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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: Spacing of buttons for making involute cutters
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.


Thread: Hello... lots of advice needed
02/03/2014 23:29:21

Well I guess you've had the expert view Steven.

Perhaps more to the point - what would you like to do now?



02/03/2014 12:23:44


Just as a comment - but if I was doing this again - I would probably not take a whole facing cut. It didn't occur to me at the time but I could have just moved the tool much nearer to the centre and just taken a light cut in from there. You only need to lightly face/mark the top of the cylinder. This smaller mark would then have completely disappeared once drilled & bored. It didn't make any difference (e.g. I wasn't concerned about it cosmetically) in this case but it might have on other work.

Anyway, it's one solution but I am sure that there are others.



02/03/2014 10:53:42

And now back to Steven's Adept.

Steven, I'm only on my third mug of Tea but have already found and read the 1947 ME Article. It's title is "Rebuilding" and indeed that is pretty much what the writer did, turning his Adept into a small watch making lathe in the process. I'm not sure you will be able to do anything approaching this but it does show what is possible. I'll scan it and email it to you later.

I have been thinking about this issue overnight. I think the majority here would tell you not to start your model engineering journey from this particular starting point. However if you want to view your Adept as a "project" then I think the following might be a good approach.

As John advises, it doesn't make much sense to spend too much money on this little lathe. However, with a little help you may not need to. You will need to spend some money but I think you should constrain this expenditure to items that you would either need anyway (hand tools, means of measurement & tool sharpening for instance) and any accessories/tooling that can be used on any later machinery that you might decide to acquire. You will have to spend some money but I find doing it in small increments over time does tend to make things seem more affordable!

The other thing I'd suggest is to take this project one step at a time - as when looked at (as a whole project) it will all seem very intimidating. However, if you look at the problems in isolation, take your time and make a game/puzzle out of solving each problem, it will make things much easier to manage. Also, if you hit a specific problem (that you cannot solve) then it will be much easier to see if someone can give you some specific assistance. I have a very large scrap bin that I think of as "My Precious" that I know in my heart of hearts is one day going to the Tip. I might be able to find a few things of use to you as we go along and maybe even use some of my antique machine collection to help out from time to time. No promises and I don't do things at the Speed of Light, it's more like a slow trip down the Kennet & Avon. However if you are willing to spend some of your time on this project, then I will chip in some of mine too. I'm too far away to give any direct eyeball (or machinery) support but simple things should be doable remotely.

So down to you Steven - lets have some photos of your 'project' if you want to kick this off and we can all have a good argument (sorry - discussion) about the best way forward for you (much better than watching Sunday Politics on TV). I would suggest before you go any further that we try to establish how good the spindle (mandrel) in your lathe is? There's no point in worrying about motorising your lathe if the mandrel is rubbish.

Anyway, it's up to you but at least this might be something to think about.



02/03/2014 10:13:16

Well Lofty (as I've said elsewhere) I'm no expert so at the risk of being told I'm a complete twit, I will tell you how I did it in this case. I was making a hydraulic test pump and needed a reasonably accurate hole drilled in the pump body. I was going to then tap this but also intended to bore a slight recess for the ram guide. I had a piece of scrap brass about the right size but it had a raised rim at one end that I should probably (with hindsight) have completely removed.

OK - on to how I finally decided to do it. I mounted the brass in my four jaw and used a drill bit to pack one end up (square). I then took a facing cut across the whole length, first having to cut down through the rim. I watched this carefully until I got down to the main body. At this point I realised that I hadn't managed to get the body completely square (or maybe it moved) as the cut was slightly tapered (any small difference will show up clearly here). However, it was good enough for my purposes and I unscrewed the chuck and carefully centre punched in the middle of my facing cut at the point I wanted to drill the hole. I had already made sure the brass was pretty much where I wanted it by the way. I then simply returned the chuck to the lathe and set it truly centre using the method previously described. I didn't need to do too much adjustment but there was risk that the brass could have rotated slightly as I moved it but not much movement was required and it seemed to work out well.

I tend to take photos of workshop things these day, as it is so easy (& low cost) to do and I find it very helpful to recall what (and when) I've done things. A kind of photo diary if you will. So you are in luck as I've a photo of the work in question after being faced and centre punched but before I returned it to the lathe. I'm sure there are better ways to do this but this is how I did it.

