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Member postings for Steven Smart

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

Thread: Printing digital edition pages
08/09/2021 16:18:37

Looks like you canot view the digital archive on PocketMags. To print those you will likely have to use screenshots, unless there is another way?

Edited By Steven Smart on 08/09/2021 16:19:31

Thread: Engineering / Modelling Books for Winter Evenings?
24/08/2021 00:36:24
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 22/08/2021 07:11…

P.S. __ If you are seriously interested in distance measurement … grab this:


Hi Michael,

That is interesting, I skimmed through a few pages and added it to my books to read. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ve always wondered how mapping of a country or continent was originally done.

Your suggestion reminded me of “The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology”, by Simon Winchester.

I listened to this as an audio book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had never occurred to me before how fundamentally important geological maps were!

I’ve read a few Simon Winchester books and some of them almost put me off reading further books of his, but I’m glad I did read this one.

22/08/2021 03:17:01

I’m very very slowly reading “The Science of Measurement, A Historical Survey” by Herbert Arthur Klein.

If you’ve ever wondered anything about how various measurement systems came to be, this book will probably tell you. It covers measurements of: Time, The SI system, Thermodynamics, Electrical, Pressures and Densities, Nuclear and Radiation. 736 pp, so it’s a little weighty.

What I was originally looking for was a history of how precision distance measurements were made. This book doesn’t cover this. But it’s got me hooked, it’s not a read for the faint hearted though, it’s somewhat dry. It is however accessible to those who don’t have a university scientific or engineering background.

(Lots of wonderful suggestions in this thread! Hopefully I don’t follow up on too many of them before I purchase a mill&hellip

Thread: Hello from Winnipeg, Canada
20/08/2021 13:09:31
Posted by Mick B1 on 17/08/2021 17:28:07:

I'm not clear why the Hurricane was or is considered inferior to the Me109….Paul Ritchie in 'Fighter Pilot' describes actions in the Battle of France IIRC without any suspicion that his plane was less than equal to anything of the enemy's…

I’ve read that most pilots felt that once they got to know their aircraft, that they felt it was better than the other types available. You’d hope this is true, it would have been very demoralizing flying a fighter which you thought was a hack…

Its such a tough question to answer on which aircraft was better, and it probably doesn’t even have a meaningful answer. The factors which could go into determining which aircraft is better depends on your perspective and could include conflicting things like: lowest cost; hours to build; serviceability; ease of handling; performance (what type of performance?); ability to be upgraded?; etc. etc. etc.

A pilot would likely rate performance over all others. Society would probably rate ‘hours to build’ and lowest cost highest (depending on the type of war), which typically conflicts with performance.

The Battle of Britain was won by both the Spitfire and Hurricane (etc.). In my opinion this is all that can be concluded in the argument of which aircraft was better. Not a very satisfying answer, but I think it’s probably the correct one?

One of the things that really interests me about the Hurricane is how it was built. Fuselage framework bolted and riveted together. Aluminium structures pop riveted together. Wings which are a hodgepodge of technologies. It’s a great example of a transition from one technology (the “biplane” era) to another (the “stressed skin” era) and I find it endlessly fascinating.

It also helps that the Hurricane was clearly better than the Spitfire (tongue firmly held in cheek)



Edited By Steven Smart on 20/08/2021 13:12:43

Edited By Steven Smart on 20/08/2021 13:13:19

20/08/2021 12:45:47
Posted by Howard Lewis on 17/08/2021 17:02:47:
…The Spitfire was a stressed monocoque so a hole was more serious, and heavy damage less easily repaired….


Hi Howard,

Thinking about it more, I’m not sure if this is correct. Most attacks would have occurred from the rear of the aircraft so it seems to me that a bullet would have a pretty good probability of hitting something that required a Hurricane to be sent to a maintenance unit.

However, I’ve also read that the Hurricane had a higher serviceability than the Spitfire, so this supports what you’re saying (I think?)




Edited By Steven Smart on 20/08/2021 13:11:31

20/08/2021 12:35:54
Posted by David George 1 on 17/08/2021 08:06:23:

Hi Steven I don't suppose you know of my uncle who lived in Toronto, Collin Smart, he moved from Wales in 70's with my Aunt to work for McAlpine in a few prodjects.


Hi David,

I moved from Australia to Canada in 1996, so it’s probably unlikely I’m related to your uncle. The “Smart” side of my family hasn’t been researched by a relative who’s interested in geology (as far as I know), so my guess is that my namesake immigrated from England to Australia 100-200 years ago.



20/08/2021 12:28:25
Posted by Peter Greene on 16/08/2021 01:37:24:
Posted by Steven Smart on 15/08/2021 20:52:15:

..... I have a nice corner that a mill would sit perfectly in!

I'd be wary of that - you may restrict yourself if you want to machine/drill near the end of a long piece. Better to have it at the middle of a wall.

I don't have any of the problems you mentioned with my basement shop (in Mississauga) with the possible exception of tracking swarf into the living area and getting stick. Easily solved with a scrub-mat at the shop doorway. Then again, swmbo is exceptionally understanding.

