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Member postings for Jim Smith 8

Here is a list of all the postings Jim Smith 8 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Can't get the hang of HSS!
19/07/2021 18:29:55

My beginners results taught me that whatever tool type or tool shape you put in the tool holder and expect it to do, each lathe can be different and taking some time to clock what the compound slide is doing, might show errors which can be improved? I know I lack is experience and human operating skills which might allow me to produce good finishes, even when the lathe has some wear or could be better adjusted. I think the results from a Chinese lathe can be better after taking time to do measurements and adjustments on it. Whether it will stay that way is debatable.

Thread: Best soldering iron for electronics
19/07/2021 18:15:04

Weller have a clever system that controls the temperature by the curie point of a magnetic insert on the tip

That's their old 'Magnastat' system and not so good now on circuit boards using thinner copper tracks and plated through holes.The price of spare magnet bits is horrendous when you can find them and you need to buy a bit for each temperature which is coded with a number, usually 8 (800F) or 7 (700F).

Later irons use hollow bits (like Aoyue (and Hako which seem the same). The temperature sensor and element sits in the middle where you have direct feedback control of the variable tip temperature. All these older irons were fine for soldering work done at the time and still work for soldering wiring in cars and old equipment, but new solders, fluxes and printed board manufacturing techniques now need a better iron with tighter and faster tip temperature control. They use 'K' type thermocouples which help to maintain tip temperature within a couple of degrees.

Thread: Garmin sat nav
19/07/2021 18:02:07

Access to private data and what data is accessed will depend on the type of operating platform and their business model options. What private data are we talking about? Once you register a legit copy they have a tag of the software serial purchase linked to you - this is the trick manufacturers use to get you to register a warranty. As you drive about their software can sample routes you take and where you go to and at what times. Aggregated this information can be sold for traffic management purposes. To reduce the amount of data they have to keep stored on you, this may be no more than date,start point, end point grid references and journey time.

If you have old Garmin or TomTom using a memory card, maps are stored on it according to what you pay and there is no magic 'back channel' for data to get back - Unless you do an upgrade when the software licence is verified and there could be an opportunity to upload data to them. If you use F.M traffic data, intelligence sits in the application and again there is no back channel to send back data. As you drive the GPS receiver continuously updates you position (receive only, no back channel) which is overlaid on the map stored locally.

If your satnav device has a wi-fi connection' always on' or can connect to the internet using a cable to your PC, supposedly for updates, then you have agreed and opened up a back channel for data other than licence details to be sent back. I always disable automatic software updating and choose to do these things when I want and not have my devices crash or freeze doing huge updates.

A new business model approach is to put Maps needing a large amount of storage and most of the processing that would have been done locally on a Cloud server. This takes care of authenticating licenses, they only have to update their server maps and devices need less memory and processing power. In addition the user can get a high resolution location map and route faster from a cloud server rather than doing heavy calculations on a local device. But they do need a back channel which may be mobile internet SIM through your phone account. This would be how you use Google maps on a phone whilst driving. Once you allow this model, you are open to all kinds of data extraction about you and your journeys which can be in realtime as you drive.

Thread: Best soldering iron for electronics
19/07/2021 13:42:19

I use my temperature controlled iron with reserved bits for repair welding (most) broken plastics. I got some large gauge copper wire which fitted my 'solder gun' which is pretty useless for most things due to its limited duty cycle. But with customised wire (bits) you can smooth and weld plastic. I fastened a scalpel blade to one wire bit which I use as a hot knife on plastic. I just bought some stainless staples off Ebay and made a copper adapter to hold them and plug in to the soldering gun.

Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 19/07/2021 13:42:52

19/07/2021 11:44:37

I have a couple of small direct mains powered Antexes with yellow handles where the bit holding clips have gone bad and the hot push on bits can fall off. Smaller older irons can struggle with reduced lead aluminium based solders and I now find 25 Watts marginal? The biggest advantage of low voltage irons is they heat up really fast and when temperature controlled electronically, they will hold a more stable bit temperature.