I hope this is helpful. Regards, IanT

pump valve body 1 - dec 2012.jpg

02/03/2014 00:23:06

Just read it myself too Steve. Seems I missed some material in ME on your little lathe (I just searched on "Adept" ).

Too late now but I'll check tomorrow to see if I have the 17th July '47 'Rebuilding' article. If I do, I'll scan it for you.

John's concerns are well founded but if you still want to push on with this project then I think there are probably worse ways you could spend your spare time - like just watching TV all evening for instance (something I've just done).

Anyway, small steps and we'll see how we go. Goodnight everyone.


Edited By IanT on 02/03/2014 00:23:36

01/03/2014 11:14:25

Do you have the sizes of the two 'V's on the Adept Ian - they don't look that big.


Thread: 08 shunter quartering
28/02/2014 19:55:42

Maybe I wasn't that clear Julian, but I wasn't really seriously suggesting milling any flats. My apologies if I gave that impression.

I may not have described Mr Eaves method very well either, as I'm not sure his idea has been well understood. The concept is pretty similar to the one Hush describes above, but simply uses the pins for registration rather than woodruff keys. I suspect it might be one of those things that is a lot harder to describe than to actually do.

With this method, there is no need to 'pin' the joint afterwards and there is no need at all for a quartering jig (or to mount the wheel/axle/axlebox/crank set in the lathe to quarter them). The cranks should be removable/replaceable without disturbing the quartering and without needing to remove anything else (wheels/axles) from the engine. This may or may not be useful but it doesn't seem to be a bad option to have available.

However, I think I will quietly retreat from the conversation at this point.



28/02/2014 16:26:42

Actually Julian,

I didn't suggest milling flats on the axles, exactly because of the problems of making suitable holes (squares) in the cranks, although I'm pretty sure I have seen this method used on larger models before.

What I did suggest was drilling holes in the axles and whilst this certainly isn't the only way to do quartering, I don't think it's "complete nonsense". In fact, I think it's quite an ingenious idea or I wouldn't have mentioned it.

Dave was asking how to do this work and I suggested one way to him, There are many other ways to do it, most of them well documented and if Dave doesn't like this particular idea, then no doubt he'll just ignore it.

however, it may be of use to others on here who don't have the benefit of getting the G1MRA Journal.



28/02/2014 13:22:56

OK, - I have a memory like a sieve!

I've just realised that the wheel quartering idea (I've tried to describe above) was published in the most recent G1MRA Newsletter & Journal (Issue 240) and was detailed in an article by member David Eaves.

A simple peg jig was made to orient each wheel (or crank in this case) on the mill and he also used a square axle drilling jig too. With this method of course, if the cranks are removable, then re-setting them correctly is very simple. David used it for his G1 loco's drivers but I can't think why it wouldn't work in this situation, in fact it should be easier to do.



28/02/2014 11:45:21

Hi Dave,

There are quite a few ways to do this and many have been suggested over the years, some involving jigs and others lathe set-ups (needs the axle to be held between centres etc). An obvious solution is to machine 'squares' on the end of the axles and to make matching 'holes' in the cranks. Only problem with this is a) I don't know if this was prototypical and b) there is also the (not-so-small) issue of making the square holes in the cranks a good fit.

Something I saw recently however, seems a better solution for you and involves drilling holes at right angles in each end of the axles. This would require either a simple square jig to rotate the axles through 90 degrees (or a rotary device - spin indexer/dividing head etc). In my case I'd probably just use my ER32/5C (square) collect block for the job, plus a slide-on drill guide.

The cranks then have a simple slot milled in their back (width to match the pin diameter) through the centre line of the axle hole, such that you get two slots on either side of it. Pins though the axles, which are located in the crank slots will then automatically quarter the cranks if done with care. I cannot recall where I saw this now but it struck me as being a useful method for quartering wheels at the time and it doesn't sound too hard to do either. You can then either clamp or Loctite the cranks on to the axles once the cranks are aligned by the pins.

So, just to repeat. I've not tried this method myself but I do think the idea has some merit and would be a useful approach for your kind of 'cranked' locomotive.




