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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: Thinking about where I need to improve - measurements
21/06/2021 21:38:38
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 21/06/2021 20:57:41:

For ‘old school’ methods … This is a gem : **LINK**


It is. To be a good machinist in those days you clearly had to try a bit harder, and have very good close vision.

Thread: Irwin Record vice swivel base
21/06/2021 21:31:55
Posted by AJW on 21/06/2021 20:54:10:

Well the beastie arrived today, what a lump!


It'd be good to see a photo or two, Alan!

Thread: Thinking about where I need to improve - measurements
20/06/2021 18:24:52

I used to do my milling on a machine without a DRO. I learned to cope with backlash, but, with a job of any complexity, trying to convert all the desired measurements to hand wheel rotations and vice versa and holding all of these permutations in my head or scribbled on bits of paper that were never where you needed them tended to be an error-inducing, time- and material-wasting drag.

If you spend money on anything to upgrade your mill, a DRO of some sort at least beats everything else hands down.

Thread: Irwin Record vice swivel base
20/06/2021 13:03:40
Posted by not done it yet on 20/06/2021 08:27:44:

Not a recommendation for the specific item but this type of swivel would be more favourable (the vertical swivel/rotation) for me.


Edited By not done it yet on 20/06/2021 08:28:50

Among other vices, I've got this one, which I purchased in the UK.

It's been very convenient to use, and the extra height is a bonus because the heavy bench on which it sits is lower than average.

I can detect no appreciable difference in stability between this vice when bolted down and my old non-swivelling Record of a similar weight.

I do use the swivel facility, and apparently more frequently than most people here. I've yet to use the pipe jaws. It is very smooth in operation, requiring only one finger spinning round the middle of the tommy bar to quickly reposition the moveable jaw.

Thread: Seeking slim-nosed spring tapping guide/follower
20/06/2021 12:47:45

Thank you for the further replies.

I had a look at the video, John. I might well have a go at something similar, though with two short screw-in handles rather than a knurled wheel to turn the tap. I can drill down the centre of round stock on my wood lathe reasonably accurately.

18/06/2021 12:10:38

Thanks to everyone for your helpful replies.

Jason, that's a simple solution and arguably better anyway than the wrench jaws holding the flats of a tiny tap in only a portion of their vees. The only potential disadvantage I can think of is whether holding a round shaft between the two vees and repeatedly turning the tap against resistance would mar the jaws eventually - presumably not on properly hardened jaws.

Bill, the ball bearing idea is a good one, with numerous applications, presumably. I'll have to see what ball bearings I've currently got.

Brian, I gave away my auto centre punch so I'm not sure what the body diameter is on most commercially available ones. I do, however, have a 16mm drill chuck and an ER32 collet chuck with all the collets.

DC31k, I was tempted to do what you suggest; I do have two of the knurled type tapping guides, so one can be adapted or sacrificed, as the case may be. Presumably I'd be best off reducing just the tip to a taper [like on auto centre punches], rather than trying to reduce the whole piece of 3/16, otherwise the resulting pin won't be supported laterally by the opening in the tap guide as it slides in and out.

17/06/2021 20:49:15

I have the ubiquitous spring tapping guides [the one with the 3/8" pointed nose and the other with the reversible 3/16" pin], and find them satisfactory if a little sloppily made.

However, a real limitation is that when using taps whose square end is less than 3/16" from corner to corner, the tap is usually quite deep within the jaws of even my smallest tap wrench [Eclipse E240] and neither tapping guide's nose/pin can reach below the tap wrench jaws to engage with the hole or point at the top of the tap.

Does anyone know of a commercially available tapping guide that has a thinner nose/pin than 3/16" and is double ended?

I would make the tool myself if I was in a position to house the lathe I've been planning to buy but not been able to for far too long.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Thread: Can you recommend a UK supplier for good quality "mill board"?
10/06/2021 20:11:34
Posted by John Smith 47 on 10/06/2021 19:55:42:

Since you ask, my application is that I am creating a sort of A4+ sized box for indoor, room temperature use. I have already tried plywood but when you get less then 3mm thick the price seems to go through the roof. Also some plywood grades seem to be vastly more flexible than others of the same thickness.

For our 'box' structure to more rigid and generally strong the better. But resisting permanent damage through bending non-elastically is much more important. i.e. It is fine to be somewhat elastic/flexible if necessary, but it is not fine to be brittle nor to crease/crumple/wrinkle when bent.

If all else fails, I would also consider "Tawny Board" i.e. Kraft double-lined greyboard. The craft paper lining on both sides seems to greatly help the overall strength of the material.

All suggestions much appreciated.


For your box, two layers of AFBG13 looks to be what you want:

It is used by the British Library and other major institutions for their archival box work.

I did link some time ago to Purcell's in the hope that you would detail your requirements to them and get appropriate suggestions back.

Frankly, if Purcell's can't supply what you need in the way of board, no-one can.

Thread: My Starrett clamp can cause cancer....
08/06/2021 18:59:27
Posted by Tony Pratt 1 on 08/06/2021 17:56:03:

Jeez the world has gone mad!sad Now someone will pop up to justify the label.


I'm sure Starrett could justify the label, since its existence, like that of many such labels these days, can be explained in one word: litigation.

Thread: Interpreting hex nut description
04/06/2021 19:33:11

I assumed you were just joshing, Dave, so no harm's been done.

Actually harm has been done, because I now can't excusably wheel out the groan-inducing anecdote about my father's knackered old Qualcast lawnmower that had one particular nut that always kept falling off it; someone had put a hex on it, you see.


