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Member postings for Philip A

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

Thread: How to align a fixed steady?
04/02/2021 09:40:49

This is my first workpiece that requires a steady. I'm not sure how to align the steady so that the workpiece sits staight. YouTube proposes a couple of methods, one very long winded which requires specialist tools and another method using a dial guage attached to the chuck. The dial guage method isn't working for me due to lack of space on the mini lathe.

What methods are mini lathe owners on this site using?

Thread: Whats the right material to make a compressor valve pestel?
08/01/2021 19:25:54
Posted by Oily Rag on 08/01/2021 18:31:39:

Yes - perfectly. The old one had worn and split after it hardened, seemed to be made out of a beige Nylon like material. The replacement has been in there for 4 years now, holds pressure over weeks - unless I leave the blow gun connected in which case it leaks away in about 2 hrs, but that is down to a dodgy 'qwik fit'.


Fab Martin, I'll be doing that then. This lathe is well on it's way to paying for itself!

08/01/2021 17:05:30
Posted by Oily Rag on 08/01/2021 13:42:12:

I made one out of Nylon 66 with Moly disulphide filler, trade name Nylatron. Has excellent properties and wear resistance.

Refer to this for Nylon grades commonly available, note Nylon 66 is preferable to Nylon 6 due to its higher melting point.


Thanks, so did your nylon pestel seal correctly?

08/01/2021 08:17:29

Hi, one of my compressors requires a replacement valve pestel, thats the spring loaded often coin shaped piece of plastic that seals the valve when air tries travelling in the wrong direction. The cos of the pestel is more than the cost of the entire new valve! Now that I have a mini lathe I thought I could make a pestel but I'd need to know the right material to use. Cheap compressors use some sort of nylon/plastic but the better ones have some sort of rubberised plastic.

Thread: How accurately are you tramming your mini mills?
20/12/2020 06:27:35
Posted by Paul Lousick on 20/12/2020 01:36:40:

Philip, Does your mill have a fixed or rotating head ?

I used to have a Seig SX3 with a roatatable head and found that the location pin that locked the head was not accurate (OK for general operations) but normally used an indicator on a 250mm arm to tram and clamp the head. (the longer the tramming radius, the more accurate the setup)

If you have a fixed head, then you have to shim the column.


Edited By Paul Lousick on 20/12/2020 01:40:14

Mine has a fixed head.

19/12/2020 20:42:09

I noticed that the first piece I milled on my new Sieg didn't come out straight. A little investigation found that there was a 0.3mm height difference between the left and right sides of the table.

I found there were no shims under the column so it looks like these machines come out the factory with no attempt made to tram them. The thinest M8 shims I could find are 0.05mm, and with those I could get to within 0.07mm on the x length of the table, and 0.03mm on the y length.

I've read that tin foil can be used to shim in 0.01mm graduations, but is there a limit to what can be achieved on these machines? How far have you gone with your tramming and whats realistic?

Thread: Oil proof brush?
18/12/2020 07:28:56

This has been a constant annoyance. I started using a 1" brush to brush away chips, but after a week my brush hairs appear to have swollen from the cutting oil despite this being a brush for oil paints. Has anyone found a brand of brush that is resistant to cutting oil?

Thread: How does this rotary table bolt down?
06/12/2020 12:46:52

Can anyone make out how this rotary table attaches to the lathe table? I can see t wo small holes, maybe it needs to be dismantled and then use those holes to bolt down?

Thread: Why are gas struts on mini mill conversions not rated to fully lift the head?
06/12/2020 12:42:26
Posted by Dr_GMJN on 06/12/2020 12:21:58:

FYI this is how my strut is mounted:

And the DROs I fitted, I got them from Arc Euro:




And some aluminium covers and 3D printed end caps:

Readouts were mounted to some MDF, and I used an ancient Eastman Kodak camera ball and socket mount so I can position them for best viewing angle. Tidied the excess cables with spiral wrap and a plastic tub:

Touch wood, since fitting them back in April, they've worked perfectly. The nice thing was I could accurately drill all the stud PCD's on the Stuart 10V using x/y co-ordinates rather than needing a rotary table.

Excellent photos, will make fitting my DRO scales much easier. Did you have to trim the scales? Is that X-axis scale on brackets because it's slightly longer than the table it's attached to ?

06/12/2020 10:50:25

So I'm hearing that cutters can pull into the workpiece, hence wanting the head to be pulling downwards on it's own weight.

A few people have said to use the z-lock. Sure, but what do you do when you need to take measured cuts on the z-axis? That means having the backlash taken up in a predictable manner. So far I've been partially engaging the carriage lock to create enough friction that as I use the z-axis fine adjuster the backlash is always taken up in the same direction. This has worked for me so far but the reason for the change to the gas strut is that my torsion spring gives very inconsistent pull.

06/12/2020 10:45:36
Posted by Howi on 06/12/2020 10:00:01:

having fitted a gas strutt a few years ago to my SX2P (published in MEW), I can not understand the problems people seem to be having. My strutt just ballances the head rather than trying to take all the weight, a lot of others have done the same so we can't all be wrong. from my experience I have had no problem with cutter being pulled into the work or excessive backlash.and find the mill a delight to use.

perhaps it is methodology rather than the gas strutt that is causing the problems

Hi Howi, do you remember the force of your strut?

