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Member postings for IanT

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: "TINKER" tool & cutter grinder
10/04/2021 17:56:18
Posted by MC Black on 10/04/2021 12:49:23:

Why doesn't Mr. Lautard appoint an agent in the United Kingdom to sell his books and drawings?

I purchased Mr Lautard's "The Machinists Bedside Reader" many years ago when visiting Canada. It was written and (self) published by him in 1986. I also have "Lautard's Technical index to Model Engineer 1920-1978" which he published in 1979. I would certainly like to have his other 'Bedside Readers' but the few I've seen for sale have always been offered at very silly prices.

I seem to recall reading that there was some kind of personal problem that was preventing him from re-printing his books or perhaps making him unwilling to do so. A great pity, as I'm sure others would like copies of his books too. He comes across in his writings as being a knowledgeable machinist, who I think would be in his mid-seventies by now - so not that old



Thread: CNC - What's the Problem?
01/04/2021 14:58:15

Anyone know how different Solid Edge is from SolidWorks?

I ask because I recall reading that the (underlying) 3D CAD 'engine' that SolidWorks originally used was licensed by them from Siemens. So I wonder if there may be some product commonality lingering on from that previous association?

Either way - Solid Edge 2020 Community Edition is free to download and seems to be a very capable 3D CAD system - more than enough for most peoples needs I'd think.



01/04/2021 12:13:08

This is a subject which has been discussed recently on the G3 forum and we are probably a mini-representation of the views I've read here - with one or two members making very extensive (and impressive) use of CNC to produce their models and others seeing it akin to learning Black Magic.

I've been a late convert to 3D Print but certainly don't see it as a 'do-all'. I see people printing things that would be more easily & quickly made in other materials for instance. I've looked at the gantry 'router' type machines but a G3 friend has advised they are simply "not rigid enough" - which I think also raises the question of "for what"

To my mind CNC is particularly useful to a Hobbyist in two areas. The first is to machine parts which have complex geometries. My current approach to this problem would often involve fabrication. The second is the area of 'mass production'

As someone has already commented - most hobbyists don't make multiple parts - although they do in fact often use them, in the form of commercially produced parts and fixtures. Using purchased components is usually the most sensible method to pursue, assuming that the parts you require are actually available and are affordable in the quantity you require. Has anyone tried to purchase 16BA nuts or bolts recently?

There are also some operations where it's all too easy to make mistakes if your mind wanders for a second (my mind does this frequently). Drilling multiple holes in small parts has been already mentioned but there are other things where it's very easy to make mistakes when doing repetitive actions .

I don't really need CNC for largish 'flat' parts in steel - laser cutting is a viable option for this and even smallish flat parts can be assembled (and brazed) to produce useful fabrications.

So within my specialist area (Gauge 3 Railway Modelling) I see several uses for (inexpensive) automation.

1/ A 'Micro' CNC machine - a kind of automated mini capstan lathe & mill - not removing huge amounts of material but capable of producing multiple small parts. It wouldn't need to be ultra quick (like its commercial counterparts) - simply fast enough to do a few dozen parts over a day or so. Not waiting for a commercial solution but hoping for a public domain one to pop up.

2/ An automated drilling table (probably already available in the form of the 3020/6040 type routers) - the issue being mainly cost for something that might only have limited uses.

So I think that 'capable of machining most things' CNC may be overkill in terms of price and technology for my uses - but smaller, cheaper, probably more specialist machines might be a better solution (for me). I certainly do use my 3D Printer but for things (I consider) best suited for it - e.g. not everything.

Just my thinking on CNC currently - but as things evolve so quickly these days, who knows what we will have available in another year or two.



Thread: My easy solution to No More Clogged Spray Paint Rattle Cans
30/03/2021 10:54:37

Good idea - I'll try that next time around.

Thank you.


Thread: ME magazine
28/03/2021 09:29:52
Posted by Kiwi Bloke on 28/03/2021 02:12:45:

NZ is a somewhat backward country...

That may prove to be a blessing one day....


Thread: Kingscale 5" models
27/03/2021 11:14:24
Posted by Buffer on 21/02/2021 19:38:49:

I asked Mike Pavie at a show if it came with drawings so I could take it apart and maintain it in the future. He said "No, its my hard work why would I give you a drawing"

It may not be quite as simple as just making a set of "drawings" available these days.

I had a chat with Mike several years ago about the Kingscale design 'process' and I had the clear impression that some of the final design work was in collaboration with the Chinese manufacturer using their 3D CAD system. Mike apparently has access to this CAD software and I remember him saying that it was a very advanced system (of Chinese origin) and at least as good as anything he had previously seen or used from other CAD providers. A collaborative process would make sense, as there must be quite a lot detail in a manufactured design that would need to be influenced by the production processes.