ETA: Thank you, Michael.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 04/06/2021 19:34:04

04/06/2021 18:57:41
Posted by JasonB on 04/06/2021 18:53:39:

One is grade 6, the other grade 8. one is BZP the other uncoated

Thanks Jason. I knew that already. One other difference is the freecut nuts have a bigger af measurement than the grade 8 bzp ones.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 04/06/2021 19:01:22

04/06/2021 18:57:08

Thank you for the replies.

I notice that the nuts described as freecut are assigned to both grade P and grade 6 simultaneously. Presumably these are alternative descriptions for what is essentially the same grade of steel.

I've just found the following (, which may explain the use of the term freecut in this case:

"Class 6 nuts shall be made of a steel which conforms to the following chemical composition-- Carbon: 0.50% maximum; Phosphorus: 0.060% maximum; Sulfur: 0.150% maximum.

Class 6 nuts may also be made from free-cutting steel which conforms to the following chemical composition--Carbon: 0.50% maximum; Sulfur: 0.34% minimum; Phosphorus: 0.11% minimum; Lead: 0.35"

04/06/2021 18:32:17

I've just bought two kinds of 1/2" BSW hex nuts from Zoro:

Can anyone tell me what the term "freecut" means in the case of the first kind?


Thread: Can you recommend a UK supplier for good quality "mill board"?
04/06/2021 10:22:06

You can get excellent quality mill board in 1.5mm thickness from several UK suppliers, in some cases with a minimum order of only half a sheet.

FWIW, I gave you the names of these suppliers in a previous thread of yours.

04/06/2021 01:51:17

I've been using mill board from various sources for twenty-five years, but don't know of any UK supplier who currently sells it in 1.3mm or 1.4mm thickness or insists on a minimum order of £330. Maybe the minimum order is because you have requested a non-standard thickness.

Since you've come here for information, perhaps you'd be good enough to return the compliment and inform us who the supplier you're referring to is and provide a link to the product, regardless of whether the company is based in the UK or elsewhere.

Thread: Warco wm18
27/05/2021 21:34:01
Posted by JasonB on 27/05/2021 13:21:08:

Wonder what made you choose it if you think the handwheel position is crazy,

I think the z-axis handwheel position is pretty logical, Jason, though obviously not ideal for me or anyone.

Though I knew before purchase that its top-right positioning would be more inconvenient to me than in most people's cases, the inconvenience it causes me would certainly be less than it is if the pressure in the gas strut on my mill was as high as I'd expected it to be and as it evidently is in some examples of WM18s I've seen. Sadly, it appears it never has been.

Fortunately at present I do have a reasonably healthy left arm, and lifting the head, whilst tedious, is certainly less onerous than the heavy manual lifting my day job (and evening job) unavoidably entails.

Reasons for choosing the WM18 over the SX3 were as follows:

Table is substantially longer

Spindle to table distance is bigger

X-axis handwheels are present at both ends, not just on right

Bigger range of spindle speeds

Choice of having a factory-fitted DRO (this option wouldn't be so important to me now as it was at the time)

Choice of am or pm delivery slot was available at no extra cost

Warco were giving an apparently rare 10% off everything the weekend I happened to visit the site with a reasonably firm intention of buying a mill that day either from them or someone else.

Things the SX3 has that I'd like the WM18 to have, but knew and accepted, pre-purchase, that it didn't:

Brushless motor, belt drive, low-positioned Z-axis handwheel.

27/05/2021 13:04:52
Posted by Terry Kirkup on 27/05/2021 09:48:40:

Hi all. Bit of a late add-on, but I've just installed my own WM18B and if it has got a gas strut it sure doesn't do anything! Why is the handle placed at the top, seems crazy to me?

Terry, have you peeked inside the column to check whether the strut is actually present?

The gas strut on my WM18 is present but has never really offered anything like as much assistance with raising the head as I have seen on other examples of the same mill. I suspect not all gas struts on these mills are actually working as intended when new.

Spare a thought for the small number of people, including me, who have to use their left arm to crank the right-positioned z-axis handwheel.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 27/05/2021 13:05:47

Thread: Can 2 people use the same mobile with NHS Covid app?
24/05/2021 21:06:18

Sorry to hear this, Peter.

I must admit I've not logged into my Paypal account for several weeks, and when I did so just now they insisted on calling my landline "to confirm it's really you". There was no mention of them needing a mobile number.

The amusing thing is the landline in question isn't actually mine, so it's clearly not an infallible way of confirming that the "it" is really "me", or even who the "me" really is.

24/05/2021 17:33:00
Posted by Peter Greene on 24/05/2021 17:28:01:

.... and now I can't log in to my (20+ year-old) Paypal account unless I now give them a (verifiable) mobile number!. No alternative option Apparently modern life DEMANDS that you have a mobile and that you cede its number to the information miners.

This has been the case with my Paypal account for a long time. However, the F5 refresh button on the keyboard allows me to bypass the request and log in. I'm not giving Paypal my mobile number.

Thread: The worst 'upcycling' tragedy ever?
24/05/2021 10:36:45

The worst example of this I know of is a large collection of decorative engraved bookbinder's finishing tools that were advertised for sale very cheaply in a newspaper local to a bookbinding friend of mine. The collection would have fetched thousands of pounds in the right auction.

My friend inquired only to be told the tools had been sold that day to a farmer not far away. My friend visited the farm to see if he could persuade the farmer to sell the tools on to him. When he got there, there was the remnants of a fire in the farmyard and the farmer was just shutting the doors of a large barn. All that was left in the fire was the charred remains of the tool handles; the brass tools themselves had been driven in to the barn doors tang-first with their engraved faces pointing outwards, so that the deep relief engraving on the faces of all the tools was by now hopelessly mangled by hammer blows, rendering the tools useless and valueless.

My friend, who would have put the tools to good use in the authentic restoration of period bindings, had arrived too late, but at least the farmer was delighted with himself for having created such a novel work of decorative art.

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