Here is a list of all the postings IanT has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.
|Thread: Best soldering iron for electronics|
I use a very old Weller iron for my 'simple' soldering projects - and I can still get spares for it too, including the temperature controlled tips which work very well.
However with the increasing use of surface mounted devices, I purchased a hot-air soldering station about two years ago - that also has a more traditional iron included. It cost about £30 back then and I'm very pleased with it. I'd recommend one, as it will cover all of your electronic soldering needs. SMD then becomes quite possible (with a good solder paste) and that is very useful for many newer components which are often only available as SMD these days....
As a side benefit, I also use the hot-air gun (which is temp controlled) on heat shrink and to melt shellac for wax chucks and other temporary mandrel fixings. I find shellac very useful & convenient and now generally prefer it to using superglue - mostly because the heat gun makes the melting very controllable....
Edited By IanT on 19/07/2021 10:19:10
|Thread: English members who have moved to France.|
I've lived and worked in various places around the world - including Germany and Italy.
I remember that moving my wife and furniture to Milan was relatively easy but that's just the beginning of the challenge really. As others have said, learning the local language is really essential and fortunately I had enough Italian to get by - but my wife never really got to grips with it. So whilst I was busy at work, she had a lot more problems with settling in and never really made any friends away from work colleagues.
Then of course there are the other things that you never imagine will cause you sleepless nights. It took me a year to get my dustbin 'licensed' - so sneaking out late at night to stuff our rubbish in the neighbours bins was quite stressful (and I'm pretty sure they all knew we were doing it too)
If I ever had to leave the UK, it would be to Canada. We have family there, there are no language issues and we would be welcomed. But I still know that it would be hard for us - that old saying "There's no place like Home" has a good deal of truth to it. After working abroad, I was always very happy to get back to UK - rain or not.
Moving to France, Spain or anywhere else in Europe is now like emigrating to any other part of the world (including places like Australia, Canada and New Zealand). The national government involved will have it's own tests that it will apply to vet your residency application. You will effectively become a citizen of that country.
You may also lose some of the benefits that you might currently enjoy as a UK citizen.
|Thread: Lathe gear calculation|
I believe you have 40t, 50t, 55t & 70t change gears Bevel?
Oops - yes, less speed more haste. There should obviously be four gears in a compound train.
I'd edited my programme to remove some comments and make it the same as published for my first post - and seem to have deleted a bit of the programme listing too. Here's the first few lines as it should have been...(without 65t gears...)
Input required TPI 12.7
|Thread: Corbetts Little Jim Lathe restoration - newbie needs advice|
That does look like a pin to hold the feed screw in place Andy, in which case it would need to be drilled out to remove the nut. However, this would probably be easier than working on the nut in-situ I think.
A 'square' lead screw of that length really needs to be screw-cut and would not be something I'd recommend you try at this (or any) point in your hobby machinist career!
You can however purchase ACME threaded rod and also a matching nut - although it may have to come from the US. Over here a similar (metric) thread is called a 'trapezoidal' thread and might be easier/cheaper to come by. It should be a much simpler job to modify commercial threaded parts (to fit your lathe) rather than making them from scratch...
Edited By IanT on 07/07/2021 12:30:37
|Thread: Lathe gear calculation|
No one needs to know anything about computer programming (or languages) to copy and paste a text file into Basic Graham. If Bevel wants to dig into Excel or sharpen his pencil (and mental skills) - then I guess that's up to him.
Personally, nor do I care about the "purity" of one computer language over another, or whether I could make Excel do the same thing. I much prefer things that are convenient, simple and work.
Mike published a small Basic programme to calculate change gear combinations and I typed it (from MEW) into my PC. Others can now simply copy and paste it from my earlier thread. It's just taken me about two minutes to load the programme, run it, copy the results and then paste them here. Nothing complicated about it at all.
But folk can do this whatever way they prefer - I'm just suggesting a way I find convenient.
A 2mm pitch is a 12.7 TPI thread (25.4 / 2) Bevel...
So using the MEW277.BAS programme that I posted here recently, you can calculate the gears required.
(assumes 8 TPI lead screw)
Input required TPI 12.7
|Thread: Corbetts Little Jim Lathe restoration - newbie needs advice|
It could be a 3/8th 10 TPI ACME thread Andy - so you can get a tap to do that.
Unless the threaded part is 'pinned' in someway, you should be able to pull it out using a simple puller. So with a bit of planning, you could make a replacement part (and the puller) before you take the original nut out. Normally, the feed nut (being softer) will wear a bit more than the threaded steel rod - so you might be lucky and find that a new feed nut will be good enough...