So I think these things are a bit more complex than just the old concept of a "set of drawings" - although I agree that this doesn't preclude the provision of good supporting documentation.

Finally, I would also like to say that Mike is very well known and respected in Gauge '3' circles. His own-built locomotives are prized for their high quality and excellent performance. He was also probably one of the most prolific builders of small live steam locos in the UK at one time. I'm not sure of his total output but I'd be fairly sure it's well north of fifty engines - all built to very high standards.



Thread: Barrier Creams
26/03/2021 12:14:28

Been using 'Gloves in a Bottle' for a little while now. Seems to work for me in terms of preventing rashes (as opposed to help to clean oily hands)

Purchased in my local High Street 'Superdrug' store about 18-24 months ago (I think...seems more like half a lifetime ago)



Thread: What's the general consensus please?
24/03/2021 12:57:54

I think (as always) it depends on the work you expect to do Tifa.

I don't have vertical 'drilling' spindles on my mills (although they do have vertical heads) but if I only had a vertical mill for drilling, I might find it limited in space below the spindle (with chuck, drill bit & vice fitted) and not enough 'stroke' (only about 2"?) to cover all my needs.

My large Warco drill (benchtop 12 speed) is used for many things - including pre-drilling 4" fence-post bolting holes yesterday (it is used for both metal & wood working) and I have several smaller drills that get used regularly for various specific things too. I guess I could manage with just one tool (if I really needed to) but then I wouldn't have the convenience of choice.

So I'd go with the suggestion of storing the drill somewhere else and seeing if you miss it. If you've not touched it in twelve months time - then you probably don't need it - but if you have, then you may have found that your mill is not a 'solve-all' for your kind work.



Thread: Mail Scam
23/03/2021 11:08:45

Yes, I had this one last week Shaun. We were expecting several deliveries and were annoyed when the text arrived, as we had (naturally) been at home all day. I was pretty sure no-one had rung the bell and thee was no 'red' missed-you ticket. The text message (to organise a re-delivery) was very convincing but I was puzzled when asked to complete my name & address (which I did) and more so when it asked for my birthday, which I completed but fibbed about (not the blooming PO's business I thought).

But the light finally went on when they demanded a £2.99 "re-delivery" fee and credit card details. I'm still annoyed that someone can now connect my mobile number to a name and address but at least they didn't get the credit card details. So I will have to be extra careful going forward. These scammers are getting very good at this lark.

So Watch how you go People!



PS Whilst I'm here - I must have a rant about Amazon.

Herself had ordered some books and we were in (surprise!) all day. I noticed an email saying that the books had been delivered (3 hours) earlier that afternoon. I went to the door and sure enough, there they were on the doorstep.

The next day I got a "How was your delivery?" email - with a "Good" and "Not Good" button. I naturally hit the "Not Good" button and was sent to a webpage simply telling me that the "Parcel was handed to Resident" - with no other ability to correct this statement or comment.

The next day, I received a request for a product review. I completed this as a 1 Star Review - with a commentary that Amazon should replace their Courier and improve their delivery feedback process.

The next day, I received a message from Amazon informing me that my review had been rejected because it did not relate to the product I had purchased! Is this really the future of Retail??

Thread: Weller TCP soldering iron
23/03/2021 10:43:03

My old Weller (30+ years?) is still in regular use. I've purchased new 'PT' tips from Farnell UK in the past, who also stock spares for the irons themselves. It's good to see a product like this being supported with spares for such a long time.

So old tech but still my 'go-to' electronics iron - although the hot-air gun is getting used more often as SMD components become more common in my projects.



Thread: 5 BA Cap screws
21/03/2021 14:41:52
Posted by Brian Abbott on 21/03/2021 13:23:53:

Hello Ian.

Ideally 16 but could manage with 8, so so few have have made.

Thank you.

Just checked my inside stock Brian. I have 1/2" 4BA cap heads but no 5BA caps I'm afraid.

I do have 5BA 3/4" slotted Cheese heads (in stainless) or 1" Hex head (in steel) if they were suitable though. I may have something else down the Shed but that's not quite so organised at the moment.... I'm just opening up after the winter shut-down...



21/03/2021 12:05:23

How many do you need Brian?



Thread: That little elf under the workbench again
18/03/2021 10:57:41

I have telescopic 'pick-up' magnets in both my shops for retrieving things that I can see but not reach (bending & kneeling is getting harder).

However, for small parts (that I can't immediately see) I now use a magnetic 'tool holder' that I purchased from Lidl some time ago. In fact I purchased three and only used two (one is mounted under a shelf & holds those little jam pots that come with cream teas - great for various small bits that can be seen at a glance).

The third stayed in it's plastic case awaiting use - until I dropped some 12BA steel nuts and realised that the 12"+ long magnet would make a good 'sweeper' - especially under benches and trolleys where escaping things might have rolled. It works very well and I just wipe the swarf & any bits collected down to one end and into a tray for closer inspection.



