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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: A 'Starter Kit' for a Stent T&C?
17/11/2013 11:42:59

In order to sharpen my lathe and shaper tools, I have made do (thus far) with an extended guide on a 6" grinder, fitted with a simple sliding table (and angle plate). I've wanted something better for a while and had considered the various options (Harold Halls 'rests' for instance).

However, I have been very fortunate this weekend to acquire a part built Stent T&C for a reasonable price. The main castings have been machined and a lot of the 'heavy lifting' work seems to have been done. I'll know more when I dissemble it and take a closer look next week. I have to decide how to mount the motor and make various small fittings/hand wheels etc, including the work-holders (I've the castings for the main work holder but no centres for instance).

I already have copies of the ME (1991) articles on the Stent build and also MEW 137 (on a "Super" Stent version) and will sit down for a good read over coffee later. I therefore have most of the available reference materials and will also re-read the various 'Brooks-Stent' material (e.g. Gadgetbuilder) available (which was another of my possible T&C options before this one came along). However, any recommendations and/or comments in this area would also be most welcome!

I will obviously need a set of grinding wheels and know that the 'white' aluminium oxide wheels used to be the norm. However, these days there are also 'diamond' wheels available (from Arc for instance).

I still expect to rough out my cutting tools on the 6" grinder by the way and I also sometimes "pre-form" them with either a Dremel or an angle grinder. So the Stent will initially just be used to maintain my existing lathe and shaper tools and hopefully thereby get better 'repeatability' and sharper tooling. However, I also want to start learning to sharpen milling cutters, as I now have quite a few that probably need it.

So my apologies for the long pre-amble but my questions are these:

What would be a good "starter" set of grinding wheels (suitable for the Stent) and what should I get - just diamond or just 'white' to begin with. What are the pros & cons of each? Should I adopt a particular "standard" for my wheels at the outset (wheel diameter, mounting holes etc?) And of course where would you suggest I buy them?

In other words, what would you recommend if you were starting over & buying these items for a Stent type T&C from scratch?



Thread: Metric or Imperial
17/11/2013 10:30:35

You do seem to find some interesting places out there in Webland Michael.

Thank you for this one - I'm sure it will come in handy one day (added to favourites!)



Thread: Machining a soft-ended MT2
13/11/2013 12:02:15

I've used studding as a drawbar on my old Super 7 for many years with no problems at all. It is not under stress and if it does wear, then I'll just cut another piece.

I also turned two nuts down to the spindle bore diameter and Loctite'd them on to the drawbar spaced apart 50mm or so. They stop it bouncing around and make it easier to insert & screw on.

Another tip - I have converted all my Imperial MT2 tapers to Metric ones with a simple screw-in adaptor (a short bar with Imperial male & metric female threads). I only need one drawbar for everything then.

The main problem with MT2 accessories is getting them out afterwards if you tighten up too much! Where possible I make the rear diameter of the tool larger than the 'hole' in my between-centres driving plate (used without its driving pin fitted) so I can unscrew it and thereby extract any MT tapers being used.

In one instance, I drilled a hole through the MT fitting so that a bar could be pushed through, which then gives a face for the plate to push out on. The driving plate also protects the spindle threads from damage.

The photo shows an Arrand MT2 flycutter which needs to be fairly tight and which can be removed easily by this method. Before I started to do this, it was a right whatsit to remove.

Fly cutting Taig mounting

If I was threading this MT2 taper, I would certainly mount the taper directly in the spindle to machine it but I guess the OP has an MT3 taper in the spindle and an MT2 in the tailstock? This is a bit inconvenient in my view but is simply solved by an MT3>2 adaptor.



Thread: Pressure Gauge Thread
06/11/2013 10:09:57

Hi Julian,

If I don't have a tap to match this thread (or cannot purchase one) then I think that is what I will have to do - assuming I can disassemble the gauge. As you say there is enough meat on the connector to do this and I'm sure I can devise a custom sealing method (O-ring or similar) for my 'adaptor'.

