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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: 4MCAD from Mintronics
02/07/2021 10:08:14

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
02/07/2021 09:56:53

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

Micromite Basic (DOS)

Try it, you may find it useful.




' Change Wheel Calculation
' by Mike Aireton - from MEW 277 Feb 2019
Input "Input required TPI ", W
Input "Input deviation ", Z
X = W + Z
Y = W - Z
For A = 20 To 75 Step 5
For B = 20 To 75 Step 5
For C = 20 To 75 Step 5
For D = 20 To 75 Step 5
If A = B Then GoTo SKIP
If A = C Then GoTo SKIP
If A = D Then GoTo SKIP
If B = C Then GoTo SKIP
If B = D Then GoTo SKIP
If C = D Then GoTo SKIP
' Assumes 8 TPI Leadscrew
If A*B*8/C/D < X And A*B*8/C/D > Y Then Print C;" "; D; " "; B;" ";A*B*8/C/D
Next D
Next C
Next B
Next A
Print "DONE!"

Edited By IanT on 02/07/2021 09:59:14

Thread: Micromite Basic (MMB) on Raspberry Pico
02/07/2021 09:39:17

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.

PIO Channels on PicoMite

Meanwhile Geoff Graham has announced the second generation of the Colour Maximite 2 for any 'Retro' computer fans out there.

Colour Maximite 2 - Gen2

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
29/06/2021 15:05:31

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!
29/06/2021 14:42:12

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.



26/06/2021 20:27:21

Well, (obviously?) don't have have the tool (or work) sticking out any more than necessary.

But with a HSS parting tool, side clearance is often the real issue and the simple solution is to go in a short distance and then pull back, step over a very small amount and make the cut again but deeper (thereby making a wider cut that ensures good tool clearance). Keep cutting in, stepping back, then over and then back in again - going in by stages. This is a simple solution to parting off and works well for the 'ordinary' kind of HSS parting tool.

For deep cuts on larger diameters, I generally use an 'insert' parting tool that has a 'v' groove moulded into the top surface, which folds the swarf inwards (making it narrower). I can then go straight in - however, it's about 3mm wide, so can be quite wasteful in materiel. A much narrower HSS blade can part quite deeply and the 'step-over' method only needs a few extra thou to work well and so can still be economical on anything under 2" or so (e.g. a parting tool stick-out of 1" or less).

Try it, it takes the anxiety out of parting and just costs a little in extra waste material.



Thread: 2D and 3D Cad Software Recommendations
23/06/2021 09:44:35
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 22/06/2021 23:36:11:

I use TurboCAD, the Deluxe 19 edition, which offers a direct orthogonal or 3D choice instead of the 3D-first other makes (including Alibre and Fusion) seem to dictate.

Nigel, my current version of TurboCAD is D/L 16 and I still use it, mainly on my existing 2D drawings.

I purchased it from Paul at the Midlands Show a few years ago and at £20, it wasn't too expensive. I only upgraded because my earlier version (D/L15) was giving me warning errors on opening a file under Win10, although everything still worked OK. Provided you take time to learn the keyboard commands, TC/DL is a very good 2D product - which is what it has basically always been.

I have to say that I found it very hard to draw anything complex in 3D using TC/DL and Paul the CAD himself recommends using the TC 'Pro' version if serious 3D work is to be undertaken. The 'Pro' version of course being much more expensive. So I gave up trying to do 3D on TC/DL.

As I get used to Solid Edge, I think it will be likely that I will also use it for 2D work too. I can open a new 'draft' (2D) document, select the 'sketching' tab and use exactly the same drawing tools as I would use to sketch a 3D object (before extrusion) so it's already familiar.

I didn't use this 2D route into Solid Edge but I'm sure anyone would find SE (in 2D mode) just as easy as TC-2D to learn. Then when they eventually do need (or want) to go to 3D, they will already be using and have some experience of a tool that's designed for '3D' CAD. A very much better way to go 3D than with TC/DL in my experience.



22/06/2021 11:37:44

I've been using Solid Edge 2020 Community Edition for about a year now, having previously been a long term user of TurboCAD 2D.

As Clive states you can draft 2D drawings in Solid Edge 2020 CE by opening a 'draft' document and using the 2D sketching tools. SE is a very powerful tool and has no limitations on it's features (that I am aware of) except that drawings prepared with the Community Edition cannot be opened by the commercially licensed versions.

I can describe my use of a product like SE2020, as swimming in a very deep lake whilst simply trying to keep my head above water. I am reasonably fluent in 2D but 3D requires another level of thought. I am still trying to come to grips with some aspects and only slowly starting to appreciate the importance of 'constraints' and 'design intents'.

I am currently drafting a 3D model of a part-built Gauge '3' Midland Compound I own - for which I have not been able to find any existing plans. I've had a few frustrating evenings struggling to perform certain tasks small but in all cases it has been my lack of understanding, rather than any issues with SE2020. I'll attach an image of my progress on the front bogie - whilst also admitting that I've managed to get the frames on the wrong way around!