Thread: Can't get the hang of HSS!
19/07/2021 11:35:06

I'm a newbie lathe turner and had similar problems trying to get smooth turning, mainly ali and some steel. I've given up on HSS tools for modifying pre-manufactured steel parts because I'm never sure what grade steel is used or its hardness and now use a TCT tipped tool and keep the HSS tools for softer metals. For me, the biggest difference in turned finish came from micro adjusting the WM280V rpm to slower and using a low feed rate until I could achieve a smooth continuous ribbon peel. One continuous ribbon from 30mm dia. ali was 1.5M long.

I had to solve a problem with the Warco lathe first: I noticed there was 'chatter at the tool tip turning some steel. Checks are easier if you have a DRO on both axis of the cross slide table, but mine had bad 'slop'. You can confirm by giving the cross slide a hard push in each direction. If you get a clunk or it moves, you have work to do on the compound gibs and leadscrew to reduce it. If the crossslide has backlash as you turn, you will get a poor finish with very visible tooling marks, because you are relying too much on your hand pressure on the wheel to keep the tool steady as it cuts.

Once you get the compound slop and backlash minimised you can further improve finish by using a lubricant and keeping the work piece cool or letting it cool between breaks.

I'm sure the lathe experts will tell me where I'm going wrong, even though I've had to work things out from first principles.

Thread: Best soldering iron for electronics
19/07/2021 11:05:21

Go for temperature controlled sensed at the bit with a wattage of 30-50 Watts. The issue with any choice is what shape bits can I get with it? For occasional use a selection of 2 or 3 is probably all you need, but they do wear when used a lot.

The next important factor is direct mains or low voltage e.g 24 volt. Most soldering irons are made in China and you don't want to trust your life on a direct mains iron made in China, go for low voltage. It will come with a mains voltage converter and is much safer to you and the electronics you are soldering.

Weller are still making well made irons and selling parts but are expensive (USA manufactured). Only look at electronic temperature control, not the old fashioned 'Magnastat'. These days people tend to talk about a 'soldering station' where the iron runs at low voltage and the transformer is part of the stand. Get a stand because hanging an iron and forgetting where you hung it can give you a burn!

One soldering iron can't do everything. One day you may solder an electronic board and the next day you are solding a car wire in some wind. For car work I use a 100-150 watt simple basic earthed mains iron (Weller) with a large bit.

My current workstation is an Aoyue 968 but I modified their smoke extraction pump to use as a solder sucker. You will need a manual piston type solder sucker for most basic soldering on circuit boards. If you try to work on a modern board with components you can hardly see (SMD) you are in a different re-work ball game.

Thread: Sourcing a Bolt
18/07/2021 18:56:39

I've had plated bolts into cast ali on motorbikes where the (zinc/ali?) plating has rusted out causing threads to collapse when removing bolts. Chinese A2 stainless bolts are normally sold degreased and using them out of the packet causes problems. I use CopperEase grease on new stainless bolts and haven't seen corrosion or thread damage yet.

Thread: Broken tap extraction
18/07/2021 18:46:03

I had a M3 tap break yesterday. Golden rule learned: Use the right size tapping drill and don't bottom the tap! Is that a gas or water surface sealing face and how far in is the tap? If not a seal you can try a fine center point punch to enlarge the 'triangular' void, put in some WD40 and try to get in a fine point plier across the triangular voids and turn. Tap carefully first with the center punch. Heating the outside of the part very quickly may help.

Thread: Vehicle reversing sensors
18/07/2021 18:33:13

I just designed an electronic schematic to use with a 4 Chinese sensor addon on the front and discovered a bit about these things: My schematic uses wheel speed sensors to blank it out above 3mph and activate it using the stalk switch when required. I tried leaving it on, but it kept beeping at kerbs and road furniture when pulling away from stops or closing in on other cars annoyed me.

They have a range of 1.8M and are dumb outside this range. They use a simple burst of 40kHz transmit and receive the time delayed (Doppler) burst to process it and get the distance. I can imagine a car close in front reversing might confuse it, but whilst it will probably use the same 40kHz, the pulse period frequency is unlikely to be the same? Continuous transmission from all 4 sensors would be a bit power thirsty for small scale electronics and where they use 4 sensors I think there is a timing difference set for each sensor. That's how (on my kit) they can have a bargraph displaying left right proximity. The processing knows which sensor is closest to the obstacle.

Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 18/07/2021 18:37:05

Thread: Driving style predicts Alzeimer’s …
17/07/2021 17:56:39

At over 70 I can still ride a 1200cc Sport bike where reaction time, observation and attention to the road are far more important than when I'm driving inside a box. One misjudgement of the handlebars or throttle at 70mph and I am totalled which helps concentrate the mind and stay alert.

Yes it's true everybody else seems to be trying to kill motorcyclists and cyclists these days, but anticipation, thinking ahead and reaction can help you stay alive. Has anybody else driving for many years found you can drive behind somebody (at a safe distance) and get clues they are 'Numpties' - I find them all the time mostly at commute and school run times which I now try to avoid.

Thread: Button dies!!!!!
17/07/2021 17:46:09

I'd take a piece of round brass bar close to one of them, cut a thread, measure its TPI with a thread gauge, measure diameter then look at thread tables? Once you figure one out, the others should follow. It could always be some strange thread form though. If you don't identify them you can't use them.

Thread: Fulfilled by Amazon
17/07/2021 17:35:05

An interesting thread because I came across a mildly related thing with electric garden tools like lawnmowers and hedge cutters. They are made in plastic as 'double insulated' appliances attached to 2 core mains cables. You get a nick in the cable sheath you don't notice, then as you run your hands through the cable standing on wet grass, get electrocuted by this super safe appliance meeting a million safety regulations. Ah, but in U.K you have earth leakage protection to save you, but it won't work when you touch a frayed live wire standing on wet grass. My personal solution is to replace their damaged 2 core long flex with 3 core and earth it at the plug. Then if the blade nicks the cable it's likely to short the 3rd earthed ground wire to Live or neutral, take out the trip or a line fuse, stop it working and keep you safe.

It's the same with hair dryers: If the live end of the element is the first thing hitting the bath water you are dead. If the inner casing had an earthed screen surrounding the element, then that should take out the RCD trip first. Most imported 2 wire products are used in countries where their power safety system breaks the current in both wires. In U.K we only break one with a fuse or trip on the live side. If it's a 2 wire device using a 2 pin to 3 pin adaptor, you don't know if the live end of the hairdryer element is near the nozzle and first to hit the sink water, or the other end.

Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 17/07/2021 17:36:24

Thread: Garmin sat nav
17/07/2021 17:16:18

When portable devices like satnavs are left alone a long time, they can actually still be running a processor on low power. As the battery drains to near zero, the processor function can get corrupted. Remove the old battery and leave it out for a day. Fit a new fully charged battery and see if it boots to the normal screen. Some satnavs have a reboot or reset option buttton hidden in the case that can do the same thing? When you buy a car satnav you are often not buying a piece of hardware kit, but a business model for future expensive updates.

Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 17/07/2021 17:16:52

Thread: Can auto darkening welding helmet capsule be restored.
17/07/2021 17:06:40

It will be the batteries. I had 2 Chinese that went the same way. The first had a draw for an AAA cell but the cell had been in too long and I had to clean up the terminals. The second had a coin cell battery inside which I replaced and neither helmet is now going to land fill.

During the helmet recovery process I discovered in addition to the electronic auto shut off, my darkening control knob had a switch on the end and when off, nothing drains the battery. I now remember to turn it to the off position.

Thread: Using an Einhell wood mitre saw with 2mm angle grinder discs
16/07/2021 13:19:41

I bought a cheap Einhell TC SM2531 mitre saw. for £129 it's pretty substantial with a 1900 Watt motor taking a 10" 254mm x 30mm x 3mm tct saw blade. I didn't use their stand and mounted mine to a tressle. I already use a Chinese 41/2" variable speed angle grinder mounted in a chop stand for cutting small steel section and rough facing.

After using the Einhell beast on some wood projects, it sat in my workshop doing nothing else. I often want to make a vertical cut in steel bar, or angle up to 50mm and a metal cutting chop saw would take up even more space so I looked at modifying the wood chop saw to take thin angle grinder cut off discs, which I use a lot for cutting small section stainless. I've even done rough profiling as I don't have a mill and stainless is easier to grind than machine.