Edited By IanT on 28/02/2014 11:53:55

Thread: Hello... lots of advice needed
27/02/2014 20:49:40

Sorry, just seen your latest post Steven (somehow missed it just now)

I wasn't even thinking of a Keats plate here - just a simple angle plate to begin with. You can use your faceplate to hold a fly-cutter and clamp the angle in the tool post - or you can practice your filing skills - it doesn't need to be perfect at this stage. The angle plate can be used in several ways, but the most basic is to support round/square material on the faceplate, whilst you face or drill it. There are several simple ways to centre the work, just takes some thought and ingenuity. I'm not suggesting any of this will be convenient or easy but it will get you going. Once you can do basic turning operations (no matter how convoluted the process) you can start improving your machine and gradually evolve your lathe into a better tool.

Pump valve body 2.jpg

I'm using two centres and a DTI here to centre this piece in the 4-jaw but the principles are the same for even the most rudimentary set-up like using angle plates to hold the work. A very simple pointer will work if you don't have a DTI and anything with a pointy end and a hole in the backend will do instead of the centre I'm using.

As I've already said, this is not a convenient (nor a long term) solution but it is possible to bootstrap any lathe into a better tool. It's just a question of whether you really want to do this kind of stuff - rather than take the much easier route and simply buy a better machine to begin with. In the old days, people had no money and therefore little choice but to make/improve everything themselves. These days we are all relatively much better off but some people still enjoy doing this kind of work. To be honest, I probably have as much fun playing with/cursing my old tools as I do (trying) to make my models - but I will admit, it's not for everyone.



27/02/2014 20:27:21

Hi Steven,

All the bits needed will add up if you have to buy them 'new', so this (and the time and effort involved) should certainly be considered before you start off any project like this 'piece meal'. At one time I would have suggested you look for evening classes and you could have not only learned some lathe basics but also made all of the bits you need but these courses are few and far between these days. Some ME Societies/Clubs do have machine tools on site, or almost certainly a kind person who will help you out if asked nicely (I'd suggest you take your Adept along with you if you do decide to visit one - maybe one of those dreadful (elitist?) Myford owners will take pity on you!


Thinking out loud. You don't need very large pulleys and whilst I have seen them made of "laminated" wooden parts, I'm not sure I'd really recommend it. They might be enough to get you going though. Have a look at how Taig (Peatol in UK) and Sherline drive their small lathes & mills. The pulleys are really quite small (as are the 'V' grooves) and they use very strong (but thin) 'Gates' belts. I use these on my Taig milling head.

(Just popped off to check mine). They are about 2.25" widest diameter x 1.5" deep with six belt grooves, so they would not need very large lumps of raw material to make. Alternatively, I think I paid about £10 each for mine a few years ago (Peatol UK). I will certainly use this type of drive system myself on any other small devices I make, although I'll make my own pulleys (3-4 speed) next time around. Coming full circle, small hardwood pulleys of this nature, with (say) four grooves might work for you as an interim solution. Back to how to turn them of course - unless you can you find a woodworker to turn them for you? Countershafts are not too hard to make either.

EW Countershaft

Of course I've also noticed someone is selling a Sieg Baby '0' lathe for £150 on this site (not a recommendation - just an observation) which may give you a potential framework to think about how much you should spend on the Adept? And whilst I'm thinking about it, you cannot (simply) speed control most single phase A/C motors by the way, they tend to run at approx.1400 or 2800 rpm dependant on the number of poles they have.

Ok, enough for now, time to make the Missus a cuppa. I did look to see how many of the 'Adept' articles I have by the way. I have the Dividing Head & The Filing Rest ones, although there is nothing particularly novel there. If you want them I'll scan them for you (pm me with your email). The 'Smokerings' turned out to be a request from the Editor for information on Adept lathes, as his son had purchased an incomplete on at a Club sale. He later reported he was inundated with offers of information and replacement parts! May be worth trying?

Anyone here got some small pulleys for Steven??



Thread: Wills and workshops
27/02/2014 17:07:59

I recently purchased a bit of kit advertised on a well known site and had to drive up to London to go and collect it. The previous owner had passed away and the guy I was dealing with was a friend and fortunately knew the Widow too. The reason I mention this is that she had been apparently approached by a (well known) machinery company to help her "clear" her husbands Shed. They had offered her a total of £1,800 for all of it's contents.