I'm not too concerned about calibration as it's purely for my own use at this time and I simply want to be able to monitor the ability of boilers/fittings to 'hold' a pressure for a short while - and I'm sure the gauge will be good enough for this purpose. Of course, if I get the chance I will check my gauge against one of the (Gauge 3) Society's calibrated test rigs.

Thanks for everyone's input.



05/11/2013 23:10:47

Thank you for your suggestions guys.

The 100mm gauge is scaled to 15 bar (217psi) which is fine for my needs but also has another scale marked for degrees C - so I'm not really sure of the original intended use but it seems to be pressure/temp related.

The thread doesn't seem to have any taper but it does have a 8.5mm smooth lead-in to it that is about 4mm deep. There is no seal fitted but the threaded part of the connector runs into a large flat (hex) piece that is 21.4mm across flats and this could be used as one face of any seal. I will see if I have a 7/16th UNF tap to compare it with.

If it's a standard sized tap that I can identify, then I should be able to make a usable fitting to mate with (and seal) it. I wasn't sure if I was missing something a bit more obvious, as there doesn't seem to be too much correlation (in pipe threads) between the actual major thread diameter and the nominal size.



05/11/2013 13:32:07

Thanks for the replies.

As far as I can tell - it's not a tapered thread (although I'm no expert in this area). I have looked on the Budenburg site and I cannot find the actual gauge there but have looked at several similar ones. They generally state that gauges are available in 1/4, 3/8 & 1/2 BSP or 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2 NPT - or "other as required".

Of these the 1/4 versions seemed the most likely - with 19tpi for BSP and 18tpi for NPT. However, it's the major diameter that has flummoxed me. A 1/4 BSP should be about 13.716mm major diameter and a 1/4 NPT about 13.15mm (0.518" ). The tapping drill for a 1/4 NPT is 7/16 which is about the outside thread diameter I am measuring.

I have thought about it being a metric thread and my tables for M10 fine show both 1mm & 1.25mm pitches. This could almost be 1.25mm (at just over 20 tpi) but I would expect the outside diameter to be much nearer 10mm (?).

Thank you for help.





Edited By IanT on 05/11/2013 13:32:43

05/11/2013 09:04:04

I'm in the process of putting together a hydraulic test rig and acquired a (new) Budenburg gauge from E-bay at a very reasonable price. It came with a red plastic protector on the brass connector that is marked 1/8th BSP. However, this is split (forced on?) and doesn't seem to be quite the same size as the actual brass fitting.

I've calipered the fitting and it is about 11.1mm (7/16th?) diameter over thread. My tables say a 1/8 BSP should be about 13/32nd (10.3mm) and a 1/4 should be 17/32nd (13.49mm) approx. diameter. As it seemed to be a bit large for 1/8 and too small for 1/4 - I checked the TPI. As far as I can tell (using a Whitworth thread gauge) it's near enough 19tpi, although the fit isn't perfect. I wondered if it could be metric - in which case it could be 1.25mm pitch?)

So as 1/8th BSP is 28tpi and 1/4 is 19tpi, I don't seem to have a thread that looks like it is BSP. So I'm wondering if there is another (metric) standard for these pipe/gauge fittings that would be about 11mm over thread and 1.25 pitch??

Or have I missed something with regards to BSP threads? Is there a 7/16th, 19tpi thread standard used for gauges? Any advice would be welcomed.



Thread: ME Magazine issue number 2919-2920: The Children's Own Locomotive
05/11/2013 08:10:02

Hi Dan,

If you do want to build this locomotive, I'd keep the design 'as is'.

This little engine will probably work very well as a Gauge '3' loco (although I've never seen one that I can recall). The G3 Society have GTGs at various members gardens through the 'running' year and I am very sure they would welcome you (by invite) to come along and run your locomotive. There is always a supply of wagon and carriage stock available to run behind visiting engines

My advice would therefore be to either build this engine for it's intended use (e.g. scenic running) or choose another of LBSC's (or Martin Evans) loco's that was designed for 3.5" use and will deliver a more satisfactory performance in the larger gauge.



