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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: TurboCAD Explode/Create Fragmentation?
10/03/2015 10:34:09

I've recently been collaborating with some colleagues in Gauge '3' to produce a low-cost battery electric model of a 100HP Sentinel that we hope to make available in small numbers to interested parties as a "starter" engine. My part was to do the drawings and design the basic mechanicals (e.g. the easy bit!).

I've used TurboCAD for many years but my needs are generally pretty straight forward and I've never had any problems that didn't turn out to be my fault. With the Sentinel - many revisions were necessary as we discovered more details about the originals and made various design decisions and changes.

I was routinely creating 'groups' in order to assemble them but often had to 'explode' them to make changes afterwards. I discovered that my circles and arcs didn't "re-assemble" - they had been fragmented into many smaller arcs.

This gave me various problems - for instance with finding centres for 'snapping to' . I managed to generally overcome this by creating key background centre references (in another layer) but it was tiresome.

Talking to Malcolm High (of Model Engineers Laser) recently, I mentioned this in relation to exporting a DXF for laser cut parts and he told me it was a problem with TC that he saw regularly - as the laser cutter obviously couldn't manage all the little arcs which should have been a circle....

Can anyone advise whether TC is fundamentally flawed in this respect (and whether there is a fix) or if I am using the tool in the wrong way (and therefore creating my own problem). I am currently using TC Deluxe V15.



Thread: What book would be most useful to you?
09/03/2015 19:05:08

By the way Hannah - I have a fairly extensive 'technical' library (of both new and old publications), gathered over many years. The "basics" have been covered many (many, many) times over and frankly the "old guys" were very good engineers and are hard to better..

Some of the technology available to MEs might have changed over recent years (and keeps on changing) but I can already get specialist books on much of this stuff elsewhere online (which is good because it changes pretty rapidly).





Edited By IanT on 09/03/2015 19:06:05

09/03/2015 18:52:27

I'll second Han's vote for Jurgen Eichardt’s books.

I have five of them in the original German (and I don't speak German) but I'd willingly buy them again to have them in English!

Although a marine modeller (which I'm not) anyone who wants to build small scale metal assemblies (without using etchings) using a lathe and/or mill will find his work invaluable. That's just the parts of his books that I've translated (via Google Translate - a painful thing to have to do btw!) but I'm sure there's lots more that I've not fully understood (or spotted/translated yet). His books are a goldmine of information and good ideas - much of it original thinking.

I'm not aware of anything like it available from an English or American author/publisher (and I have looked).

Highly recommended.



Thread: drilling in spring steel
09/03/2015 09:19:38

Well the 'blue' steel spring that I've tried to drill in the past certainly was a pretty quick way to blunt a drill Nick. I ended up grinding a hole in it with a Dremel but I was far from happy with the resultant hole (it wasn't circular for a start).

Stainless is not really a problem to drill provided the drill is really sharp and you adjust the speed down (about half the rate of free cutting steel). I'd guess there are quite a few different kinds of "spring" steel too, so what might work on one - might not on another.



08/03/2015 13:20:40

Agreed Capstan - but I think this idea is that only a small area is effected..


08/03/2015 10:05:35

Not tried either of these methods myself yet but they may be worth bearing in mind for some situations.

Downloaded an old book on gunsmithing recently that is my coffee break 'browse' currently. I'm not interested in gunsmithing per-se but some of the machinists methods used are of interest to me. One thing I spotted was a method to drill into hardened parts (rifle barrels) by locally annealing the spot to be drilled. He used a small diameter carbon rod with an arc welder - and just touched the spot where he wanted the hole. Apparently the intense local heat generated anneals the area enough for it to be drilled with "normal" drills. Don't see why it wouldn't work with thinner hard materials too.

Alternatively (and I cannot find the reference) I also recall reading a method of drilling thin spring material (for loco springs) by punching it with a centre punch to form a small 'pip' which was then filed (or perhaps ground?) off - leaving a small hole which can then be opened out using normal dills. I think the usual caveats about drilling thin materials would still apply so rather than just drill it (which might work OK) I might be tempted to further (progressively) deform & grind the hole out to size with larger punches/dies. Must admit I don't relish drilling thin materials at the best of times.



