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Member postings for Bill Phinn

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

Thread: Bench Drills
04/06/2018 18:04:10
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 01/06/2018 20:06:05:

My 'import' drill press is far superior to the cheapies in rigidity (rock solid) and features (work light, MT spindle, 16 speeds, rotating table, cranked height adjustment, dial depth gauge) and only costs about three times as much.

All imported drill presses seem to be judged by the cheapest, lowest specced model, which isn't fair.


After buying a Wolf 9 speed 500W bench drill last year, sending it back within two days of purchase, and being without a bench drill before then and since, I'm encouraged by that recommendation. I see there's a slightly bigger counterpart as well sold by Machinemart.

I've got a few newbie questions about bench drills if people can bear to hear them.

I'd assumed until now that a good milling machine of comparable capacity to any given bench drill would be able to perform the task of drilling as well as or better than a bench drill. Am I wrong about this? Put another way, if someone has a fairly big milling machine already, and space is at a bit of a premium, is buying a bench drill still a good idea for certain tasks?

Secondly, I notice that the standard chucks on the bigger bench drills tend to be 3-16mm capacity, whereas smaller bench drills often have chucks whose capacity starts at 1 or 1.5mm, or even less. Can I assume that if I bought a bench drill with a 3-16mm chuck it would be a very straightforward matter to substitute a chuck that can accommodate smaller bits?

Lastly, and a long shot this one, does anyone know of a manufacturer who sells a bench drill that has the handle for raising and lowering the column on the left hand side as opposed to the right hand side? I ask because a permanent injury to my right arm in a road accident many years ago means I have to use my left arm for pulling down on levers, whether they're on the left or right, and when the lever is on the right, the position I have to adopt relative to the machine when pulling down isn't exactly optimal from the point of view of either visibility or safety.

Thread: Clean hands?
25/05/2018 20:53:18

Yes, the gritty yellow Swarfega that smells a lot nicer than the green stuff of old and seems to work better.

Thread: Are we Luddites?
25/05/2018 20:48:24

Computer technology continues to make all sorts of tasks easier as well as all sorts of things possible that weren't possible before. But there is a downside, which is the loss of hand skills and the products of those skills. In the craft of bookbinding, which I'm familiar with, there are very few people left who can competently tool a book by hand using gold leaf, and no binding machine has yet been invented or ever will that can produce work that can compete aesthetically with a skilfully hand-tooled book. This is not just my opinion but something that every custodian or historian of bookbindings who's ever expressed an opinion on the subject acknowledges to be the case. Foil blocking machines are in nearly every craft bindery today, and the ability even to letter a book competently by hand (a skill that takes a long time to develop) is now almost extinct. Old and often valuable books that get re-bound today are typically the poorer for the loss of these skills.

If engineering moves increasingly towards CNC production, will the hobbyists or professionals of the future still be able to competently saw, file, grind, drill, tap, measure, and most importantly see and judge things without the aid of machinery? Won't the loss of such skills, whether partial or complete, be the very reverse of progress in more than one respect?

Thread: What's the best alternative to 'loctited'
22/05/2018 12:06:16

"Threadlocked"?, though this may have the same ambiguity as Loctited in suggesting one of a number of substances used, or even no substance at all.

Thread: Warco WM250 Lathe and Warco WM18 Milling machine (Advice please)
18/05/2018 01:10:13

A certificate of accuracy should not be issued to the consumer at all if it becomes completely invalid the day after the inspection was carried out. If a certificate is still issued despite it being very probably invalid the day after it's issued then the consumer should be clearly informed of this at the time of purchase. Consumers of these machines are not informed in this way, afaik.

The rights and the wrongs of all this seem pretty clear to me. To give an analogy, when a hospital buys a blood pressure monitor complete with a certificate of calibration I would imagine the monitor is not sold with a note saying the hospital must expect the calibration certificate to be invalid the day after it was issued, whether or not there is any intervening transport of the monitor. To move the analogy a little closer to our own situation here, I would imagine the hospital is not simply left to find out for itself (possibly by the death of inaccurately monitored patients) that the certificate was of no validity all along.

17/05/2018 23:57:40

I voiced my scepticism about the value of these kinds of inspection reports on page 5 of this thread. Some people seem to be more accepting than I am of their apparent worthlessness. If tolerances are routinely not actually measured, and the readings supplied on the certificate are plucked out of the air then in my view an inexcusable deception is being carried out against the customer. Far better not to issue the machine with any certificate at all. Factual, quantifiable deceptions of this kind are of a different order of seriousness from venial deceptions such as saying a machine is "precision made" to "rigorous standards" when it actually has more inaccuracy built into it than most users would be prepared to put up with.

Thread: Proxxon lathe PD 400
17/05/2018 20:22:47
Posted by martin ranson 2 on 17/05/2018 20:17:59:

the cost of a new headstock assembly and also the bed.

