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Member postings for mgnbuk

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

Thread: DraftSight no longer free
04/06/2020 13:30:07

Well my work copy of Draftsight has finally stopped working.

I tried to open it yesterday & got the "annual registration" pop-up. When I entered the required details the pop-up closed down but the program didn't start up. I did get an e-mail, though, demanding money to get the latest version as "Draftsight is no longer free" as they put it. That isn't going to happen, as I am not inclined to get involved with "annual subscriptions" for access to software and I am lead to believe that the latest version of Draftsight will not open drawings produced on earlier versions. Can't really understand Dassault Sytems thinking with this change - seems similar to the Photobucket "alienate your established user base to make big money" scenario and where did that get them ? But it is what it is.

So today's drawing was sucessfully completed with the perpetually free basic version of Nanocad. I have been able to configure the interface to be almost exactly the same layout as I had with Draftsight & all the same typed commands worked just fine, so no noticable transition time.

I dare say that differences will come up with more usage (and I am aware of the inability to draw "tangent to tangent" lines between two circles, which is a pity) , but my 2D Cad requirements at work are pretty straightforward and there is usually more than one route to the same end.

Nigel B.

02/06/2020 19:18:48

The company was EMS (International) Ltd & the company is shown as being still active. As the Companies House data also shows directors, it turns out that I know one of them so gave them a ring on a number I found for EMS (International) Ltd 0116 279 3035

The lady I talked to said that they ceased trading under that name at the end of February this year, but that the DRO equipment is still available from the main group company Advanced Machine Tool Services North West Ltd (AMTS NW Ltd). The website is currently being re-developed. They have a Facebook presence, or ring on the number above and speak to Michael Highley for more information. He was out of the office when I rang, so I didn't get to talk further about the current situation (or gossip about times past ! ).

I know Michael as we both worked at Broadbent Machine Tools in the early '80s - he was a fitter then & I was an electrician. I was made redundant the first week back after Christmas in January 1983 & my last contact with Michael (as a supplier to my last employment with AMTS) was probably more than 15 years ago.


Nigel B.

Thread: Heidenhain scale repair
02/06/2020 12:29:14

very touchy on running parallel in both vertical and horizontal plane.

IIRC the mounting tolerance for parallelism with the axis movement was 0.1mm over the length of the extrusion in both directions - we used to generally get to better than 0.05mm, but the ultimate limiting factor was the straightness of the extrusion. The read head to extrusion gap was 1mm, usually set automatically by the plastic transit clamps that held the read head to the extrusion for shipping & which were removed after installation. The read head was was mounted such that the front face was level with the extrusion. The original Heidenhain manuals for the scales can be found online & give all the required mounting information.

Nigel B.

Thread: Belt problems with an Alpine DM25
01/06/2020 14:25:34

I have come across two pictures of an Alpine DM25 online - one appears to be the same arrangement as my RF30, with an idler pulley & two belts. The other looks like an oversized pillar drill with what appears to be a direct connection between motor & spindle via a single belt - as the OP states "6 different length belts" I guess his machine is this type.

On this type of arrangment it is usual to take up the tension by pivoting the motor mount - the RF30 works this way & the picture I found of a single belt DM25 shows a motor plate clamping handle on the star wheel side of the head casting near to the motor, suggesting that this method is used on the single belt machines as well. Slackening the clamp should allow the motor plate to move in an arc from a vertical pivot shaft on the return spring side of the casting.

Nigel B.

(further info posted while I was typing !)

Edited By mgnbuk on 01/06/2020 14:26:28

Thread: Bird (feathered variety) expert(s) wanted.
30/05/2020 10:27:19

Blackbirds apparently have larger eyes than other species & can start to forage in lower light levels. They are the first to start singing as dawn breaks.

We have a resident pair nesting in a conifer at the bottom of the garden.

Nigel B.

Thread: Md-30 Milling Machine Pulley Cover
24/05/2020 12:33:47


I have created a public album in my profile "RF30 mill drill" with various pictures of the pulley guard arrangement from a number of angles, inside and out.

A worthwhile excercise, as I found that I had not been as effective at keeping the metal worm at bay as I thought - the top part of the column had some light surface rust, now cleaned off and oiled. An unheated garage does cause problems with condensation on machinery with temperature changes.