Thread: Corbett XL Shaper
06/03/2015 17:48:56

I was looking for something else entirely this afternoon and spotted an advert for your Corbett XL shaper Martin (ME 2742 - December 10th 1953).

Back then it would have cost you new - £57-10-00 (or just £52 without the motor!). Not sure what that would be in todays money - quite a bit I would think. A 4.75" Rotary Table was an extra £6-10-0.

A new Boxford Model CSB was being advertised at £95-17-6d...which also sounds quite reasonable.



06/03/2015 09:46:42

Hi Thaiguzzi

I was intending to use my Adept hand shaper (with some form of stop) to engrave a dial I need to make but your idea sounds a much better approach.

I hadn't thought of using my powered Atlas in "Manual Mode" for this - simply using the stoke setting for line depth. Simple idea but sounds very workable. Brilliant - I like it !!!


Thread: Cheap milling machine light
03/03/2015 09:18:14

I purchased a couple of those torches at a National Trust shop last summer (also £3) - I meant to make some mounting clips but I've not got around to it yet - they give very good illumination and I have one in my pocket most of the time. Very small and handy.

A week or so ago - I saw some mains-powered "clip-on" LED lights - quite dinky for just £3.99 in Lidls.

One of those is now clipped to my Cowells drill - it's got a flexible neck and gives a very good light. The clip end of the flexible bit is screwed & nutted on to the actual clip - so it would be easy to re-mount the lamp on anything with a suitable hole. However, I'm finding the 'clip' quite useful for positioning the light and is fairly strong - so I may just screw a flat metal strip under drills headstock to clip the light to. Cheap & simple.



Clip on LED - Lidls

Clip on LED - Lidls

Thread: best way to hold milling tooling in lathe
26/02/2015 10:22:43

Agreed Vic but it can be very hard to get them out and generally I don't have too much problem with excessive overhang with the ER chuck which is shallower than some of my other 3J chucks.

This is one of my ER collet chucks Les - mounted on my (smaller) EW lathe. I have something similar on the Myford S7 and can use the same ER collets on both machines. I frequently hold work in them (as I was probably doing here) and can part-off from the parent stock after turning with very little waste.



EW Views

26/02/2015 10:08:46

Re-reading my post - I may not have made the differences very clear. I'll try again, forgive any repetition.

You will have an MT2 taper in your headstock I believe. You can therefore either fit a simple MT2 draw-in collet (about £12 last time I looked) and hold same sized cutters directly in it. You will need a drawbar to pull the collet in. They can be very hard to remove if over tightened. The Chinese collet system I mentioned also had a MT2 taper and was also hard to get out if over tightened - the drawbar simply hold the chuck in the mandrel and is not involved in tightening the chuck - so does not need to be tightened as much but it's still easy to overdo it.

The ER32 chuck (and you could use smaller ER systems) mounts on the headstock nose via a screwed backplate and simply screws on and off. It is much easier to get off (usually). As there is no MT2 taper involved, work can be held that extends back through the mandrel - something which can save a lot of waste if you use the ER collet system for work holding.

The Autolock I have is also mounted on a MT2 taper but is very easy to remove because of its 'extractor' but it will only hold suitable end mills. I use it because I have it - it came with a mill I purchased.

The R8 is a taper-type system but doesn't tend to stick when released. It is roughly equivalent to a MT3 taper.

I hope this is a bit easier to understand - we tend to throw words like 'taper' 'chuck' and such like around here expecting everyone to understand the fundamental differences but I know this can be confusing when you start out.

If you can afford it - my advice would be to mount an ER chuck on a back-plate and buy just the collets required for the milling cutters you intend to use. This will hold them more than well enough for your needs, is versatile in use and the ER collets will find use elsewhere over time (collet blocks, milling machines etc)



26/02/2015 09:47:47

Hi Les,

I have a Myford S7 which will be similar to your lathe in this respect.