Does anyone want to guess at the price ??


Possibly half the price of a new machine.

Thread: Warco WM250 Lathe and Warco WM18 Milling machine (Advice please)
17/05/2018 19:56:43

The one thing I don't quite understand, STK2008, in this whole unfortunate business is why you have completely turned your back on Warco machines and are contemplating buying machinery of very similar build-quality and provenance from another supplier.

My understanding was that Warco were quite ready to supply you with a replacement machine, and I would have thought there was very little likelihood that, if the first machine they supplied was faulty, the second one would be too, my thinking being that under the circumstances Warco would have been highly unlikely not to do a thorough check on the replacement before it was dispatched to ensure it came comfortably within tolerances.

It seems to me that Warco would have "seen you right", and you could have put things behind you and got on with the tasks you wanted the machinery for in the first place. Now you're out in the wilderness again, looking for machinery you apparently do need and worrying that whatever you opt for may in turn not come up to scratch, and that more upheaval and heartache may lie ahead for you.

Thread: Obtaining Serifed steel punches
14/05/2018 21:46:33

Thanks for the link, vintagengineer! Shame it's just numerals. I would really want matching letters ideally.

To update, I rang Pryor Marking and was told that serifed letters aren't a stock item, but they can supply them in 3mm at thirty something pounds (can't remember the exact figure; the trauma brought on a bout of amnesia) per punch plus VAT. To save others the maths this works out at at least £1260 for one complete set of numerals and letters. I will probably go for the Impressart ones unless something secondhand turns up in the next few weeks.

Thread: Warco WM250 Lathe and Warco WM18 Milling machine (Advice please)
14/05/2018 20:51:31

Though I wouldn't presume to want to influence the mods' decision, I for one feel this thread should remain. It contains information about the sorts of problems that may beset new machinery of the kind many of us are in the market for. I say may because the OP's ultimate reticence and desire for his thread to be deleted leaves it in doubt whether Warco actually suppled him with a faulty machine in the first place. All we really know is that Warco came good on their customer service.

Thread: Exactly/The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers created the Modern World
13/05/2018 13:16:33

And yet the father was in the habit of bringing things home from work to interest his son. He was motivated to share his knowledge and perhaps to give his son a headstart in understanding important facts about the world around him. Children like that often do have a big headstart over children whose fathers never show them a thing. My own father had many virtues, but showing you things and explaining them to you and getting you interested in anything at all was not one of them. Whenever I see teenage Youtubers doing technical demos to a standard well beyond their years, it's difficult not to conclude they've had the kind of headstart I would have welcomed but never got.

12/05/2018 17:10:16

Thanks for the link, Hopper!

I'm struggling to see what's objectionable about the father; maybe we have different amounts of access to the preview depending on where we are.

I do hope the book is heavy with entertaining anecdotes of the kind the book opens with and less heavy with Winchester's personal dogma; his assigning of metals, ceramics and glass to the category of things to which the concepts of precision and accuracy can be applied and his exclusion of wood from the same category on the basis that it "swells and contracts in unpredictable ways" is hardly a very scientific piece of categorisation; metals, ceramics and glass expand and contract as well, the only difference being that the changes in these are less detectable to the unaided eye.

It's hard not to conclude that the very precision Winchester's book celebrates the pre-eminence of in our lives is something he himself has lost sight of, temporarily at least. It's probably the linguist* in him triumphing over his scientific side. I've read his book about the OED, which was hugely entertaining. He was on surer ground there, I suspect.

*Linguists can be notorious for their pedantry. I should know.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 12/05/2018 17:11:31

Thread: Another what's this?
09/05/2018 18:04:04
Posted by Roderick Jenkins on 09/05/2018 15:39:15:

As I was fiddling with the macro photography stuff, this ambled across the conservatory floor:


No idea what species it is, about 2/3 the size of a cock-chafer.


It's a rose chafer, I'd say, Rod. Not that common. I've seen them, but not for a few years now.

09/05/2018 00:37:31

Posted by Michael Gilligan on 09/05/2018 00:06:07:

Bill beat me to it

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 09/05/2018 00:07:27

Sorry, Michael. Didn't intend to "bug" you that way.

Hacksaw, I know it can be an economic pest, but I've fond memories of walking down a Devon lane in my youth and getting buzzed by chafers, while a badger family (also pests!) lolloped along a few yards in front of me and a cirl bunting (which is what I most wanted to see there) "sang" on a hedge top a short distance away. It was a far cry from suburban Manchester where I am now. I'd swap your chafers for some of the human pests we get in my neighbourhood any day.

09/05/2018 00:01:50

Yes, it's the May bug or cockchafer. Are you in or near the countryside?

Thread: Obtaining Serifed steel punches
08/05/2018 22:39:28

Many thanks, Tim and Bill, for your replies.