Thread: My late father's steam locomotive
01/11/2013 09:22:59

I'm surprised no-one has responded to your request Richard.

I would suggest that you contact one of the local Model Engineering Societies and ask for their help and advice. They are fairly easy to find via the web.

For instance, you can contact the Bristol MES at this email address:

I'm sure they would be happy to assist. I'm not a member of Bristol MES by the way but I've always found my local MES groups very helpful




Edited By IanT on 01/11/2013 09:24:20

Thread: Looking for help and advice
31/10/2013 12:26:58

"Why does it always have to be "Build a steam engine " ? (JS)

"First you buy an old lathe for 120 quid - then you spend upwards of 3 grand on other bits and bobs over the next few years" (Ady1)

I was doing a "NVQ" at night-school and once I finished most of the 'plumb bobs' and similar exercises on the course, I got bored and wanted something "bigger". So I started on my first steam loco (and choose something far too big and complicated!).

The NVQ courses were 'dis-continued' (perhaps because they realised that all the elderly gents using the machines didn't really need an NVQ in retirement) and I needed something to work on at home. I saw a near 100 year old lathe advertised locally (a Lorch Schmidt AB for much less than a £120 quid) and went and rescued it from the back of a greenhouse where it was quietly rusting away. I couldn't cut a thing on it to begin with (you couldn't have confused it with a Colchester!) but eventually I did manage to turn something roughly round and reasonably smooth and I was over the moon! I still have the Lorch by the way although it's not my main lathe these days..

Nor have I finished my first steam engine yet (or several others I have) but I have finished lot's of (much smaller) projects, most of them tools and/or improvements to my machine tools (most of which would not look out of place in a Museum by the way).

I used to feel quite guilty about this but on reflection - I've had tremendous pleasure from my machines and this hobby over many years now, so worry much less about my "lack of productivity" than I used to.

So (as the OP doesn't seem to have a preference or urgent need) my advice to him would be to get an in-expensive lathe (old or new) and start to make some simple tooling for it before he jumps into anything larger/longer term. Much will be learned along the way and he won't worry so much about screwing up either his machine or that expensive casting. He will gradually discover what aspects of the work deliver the greatest joy/satisfaction for him personally - and how much money, time (and love) he wants to invest in it all.

Start simple and enjoy what you do - the rest will take care of itself over time



Thread: A very small Shaping Machine ...
31/10/2013 11:40:16

John, whilst I don't disagree with you with respect to what a larger shaper can do (or it's potential accuracy) I think there are a couple of other considerations here apart from just the size.

As I've stated, I have both a hand shaper and a powered one. Whilst a powered shaper is generally a very safe machine it can almost lull you into being a bit too familiar with it (and then it can be very dangerous). So I am beginning to see that some things are better done on the hand shaper, where I can for instance "nibble" at things in a more controlled (e.g. safer) way - something that I wouldn't really want to try on a bigger machine under power.

I am also looking at a good way to limit the stroke by settable stops (for engraving dials for instance) on the hand shaper, again something that I wouldn't really try to do on a powered machine.

So yes, for a good finish & sizing work (be that flat surfaces, gib pieces, dovetails etc) a powered Shaper is great but for small work that is more akin to engraving or for what I think of as "shaving" parts then I think a smaller (shaper-type) hand powered machine might be preferable and much safer



Thread: Micro Vice idea
31/10/2013 11:18:05

Nothing to do with work holding - but I agree with David about the Lidl magnifier.

It's got a small battery operated LED light under it and is mounted on a vertical post held in a small (cast?) base. I've taken the soldering iron holder and spring clips off and just use the magnifier on my cutting mat to look at stuff more closely. My eyesight isn't quite so good these days and I've found it very handy.

They are £4.99 at my local Lidl's and I've been thinking of investing in another one to mount on a post on the boring table of the EW and similar applications.