Hi Peter,

Thats a good point about putting the mill into the corner. It would be better to put the floor mounted drill press there since mine is on wheels and easily moved out if I need more access.

I’m relieved to hear you don’t have any of the basement workshop issues I’ve mentioned. A scrub-mat is an excellent idea. I am concerned about smoke from cutting oil, so I’ll be experimenting with that. I wonder if garlic infused olive oil is a reasonable cutting fluid…LOL. At least my machining will be indistinguishable from my cooking then.

My swmbo is not keen on a basement shop, though it’s a lot of money to have a decent, dedicated outbuilding as a shop. It also doesn’t seem to make much sense to me when the basement is really only being used for junk storage. But that’s just me being too logical apparently.

Thanks for the welcome to the forum.



20/08/2021 12:16:55
Posted by Tim Rowe on 15/08/2021 21:19:15:


Enough about the engineering stuff. What about the classical guitar?…


Hi Tim,

I would have called myself a perennial intermediate classical guitarist(?). I started playing in my late teens and played on an off for the next 30 years. I’d probably be significantly better if I’d been more consistent AND had lessons, but guitar is one of a few hobbies so not progressing is likely a side effect of having too many competing interests? (but I think putting too much energy into work and wanting to sit on the couch at the end of the day may be the primary reason for lack of progress?)

It’s been over a year, maybe coming on two years since I picked up a guitar. Through poor technique, I injured my left thumb by holding the neck way too hard, and my right thumb from holding my pen way too hard (seems to be a common thread here&hellip. After a few years they just weren’t getting better so I decided it was time for a break, work was busy anyway so it didn’t take much convincing(?) My thumbs are actually feeling quite good now and I’ve been thinking of picking up the guitar again this winter. Perhaps if I wasn’t too stupid to get lessons I wouldn’t have made this mistake?

I made myself a classical guitar in my early 20’s which was a very enjoyable project. I might even make a few more when I retire in 5-7 years. Lots of options for hobbies for sure!!!

20/08/2021 11:58:44
Posted by Harry Wilkes on 15/08/2021 21:04:43:

Welcome to the forum


Thank you for the welcome Harry, it’s been a lovely surprise on how many comments there were. I wasn’t expecting that.



20/08/2021 11:55:52
Posted by not done it yet on 15/08/2021 21:31:19:

…. Blondihacks, has a PM lathe and puts up lots of beginner-type youtube vids. A rather smaller version than yours but she does try hard (and mostly succeeds) with all sorts of lathe projects, etc. A popular channel.

Thanks for mentioning Blondihacks, Not done it yet.

I do enjoy her machining videos, along with Stefan Gotteswinter, plus a few others. Lots of great info on YouTube, though it’s easy to use up available spare time that would be more fulfilling to spend in the shop… We’re sure lucky to have so much information at our fingertips!

15/08/2021 21:24:14
Posted by Howard Lewis on 15/08/2021 17:44:17:


…I've rambled on for far too long, but hope that this may be some help.


Thank-you for your exceptionally thoughtful post and the suggestions.

This is the lathe I’ve purchased, though in a 24” bed rather than 36”:

My brother-in-law is a fitter machinist and he was more than happy over the course of six months to convince me to spend far more on a first lathe than I’d ever imagined doing. I’m glad he did because it looks like it will do almost everything I could ever want a lathe to do. Interestingly he’s been trying to convince me to be more frugal now- I’m suspicious that my wife has talked to my sister and we’re both in trouble ( I don’t really think this is the case but it makes the story more fun&hellip

I’ve grown up metric (in Australia), but decided on an imperial lathe since Canada is still largely imperial in the hobby arena. I still don’t know what 10 thou looks like and convert things back into metric. Maybe one day I’ll get used to 10 being similar to 0.25mm, maybe not.

I’ve got an assortment of callipers and a micrometer so I’m good for those, there sure are a lot of other shiny things that I’m itching to give a good home to, though it’s very easy to exhaust my “hobby saving” on items that aren’t really necessary yet. I’m sure time will tell what I really need.

I have a copy of the Machineries Handbook and the Engineers Black Book, so for pure references I probably don’t need others until I’ve determined my area of interest?

I do have Harald Halls two books, and Machine Tool Practices by Kibbe etal. But I am looking for a few more beginners “how to” books, so I appreciate your suggestions.

I’m thinking of making a grinding rest to do freehand tool grinding and already have a bench grinder to get me going with.

I suspect that after a mill, I’ll be looking for a metal cutting bandsaw. Though I could sure use the exercise that a hack saw will provide as a side effect.

Regards, Steven

15/08/2021 20:52:15
Posted by old mart on 15/08/2021 16:51:11:

Welcome, Steven, when you get the lathe into the basement, remember to leave space for the mill that will follow shortly after you get used to turning and find that it isn't enough.

I’ve been thinking about that, I have a nice corner that a mill would sit perfectly in!

I’m on the fence for whether I should wait to get a mill or just get one. The “in for a penny, in for a pound” type argument (updated for inflation of course).

