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Member postings for Andy Carlson

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

Thread: Engraving Nameplates
05/11/2020 21:59:12


Thank you for all of the advice.


Crude in comparison to Jason's work and took 3 attempts to get one that didn't mess up but I'm happy.

1mm 2 flute stub cutter from Arc Euro, 5K RPM feed rate 40. 0.25mm DOC on lettering, 0.5mm DOC to cut out.

Thread: Myford Hammered Green Paint
03/11/2020 17:26:25

Thank you for that - most kind.

02/11/2020 17:47:48

A comparison photo would be brilliant thanks.

02/11/2020 17:08:47
Posted by Hollowpoint on 02/11/2020 16:19:31:

I bought some if the Bitec stuff a few months back. It's fairly close to the Myford colour and slightly paler, more minty than the emco and startrite colours.

Any chance of a photo of something painted with this paint please

02/11/2020 13:23:15

In case you didn't find it... a thread from 18 months ago about grey hammered ML10 paint... suggests another supplier who does xylene based paint.

01/11/2020 22:25:25

I found another thread about a Startrite restoration. This chap has actually done some painting... which is a step forward from most discussions about paint colour. I think the paint supplier was different again though.

01/11/2020 21:12:44
Posted by Martin Kyte on 01/11/2020 18:15:25:

That's not Myford thats EMCO

It says it is intended for Startrite machinery. How the Startrite colour compares to Emco or Myford I have no idea.

I've seen a few photos on the Internet but the apparent shades vary a lot depending on lighting and so on so it is very difficult to know what is a good match and what is not... unless someone can put the two side by side.

Even with pics on, I suspect some of the machines (Unimats anyway) have been repainted... which adds a further variable to the equation.

My guess based on the photos is that the ML10 is a somewhat darker shade than the Unimat but I can't be sure.

01/11/2020 12:41:13

I think you may be entering tricky territory.

The choices of available hammered finish have diminished in recent years. The formulation of some types has also changed. Some say the new stuff is no good. No doubt health and safety and/or environmental regulations have something to do with the change.

I don't know what Myford hammered green looks like TBH. My interest in this question starts from my ownership of a Unimat SL.

There has been a lot of traffic on the Unimat forum on this topic... mostly hypothetical and around product availability I'm afraid. I have not seen anyone (in the UK anyway) saying that they have tried X product and had good results.

The Unimat uses a light green shade of Hammered paint. Some have said it is RAL 6011 Reseda green. Maybe it is. My lathe and motor are both light green but one is a deeper shade than the other.

Unrelated to the discussion on the Unimat forum I pulled my late 1980s Vixen SP102 telescope out of hibernation recently and remembered that the mount also uses light green hammered paint. Looking online I found folks saying that this was also RAL 6011. Once again I did not find any success reports from UK people.

As you have found, there is also a community interested in Startrite machinery (which I must admit I know nothing about) who are also looking for light green hammered paint.

The other product I found is this one

Sorry but like others who have discussed this subject, I have not actually tried the currently available paint... on either my Unimat or my telescope mount.

I think that matching will be tricky, so a full repaint is probably a better bet than trying to do spot repairs.

The instructions may give you a clue about formulation. The old stuff used to require nasty thinners (Xylene??) and stated that the second coat must go on in a few hours after the first.

Like I said, I have no clue what colour Myford hammered green was so RAL 6011 etc may be totally wrong.

Thread: Engraving Nameplates
31/10/2020 22:58:55
Posted by John Paton 1 on 31/10/2020 22:41:36:

The other option is chemical etching brass using Letraset type lettering and ferric chloride to etch ( as for printed circuit boards) I have used this also for name plaques on models. It gives raised lettering which polishes up nicely against a matt finish background and the effect is especially good if the background is chemically blacked before buffing the lettering.

Thanks. I'm familiar with etching but have always done it by sending computer artwork to be etched by PPD in Scotland. It works very well but it's something that I do maybe once a year because I need to batch up enough things to fill up a worthwhile sheet. I can't honestly say that I've ever been tempted into DIY etching.I did do some custom PCB stuff with Letraset and tape a looong time ago but my efforts were never very neat.

31/10/2020 20:22:20
Posted by Adam Mara on 31/10/2020 20:00:35:

Here's an imperial chart for text height/cutter size that might help.


Thanks Adam. Interesting to read your thoughts and it's great to have input from a professional. The material I've ordered is acrylic and almost certainly not the same stuff as the real 'Traffolite'... in spite of the headline in the eBay listing.

I'm hoping to keep things as simple as possible to begin with and gain some valuable brownie points to trade off against future tooling purchases. Time will tell.