Not so happy to find that the supposedly flexible plastic column cutout cover had gone brittle with age & snapped at the hinge when I opened it. - always something ! Still usable, though, just doesn't hinge any more.

I'll put some dimensioned sketches in the same album when I get them done.

Nigel B.

Thread: Source for wiper felt
24/05/2020 10:41:04

When we neeed some at my last employment it was supplied by Brammer (BSL as was) in pieces about 6" square IIRC. May be worth trying other bearing suppliers if you don't have a Brammer branch nearby.

Nigel B.

Thread: Grease gun thread
22/05/2020 13:14:59

1/8" BSP is 28 tpi & 9.5mm OD - Google "BSP threads" for a choice of thread charts.

The odd grease gun I have had to change nozzles on have had 1/8" BSP threads.

Nigel B.

Thread: Md-30 Milling Machine Pulley Cover
22/05/2020 10:24:18

The Chester version was called the Eagle 30 see here.

It does not seem to be present on the Chester website now (though it was until fairly recently) - could just be that they are awaiting stock.

Chester's contact details are at the bottom of this page.

Nigel B.

(edits for spelling  - fingers getting ahead of brain ! )

Edited By mgnbuk on 22/05/2020 10:25:47

Edited By mgnbuk on 22/05/2020 10:25:57

Edited By mgnbuk on 22/05/2020 10:27:01

Thread: Stepper motor driver help
21/05/2020 19:52:13

The general suggestion when there is an option seems to be to use bipolar parallel operation for best overall performance. As the drive will handle the bipolar parallel current, why go for series operation ?

When I bought the motors & drives for my Triac from Arc Eurotrade many moons ago, I went for 3A drives as i could not run to the larger versions at the time. The motor data sheet showed similar current values to the Op's motor (4.2 bipolar / 2.1 series) but these are rated 2.2Nm. The motors did work after a fashion using these drives in series connection on a 24v supply, but performace was "pedestrian". Note that this was on the bench, not driving the machine,. The same motor in bipolar mode driven from a Stepper Online digital drive at 36V is night and day different under the same testing conditions. I have yet to try this drive a with the 48V supply I recently received.

Nigel B.

Thread: Md-30 Milling Machine Pulley Cover
21/05/2020 19:41:01

OK - should be able to get to do that over the weekend.

My machine is the earlier type with the belt cover comprising two steel pressings - all smooth edges & radii. I would guess that a one-off would be folded from sheet & welded / rivited - maybe not as "smooth" looking, but just as good for keeping your bits from getting entangled with the whirly bits !

Nigel B.

Thread: Stepper motor driver help
21/05/2020 19:35:39

Hi Brian,

The data sheet shows 4.2A phase current for that motor when parallel connected. The motor wires need to be connected in the "bipolar parallel" arrangement shown at the bottom of the data sheet.

The drive you mentioned shows a 4.2 amp setting for the current switches - set SW1 to ON, with SW2 & SW3 set to OFF to get this.


Nigel B.

Thread: Which Digital Compact Camera?
21/05/2020 19:26:37

Mrs B has used a Lumix LX3 for several years, to the point of having worn out some of the controls. Its performance was almost indistinguishable form my Pentax K20D + Sigma 17-70 lense, and in certain conditions (museums, for eaxmple) it produced better pictures with sone of the modes.

We had a look for a replacement & the current version of the LX3 - the LX15 - didn't seem as robust, with a fold-out rear screen. So she went for an LX100 instead. This is not as "automated" as the LX3, with fewer modes, but has a lwider range lense, an EVF & a much bigger sensor. While a bit bigger than the LX3, it is still compact enough for motorcycle use, carried in a Lowepro case on a belt for easy access.

If I can't be bothered to lug the DSLR about I have a Lumix DMC-XS1 - not a patch on the LX100 quality-wise, but compact and light enough to drop into a shirt pocket. And as the old adage has it, the best camera is the one you have with you to be able to take the shot & the XS1 works admirably in that regard.

Nigel B.

Thread: Stepper motor driver help
21/05/2020 19:10:36

I am driving a Nema 23 motor

Nema 23 is the frame size of the motor - to set up the drive you will need to know the electrical characteristics of your particular motor and in particular the phase current. This varies according to the motor output & windings & is independant of the frame size, though they seem typically to be between 3 and 4.5 amps for Nema 23 motors. Can you post a link to your specific motor ? It is the phase current of the motor that tells you what the switches on the drive need to be set to. If you set the current to less than the rated value the motor will not develope it's rated torque - set it too high and you risk overheating the motor.

