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Member postings for Robert Mullan

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

Thread: In the Editor's workshop
20/12/2009 15:11:55
A lot of the postings in this thread appear to be answering the question 'Should there be beginners' articles in ME?' rather than 'Are DC's beginners' articles too complex?'. Both questions are interesting but, as a beginner myself, I am more interested in answers to the latter.
My view, for what it's worth, is that David's explanations are mostly clear for the intelligent reader, it is the methods that are perhaps less suitable. I have a Cowell's lathe, a drill press and a reasonable selection of hand tools. I suspect a lot of beginners are similarly set up.  I don't have a mill or lots of other more arcane and expensive equipment. I would find the series even more helpful if it assumed that all tasks were undertaken with these sorts of limitations. In particular I would be happy if the use of a mill wasn't taken for granted!
As for the question of whether beginners' articles should be in ME - well durrr! Of course! Those of us who wake up one morning thinking 'today I'd like to be a model engineer' are going to want to know what people in the hobby do, how they do it and how much it costs. One of the best ways to find this stuff out is through a magazine like ME. Yes, books help, and you can get them from the library, but they only tell part of the story. Websites like this one are also good, but they quite often are written in the kind of shorthand only understood by the regular contributors. If ME doesn't carry beginners' articles the casual reader will be quickly put off. I know, i've tried it....
Thread: Model Engineer 4366
04/12/2009 22:52:24
I am in the same situation as Weary - my copy nowadays is always a week later than it used to be. To be honest I've given up hoping and will probably cancel my subscription in the not too distant future if things don't improve.
Thread: Safety
20/11/2009 12:17:06
[quote]Oh dear, Robert/Buster, Firstly, as a "Boatie" I'm sure that you have been classed as a "Boy with a Toy boat"???  ALL strands of the modelling hobbies wether boats planes or trains attract dispariging remarks by the uniformed observers, so in bringing our hobbies descriptions down to terms THEY can comprehend, it saves people like yourself ( NO insult intended) getting uptight due to THEIR ignorance of whats involved in generating/making a miniature replica for them to tut.
   You obviously haven't come across some of the bloated beachmaster /pondside Admirals in your chosen other interest??[/quote]
Actually the only person who is insulting about 'toy boats' is my wife, who is a special case and hasn't done it for a long time. I only build static models, which by and large are nice objects in themselves when finished. This also explains why I never run into the pondside admirals (no pond...).
i have to say I find the Model Engineer website by and large very interesting and helpful, apart from the occasional insults and facetiousness, which sometimes make me feel uncomfortable.* Can I propose the Lady Chatterley Test? When you post a comment ask yourself 'would you like your wife or servant to read it?' If the answer is 'No because they would laugh at me or think I was stupid' then perhaps the comment ought to be changed.
I really don't mind differences of opinion forcefully expressed - these exchanges are often illuminating. They are better when they are written with the thought in the back of one's mind that they will be read by people other than the contributors, in particular beginners like me!
*Because of the Test.
20/11/2009 10:43:46
Why do model engineers have to be so rude? And the babyish use of words like "muddle ingineering" and "prikorshuns" is not actually very clever or funny.
In my other hobby (building model ships) people are gentle, supportive and polite. I have been speculating about the reason and have concluded that one possibility is that model shipbuilding is  international and the forums are frequented by many people (particularly North Americans) who seem to understand the whole fellow-traveller ethos. Model engineering, at least on this website, is parochial and populated by old men.
No doubt some of you will want to jump to the defence of the beleaguered old English gentleman. If you do, please can you try to be well-mannered and informative, a strategy that Stan and Ollie seem to have managed reasonably well in the circumstances.... 
By the way, I think a forum for health and safety is an evidently good idea but if anyone uses the word 'elfins' in the mistaken belief that they sound friendlier... well!
Buster Keaton 
Thread: Milling collet arbor jammed in milling machine
22/09/2009 13:06:18
"To any who may crave a spell checker, why not write your posting in your word processor programme, spell check, copy, and past to the posting box. I have."
Obviously spell-checkers are not foolproof.... 
Thread: Northumberland locomotive additional dimension
12/08/2009 11:58:52
I assume Pete W's most recent post was aimed at my earlier one. He might be interested to know that I read beginners' threads because I am a beginner - it's stupid of me, I know, but I thought I was the kind of person they were there for....
I may know little about model engineering, but I have a lot of experience with design and drawing and so I felt the tone of this thread was rather unreasonably aimed at the wrong person. I think David Clark has done an excellent job of turning ME around and I think this website is a tremendous innovation for the hobby. David has also responded to some unnecessarily abrupt and chippy criticism with well-sustained moderation. I for one hope very much that he is not being ground down by some of the negative comments being posted.
Keep up the good work David! 
11/08/2009 17:11:53
Like Robin King I too am an architect and I have to say checking drawings is an enormously difficult task to do perfectly. I have learned also from bitter experience that some of the hardest errors to spot are often where a dimension has been changed but not the drawing and these can lead to very costly problems on site.
It seems to me that the mistakes we are talking about now were only noticed when builders began to mark out and cut metal - effectively they were redrawing the components again on steel. How the ME staff are expected to spot this kind of thing unless they do the same exercise is beyond me. To my way of thinking there was little that ME could do cost-effectively to avoid this kind of mistake. The designer on the other hand... he took a short cut and now others are literally paying the price. Even so we should be sympathetic: nobody's perfect.
In construction it's normal to chain dimension individual parts and also provide overall dimensions which give a straightforward double check. Of course we also work in metric, which makes the maths considerably easier! 
Rob M 
Thread: Beginners' projects
29/07/2009 15:45:16
One of the things that got me thinking about this topic was your image showing the milling of the base casting. I can't hold a piece that big in my chuck because it will not turn in the gap, let alone over the bed of the lathe. I got around this problem by mounting it horizontally on the vertical slide and using a fly cutter in the three jaw chuck. I have no idea whether this is really a good solution and I did find that the top slide was a bit wobbly at the ends of its travel. Nevertheless I got a reasonable result (after I worked out how to hold it securely).
The Stuart book says that all the castings can be prepared by filing, so perhaps you could show the best way to approach this as an alternative.
Rob M 
28/07/2009 14:38:06
Like many users of this website I am a newcomer to the world of model engineering, so I was pleased that you are running a series describing the construction of a Stuart 10H/10V for beginners. However the methods shown seem to take for granted access to a large lathe, a milling machine and no doubt other pieces of equipment, which I suspect many starting out don't have.
I am currently using a Cowell's 90ME lathe and a pillar drill as well as some hand tools. For the benefit of newbies would it be possible to show how it is done with such limited workshop facilities - just a small lathe and no mill, for example? What do other people think?
Thread: Machining cast iron
19/05/2009 12:56:35

Thanks for the helpful reply.

Thread: Shims for packing up cutting tools
19/05/2009 11:48:03
It is necessary to pack up cutting tools in the lathe to get the point to the centre of the lathe spindle. As a beginner where can I get a selection of shims without paying a fortune for metal I don't need?

I am using a Cowells 90ME. 
Thread: Machining cast iron
19/05/2009 11:44:46
I have a Stuart 10V as my first machining project, I also have the book (I can't remember the exact title off-hand but it is something like 'Building a Vertical Steam Engine'). The instructions for facing the cast iron base in the book say to take a deep cut for the first one to avoid blunting the tool.

How deep?
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