31/10/2020 20:15:31
Posted by JasonB on 31/10/2020 19:58:56:

These are 8mm high numbers with a 6mm shank version of the same type of cutter, I did some 6mm lettering on that clear acrylic that had the V on it no problem.

You can get 1/8 shank Vee cutters with various width ends which would allow you to get slightly further down into the second colour while keeping the font thin, I recently got some of these but not tried them yet.

Ah - a tool organiser. Nice. My ER16s live in their little blue boxes that they came in from Arc Euro... all lined up in a little fancy box that had some chocolate ginger in. Sadly the 1/4 in collet is an odd one out that came in a round see through box. I see you have a similar issue there.

I was thinking from your 'V' picture earlier that the mill drill was varying its depth to do thin bits like the serifs. Or am I reading too much into it? Anyway I don't think I have clever enough software to do that at the moment.

I think you have correctly deduced that I need thinner cutters (1/8 in max) for the Proxxon. Those German ones look like a 'D' bit... which perhaps suggests a low cost option that would avoid any risk of breaking a milling cutter.

31/10/2020 19:22:38

Thanks for the supplier suggestions. I'll see how things go with the 1ft square that I've ordered from the eBay seller but handy for future reference.

The drill mill could be interesting for some jobs but 3mm seems to be the smallest and I really need 1mm or smaller for the sort of tags I want to do - maybe 12mm wide with perhaps 8mm high text in a single stroke font. Even a 1mm cutter may be a tad on the thick side. If it looks terrible then I can make the tags a bit bigger. The specification from my customer wife is not very precise

31/10/2020 17:23:35
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 31/10/2020 17:11:51:

Just search for engraving supplies - should bring up a number of companies.

In my experience proper engraving cutters (tapered and single lip) need to run fast to work. Preferably 18 to 24000rpm . Likewise I've done a fair amount of CNC machining with 1mm and 0.5mm endmills in brass, bronze and steel but again they like to run fast. I run at 24000rpm. You might get away with a slower speed in plastic and possibly brass but not steel. The key factor is the minimum step size on the mill - that becomes the chip load. Chip loads for the small cutters need to be a few microns. The step size needs to be consistent. It's no good if the table drive steps away without moving and then the table suddenly moves the equivalent of several steps.


Thanks, the Proxxon spindle runs between 8K and 20K. Normally this is a pain (the noise particularly so) but it sounds like it could be just the ticket for this job. I'm currently running without microstepping so that's 200 steps per rev (=1mm) or .005mm per step. The firmware does backlash compensation. It has managed to do plenty of curvy profiling jobs on brass so hopefully I'm in known territory with brass at least.

Plastics are more of an unknown for me - I've heard tell of some types melting at high spindle speeds but we shall see.

I don't have any requests for steel name plates so I won't worry about that one for now.

31/10/2020 17:09:27
Posted by Nigel Bennett on 31/10/2020 16:58:38:

We used to call it Traffolite at work. Traffolyte comes up on Google.

Excellent - much easier to find when you know the right name

I couldn't find a whole heap of suppliers but there is a vendor in Elland on eBay so I've ordered a sheet from them to play with.


31/10/2020 16:55:40

My wife asked me this afternoon if I can engrave some name tags - nothing too big, the sort of size you'd put on a key ring.

Once I have the 'Z' axis stepper mount finished for my Proxxon MF70 then I think the answer ought to be 'yes' (X and Y are already done).

I've been looking around the Interweb for the raw material - the coloured multi-layer plastic stuff that you mill through to reveal the white layer. Maybe I'm not searching for the right words because I have not turned much up... doesn't seem like it should be hard to find but I'm not finding it.

I expect with the wealth of experience on here there will be plenty of folks who have done this either on plastic or brass, so are there any particular difficulties that I should know about?

Will a 1mm stub cutter do the business or should I be looking for a different cutter?



Thread: Tap/Die sets - BSW/BSF or UNC/UNF?
24/10/2020 22:29:37
Posted by William Ayerst on 24/10/2020 14:54:21:

What brand should I be looking for, for taps and dies? Dormer? Presto?

Oh lordy. Way to kick of a huge discussion on here

Some brands aren't what they were. No doubt others will chip in.

I went for opportunistically picking up job lots of decent used ones - LAL, Warrior, Herbert. I got a few duff ones but ended up with a set that covers most of my likely needs for not too much money.

BSF/BSW for me because they mostly get used for mucking about with old lathes and other such British made kit. I also have some metric stuff - metric all bought new, mostly Sherwood.

I'm off back to 2FS land now before I cause any more trouble. Welcome to the ME forum BTW.