I've made my own in the past Andy - I bored out some steel bar to take the bearings and welded feet on the bottom. Then you can clamp the two housings together (with the shaft slid through the bearings) and mill the feet flat/level. The old way to make plummer blocks was to clamp the bearings between hardwood 'halves' bored to take the shaft (or bearings).
We are a bit spoilt these days but people often had to 'make do' in the past, so I'm sure you will manage to figure something out!
As others have commented, the motor/countershaft belt tension is fixed by having a slotted base and sliding the motor back & forth. The tension of the countershaft/lathe is set by the swing of the hinge and mine is simply set by a square wooden block under the motor that adjusts the angle used (and also takes the weight of the motor). I don't have my belts too tight, it causes excessive wear and if you have a dig-in (and you will) it's much nicer to have the belt slip. It's a small lathe and on my EW I only use HSS tools. If they are sharp, they will cut.
I've never actually worked out my EW speeds - but the motor-c/s pulley ratio is probably just under 3 to 1 (so somewhere in the 550rpm range) and the countershaft has three settings, the middle one being roughly neutral and the other two stepping up or down by about 200rpm I'd guess. I have a back-gear fitted but rarely use it on the EW.
You can make a more elaborate countershaft set-up with a toggle lever, which can also act as a simple clutch but the simple design works well enough and will get you turning sooner.
Most of your turning will be done near the headstock, so don't worry too much about the gibs being tight at the tailstock end. It's a small lathe, so you don't need a huge motor (1460rpm, 1/4hp will be more than enough) but you will still need a countershaft - which is not hard to make if you can get your hands on some pulleys...
This is the "temporary" one I made for my EW over a decade ago - It's two bits of square tube, bolted together on a flat steel plate and hinged at the bottom (a heavy door hinge) to a wooden motor plate. Couple of pillow block bearings and a suitable shaft and you will be good to go. I'm still using a version of it...the wiring is a bit neater these days though...
You need the bearings to turn freely but not be too loose. Be careful when adjusting the headstock, you can crack the housing. Can't tell from the photo but it might be worth checking if you can fit new flanged Oilite bearings - in which case, I would not spit them but just use as supplied.
Have fun, take it easy and make sure nothing sticks out too much (the work, the tool and your fingers! )
Edited By IanT on 05/07/2021 23:11:29
|Thread: Change Wheel Programme from MEW|
Well, as you well know Baz, things have changed at bit since the BBC Computer was around!
I run MMB (DOS) on a five year-old Intel i5 laptop and this little MEW programme will typically list out all the potential gear combinations in under 30 seconds.
So to my mind, the old arguments about interpreter vs compiler performance don't really make that much practical difference these days - given the huge processor power available for very little money.
For example - my little ( £3.50! ) 'Mites' run an order of magnitude faster than a typical 1980's 8-bit computer. They require only a single external capacitor to build a complete running 'system' and have much more I/O and memory available onboard than any 8-bit user could have dreamed of back then. As Kiwi Bloke has already said, MMB also makes interfacing to the real world very simple, not least because MMB makes 'debugging' so much easier.
MMB fully supports common protocols such as I2C, asynchronous serial, RS232, IEEE 485, SPI and 1-Wire. These are not someelse's 'Libraries' (to be tacked-on or included) - they are simply part of the language.
So whilst I appreciate that others have very different expectations, skills and views to mine, I have a good solution for my 'compute' problems that works well and is affordable! So whether Python is a 'kludge' (or not) doesn't really matter in reality. You can argue the finer points of that with Dave)
Edited By IanT on 03/07/2021 12:05:21
Edited By IanT on 03/07/2021 12:06:42
Well Dave, when I first learned Basic some 40 years ago, I guess it was a beginners language for me.
If I was some 40 years younger and wanted to learn a programming language, then I'm sure Python would be an excellent choice. But I don't need to learn anything new, as I'm quite happy with MMB because it does everything that I need within a very convenient/affordable embedded package (e.g. MMB + PIC32 = Micromite).
I'm sure that Python is superior in many respects but (from my point of view) it lacks one essential feature - I've never learned it. Why do I need to learn another programming language, when I already have one that works just fine for my needs.
I'm also sure that most Pico owners will use the supplied s/w tools to programme it but if I ever need to upgrade from the PIC32170 chip, I now have an affordable migration path. I'm not really concerned what others will do with the Pico - just that I can now use it without any further major investment in my time.
