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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: Murad Cadet Lathe
15/03/2014 12:53:41


I guess the best answer is that your lathe is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Unfortunately, with the advent of eBay (and such like) people without any knowledge often pay far too much for machinery they haven't even seen. This makes for inflated prices and disappointed buyers.

I like old machinery (I've was talking about this earlier on here) but since I'm going to put some time and effort into them, I don't expect to pay silly prices. The same goes for "second-user" locomotives. A good friend of mine who used to trade in this area (sadly no longer with us) always maintained that many s/h engines were only worth the value of the castings used (and sometimes not even that). It's not a bad measure for some old tools either.

My advice would be to decide a price that you are happy with and place it at that price on somewhere like **LINK** and see if it sells (also have a look for comparable "Sold" lathes for an idea of value) . If it doesn't sell then you know your price is probably too high - or no-one wants your particular lathe. If it does sell, then you should be happy that you achieved your price and that the lathe is going to a (hopefully) good home.



Thread: McMaster - Any Old Iron?
15/03/2014 10:40:28

That is a very nice looking job Edward. I shall be happy if mine looks as good when I've finished with it - or at least got it working.

Jumping off at a slight tangent, I was thinking about this whole "restoration" thing last night. I do envy those people with the skills (and patience) to completely restore their machines to 'as new' (or even better) condition. I've never managed that myself on any of my machinery. I know some folk like to immediately strip their new acquisitions and completely rebuild them. I generally don't do that - I try to get them working first and then see what I need to do, at least enough to meet my immediate requirements.

The McMaster had to be dissembled to move it but it clearly also needs some immediate attention. But my Mk1 Super 7 has had quite a few small improvements over the years. To put this in perspective, I purchased this lathe from Mr Moore off the back of his lorry (at Guildford MES) some years ago and I could immediately see that it hadn't had a happy life. There was a large 'cheesy' cut out of the cross-slide front and the bull gear had some teeth missing. However the price reflected this (I doubt Myfords often sold many lathes for the price I paid!).

Getting home I discovered the motor appeared shot (but it was simply stuffed full of sawdust) and that the clutch made strange rattling noises and would not engage. The motor was cleaned and the clutch dissembled and a new actuating pin made - which solved the problem. The lathe was used for some time exactly like that. It was only a few years later that I replaced the bull gear as mostly I managed to work around it (I'm afraid to admit that I rarely use back-gear still to this day). Last year I replaced the cross-slide with a new (used) one off eBay. It doesn't work any better but it certainly has improved the look and (most importantly!) it pleases me.

I know my Myford doesn't face completely flat (in fact very slightly convex) and that the bed is worn. So one day I may well modify the saddle to use another part of the bed for guidance etc. but for now I can live with it and therefore do so. You may have also detected a level of idleness in this approach (which I usually tell myself is a sign of a maturing intelligence) and you may well be right. By the way, I had a good laugh not too long ago when someone here described 'Myford Owners' as "Elitist". I suspect he wouldn't make remarks like that it he'd ever seen the inside of my Shed!

So to bring these meanderings to an end, many of these old (worn out) machines still have plenty of use left in them, quite enough for many peoples 'amateur' needs. They can often be put back into usable condition (enough for their owners needs) incrementally e.g. as required. If like me, you also quite enjoy working on your 'antiques' then it's not really a chore either. If the budget is tight, this approach can save you a good deal of money and even if you do spend some more pennies over time, it does make everything seem more affordable when spread out over months or years. As I've said before, old machinery is not for everyone (especially if you are eager to get on with a specific "project" ) but if the 'Price is Right' then it certainly should be a consideration for some here.



14/03/2014 18:38:41

Last year I had to hacksaw through several blocks of 2" Square mild steel using just my "Armstrong" (which isn't quite what it used to be). As a result I decided that some form of metal cutting machine was really required. I looked at various metal bandsaws but I also recalled using a large power hacksaw at college (and how well it worked).

The upshot was that when I saw a McMaster power hacksaw advertised at an affordable price, I was tempted. Of course when the vendor switched it on, it sounded like someone was bouncing a tin bucket full of old bolts around! However, the price was right and it was clearly built like the proverbial brick outhouse.

This afternoon, the sun was shining so I decided to start cleaning up the disassembled bits (I had to take it to bits to lift it out of the car boot) and I spent a pleasant hour or so up to my elbows in soapy hot water, scrapping off the dried grease and hardened swarf. The hacksaw is clearly well worn in places but it occurred to me that I simply needed to 'adjust' my attitude towards the old brute. It's not a worn-out old machine tool after all. Once you start viewing it as "a part-machined set of power hacksaw castings" then I've probably got myself a real bargain!




mcmaster - first pass clean 140314.jpg

Thread: Lathe tool rack
12/03/2014 15:38:38

Possibly not what you had in mind Petrolhead but this simple wooden "Tidy" keeps a few useful things within reach on the front of my trusty old Super 7. As I use individual tool-holders (made from the iron castings that CES used to sell) which were made before the cheap Chinese QCTHs were available - I just have a simple peg-board at the back where they sit.