I would recommend SE2020CE to anyone who needs a powerful 2D/3D drawing tool and who doesn't like the idea of 'cloud' based software. It is a lifetime licence and runs and stores everything locally. It is Windows only (I use W10 on a 5year old i5 laptop) and has no CAM facility. It has produced useful designs for my 3D printer (e.g. PCB boxes) and as I have no CNC plans at the moment, CAM isn't an issue for me.

It's free, although not of course in terms of the time you need to invest in it but I think that will be true of any tool with these capabilities. In summary - I'm very happy with Solid Edge, it was a good choice for my 3D needs.



Front Bogie DC Motor Control Box

Thread: Thinking about where I need to improve - measurements
20/06/2021 20:27:52

Hi Nick,

If you don't have them already, fit locks to your slides and always lock the axis you are not moving - at the very least it will help prevent you accidently knocking a handle and moving something you didn't mean to.

If you have adjustable dials at both ends of your X-axis (and both my mills have) then Joe Pie has the solution you need for backlash - just watch this video (it makes more sense when he actually demos it btw)

Eliminate Backlash in the X-axis

Note that Joe also talks about 'climb' milling. If you have a a lightweight mill (and Joe doesn't) this is probably not something you should try...but the two-dial tip works well.



Thread: Barbeque Time
18/06/2021 11:21:07

I have a gas-fired BBQ which I don't use as much as my wife's Canadian cousins (one uses his in the dead of winter - it's sited right outside his kitchen door) but I think the main difference between using gas versus an (open) charcoal one (and I do still have a portable BBQ that uses charcoal) - is that I 'think' of the gas fired BBQ as an oven - and use it as such. Everything is well cooked/baked in it before it gets a final 'flash' directly on the bars. Charcoaled Bangers are a thing of the past.

Does it taste any better? Well I think so, provided several glasses of wine/beer are consumed in a shady spot prior to sitting down and consuming it.



Thread: Acorn shaper
16/06/2021 12:05:33

My Acorntools 7" shaper has a combination of oil cups and nipples - so certainly some Atlas shapers sold by Acorn Tools in the UK had cups fitted to them. I purchased a 20 litre can of ISO 32 oil some time ago and this gets used on all my machines except where something else is obviously required.

The front bearings on my Mk1 Super 7 uses a 'total loss' system and I believe that the ram on the shaper should be viewed in the exactly the same way - both getting daily doses of ISO32 oil.



Thread: ER32 Extension
09/06/2021 10:35:02

A slightly sideways thought Vic - I have an ER16 extension chuck (on a 20mm straight shaft) that I can hold in my E32 fitted tools to help with access/reach problems. It is obviously limited to 10mm diameter stock/tooling but it is very useful for that odd job where you can't quite reach the work for any reason.

I imagine it might be useable in place of the 'extended' ER32 chuck on your Turnado table (which is what I'm assuming you need it for). It won't hold above 10mm but it's not as expensive and also has other uses.



Thread: Gauge '3' Society AGM & Show - Flitwick 29th May
31/05/2021 22:06:21

For the first time in over 20 years, I was unable to attend the Gauge '3' Society's AGM & Show this weekend at Flitwick. However, another Member recorded this short video of some of the running sessions on the outside track, as well as some of the Trade stands present inside the hall.

From what I can gather, the members of both the Society and the public who attended had a very enjoyable day. It's good to start getting back to some normality after such a long lockdown.

Thank you William for sharing the video.

The Gauge '3' Society AGM & Show - Flitwick 29th May 2021



Thread: Micromite Basic (MMB) on Raspberry Pico
28/05/2021 10:20:11

I know there are other readers here who also use Micromite Basic in some form, be that on the Maximite family of SBCs or in it's many Micromite forms.

I have a number of 'Mites' based on the PIC32MX170 chip that cost me about £3.50 each and give a fully self contained and very capable embedded 'compute' solution in a single 28pin DIL package. My PIC32 Mites have been fast enough for my needs but others use faster SBCs running ARM chips. All of them run Micromite Basic (MMB) which has been developed and improved over the past decade by the (very active) MMB community.

They are now in the process of developing MMB for the Raspberry Pico and it already has some of the more recent language features developed for the very fast Colour Maximite 2 over the past year or so.

I am well aware that there are already many other language/IDE choices available for Raspberry Pico and I'm not going to debate their relative merits because frankly they don't matter to me. I have found MMB to be a very friendly and productive environment for my needs and that's all that matters to most MMB users. It's supported by a relatively small but very active user community at the Back Shed and that seems to work well for me too.

The Pico will provide me with an inexpensive alternative to the PIC32-170 with more memory and therefore room for some of the recent CMM2 language extensions. Knowing what the MMB community has already achieved with other platforms, I'm also sure that more Pico specific features will also probably emerge over time but it's already very capable.

An initial description of the MMB based Pico can be found here and I think other MMB/Mite users will also find it interesting, as it builds on what we already have.