Thread: Why is this guys mini lathe parting off so well?
22/10/2020 21:27:15
Posted by Philip Antoniou on 22/10/2020 19:55:36:

This is the parting tool that Arc recommended:

I havent got the Arc Euro one but it's important to check that the blade is being held properly upright with this type of holder. If it's leaning over by just a few degrees that will mean that the clearance angle on one side is not doing its job and that side can rub. I needed to use some shim to make sure my blade was properly vertical.

22/10/2020 08:41:16

Parting is tricky and there is plenty to go wrong. The tool alignment needs to be right (especially being at 90 degrees to the spindle) so that it clears the swarf and the sides don't rub. Use a square to set the toolpost angle rather than doing it by eye. Everything needs to be as rigid as you can make it. Use lubrication.

Probably the trickiest aspect when you haven't done it before is to get a 'feel' for the required feed and speed, for example our natural reaction when things get noisy is to back off and do things more gently. With parting this can be the wrong answer and sometimes you need to grit your teeth and run the lathe faster and/or stuff the tool in harder to get through the chatter.

A rear toolpost for an inverted parting tool is a good thing to have if it will fit your lathe. It should be reliably square to the spindle with no faffing about, the swarf falls away under gravity and it helps with chatter because the forces on the work are downwards instead of upwards. Running backwards with the tool inverted in the front toolpost achieves most of this too... but only if your lathe does not use a screw thread to mount the chuck.

You will find plenty other threads on here and other places about parting off. Do read them but at the end of the day you will only get a 'feel' for what is right by doing it yourself.

I don't claim to have achieved perfection myself, but I have had both successes and failures.

Good luck!

Thread: Faircut Lathe Owner
18/10/2020 18:01:13

Welcome Charles from a fellow Faircut owner.

You have a Faircut 'Senior' lathe there (i.e. not a Junior - the 'Senior' name was never used by Faircut AFAIK). It looks pretty complete if a tad mucky. It's fairly early, having the flat belt pulleys and lacking the extended trip bar for disengaging the dog clutch. Your compound slide may be non original, perhaps to find more clearance for that toolpost - the original toolpost has no 'shelf' and there is only about 12mm between the top of the compound and cantre height.

Your countershaft is mounted on some generic lineshaft brackets so may have been attached to the wall of the previous owner's workshop.

You need to get hold of some flat belting - mine is old school leather but other types are available. Tony at does all sorts of belting.

Figuring out a suitable drive configuration depends very much on what space you have and how you want to arrange things - you can either mount the countershaft at a similar level to the lathe mandrel (make sure that the belt clears the backgear shaft on all three settings). This arrangement can be a squeeze height-wise if you want to have everything mounted on top of a bench. Another possibility is to mount the countershaft high up so that the belts drop down from above. Tony's site should give you plenty of ideas - look at other pre-war lathes too (Myford, Zyto, Dummond etc) for ideas.

Arranging some guarding for the belts would be a good move especially if you mount the countershaft high up.

You also need to figure out a way to tension the belts - most folks these days rig up the countershaft on some sort of hinged supporting frame welded from angle iron, either with a turnbuckle style tensioner or perhaps partly relying on the weight of the motor. Some old school arrangements may have used a jockey pulley for tensioning.

Regards, Andy

Thread: Looking for a very small lathe.
06/10/2020 23:12:41

+1 for Cowells. Not that your lathe choice is a democratic vote

Mine is circa late 1970s and I like it a lot. The Taig/Peatol and Sherline are also decent machines but being in the UK, it seems less of an uphill struggle for me to have something from this side of the pond. I do use backgear on occasions on the Cowells which neither the Sherline nor the Taig has. I also do thread cutting - which I think is possible with Taig and Sherline but not sure if they need more bits to be bolted on.

With an M14 x 1 spindle you have an absolute hatful of workholding choices there. Cowells now do a different (DA?) collet system I think. I've seen good words about it but have no experience myself. You could use ERxx if you want - for example Arc Euro do ERwhatever holders and part machined backplates for M14x1.

Toolpost wise the standard one takes 6mm or 1/4 inch tooling but Cowells do a little QCTP to suit.The rear parting toolpost is also well worth having.

The tapers are modified MT0 - modified in that they use the thin end so you need to buy centres and tailstock chucks from Cowells. Some people fit standard MT0 bits but they stick out too far and look awful.

I think my biggest qualm is with the plain bearings which need topping up with oil. Said oil eventually seeps out into the middle or either end of the headstock.

No idea what the lead time is for new orders but sounds like it may not be short.

On a more subjective note, does anyone else think the Taig looks like it was designed by a committee?

Good luck, whatever option you choose.

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