As I'm afraid you might guess from the photo (and clearly unlike some others here) I live on the edge of chaos and need all the help I can get to maintain some semblance of order.



nvr switch 2 - 150812.jpg

Thread: A Mystery Project
11/03/2014 21:29:56

They used to make a boring head kit but I've never seen the 'pre-machined' castings.


Thread: Rollo Elf
11/03/2014 09:47:06

It wasn't really practical Neil and I was going to motorise my (hand cranked) Rollo as it is quite a sturdy little machine.

It would be quite easy to put a pulley on the spindle rear end but mine also had a degree of wear in the headstock. As there is no way to make any headstock adjustment (the cast iron bearings are not split) it really would have needed a new spindle and possibly boring out - back to round.

Mine is on permanent 'loan' to a friend who uses it for various manual operations on small brass fittings that he repairs ("remakes"?) for musical instruments. I know he's modified it to suit his needs (he's a very skilled mechanic/craftsman) but I don't know any specifics. He seems happy enough with it though. So it's found a good home and is being used, which is all any old tool wants. So I guess it's happy too!

Regards, IanT

Thread: Optical centre punch.
09/03/2014 10:31:02

You are right Graham, they work much better on large flat surfaces and can 'rock' if used too near the edge of some work and they are of little use on smaller components. So I do use your 'feel' method but (like Norman) I have problems with my eyesight these days and have to use a large magnifying glass on smaller things. Strangely, even though your method is a 'touch' thing - it seems to work better for me, if I can also see what I'm doing, so I still use the magnifying glass as well.

With the Dankroy, I can use it (e.g. see well) even without my glasses provided that I have a strong light source nearby to illuminate the target (which shines down/through the Perspex rod). So I do prefer to use it where possible. It was a bit sad to hear that Dankroys are not available any more. I will have to take good care of mine. I'm always worried about scratching the Perspex at its 'cross-hair' end, there are already one or two marks.

Regards, IanT

Thread: Different types of copper boiler tube
08/03/2014 12:26:48

I think life is much easier if you treat your Club/Society's Boiler Inspector a bit like your Wife.

Ask them what they want (or would prefer) and then just do it. It's much less painful in the long run



Thread: MT2 blanks.
08/03/2014 09:19:47


Provided the quality of the MT taper meets your requirements, surely it is a simple thing to 'add' diameter (or length) to the blank portion as John suggests. I would have thought this was a normal application of these 'blanks'.

For many folk this would be a much easier turning operation than compared to making a good taper and there should be a large surface area for the Loctite to grip. The accuracy of these additions will be down to the individual of course. I've done this a few times and not had any real problem so far (although I did find a bit of broken 3mm drill embedded in one!). My latest slitting saw holder (which is MT1) had a 25mm blank end. I loctited an additional piece on to it and then bored this out to 1" (which is the ID of my slitting saws). I guess the finished item is about 35mm OD now.

Regards, IanT

arbor & drawbar.jpg

Thread: Drawing Projections
06/03/2014 13:58:35

As my 2D CAD is generally just for my own use Mike, I'm afraid to admit that I never worry too much about which 'projection' I'm using. I just draw things as I see them in my 'minds eye'. Maybe I should try a bit harder and adopt one system (or the other) as my 'standard'. That list of things I should be doing is getting longer by the day...



Thread: Macc Models - Excellent!
06/03/2014 13:36:36

Nice simple (to navigate) website too. Saved to favourites for future reference.

Thank you.


Thread: What did you do today? (2014)
05/03/2014 18:27:03

mcmaster 2 - 050414.jpg

This was the first day of Spring, as evidenced by my good Lady appearing in the garden for the first time this year. After completing my allotted tasks, I snuck off to the Shed and did a few small jobs. However, one thing is currently defeating me. I have a just acquired a McMaster Power Hacksaw that is going to need a bit of work before it's useful and I want to fully dismantle it (and strip it right back & degrease) it before I start re-assembly and make any necessary repairs.

There is a casting that connects the motor to the gearbox and to get this off the base, I have to remove the gearbox. Only problem is that the splined connector will not shift off the gearbox shaft. None of my normal pullers will fit but I did manage to lash-up two bolts (with washers) onto one of my puller units that did get a reasonable grip on the driver. I've tightened this as far as is sensible over the past week or so (oiled it, left it, tried to tighten up a bit more etc) but it hasn't moved at all. Today, I heated the driver using a heat gun until everything smoked and was too hot to handle. Still no go.

There is a similar (exactly the same I assume) splined driver on the motor, and this one just has a single grub screw and a small drive key. Naturally, this one came off easily. I guess I'm going to have to make a custom puller to get it off. By the way, the splined drive is thicker than it looks (about 20mm) and it's not a gear (there's a plastic part that connects the two splines together. So generally had a nice day but I'm stuck on this job at the moment.