Fortunately, their friend had very wisely advised her against selling to these people and had already sold the lathe to someone for more than the £1,800 offered. This still left a Centec 2A (with vertical quill head), a BCA Jig Borer, Drills, Presses and other machinery (plus tooling that covered/filled two benches and walls) to dispose of. It was mostly all in new/mint condition!

My learning from this little anecdote was to remind my wife (and sons) that all my "Junk" is probably worth more than they (and I) think. I've also started to list the more valuable bits (with some form of estimated value and a bit of descriptive prose) so that they will know what they have lurking at the bottom of our garden when I finally go to join the Fairies that live down there!.


Thread: Painting Recomendations Wanted
27/02/2014 16:29:07

I've used both ordinary enamel paints and Hammerite on my machinery in the past Colin.

I didn't pre-prime with the Hammerite and frankly I didn't really prepare the surface well enough either, so found it tended to chip easily. I did prime before the enamel coats though and this has lasted well (thus far) on the smaller tools I've used it on.

My learning has been to do as good a job of prepping the surfaces as possible (I take it right down to bare metal where possible using Nitromors) and then priming it with a good metal primer. I also take time to mask everything up. These days I generally use 'Engine' enamel from these people below (read the paint spec):


It's not a cheap paint but then most good paints aren't these days. It takes quite a bit of time to do a good job on a large bit of kit, so it makes sense to buy decent materials to do it with. I used to worry about original manufacturers colours etc. but these days just choose one that looks right (e.g. pleases me)



Thread: Another open thought - beginners perceptions .
27/02/2014 15:34:53

Well I've been doing (what I think of as) Hobbyist Engineering for about 20 years now and I still don't consider myself an "Expert" . There are clearly people here who are though, probably because they do/did some form of engineering for a living, whereas I never did.

What I do have is quite a bit of 'experience' and a fair range of machine tools collected (accumulated?) over a long time. Nearly all of it is pretty old, well past it's prime and none of it cost too much. So if I see a question that is in an area where I have some of that experience, then I will generally chip in. Normally this is in relation to the machinery I have or the type/size of models that I make. But I also think herein lies the problem.

Everyone has different expectations (quality, budget, time) and levels of experience within their own spheres of interest. If you build 7.25" locomotives (or restore cars, repair clocks etc.) then your expectations and experiences will be very different from mine ( I build in Gauge 3). As I've mentioned, my machine tools are pretty old and need, shall we say, a high level of sympathy but I've learned to live within their limits. In this respect, I can probably claim more 'experience' than those with newer/better machinery when the question specifically involves some kind of older machinery & their related problems.

My tooling of course also effects how I approach my modelling and I prefer many "obsolete" work methods (to some newer ones) either because they suit my machine capabilities or sometimes simply because they are more affordable (e.g. cheap!). I accept that they might not always be the absolute best/most modern way but the key thing here is that they meet my particular needs and equipment.

I will admit that I do occasionally get a bit peeved when people are dismissive of these methods and/or older machines, probably because their actual experience lies elsewhere in different or newer types of machinery, larger or much smaller sizes of work or perhaps industrial practice. It may well be that they are perfectly correct, that their way is the best/fastest/most efficient and I'm certainly interested in hearing about these alternatives. But there may be good reasons that I can't (or won't) use them and it might well be that others here share my needs in this respect..

So whilst there are clearly some here who really are "experts" within their own fields, they may not have as much 'experience' in some things as others (who are undoubtedly less expert). I feel this is often where any conflict/confusion in the advice being offered arises.

There's no particular solution to this issue, although once in the (distant) past when I saw something that I thought was particularly misleading, I will admit I contacted the OP directly and told him so (and explained why). Generally though, most of the advice given here is very well intentioned and (I'm sure) also generally helpful to the OP.



Thread: Hello... lots of advice needed
27/02/2014 10:58:39

I'm on chauffeuring duties today - so just waiting for my 'passenger' before going out shopping! sad

A quick search of the ME Index reveals the following Adept references (Volume-Issue-Page):

99-2461-102 A filing rest for the Adept

115-2894-670 A dividing head for the Super Adept

147-3655-517 Postbag (letters)

162-3844-279 & 162-3847-488 Smokerings (Editor)



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