The saw takes a 254mm dia tct blades with a 30mm dia arbor hole and the motor rpm off load is 4800 rpm. 9 inch 2mm thick stainless angle grinder discs are 230mm dia. with a 22.2 - 22.4mm arbor hole. A less common 10 inch thin steel cutoff disc and larger have a 25.4 mm arbor hole size but these tend to be only sourceable from China. Wood saws and blades are deliberately made to be incompatible with angle grinders! Recommended maximum spindle speeds are 6600 rpm for a 230mm disc and 6600rpm for a 250mm disc.

I ordered two replacement Einhell inner flanges (cheap @ 4.02 Eu but expensive Brexit shipping!). I ground two flats on a length of M16 threaded rod, put a hex nut on it and got some lathe practice taking off the nut flats and turning one nut down to 22.2mm. Using an M16 nut as a back nut, I fitted the Einhell inner flange held on by the turned down nut and put my home made arbor in the lathe. I was surprised how well their inner flange had centred.

Their flange steel is quite hard and could be stainless? It needs a TCT lathe tool to work it. On one flange I turned down their 30mm raised section to 25.4, and the second to 22.4. These discs are 2mm thick so I had to take about 1mm off the face of each flange to ensure their clamp washer would still fit over the flats of the motor spindle. There is plenty of metal to play with.

I mounted the discs and checked the disc runout in the saw. It's not as good as a lathe chuck, but better than my angle grinder.

These wood saws come with a reasonable ali frame and upstand, but pretty pathetic work hold down clamps and that's something I will have to think about for holding metal. The thicker disc sits slightly off center in their slot. Changing the blade and flange for a disc and modified flange is easy.

This is very much 'off the wall' and you should take all necessary safety precautions and use slow feed rates when chopping.

Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 16/07/2021 13:21:22

Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 16/07/2021 13:24:47

Thread: Parting off help!
26/06/2021 16:43:13

I'm an absolute beginner and expect to make mistakes and get things wrong which is o.k as long as I don't damage myself or the lathe - like feeding a drill from the tailstock too far out and have the thread come out - ,dugh, no end stop on the screw! Members here are wizards and very helpful.

I practiced parting on some 40mm ali stock. I learned you can get a lot of heat which eventually softens the ali and churns up the parting cut. I take it slower with cooling tea breaks now. I learned that when you get the feed in and spindle speed right you get a nice continuous ribbon coming away from the tool. I managed a continuous ali ribbon of 5 ft before stopping the cut to let the stock cool. I think my parting tool has some cobalt/chromium in it and is only 3mm? I've learned (as others here will tell you) it's not the spindle rpm that's important but the linear cutting speed. Small diameter machining needs higher rpm and larger diameters a lower rpm to keep to an optimum linear speed for the metal. I tried some mild steel with lube. I got squealing as the tool got deeper into the cut which thought was't coming from the cutting tip but the sides of the tool?

I found some online calculators on the internet - input metal type, diameter and it works out the optimum rpm for linear speed of cutting. But TBH you can see, hear and feel when the spindle speed is too high or low and with a variable speed lathe it's easy to change.

I've read engaging lathe auto feed is good to get a smooth turning finish, but I'm nervous mine won't disengage so easily when I want it to stop feeding and crash the tool. My 280V seems very clunky engaging the screw feeds and I haven't yet investigated.

Thread: Make a WM280 lathe compound gib without a mill?
26/06/2021 10:31:10

Thanks, I'm used to doing a lot of filing and time isn't an issue for me. I've read about suitable materials for compound gibs and the recommends in order seem to be cast iron, hard steel, mild steel (rough?) and brass came last in the list. Something about needing a rough surface to hold oil? Is the gib material critical for a hobby lathe getting little use? Brass is easy to work and re-make. These are the measurements I made: 3.4mm thick x 12.5mm wide X 168mm long which I thought would be closest to imperial flat bar stock? The Warco compound gib isn't tapered, which makes things easier.

If I had the machines I would start with larger bar stock..


Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 26/06/2021 10:31:57

25/06/2021 16:53:42

Is this possible? My material options in correct size imperial bar are limited to black or bright mild steel, but I don't think the original gib is anything special and seemed poorly finished? How to machine the bevels along a 168mm length of bar?

I have a vertical pillar drill but no x-y table

I don't have an angle tilting vice.

I have angle grinders

I have a 1/2" woodworking router with tct tipped tools.

I have a circular chop saw with a tct tipped metal cutting blade.

It's a bit like solving the space shuttle CO2 scrubber problem. Has anybody got ideas for making gib bevels? I've not measured theirs, but I would expect the bevel angles to be about 30 deg.?

Last resort is I could buy one, but that's not so challenging or fulfilling.




Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 25/06/2021 16:54:10

Thread: Lathe DRO
25/06/2021 10:38:16
Posted by ChrisB on 21/04/2021 14:39:27:
Posted by JasonB on 20/04/2021 20:20:04:

Shear pin on mine. Also no Leadscrew spring cover or boxing sticking out the back where the motor goes.

You just got me my next project Jason!

Some time back I got myself a lathe collet chuck, prepared a piece of steel for the backplate...bolted the blank backplate to the spindle and proceeded with the machining. Little did I know that the tool post would not reach the spindle! I managed, but it was one of those simple jobs turning into a nightmare.

Spent the morning fiddling with the lathe, and result! I was wrong about the WM280 tailstock reachsmile p


This photo of the Warco 'Bad Boy' brass block saved me posting my own. If I pushed my quick change tool post hard to the rear I could hear a 'clunk' and my newly fitted DRO scale readout confirmed the table had moved. I removed the handwheel + leadscrew and block to have a good look. I held the block very loosely in a vise and turned the leadscrew end to end. There was very little binding on the Acme thread across unworn parts of the lead screw thread but I adjusted the 2 X 4mm grub screws anyway to take out any play as felt in the vise.

Then I replaced the assembly, fixed the table slide with the M8 screw in the counter bore and lightly re-adjusted the gib. Result was terrible - Binding up as the lead screw was rotated end to end. It was very tempting to play with the thread adjustment but this wouldn't have been right. I know lead screws and blocks can wear. Warco sell both as a matched pair but I was able to buy just the (expensive) brass block to take a chance.

I fitted the new block which was nice and tight on the threads in the vise without needing to adjust the grub screws. I replaced the assembly and got a similar binding result. I removed the M8 screw holding the slide to the block, loosened the gib a little and wound the block to the front. I then pulled the slide towards the front until it was sitting just over the block. I could see a gap between the top of the block and the underside of the slide, it measured 1.6mm with feeler gauges. I couldn't see any support at the far end of my leadscrew?

I then cut some shim to fit the top of the block and temporaly held it in place with a spare grub screw set level with the shim. I wound the block in to align with the table fixing hole. Tightened the M8 screw and Success, no binding along the length of travel but still a little play of 3 thou. left. This wasn't coming from the thread but end play on the leadscrew. I removed the handwheel and fitted a 3 though shim. Now all play is gone no binding or excessive friction, I can push hard on the tool holder and only see 1/2 thou change in reading. I may try to modifying my old brass leadscrew block with a saw cut to adjust the thread over more thread turns, rather than just the end 3 threads.

Next I will look at the 'Z' lead screw (or is it 'X'?) on the compound, this has a steel block. There is no measurable horizontal play, but the handwheel seems to have more backlash than I would like compared to the other one. Are these common issues with most Chinese lathes, or is it just me finding these problems? It seemed to me that getting the compound slides sorted was more important than other parts of the lathe.

I also met a problem with one of the compound gibs. After several attempts at careful adjustment I removed it. It looked bent, but wearing specs can give optical illusions. I put it on a surface block and confirmed it was bent. Therefore it becomes impossible to adjust all 4 gib screws for even contact along the length of the gib. As a last resort I hit it with a hammer on a steel block and it's now straight, but I think I might try making a new gib when I can work out how to cut/grind the edge angles without a mill.

Onwards & Upwards!

Edited By Jim Smith 8 on 25/06/2021 10:40:56

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