Tim, you're absolutely right about the method for hand-cutting punches. I have tried hand-cutting a few crude isolated letters in brass in the past, but doing a whole matching alphabet of letters in steel all at exactly 3mm might be well beyond my skill level, now and forever. There's a fascinating description of a punchcutter ("Basil Walker, the last traditional touchmark maker in Sheffield" at work in Tom Conroy's book "Bookbinders' Finishing Tool Makers", (edit no. 4: what the heck is that smiley doing there? It's meant to be a close bracket) which sums up the talent required:

"In the next two hours I (Ashley Iles) was to learn that there is more to a three-cornered file than sharpening a saw. He (Basil) was just starting to make by hand a mark BEL AIR and apologised for having to use 3x magnifying spectacles for which he blamed his 57 years...The mark on the hand was to be 1/16" letters. Putting a piece of steel one and a quarter by half inch section and two inch long upright in his leg vise, he filed the top dead flat and marked a centre line both ways with a scriber and file. Next he reached for an old tobacco tin containing the master marks for 1/16" letters that he had made 30 years ago. With these he punched in the cavities of the letters: two holes for the B, one hole for the A and R, keeping in mind that the reading is in reverse. At each hammer blow he gave a grunt of satisfaction, knowing that each hole was the right depth and space dead in line for letters still to be created. Then with a rough file he chamfered the edges down to the exact size of the letters. Picking up a small three-cornered file, cursing the shortage and cost of them, he attacked the actual letters in earnest. These came to life as if by magic. Then he produced a brief striking block and tested the mark on a piece of white card. Basil pointed out that BEL AIR was plain lettering. It would be more difficult if the letters had serifs."

Bill (peak4), thanks for the link to Little Freckle. I've just realised that a place I buy stuff from already (Cookson) also sells these Impressart punches. I'm going to give Pryor Marking a ring tomorrow and if they can't fix me up with a serifed font at a modest price I may go for the "Newsprint Uppercase 3mm" premium sets of letters and numbers - not an ideal face but better than all other alternatives so far.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 08/05/2018 22:40:11

Edited By Bill Phinn on 08/05/2018 22:41:35

Edited By Bill Phinn on 08/05/2018 22:42:46

Edited By Bill Phinn on 08/05/2018 22:51:45

08/05/2018 18:19:53
Posted by BDH on 07/05/2018 20:56:04:

Hello Bill, a possibility is Pryor in Sheffield.


Edited By BDH on 07/05/2018 20:58:11

Thank you Brian. I will follow up that lead.


Thanks for the link, Michael. Yes, their existence at least gives me hope that they may be obtainable here in the UK and possibly at a more modest sum than $240.


Vintagengineer, thanks. I had a look on Ebay and there is a serifed set currently up for auction but it is missing letters c and k. For the present job I only need two letters and, as luck would have it, one of them is c!

ETA: I have put a photo in my album of the lettering I want to duplicate. The tools are the bronze ones I mentioned in my opening thread. The picture actually shows straight-line tools not the gouges (i.e. curved tools) originally discussed. Both sorts are made by the same maker, though.


Edited By Bill Phinn on 08/05/2018 18:35:04

07/05/2018 20:41:31

I've been wanting to buy a set of steel letter and number punches for some time in order to mark some of the things I make in non-ferrous metals. I see there are many sans-serif sets available, most quite cheaply, but I haven't found any to date that have an older style serifed face. Does anyone know of a likely source for these? I would like the letters/numbers to be 3mm high.

Thanks for any assistance!

Thread: Warco WM250 Lathe and Warco WM18 Milling machine (Advice please)
02/05/2018 03:39:31

As a detached observer who has no former dealings with Warco, I've got to say that the fact that Warco supplied you with a duff mill did little in itself to lower them in my estimation; we all know to expect the odd bad apple.

What has lowered them in my estimation, to the point where they've currently dropped down my list of top places to buy machinery from (which I'm currently in the market for), is their response (actions, not just words) to finding out they supplied you with a duff mill.

If I had been Warco I would have arranged a next-working-day pick-up of your mill (regardless of what other machinery you are waiting for from them), told you whether or not a replacement was immediately to hand that could be sent out, and said that as soon as we had satisfied ourselves that the mill did in fact have the fault you say it does we would send out the replacement. Upon receipt, it would be unlikely to need more than one working day to verify or contradict your findings.

However good a supplier's products are, however good the reputation for build quality they have, those same goods can rapidly become unattractive to prospective buyers when the way the supplier is seen to deal with teething problems or faulty merchandise falls short of what reasonable buyers expect.

If the mill is indeed faulty, you will not lose financially. If Warco's customer service proves to be faulty as well as the mill, in the long run they may lose far more than you might have done.

Thread: Removing Aluminium From a Cutter
30/04/2018 19:13:02

If I had a situation like that I'd probably use a ball burr to break up and winkle out the aluminium from the flutes. Since ball burrs come as small as 0.3mm in diameter, they take even very small gaps in their stride.

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