Regards, IanT

mcmaster 1 - 050414.jpg

Thread: Spacing of buttons for making involute cutters
04/03/2014 16:42:13

Graham, thank you for responding so quickly and taking the trouble to explain the method further.

Again, I'll have to go away and let this idea 'sink in' for a bit but it certainly looks like something I could manage.

My thanks to both of you Gentlemen for your good advice.



Thread: Chuck Advice
04/03/2014 11:27:14

I have a small 3-jaw scroll chuck on my EW and I use a tommy bar on that. Most of the time it works very well just by hand-holding the body and I don't need to tighten it so much. When I do need more grip, I also use a rubber strap device (can't remember the trade name) to grip the chuck body whilst I tighten (or untighten) the scroll with the bar.

On balance, I probably cannot grip things as tightly as with a 'keyed' chuck, but it is a low profile chuck and much better than the 3-jaw that came with the lathe. This was far too big and stuck out too far, causing chatter on some work. Getting the work nearer the EW's front bearing really helped with this.

I'm not sure what you are using the rotary table on but if its on a mill (and yours is limited on vertical height) the depth of the scroll chuck might be more important to you than it's grip.



Thread: Spacing of buttons for making involute cutters
04/03/2014 11:05:05

Sorry John, it takes me a while to type this stuff in, so my posts often appear after others already have added more comments - which I haven't seen. I will read all this information again and try to see what is going to work best for me.

I do understand that my needs (in terms of gear sizes) and my 'capabilities' (in terms of machinery) are probably not the norm but everyone here is probably different to some extent. Cost is an issue for me but so is time.

I used to think that I had lots of time but now I know it is also finite!


Thank you for your help.



04/03/2014 10:57:45

I've just quickly read through John's link and it's very useful but the kind of topic that you really need to take some time to over to digest. I'll go over it again more slowly later.

However, I did note that 'shaping' was mentioned (using a rack) and I was already aware of this option. I noted JS's response that most folk have a Mill (so will want to use that) but as I have both a Mill and a Shaper I have the luxury of choice. It really boils down to the time and effort involved and how much gear cutting is anticipated. My thinking (till now) was as follows;

The fixture required for the Shaper will take quite a bit of time to make but (as I understand it) can be used with any gear Mod/DP size (within a reasonable range) and each 'rack' (or single point cutter) will then cut any gear within a Mod/DP size (so one cutter for 12, 33 & 60 tooth gears?). It is also a simple straight sided cutter, so not difficult to grind. The fixture might also be useful for other 'rotary' tasks on the shaper.

Against this, the button method is good for making a single point cutter which only cuts one size of Mod/DP and I'd need at least two cutters to cut the two gear sizes I'm probably going to need for my loco. Any different gears needed and I'm back making new buttons and cutters again. So the button method may be quicker first time out but the shaper method may win long term if I'm going to do make more gears in different sizes. I hope this is a correct statement of the pro's & con's but please correct me if I've misunderstood anything.

It is why I am interested in Grahams method as he mentioned it is quick to make a single point cutter, which is all I probably need for now and if I can skip the button making part, that might well swing it over anything other routes available to me.



04/03/2014 10:10:31

I get the general idea Graham but I'm sure it's not quite that easy. I understand the basic principles of the button method but can you provide a bit more practical detail of what/how you are making the cutters shown here? (Sorry probably being a bit dense)

I am in the process of designing/building a small electric locomotive and I'm thinking of powering all four axles (axle hung motors) so will probably need to build four 2-stage gearboxes for it. I could use commercial gears but it all mounts up cost-wise. I guess I will want something like 0.75 mod gears. If I'm only meshing with my own gears does that also ease the machining problems?



03/03/2014 18:33:43

Ooops - sorry John beat me to it!


03/03/2014 18:32:58

This is something I've haven't got around to yet John but I have gathered some information for when I do...

There is some info that you may (or may not) have seen at 'Mike's Workshop' here:


I'll quote the pre-amble

"Making gears requires making a cutter with the appropriate profile. The amateur machinist usually does this using the button method developed by Ivan Law and further improved by John Stevenson. They have both given tables for the button diameter, button spacing and infeed required to produce the cutter. This method relies on the fact that the involute curve can be closely approximated to a circle over the limited distance of a gear tooth.

I can find relatively little information on the methods used to create the tables of button diameter, button spacing and infeed for the button method and on this page I have developed generalised equations for these parameters based on the geometry. With these equations it is straightforward to design cutters for any gear given the number of teeth, the module and the pressure angle."

I don't know if the John Stevenson referred to is the same one who moderates on here but if he is, then I'm sure he can provide better information on this than I can - but hopefully this will still be of use to you.



Thread: 101 things to do with an Adept Lathe
03/03/2014 13:29:40

I enjoyed the word picture about your Barber John.

My Grandad use to take me somewhere very similar (up in Brixton when there was still a Pie and Mash shop there). I think the chairs were black leather and I used to sit on a wooden plank set across the arms and to be "very careful not to scuff the seat".

No Mr Nancurvis though I'm afraid.


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