Thread: Increasing Costs
31/10/2013 10:57:31

I don't remember what I paid for my last MAP gas (which I probably purchased earlier this year. But I do know where I got it from. I am very fortunate to have a small independent hardware shop about ten minutes walk from here (or just five on the bike). My nearest big name hardware store is a good ten minutes drive away.

I try to make a point of buying my small 'DIY' needs there including MAP gas, the odd pot of varnish or paint, wood glue, hacksaw blades etc. He's generally about the same price as B&Q (sometimes a wee bit more expensive and sometimes even a bit cheaper) but he's often a tad cheaper than our local Robert Dyas (who used to be very good many years ago)

He stocks a range of product/brands that I often cannot get in the big stores and he is pretty knowledgeable about what he's got (he advised me to use Gorilla Glue when I had some plywood delaminate for instance). He's open to feedback about what he's sold (and will make changes accordingly) and he's willing to find out how much something new will cost and will get it in if I'm still interested - e.g. he listens to his customers!.

Of course I purchase all of my specialist (metal torturing) tools online these days and any other major purchase gets well and truly investigated on the Web before I spend my pennies. But for my smaller general needs I try to give him my business and (being somewhat dis-organised) I usually manage to run "out-of-stock" of something crucial just before a job (or during it) - like running out of gas for instance. So it's real handy to be able to just walk up and get it locally. I'd certainly miss the convenience and choice I get from him if he shut up shop.

So, If you are lucky enough to have a great local HW shop near you (as I am) then perhaps the price is not the only consideration.



Thread: Extra Special Subscription Gift for Model Engineers’ Workshop
31/10/2013 09:33:02

"I will post the subscription offer link and code as soon as it is available"

Ok, I finally spotted this crucial statement (for anyone else who also missed it too!)



30/10/2013 17:51:58

What's the code?

Have I already missed it? crying



Edited By IanT on 30/10/2013 17:52:27

Thread: A very small Shaping Machine ...
28/10/2013 09:28:24

I think a mechanical 'clapper' style box could be made to work in the way you'd like if it was sprung Michael.

I haven't sat down with paper and pencil but an 'upward' extension to the clapper that was pushed forward by a push rod (activated by the ram handle) which therefore held the clapper down on the forward stroke and which released the clapper on the back stroke might be do'able?

I don't think this is a new idea but I cannot find anything that references it at the moment. In some applications the use of a clapper "lifter" was also advised. From memory, this could be as simple as a domestic 'hinge' (folds in one direction but not the other) attached to the clapper box.



27/10/2013 20:48:44

Hallo Michael. Sorry I've been off-line over the weekend, so I have only just seen your posts.

Yes, I had in mind the Base Circle articles with respect to cutting involute gearing. I'm sure most people (with Shapers) are already aware of this and the other available shaper literature. Having an Atlas Shaper (and MF Mill) I'm naturally a member of the Atlas Shaper and Milling Group (on Yahoo) and there are quite a few Shaper-related PDF docs there for download should anyone choose to join the group

With respect to automating the Adept, there have been several articles published that used a mechanical 'pawl' type arrangement to apply table feed on the back stroke. I had already considered a stepper-motor drive as a simpler alternative to these purely mechanical solutions. Gaining the 7" Atlas put all that on the back burner. However, in theory it would then be just a further short step to have a stepper controlled 4th-axis and with a very simple tool profile - pretty near perfect involute gears could be cut if the motors were synchronised correctly.

I also read Dave's description of his powered Adept with interest. I suspect that the question of rigidity is very much linked to the size of cut being taken, which in turn may well be influenced by the size of work undertaken (e.g. it gets pretty boring taking small cuts if the surface being worked is large). My solution was to get a larger shaper (which would still be considered a toy compared to "real" shapers like the big Cincinnati's) for surfacing and to take the No 2 "down-scale".

Anyway - I'm pleased that you found my feedback interesting. Let's see how these ideas develop over time.