Initial description of MMB on Raspberry Pico - The BackShed



Edited By IanT on 28/05/2021 10:23:29

Thread: College Engineering Supply Castings Alternatives?
18/05/2021 17:41:17
Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 07/06/2018 10:46:23:

Why not buy some cheap Chinese angle plates. In my limited experience. The ones I have seen are not square and the slots are rough. Just treat them as castings and machine them properly.

If the castings are made available then go that route. I don't think that economics come into it. Just a way of gaining valuable experience!


Same is true of a Keats Plate I purchased - a bit annoyed when I finally got around to using it and thought "I'd better check it, just in case". It's on the TUIT list....

Thread: The future is Tiny
16/05/2021 12:19:10

Some Canadian friends of ours retired to Florida to a 'Golf' community some years ago.

Rather like Centerparcs, cars are banned inside the community and all internal 'travel' is via golf carts, with every home having a 'buggy space'. They are prety much self-contained with shops, surgeries and (obviously) golf courses - all located inside the community (which is like a small town). When last heard, they still owned a car but were considering selling it and just hiring a car when travelling "outside" - which apparently they were doing less and less.

Not sure this appeals to me (the Golf that is) but I can see something similar happening here. A small 'electric' vehicle just for local use and then hiring something larger for holidays/longer trips. We already use a local 'Pick & Drop' service to Heathrow and Gatwick (or at least we did) which is very convenient and not much more than the cost of parking there.




Edited By IanT on 16/05/2021 12:20:03

Thread: Easy question for woodwork specialists
16/05/2021 11:57:07
Posted by Dave Halford on 15/05/2021 12:39:15:

You don't buy marine ply from a "well known building materials suppler".

I can certainly agree with this statement - I purchased sheets of "Marine" ply from Jewsons a few years ago - paying about three times what they were charging for "WBP' ply at that time. I spent a day carefully cutting the boards to size (not for bird houses) and left the parts in the Shed overnight. The next morning some of the parts had badly delaminated.

I called the branch manager to complain and was told it was my fault, as I should have sealed the edges immediately after cutting. I told him this was complete nonsense but he would not offer a refund because I'd already cut the boards. We finally agreed a 50% refund.

The boards were required for a portable/modular Gauge '3' project I was working on and the agreed 'spec' was really just for a level of weather proofing, sufficient for a weekend set-up outside. So the marine ply was really an overkill (belt & braces) on my part.

Having cut the parts (and spent the money) - the delamination problem was solved by spraying water into the gaps and then dripping Gorilla glue into it - which foamed and filled the gaps. The boards were then quickly clamped and thankfully have been fine since then.

I haven't purchased any marine ply since but I do use quality birch ply occasionally. These days I order from a local hardware store that still runs a timber yard. They don't stock the quality birch ply I use, so order it in for me and cut it (very accurately) to my requirements on their vertical panel saw. I could probably find it for less elsewhere but they don't charge for the cutting and I'm very happy with their service.



Thread: Recommended Beginners Measuring Tool Set
12/05/2021 22:07:38

Hello William

I'd buy just a few things to get going. My list would include a good 6" and 12" rule, a decent vernier caliper and a 1" or 25mm micrometer (dependent on preference).

For the vernier, you could buy a cheap digital one but I have both kinds and still tend to use the manual one (although the zeroing facility of the digital does come in handy sometimes) but my manual one has a 'thumb' fine adjuster that has a much better feel than the digital.  Some here will say you don't need a Mic (or vice versa) but for smaller (accurate) measurements - you really need a Mic. The Vernier has a larger range but is also more open to user "interpretation" - and sometimes you do need to be able compare to the nearest thou.  

I won't try to define the attributes of a good rule - again opinions seem to vary. I like stainless steel and nice engraved measures - also (as my eyes age) for me, less is more. I don't really want 1/64th's at the useful end for instance, so my favoured rules are the ones with simpler/fewer increments these days...

That's it - that will get you going I think. Oh, a simple centre punch of course (unless you are going straight to DROs and not passing GO of course!

Good luck and enjoy!




Edited By IanT on 12/05/2021 22:14:17

Thread: Milling on a Lathe with a Vertical Slide
12/05/2021 08:35:54

Large steel hex? - Car boot sale and very old/broken Wolf drill stand for 50p (it was the upright bit)



11/05/2021 08:50:30

Hi Andy,

I cut a length of bar with a matching angle in the Myford and cut it in half for gib pieces. It's very easy to do with a faceplate and some hex bar - just fly-cutting, no special cutter required.

Gib Strip 5 - Oct 2012

One piece is simply bolted to the bottom edge of the raising block but the other piece has slotted holes to allow some movement. Two small clamps on the side of the block tighten the sliding gib inwards and when everything is snugged up it's very solid.

Taig milling head 1.jpg

The set-up works fine for light milling of small parts and is just as easy/quick to set-up as the EW's vertical slide.



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