I first started with a simple, single 1/4" MT2 collet and simply used 1/4" mills that fitted it, This is the simplest/cheapest way to securely hold milling cutters in the headstock - although you would choose a metric collet these days. I briefly owned a "Chinese" collet chuck before I an ER32 chuck (think of something like a normal 3 jaw chuck mounting e.g. no MT taper) and mounted it on a S7 backplate. I could then hold a range of cutters and also workpieces that could extend/pass back through the mandrel - which is very useful. You can buy ER collets as and when you need them.

Finally, I acquired a Clarkson S Autolock chuck which I tend to use when milling as it holds the cutters absolutely solid but does need threaded cutters. One advantage of the Clarkson over other MT fittings is that it has a screwed part that makes it easy to remove the MT taper without resorting to banging it out.

If I had to choose just one system - I would use an ER chuck and backplate combination as being quite secure enough and very versatile. Any ER collets will find use elsewhere on other fittings too.

The R8 system is very good in terms of releasing the R8 taper but is normally only found on Milling machines.



Thread: Corbett XL Shaper
22/02/2015 13:23:14

The work envelope looks similar to an Atlas 7" (Acorntools) Ady but from the photo it's a smaller machine I think.

Very nice Martin - use it and try it out for a while. I suspect you will get to like it, as Shapers are lovely machines to own and use.



Thread: Gas Blowtorches
20/02/2015 16:26:09

Mmmn - in terms of living dangerously - I think the petrol fuelled stoves the Army once used would come close to the top of my list.

In my "youth" I served in BAOR (Germany) and we used to regularly live in the woods for three weeks or so at a time (and drive around at night with no lights on our trucks)... but the one time I used to make myself really scarce was when the Cook lit the stove - I saw one "backfire" once (not sure that's quite the right description) and the squaddie involved was very lucky to get only minor burns.

Long time ago of course. We were "Blue" forces back then and were up on the northern plains expecting "Orange" forces to come swarming over the boarder. In "Tank" terms we were outnumbered about 20 to 1 if I recall correctly. Theirs old but still lethal - ours better but much fewer.

Thought all that nonsense was well behind us but apparently not.


Thread: Grinding HSS Lathe Tools - Advice please
19/02/2015 22:49:43


There's a lot on the web about tool shapes and different methods of achieving them. I don't know what kind of work you are intending to do but I'll give you this very simple thought. Getting a 1/8th HSS tool into "initial" shape is much easier and quicker than doing it with 3/8th HSS tooling ! This will be true every time you need to re-sharpen them too.

I've pretty much standardised on 3/16th HSS (I happened to 'acquire' quite a bit of it - otherwise I would use 1/8th)

I do use heavier section HSS for a few applications (e.g. some shaper tooling) but only when I really need to.

Try it and I think you will find smaller section tools are much easier to sharpen (and to keep sharp) and that they are perfectly usable for most hobby uses.



Thread: Gas Blowtorches
19/02/2015 10:19:20

I've used various 'portable' gas torches to silver solder, including the small disposable can (B&Q) types. For small items I use a (baked bean) can stuffed with ceramic blanket to focus the flame and hold the heat - takes less time and uses less gas. I also have a 1/4" steel plate that I place on the gas ring (when someone else is watching TV) to pre-heat multiple parts - again the gas torch is used to complete the work but this approach uses less (bottled) gas. For soft soldering parts together - I sometimes don't even need the extra heat btw - I just use the plate.

I have trained on O/A and very much enjoyed using it - it's a very useful tool but I decided I could not afford the cylinder hire for the amount I would likely use it (and I didn't really like the idea of having O/A cylinders around either).

So I purchased a Bullfinch 404 which will 'Bronze' (brass) braze steel as well as silver solder. SIF bronze is much cheaper than silver solder - so worth using where possible - it's probably stronger too in many applications.