Thread: Making hexagon nuts on a rotary table & mill.
16/03/2021 17:10:09
Posted by Ian P on 16/03/2021 15:11:15:
That looks a good way of making very small hex barstock. Machining the ali 'bed' first to get a reference plane makes good sense. If you start off with round rod and do three faces you then presumably have to raise bed for the next three?

Is the cut taking place on the forward or reverse cutter stroke? In normal shaper usage it looks like the small diameter work could easily buckle as its pushed towards the indexing hexagon block.

Ian P

It's cutting on the forward stroke Ian - but the cut is very light in these sizes. A finger helps prevent any lifting/buckling - but I wouldn't try that on my 7B. The angled 'shelf' (the hex holder is sitting on) can be moved to level the holder with the block's cutting surface - there's a clamping nut on the rear side of the block. In terms of the 3rd to 6th cut, you are correct to observe that either the cutter needs to be lowered - or (as I now tend to do) a thin shim inserted underneath - meaning the cutter height is unchanged (locked) for multiple lengths. The material is simply advanced by unlocking the grub-screw in the hex holder. You can't really see it but there is also a slight relief filed at the end of the material where the 'cut' ends - to help the tiny swarf slivers fall away.

There are other ways to do this work of course - just with a file for instance - but a hand shaper can make quite delicate cuts (with a sharp tool) and is well suited to work where you don't need to remove large volumes of material.

If I didn't have the shaper - just a lathe - then I think multiple lengths could be set on a shellac (wax) plate and faced - then turned and faced again. Using a heat gun and tweezers it would take six rounds of 're-setting' the lengths but you'd get a larger quantity of small hex at the end. Not sure if it would be any quicker but I think it would be possible with care. Larger hex can be done as others have suggested of course.



15/03/2021 18:04:03

Depends on the size of 'hex' bar you need Phil.

I haven't been able to find very small hex-section brass bar, so if I want to make 14BA nuts (which are expensive) or 16BA nuts (which are unobtainable), then I have to make my own. It's a problem for me, as a scale G3 wagon can use a lot of these small parts. A 5/8th (pre-war) Whitworth nut is 0.7mm AF in Gauge 3 for instance.

One problem with thin materials is that they will simply move/flex if they are extended too far without support. One solution is obviously to only extend the material out a little but then this greatly extends the time required to make a usable length of hex bar.

My solution (whilst far from perfect) uses a hand shaper and works, although it's still not as fast as I'd like. As I need to get a uniform part thickness, I first machine the aluminium support to ensure it's perfectly level - which is much easier than trying to set a small part in a vice. The small Hex block is simple to turn after each cut and sometimes I just hold it in place - with a fore finger pressing on the part. No problem with a manual shaper but certainly not advisable with any form of rotary or powered cutter - although with a toolmakers clamp (as shown) a mill could be used.

My next experiment in this area will probably be to try a Hex draw-plate, using a small Allan key to make the hex-hole punch.





Thread: Groups io browser operation
03/03/2021 17:39:31

I was not (and still am not) a software or security expert myself but I certainly worked with some of the best people working in this area at one time. Their advice was always very simple - keep your systems up to date (or stay away from the Internet).

Their logic was also fairly simple, in that it was much easier for those (with malintent) to exploit known problems - as documented in software updates - than look for them in new releases. So if you continue to use old (especially unsupported) software online - then you will be much more likely to suffer problems.

Their second bit of advice is hopefully much easier to observe - and it was to stay well away from anything online connected to porn or sex. They were of the view (at that time) that the porn "industry" had some of the best programmers/hackers around (who were apparently extremely well funded) and going anyway near many of these sites was not only morally dubious but potentially very dangerous to the pocket too. Of course this was a few years ago now and some other kind of villain may have risen up the threat list...

So - Mind how you go!



Thread: Is an internet connection essential to run Ardunio programs
23/02/2021 21:43:59
Posted by Greensands on 23/02/2021 20:32:05:

Ian - I am basically playing around with my new toy, the Arduino NANO and a bunch of LEDs.

On a more practical note I do have a 3-axis stepper motor controlled milling machine which runs with a COMPUCUT controller and a suite of TurboBasic programs which of course are easy to write and can be written and compiled off-line without the need for internet access. Thids is a very reliable sytem and Ihave no intention to change it any time soon.

The object of buying the Arduino is to a) have fun and perhaps b) at a later date to consider a more practical application such as adapting my rotary table for CNC. My current issue (problem) is to find a way of running some simple Arduino sketches off-line as I do not have wi-fi connectivity in the workshop.

Perhaps as you suggest the Micromite system which is a new to me might be a more suitable alternate to the Arduino if programs can be written and uploaded without the need foe internet access.