With respect to the MEW gear-change programme, Mike Aireton chose to write it in Basic and I don't think I had to do very much (if anything) to get it to run on my PC using MMB. I used the programme recently to quickly remind myself about a gear combination I needed for my EW and I thought others might find it useful too. No algorithms required, no advanced computer theory - I just typed it in and it worked. Simple
|Thread: 4MCAD from Mintronics|
It does seem a little confusing when you first Google it Steve - but you have to look for the "Community" edition.
It's a free lifetime license, everything runs (& stores) locally on your PC (it's Windows only), so there are no 'cloud' issues to concern you and it's the full SE2020 product.
The only product 'limitations' per-se, are that files created with SE 'Community' cannot be opened by commercially licensed SE users (and vice versa I suspect) and drawings have a SE 'watermark' - neither of which will be a problem for most of us here I suspect. Other than that it has exactly the same power and feature set as the basic commercial 3D product from Siemens.
I'm not a 3D CAD expert but SE2020 seems to compare very well with other commercial 3D offerings. It's taken me a little while to get into "3D" CAD (which would probably have been true of other similar 3D CAD products too) but I didn't know a year ago that you could also use SE just in '2D mode'.
To do this you simply open a new 'Draft' document and then click on the 'Sketching' tab. You can then use the same drawing tools that you would normally use in 3D mode to create your 2D drawings. This should be a very useful half-way house if you want to try 3D eventually.
Before SE2020 - I was using what was essentially a 2D product (TurboCAD DL) and trying to migrate up to 3D using it. I finally gave up and jumped into the deep end with Solid Edge 2020 (3D) - but I think using SE in 2D mode and gradually learning how to migrate up to 3D might be a much easier route in - and everything is already there ready when you want to try.
Steve, I'd save yourself £110 (+VAT) and try Solid Edge. I'm completely smitten with it now.
It's not what I did but you can get into SE very simply by just using it in 2D mode (e.g. 2D sketching in 'Draft' documents) and leave the more powerful 3D aspects until you need them. I know you already have some AutoCAD knowledge etc but SE is well worth considering in my view.
|Thread: Change Wheel Programme from MEW|
Here is a very simple Change Wheel programme by Mike Aireton (originally published in MEW 277) that runs on my PC using Micromite Basic for DOS.
You can download MMB for DOS for free and it runs very well on my Win 10 laptop. It's a standalone .exe file so just fires up as required from a desktop icon and it's a very convenient, easy to programme resource to have available for a dummy like myself.
I generally use Notepad++ to edit small programmes. Just copy the text below into Notepad and save it as ' MEW277.BAS ' - then you can load the programme by typing LOAD "MEW277.BAS" in MMB.
You'll find the download at the bottom of this page
Try it, you may find it useful.
Edited By IanT on 02/07/2021 09:59:14
|Thread: Micromite Basic (MMB) on Raspberry Pico|
The clever people at the Backshed have made very good progress on getting Micromite Basic (MMB) onto the Pico (the 'PicoMite' ) and are now working on being able to programming the PIO channels from within a MMB programme. Most of this is very much over my head but it's interesting to watch others work their way through the puzzle.
Meanwhile Geoff Graham has announced the second generation of the Colour Maximite 2 for any 'Retro' computer fans out there.
I'm still just using my smaller '170' Mites at the moment but it's good to have alternatives if or when I need them.
|Thread: coupling rods and crankpins in gauge O live steam|
I don't build in '0' Gauge Chris - but assuming the coupling rods are fairly simple in nature, I'd tend to go for silver steel (hardened) crankpins and 'soft' coupling rods.
The reason being that it will probably be easier to remove (and repair) the coupling rods (if indeed they do wear!) than remove and replace the crankpins. I wouldn't 'bush' them as such either. I think I'd try just brazing over the worn hole, filing it down flat and then re-drilling it back to the original size (easy if you keep & use the original drilling jig).
So, personally I'm with LBSC on this particular one - but I'm sure the G0 'Gurus' must have known what they were talking about too. In the end, you'll just have to take your pick!
|Thread: Parting off help!|
I've only broken two parting tools inserts and both times it was on interrupted cuts (e.g. square material). Other than the tool thickness (about 3mm), which tends to waste work material, my (rear mounted) insert parting tool works very well for larger diameter material. You do have to hold your breath and just 'go' straight in with it though.
For odd-shaped materials or smaller work, I also have a number of different sized HSS blades (and holders) and they generally work OK too - but when using them for deeper cuts, I do use the sideways-step method to maintain tool side clearance. Makes for a much more relaxed parting operation.
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