The full/half current setting is for the standstill current - when the drive has not received step pulses for a while, this setting detremines if the current is maintained at the full value while the motor is stationary, or reduces the current by half. This can reduce heat build up in the motor at standstill, but does so at the expense of holding torque which reduces with the current reduction. This may be important if the axis could be moved out of position with a lower standstill torque.

Nigel B.

Thread: Md-30 Milling Machine Pulley Cover
21/05/2020 10:53:04

Warco, Chester, Axminster all do versions of the "30" size mill/drill (frequently called RF30, as I understand the originator of the type was a Taiwanese company Rong Fu), so would be worth contacting for spares.

I would try Chester first, as I have visited their Broughton site on open days & they seemed to have a lot of parts stored from machines that arrived damaged & retained for parts.

I have a Taiwan built RF30 branded "Trutool" - happy to supply pictures & dimensioned sketches of the sheet metal belt guards if you decide to go the DIY route.

Nigel B.

Thread: Milling spindle motor
19/05/2020 09:31:17

In addition to the PSU you would need a stepper motor controller to generate the step pulses.

The drive description shows that speed control can be either by an internal potentiometer, 0-5V signal or PWM input, so a stepper motor drive pulse generator would not be required ?

There appear to be other power outputs available - the same seller has 330W motor/drive packages for around £10 more. Obviously would require a larger power supply as well.

Nigel B.

Thread: 3D CAD software - what do you use?
18/05/2020 15:39:13

I'm another FreeCad user.

I can't use Fusion 360 without buying a new PC & FreeCad has a 32 bit version that is running fine on my 32 bit Win 7 machine. A series of useful YouTube tutorials "Learn FreeCad" by Invent Box Tutorials helped me a lot on the steep learning curve :

A warning! Learning a new 3D CAD package when you already know another, including 2D CAD, or have preconceived ideas about how it should work can be agonisingly difficult. Unlearning is really hard work and it may be essential!

is very true ! But I have been able to design simple parts that have 3D printed fine after a couple of days of trying & re-trying and it is making more sense now - being furloughed before Easter gave me the time to play around with it.

Nigel B.

Thread: 3 phase cable for a VFD
18/05/2020 08:11:30

What does the manual for your particular drive recommend ?

Generic "advice" about connecting just one end of the screen, or not using the screen as a PE is not always helpful or correct where inverter drives are concerned - the ABB ACS 150 drive that is today's job at work is quite specific about the cable requirements for the motor and how to connect it. Both ends of the motor cable screen are to be connected & the screen can be used as PE if the total CSA of the screen is equal or greater than the conductor CSA, otherwise use an extra core or a separate external earth cable of appropriate size.

When all else fails - RTFM !

Nigel B.

Thread: Readly and MTM
17/05/2020 13:19:58

I have been subscribing to Readly (digital magazine reading platform) for a couple of years now - a large & varied selection of magazines (with a couple of years of back issues) available to download to my tablet to read off line. No option to print them off as far as I can see, but I use it along the lines of "The WH Smith Reading Room" to catch up with quite a few magazines that I used to subsribe to & would probably not buy but like to browse.

The number of available publications is constantly increasing & I noticed yesterday the "Engineering in Miniature" has now appeared on the list (didn't realise that EIM was now a Warner's publication). What are the chances that My Time Media witth get involved to bring their magazines to a wider audience ? MTM already have a presence on Magzter Gold - a similar service at similar cost - but many of the publishers who appear on Magzter also appear on Readly, so the platforms do not appear to be mutually exclusive.

Maybe something that Neil could raise with MTM ? I'm not sure of the commercial arangements, but understand that the pubilsher gets some payment for the magazines when they are downloaded / read + more exposure for the advertisers.

Nigel B.

Thread: G code sender for grbl
12/05/2020 14:32:59


I have installed this & had it communicating with the latest Grbl version (v1.1) on an Arduino, though have not yet tried driving a machine with it (machine still not ready).

Also had Universal G Code Sender doing the same UGS website

Nigel B.

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