Well you don't need internet connectivity to use the Arduino (once you have the Arduino IDE loaded onto your PC) - although the advice seemed to be getting a bit complicated with possibly different A-IDE versions required for different versions of Windows.

You do need the IDE to compile your code - and whilst you could re-programme your Arduino (as SoD suggested) using the Win10 system and then take the Arduino down to your Workshop - that certainly wouldn't suit the way I normally develop embedded 'solutions' (which may be a bit too grand a description for what I actually get up to).

I don't know exactly how 'Professionals' do these things but I will write a little bit (and test it) often needing a few (sometimes many) iterations to get things really working the way I want - then I'll do another bit and then think about stringing it all together. Test, Amend and Test again - over and over till it works basically.

So the ability to do this quickly (interactively) is crucial to getting things up and running. I suggested Micromite because I know it will allow you to do this for most things (not everything) because it did for me. It won't matter which PC you use, because at it's most basic, MMB just needs a serial connection to make changes.

If your application is down in your Workshop - then that's where you will probably need to do most of your de-bugging too. But if you want to take the Mite back 'inside' (in the warm perhaps) - then you can do that too.

You may of course be able to do this with your Arduino Nano as well - but I imagine there may be subtle issues with trying to potentially use two different Arduino (compiler) versions, so I'd probably stick with just one PC.



23/02/2021 18:15:06

I don't know what you need the Arduino for Greensands? You may have something in mind like GRBL or some other heavy duty code only available via the Arduino libraries. But if not, there are simpler embedded solutions available...

My Mites don't have (or need) an 'IDE' - because they can be programmed directly with the on-board Editor. You just connect your PC to them via a terminal emulator (such as TeraTerm) and a USB/Serial board. So programming & running them from XP really shouldn't be an issue.

You can also plug-in and (re)programme Mites in-situ, which can be very useful for de-bugging projects real time and again your Workshop PC will be fine for this.

Micromite Basic (MMB) will handle most things "out of the box" - features such as RS232, Servos, PWM, A2D, Analog, I2C, SPI, 1-Wire etc are all included within the base MMB language.

Original Micromite Features

Depends on what you want (or need) to do of course. There's been much discussion on the pros & cons of various languages, processors et-al recently - but very often 'simple' is also the easiest thing to do.

Of course, if you need more speed or features there are other hardware choices available to run MMB on, which will provide (for instance) USB connectivity, advanced graphic, LCD/Touch screen capability and on-board SD file storage - support for which is all built-in. Again you can interactively de-bug these systems just by plugging in your PC (remotely via any serial connection if required).

STM32 M4 Cortex system for Micromite Plus

Just a thought.



Edited By IanT on 23/02/2021 18:21:43

20/02/2021 18:56:48
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 20/02/2021 17:59:45:

Sometimes I'm the statue, sometimes I'm the pigeon...


Well that image certainly worked for me Dave!

BR - stick with us, we are a mixed bunch and the world would be far less interesting if we were all the same.

I stick things on here that I hope folk will find useful and interesting. I also know that there are others with much better/more specialist/more interesting/more knowledgeable/more experience etc (you name it) things to share.

All you can do is talk about what you know and do and hope you don't seem too silly to some of the superior intelligences that also frequent here. (Not being facetious - there are some seriously clever folk here).

I like the topic diversity. Some things are way over my head or (frankly) ones I'm not that interested in but I'll still often look at them. I might not have ventured into 3D printing without seeing some of the 3DP posts here for instance.

As Dave suggests, you just have to talk from your own perspective and hope you don't look too silly (too often). You have to post tales of your small steps forward (or back) and hope that (if no one comments) it's because they are awestruck by your ingenuity rather than dumbstruck with your stupidity.

Fortunately though, most people here are very kind.



Thread: Advice on benchtop milling machine
20/02/2021 12:43:30
Posted by Martin Lowe on 19/02/2021 16:12:28:

I take it you don't think much of my idea to use and X/Y table bolted to the Richmond table?


I don't think it's a completely silly idea Martin - well at least, it's something I considered at one time before I acquired smaller mill(s) to go with the big one.

Same problem I think (in that I wanted to mill some smaller parts) and the idea of being able to set up a secondary X/Y table (with Dial Gauges) was quite appealing simply for the reasons you mention - ease of operation. In the end, a Taig milling head (mounted on the end of my small lathe) solved that particular problem and avoided issues with the heavy knee, longish table and of course cutting speeds.

My mills are horizontals although both have vertical heads. The only drawback really is that neither have drilling quills - otherwise I'm fairly content with them. Long running debate (Horizontal vs Vertical) but most folk have verticals these days so no need to resurrect it here . Like most things, it's mostly about what you are used to.

I have since acquired a small but quite solidly built (Chinese) X/Y table although the dials provided are almost useless. This doesn't worry too much as I rig up dial gauges to measure absolute movement. It's only been used on my large drill press thus far though.



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