Some may recall that I asked whether it was possible to adapt my "Patio" gas propane cylinder to use with the 5/8" POL fitting on the Bullfinch. Well the solution was much simpler. I still had the old Calor butane cylinder for the BBQ that I owned before the new (propane) one. I was enquiring about 'adaptors' at my local Calor stockist when the Manager said he would happily exchange my butane cylinder for a propane one. So I swopped a 7kg butane for a 6kg propane and just paid for the refill (£22). This will last a good deal longer than the smaller gas bottles and is not too heavy to move.

I will probably still use my smaller torches for quick jobs but the Bullfinch 404 will get used for SIF brazing of smaller parts and some silver soldering. I'm still practising with it so cannot say too much but it seems good I think it is the best alternative to O/A for my particular needs but I will have to take be cautious in its use for some work as it can be quite fierce and I'm pretty sure I could melt smaller brass components with it if not careful. So my smaller propane & butane torches will still get used when I need something a bit "softer" in the way of heat.



Thread: Bench Drills
11/02/2015 17:19:11

I wouldn't worry too much Rik - the price was good but I wasn't so sure about the product in this instance.


10/02/2015 17:20:41

Hi Michael,

I saw the Lidl drill advertised and was tempted (partly by the price) as I have been quite happy with some of their other cheapie tools for occasional use and I wanted a small bench drill for my 'inside' shop.

I purchased one just before 12.00 yesterday, got it home and had a closer look (I didn't open/unpack it in the shop). I decided it really wasn't for me after all - I just wasn't going to be happy with it. Carefully re-packaged it and took it back (all within 21/2 hours) for a refund. I told the shop assistant that it wasn't what I had wanted - simple as that - and I got an immediate refund, no quibbles.

So thumbs up for Lidl customer service.




Edited By IanT on 10/02/2015 17:21:37

Thread: Scroll saws
07/02/2015 18:21:02

I needed to cut up some 1.5mm sheet steel into lengths recently and used my jigsaw with a fine metal cutting blade and a simple wooden guide clamped to my (folding) work bench. For occasional needs this seems to be a good solution and I was happy with the end results.

I've not tried it on copper but I think it would be Ok. My Bosch jigsaw does have a variable speed btw and I can run it fairly slowly which I'm sure helps. Certainly cheaper than a Hegner too.



Thread: Adept No 2 shaper
07/02/2015 17:34:57

I have a No 2 and find it quite a useful tool for occasional work.

I have two workshops - the main one in the Shed and my smaller 'indoors' one. The Adept is indoors (in the warm) with my smaller lathe. I try to avoid using the Shed in the winter (especially at night) as I get cold very quickly down there.

Whilst I can mill on the lathe there are times when I don't want to disturb an existing set-up or simply want a very good finish. I would not recommend a No 2 for removing any large amounts of metal but for smaller work it can be quite precise and gives an excellent finish (that I don't often get with my other tools). I generally use it on smaller brass parts but it works well on steel too. I have a list of accessories I mean to get around to making but I'm afraid I haven't just yet.

For example, recently, I wanted to clean up some (somewhat rusty) mild steel spacers for a small engine chassis and I didn't fancy going down the Shed after dinner (it was pouring outside). I cleaned them up in the Adept after dinner and they didn't take that long. As stated, I have larger machines available but often by the time I've set them up and cleaned them afterwards, it seems quicker to just do small parts in the comfort of the house. The Adept is silent in operation and all the tooling is very simple and easy to keep sharp.

adept no2 - repainted dec 2013.jpg

The Adept shortly after re-painting and mounting it on the end of a small wheeled table a year or so ago. It doesn't take much space and can be used sitting down (I just pull it out from where its parked). I also generally use a (new) shorter handle I made as it doesn't need so much room in use and most of the work doesn't require the full leverage of the original one.

Sentinal Frames - 290115.jpg

The frame spacers on this small Gauge 3 chassis were cleaned up on the shaper to remove rust pitting. It didn't take that long and was done inside in the warm (so it actually got done that evening which it might not have been the case otherwise!).



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