Both stubborness and the desire to experiment is making me consider a variable force strut.

Thanks for the suggestions on the DRO, it's on my radar, I'm thinking of using TouchDRO as I like the idea of a relying on my tablet over low cost readout unit.

05/12/2020 11:05:02

I've done my first couple of mini mill pieces, it wasn't a big issue to work around the z-axis slack and head drop, but it would be nice to reduce the problem. So I'm thinking of the gas strut conversion and a z-axis DRO.

Is anyone able to explain why 120 - 150 N gas struts are used. The head weighs more than this so the struts only aid in head lift. Such an under powered gas strut means that the backlash allows the head to be lifted as the workpiece pushes upwards. I would have thought that this is undesirable. An over powered strut would mean that upwards backlash is taken up by the strut leaving none for the workpiece to push into.

I hope that makes sense and someone can explain the logic behind the 120-150N struts.

Also noticed most users are fitting 250mm travel struts but measured my SX2P and it has 270mm z-axis travel, so a 300mm strut seems more appropriate.

Thread: Whats the correct size clamp kit for the mini mill?
26/11/2020 13:59:21

Sieg SX2P from Arc. I just found the Arc specs, they were in a separate tab on the product page, and you're right the slots are in fact 8mm.

I've only found 24pc clamp kits in the 8mm slot, 6mm stud size. Other sizes come as 54pc. Is 24pc ok?

26/11/2020 13:52:44

Mini Machine Shop link:

Sorry 3/8" studs not 5/8".

26/11/2020 13:29:42

Finally purchased an X2 Mini Mill (Sieg).

But I can't find the right size clamp kit. The slots on the mill are apparently 12mm, but I'm not certain what the stud size is. The Arc Euro kit uses 12mm nuts and 6mm studs, but Mini Machine Shop is saying that 12mm nuts with 5/8" studs fit.

Thread: What air compressor should I buy?
14/11/2020 20:18:55
Posted by Clive Foster on 14/11/2020 11:42:10:


I found that a decent size airbox on the intake side fed via a proper "car size" air filter made a big difference to compressor noise. Removes all the pulsating suction sounds. Breed is unimportant, whatever decent size unit the local breaker has cheap today will do although I used same one as thec ar I was running then and recyled the used air filters discarded at service time.

Can get surprising amounts of surface transmitted noise too. If its on solid tyre wheels switching to pneumatic types all round makes a significant difference. My builds were on solid feet so I laid a tyre or two down flat on it's side and fixed sheet of plywood to it to make a (relatively) isolated support.

For air transmission a pair of slatted / louvred doors mounted face to face with an offset so there is no direct path is quire effective yet allows adequate ventilation so long as there is airspace between. I wonder if setting the pair at 90° would work better. May need a shallow spacer to give enough space for cooling air flow. I imagine anything over around 1/8" between the louvres at their closest point should do.


Yes I keep hearing that fitting an airbox makes a big difference, I might try that.

Thread: Drilling addition holes for gib screws has caused distortions in the slide
14/11/2020 11:21:09

I've read about the dowels but never seen a picture or anything to show what they look like or how they work.

Thread: What air compressor should I buy?
14/11/2020 11:16:19

Hi, just my input from having owned several compressors.

A "proper" compressors output is approx 70% of the quoted figure. So my 14 CFM compressor just about keeps up with a 10 CFM tool.

I had a couple of low cost compressors which quoted 9.6 CFM but couldn't even keep up with a 4 CFM tool. I actually ended up in court making a small claim to get my money back and easily proved my case and won.

I now have a 3HP Italian made compressor and a 4HP Clarke industrial. The latter is cast iron and although it's only slightly quieter, the noise from a cast iron compressor is much lower frequency and more tolerable, it's like listening to a Harley vs a loud scooter.

Some of my neighbours complained about noise so I put the compressors in a sound proof box. That didn't work as I couldn't get enough airflow to keep them cool, even with expensive extractors. I dismantled the box and just placed some plywood with soundproof foam around the compressors and found that made enough difference to keep the neighbours happy. I still have an industrial extactor fan blowing air over the pumps though as the plywood reduces circulation. All works well now.

Thread: Drilling addition holes for gib screws has caused distortions in the slide
12/11/2020 23:39:01
Posted by woody1 on 12/11/2020 21:35:19:

My couple pence worth, I am not a pro, you,

You may have gone undersize on the holes, I'm not blaming anyonewink

Exactly this. I always got away with it in the past.... force of habbit, oh well, lesson learnt.

12/11/2020 15:44:11

Hi. Whilst I had my carriage apart I thought I'd add extra gib screws as this seems to be a common modification. I used a pillar drill and sharp bits and all went well but I've just noticed that the bearing surface of the carriage is no longer flat where the holes have been drilled.

Have I done something wrong?

In one of the images below you can see the distortions where I've started to flatten them with a flat stone.

Edited By Philip A on 12/11/2020 15:45:20

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