25/10/2013 13:35:04

Thanks Michael,

I think you are more likely to find a large (hand) shaper than one of the smaller one and it would give you a big leg up in terms of a usable base unit.



25/10/2013 11:23:13

"Bunyons" (or something similar). Just hit the wrong button and lost the reply I have taken some time to type in!

Let's try again.

With regards to the recent posts above, I'm not too sure how the (ram) tool would sweep in a horizontal arc as it cut (if that is what is being suggested above) but a 'rotating' hand tool held over the work by the (static) ram might? (Does this sound too much like a milling machine??) I would certainly like to know more about your idea though.

Of course, there are shaper heads that allow the tool to be swung in a vertical arc (with the ram static) enabling circular cavities to be shaped and it's also quite possible to 'profile' shape (but not easy I can assure you). There are also "diving heads" (for want of a better description) that enable the work to be turned as it is shaped. A variation of this enables involute gears to be cut (the work is rotated a fixed amount as the table moves sideways - this happening as the ram moves backwards for the next cut). But I don't think this is what is being suggested - so I'm somewhat puzzled but also curious.

Going back to "a very small shaping machine" Michael - I have a slightly different approach for you. I am of course heavily influenced by the fact I already have an Adept No 2. Mine is probably coming inside this winter (to join my other small modelling tools) and I have been thinking along the following lines.

I will make a sub-table to fit the existing Adept table - but it will have a series of accurately spaced tapped holes to enable a flexible clamping approach. I will equip this base with several devices (possibly loaned from other machines) such as a compound slide and 3" rotary table both of which can also hold/clamp small parts (so an ER16 faceplate on the rotary table for instance). I will also make a range of small cutting tools (including saws and files) to fit the existing tool head. I will therefore retain the (relatively) massive rigidity of the No2 but gain (I hope) a good deal of finesse in terms of work movement & measurement. Perhaps I should also mention that the No 2 has a base footprint of about 7" x 8" ( and I can pick it up without too much effort if required) so it's not a massive machine in that sense. It's also very quiet in use if course.

By the way - if I needed to cut semi-arcs on the (hand) shaper (and I would most likely use the Taig for this) I could fix the ram (X & Y) and use a 'free' rotary table to swing the work, just putting the cut on with the head. But I don't think that was being suggested above either?

Anyway, my suggestion (in a nutshell) Michael, is to not completely ignore the larger (hand) shapers but to perhaps think more in terms of finding other ways to move the work under the ram/tool of the larger machine with the degree of finesse that you require. Just a thought.




Edited By IanT on 25/10/2013 11:35:08

24/10/2013 20:42:34

Same old, same old whenever this topic (Shapers) comes up.

Industry might not use Shapers any more these days but I certainly do. But then I don't (want to or cannot) do a lot of things that "industry" does these days.

I have two shapers, an Adept No2 and a 7" Atlas. I also have three mills and four lathes, which all have their own place and uses in my workshop. When I need something cleaning up (e.g. flat), it goes in the 7" and I generally get on with something else (maybe some milling?). It will cut stuff that would rapidly blunt my milling cutters and when the tooling does need sharpening, I can do it quite simply (single point tooling).

I'm still finding modelling uses for the Adept and whilst I wouldn't want to machine large surfaces on it (that's why I purchased the 7" Atlas) it can cut, engrave and 'shave' small parts better than I can by hand (anything that needs an accurate linear motion in fact). Have a good look at the site MichaelG originally pointed to (on page 1) and the model ships this guy builds. They are wonderfully detailed creations, the work of a craftsman. I spent several happy hours yesterday looking through his stuff (so thank you MichaelG).

He also describes the methods he uses to build them, including using a small shaper to machine a 'rotary' gear on a ship's gun carriage. See here for details; **LINK** It looks pretty neat to me.

Of course, I'm sure this work could have been done on a CNC mill too and if he was wanting to mass-produce his models, then I'm sure he would be using CNC to do so. But it's quite possible that the tools he is using (including the shapers) suit the work he's doing (and perhaps more importantly) the way he likes to do that work.



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