Although milling could be done on a lathe it seems rather limited and cumbersome. I’ve spent most of my workshop life so far making tools do things they weren’t really designed for. A few years ago I started getting the tools I’d always wanted and giving the original ones to a friend starting out. It certainly helps alleviate the guilt over buying a tool when I already have one that although it’s serviceable, is frustrating to use.

15/08/2021 17:14:03
Posted by ega on 14/08/2021 11:07:24:

Len Deighton's "Fighter" is very good on the Hurricane and Spitfire

Hi ega,

Its been ages since I’ve read that, I can’t even remember if I enjoyed it or not.

My favourite book on the Battle of Britain is currently “The most dangerous enemy” by Stephen Bungay. I also really enjoyed the series of books by Leo McKinstry on the Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster because they cover in some depth the political and engineering aspects in the development of these aircraft.



15/08/2021 17:01:44
Posted by Samsaranda on 14/08/2021 10:18:32:

…I envy you having a basement…our modern housing stock is usually… cellars are an expense not catered for. …Visited Canada a couple of times…very impressed how much more friendly and laid back the Canadian we’re than south of the border in the US.. Dave W

Hi Dave,

You got me thinking about basements. My suspicion is that basements are prevalent in colder climates because they provide a means to access water and sewer that’s below the frost line? In Manitoba, the ground can freeze to about 7-8’ below grade in a typical winter, so water lines to be below that. The foundations ideally need to be below the frost line too so it’s probably a case of the additional cost being justified? It is very nice to have a space to fill with tools and to store things we no longer need… (that last one was tongue in cheek)

I’m not sure if on average Canadians are more friendly and laid back? We’re just “different” to our compatriots down south. Are we better or worse? It does appear that on average those in the US have larger workshops than we do…LOL.



15/08/2021 16:47:09
Posted by not done it yet on 14/08/2021 09:21:39

… I like it when ‘they’ argue about Spitfires and Hurricanes - which was really the better of the two...

…Basement…Such a good idea…I expect yours is cosy and warm? (the boiler is down there?)...A close neighbour… built a cellar…He’s now connected it by a tunnel to his house…

Chemistry or Physics?…

…Seasonal… Mozzies in the summer, snow in the winter!

…Start looking for a mill is my advice. Very much complementary with a lathe.🙂 I actually mill more than turn.

Hi Not Done It Yet,

Of course I think the Hurricane was better, even if it was uglier, a dead end developmentally, and was essentially obsolete before the Battle of Britain started…There is at least one aspect where I think it’s clear the Hurricane was superior and thats in its ability to fulfill multiple roles as a stop gap. It was the only single engined Allied aircraft which carried two 40mm Cannon too I believe.

A basement workshop is great from many aspects: cost, convenience, proximity, environment. But it also has some serious disadvantages: noise, smells, and the need to keep it assiduously clean because it’s part of the living space and my wife will be really miffed if dust etc. makes it into the living area. We have a gas fired furnace, that distributes hot air via ducts. Some older homes in Winnipeg have boilers and radiators.
I admire your neighbour, a bunker connected via a tunnel is seriously fantastic!!!

My science interests are primarily engineering and physics and somewhat astronomy and mathematics. Biology has not piqued my interest yet, though I have been going through a evolutionary history phase. It’s a great time to be alive, with such ready access to knowledge!

Theres a saying in Manitoba- “We only have two seasons, winter and mosquito”…

I am thinking about ordering a mill this coming winter or spring… my wife thinks I have a few loose screws. She’s probably right for many reasons.

regards, Steven

15/08/2021 15:49:54
Posted by David George 1 on 14/08/2021 07:49:18:

Hi Steven welcome to the forum. You only have to ask on here for help and you never know, you may be able to offer info to others as well.


Thanks David.

I’m really looking forward to taking up metal working again, I always preferred it to wood but the cost of tools was comparatively high.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of questions.

15/08/2021 15:47:04
Posted by Richard Millington on 14/08/2021 07:03:53:

Welcome Steven,

I too like the Hurricane, prefer it to the Spitfire, but wouldn't mind owning either - unfortunately bank balance won't allow that sad.

Enjoy your retirement.


Hi Richard,

Thank-you for the welcome. My bank balance is similar to yours then. I do own a couple of pieces of Hurricane junk, but I’ll never own more than that- which I’m ok with since I’d need to give up all my other interesting hobbies for just one.

Retirement is still a little way of, but if the last years are any indication it will likely arrive very quickly!


14/08/2021 03:36:10

Way back in the early 80’s I did metalworking at high school and since then have dreamed about having a lathe an mill.

With retirement in the less than distant future, two years ago I decided it was time to start getting ready by purchasing a 12x24” lathe. It arrived about three months after Covid first hit and since then has been sitting in my garage waiting until Covid settled down somewhat, before I move it into my basement workshop.

For a lot of people, waiting over two years from purchase to first use would be excruciating, but I’ve got lots of other hobbies that have kept me out of trouble:

- my interest in aeroplanes and specifically the Hawker Hurricane.
- Classical Guitar.

- finishing off a cottage.
- being interested in just about anything to do with science.

Life in Canada is very seasonly orientated, so I am very much looking forward to winter, which is workshop time!!! And this winter I’ll get to play with my new lathe!

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