the pictures on the one you link to show a 0.01mm resolution, but the writeup only claims 0.1 resolution - more sharp practice on E-bay?

Edited By Peter Cook 6 on 09/05/2021 12:13:14

There's a huge difference between Precision and Accuracy!


Thread: Milling on a Lathe with a Vertical Slide
09/05/2021 11:32:00

I inherited a lot of Milling cutters in various sizes, both Imperial and Metric, some with threaded shanks and some plain.

I hold them all in collets and they do the job.

Sometimes, "bundles" of milling cutters are offered on Ebay; it's a gamble as to whether they will be in usable condition but, bear in mind the cost of new from a reputable supplier and set your maximum price.

You could be lucky!

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