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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: 2D and 3D Cad Software Recommendations
05/09/2021 17:27:44

As I've previously stated in this thread - I'm a very happy user of Solid Edge Community Edition - which is a free, lifetime licence that is installed and runs locally on my Win 10 laptop - with my designs and drawings all stored locally too. No Cloud, No Fees! So what's not to like??

The only 'technical' difference between SE-CE and the commercial versions is that native SE-CE files cannot be opened with commercial (paid-for) SE versions and vice versa. This really is not a problem in practice for any amateur CAD user such as myself.

Of course, the other difference is that the commercial equivalent to SE-CE (which I believe to be Solid Edge Foundation) currently costs £161 pm (paid annually and exc. VAT) for a single seat licence. So SE-CE users are getting something that would have cost them £2,318 per annum before Siemens offered Solid Edge 2020 CE a year or two ago.

I can understand that others have their own CAD preferences, because you naturally tend to stick with what you are most familiar with (I used TurboCAD for over 20 years) but I think that SE2020 Community is an such an amazing deal for Hobbyists and frankly I'm puzzled why more here are not grabbing it with both hands.



Thread: Stringer EW lathe
01/09/2021 18:50:12

I can certainly see the attractions Paul but I'm already struggling with my current TUIT list!

Nice job though...



Thread: Cutting Brass Sheet
01/09/2021 15:38:44
Posted by Bo'sun on 01/09/2021 10:27:28:


By jewellers saw, do you mean a piercing saw?

Yes Bo'sun - I'm not sure if there is a clear distinction but I tend to think of a "Jewellers" saw as an adjustable frame type of piercing saw (as opposed to a fixed frame one) but they certainly both use 'piercing' blades.

I have both types of frame but find the adjustable form easier to use on small work - my fixed frame one (having a deeper throat) only comes out very occasionally.



Thread: Stringer EW lathe
01/09/2021 10:28:36

Welcome to the EW Owners Club Jamie!

They are very good little machines and I'm sure it will give you very good service. Mine certainly has.

Also apologies to Paul - who posted a very interesting looking ELS mod to his EW (that no one commented on!)

I'm sorry Paul, it must have slipped past me or I would have congratulated you on your efforts much earlier. I will probably stick with my basic lathe but I'd be interested to hear how it's working out and what uses you have found for the ELS.



Thread: Cutting Brass Sheet
01/09/2021 10:16:28

I think I'm surprised that no one has mentioned a Jeweller's saw yet.

With just a little practice you can cut very near to a scribed line with one and the 'experts' (and I'm certainly not one) can cut pretty much on it. Either way very little cleaning up is usually needed and there will no distortion. Of course if you need a quantity all the same it could be time consuming



Piercing Saw cuts in 2mm brass

Thread: Best soldering iron for electronics
19/07/2021 10:10:25

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....




Heating a Shellac Chuck

Edited By IanT on 19/07/2021 10:19:10

Thread: English members who have moved to France.
18/07/2021 12:12:23

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.



17/07/2021 14:44:14

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.

Moving to France



Thread: Lathe gear calculation
08/07/2021 16:24:36

I believe you have 40t, 50t, 55t & 70t change gears Bevel?



07/07/2021 17:59:16
Posted by Bevel on 07/07/2021 15:08:35:

Ian T's computer program/ excel file formula sounds just the ticket but I'm lost there as he only lists 3 gears, where have the others gone lol?? How exactly do you set them up?

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
Input deviation 0.03
20 55 70 25 12.72727273
55 20 70 25 12.72727273
20 55 50 35 12.72727273
55 20 50 35 12.72727273
30 55 75 35 12.72727273
55 30 75 35 12.72727273
20 55 35 50 12.72727273
55 20 35 50 12.72727273
40 55 70 50 12.72727273
55 40 70 50 12.72727273



Thread: Corbetts Little Jim Lathe restoration - newbie needs advice
07/07/2021 12:26:53

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
07/07/2021 11:26:05

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.



07/07/2021 10:00:21

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
Input deviation 0.012
30 75 65 12.71111111
45 50 65 12.71111111
50 45 65 12.71111111
75 30 65 12.71111111
40 65 75 12.69230769
65 40 75 12.69230769
30 75 55 12.71111111
45 50 55 12.71111111
50 45 55 12.71111111
75 30 55 12.71111111
40 65 55 12.69230769
65 40 55 12.69230769



Thread: Corbetts Little Jim Lathe restoration - newbie needs advice
06/07/2021 23:17:31

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...



06/07/2021 17:04:39
Posted by Andy Thompson 3 on 06/07/2021 14:55:22:

Their plummer blocks are also very expensive - any better source? Do I really need self aligning bearings?

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!



06/07/2021 09:58:24
Posted by Andy Thompson 3 on 05/07/2021 23:27:18:

Thanks Ian.

What tensions both belts? Is the motor and the countershaft all one unit that is hinged and the weight of the motor makes tension.

Since my motor is so big and heavy I was hoping to bolt the motor to the bench or something solid to avoid vibration. I can make a hinged shaft like yours but unsure how to provide tension to both belts.

What range of spindle speed should I aim for.

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.



05/07/2021 23:07:58

Hello Andy,

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...

EW Views

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
03/07/2021 12:04:36

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

02/07/2021 20:55:00

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
02/07/2021 15:06:23
Posted by Steve Skelton 1 on 02/07/2021 11:07:31:

Ian, looking at Solid Edge it only gives a free limited-time trial use of the software, the basic entry level is $75 a month.

How did you get yours?

It does seem a little confusing when you first Google it Steve - but you have to look for the "Community" edition.

Solid Edge 2020 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.



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