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: Best universal (horizontal + vertical) milling machine|
I have a very old Victoria HO with vertical head
It cost me a few hundred pounds, the paint was peeling and the table slightly scarred. It had already had a long and useful life when she came to live with me some 15 years ago. I am sure you could get a more "modern" horizontal machine if you shopped around for not much more money today (in fact I've recently seen a horizontal mill with a Bridgeport vertical head fitted for sale at £450!)
My machine doesn't have a universal table or a drilling quill (although I've thought of several ways to add this facility). What it does have is a power table feed, massive bulk and the ability to take very healthy cuts in both vertical and horizontal modes. I can also turn large diameters on it. I have a smaller horizontal mill (Atlas MF with a vertical head) as well as a Taig milling head (for high speed vertical use) attachment that I built to fit on the bed of my EW lathe (indoor workshop). I therefore do most of my "model making" on these smaller machines but any larger work goes on the Victoria.
These old machines are not very popular these days, most probably because they are so heavy. The upside is that they were built to do real work and (looked after) will last several lifetimes. They will take cuts that would frighten the life out of most "hobby" mills. Whilst I'd love to have a precision "Swiss" mill, it might not like it's new home (my main workshop is unheated and somewhat damp) whereas my old machines seem quite at home down there.
So there are large, old (unloved) horizontal mills about that do not need to cost a fortune and that are capable of real work. The only downside is the need to get them moved but I hired a twin-axle trailer (£50) and two of us managed with a friends two-ton engine crane. So if you have the space for one of these lovely old monsters - they have much to commend them.
|Thread: RS Components free 3D CAD package|
Many years ago i got a "free" version of TurboCAd (v4) with one of the computer mags. Struggled with it at first before I relalised how important it was to use the correct 'snap' modes (after I finally read the manual - duh!). A few years ago I purchased v15 DeLuxe from Amazon for about £15.00 (the current version was v17 at the time).
I've read a number of people who don't like TC but often wondered if they had actually read the manual (or done the free tutorial provided). I think you need to invest some time in the more advanced products and I am now fairly fluent in TC 2D. When (if) I need to go to 3D then I'm pretty sure TC will be more than sufficient for my needs. Perhaps more importantly, I view TC as being a "mainstream" product (probably one of the more successful ones after AutoCAD) - so I'm reasonably sure it will be around for a while and get further developed over time. There is also a large user base.
There are lot's of 'Freebie' products out there which seem to come and go. My view is that it probably makes good sense to focus on just one (good one) and invest the time to learn to use it well. Once you've done this, you will be unlikely to want to move to another product.
So my advice is to choose your CAD system (or any other significant s/w) carefully, learn to use it properly and then stick with it.
|Thread: Angle Measurement in the Workshop|
I have a small sine bar (picked up somewhere along the way) which I have only used once. I don't have any slip gauges but it's quite possible to turn a cylindical gauge and use a mic to get it near enough to the required size. I seem to remember I had to do some math but as it's not an everyday occurance, it was no big deal.
I now have a Wixey (subscription gift from ME?) but have again only used it a few times. What I do tend to use much more often are homemade steel "angles" (e.g. for setting up grinding work or for setting up work in the vice). These are simply marked out using simple trig and cut and stamped with the angles. Once made, they will last forever if looked after. A Hex bar is also useful, a large 6" length bolted on the faceplate is good for cutting small dovetail side pieces for instance. I've posted a photo for anyone who has not tried this Martin Cleeve inspired method! (with a few more in my album).
I've also the (older) 5C/ER32 square and hex holders - these get used quite a bit too. So I guess the question is how often are you going to need to cut "unusual" angles?
Edited By IanT on 19/09/2013 10:20:24
Edited By IanT on 19/09/2013 10:26:57
|Thread: Cabbage Patch Railway Query|
Ralph posts regularly on the Gauge '3' Forum Carl (perhaps unsuprisingly) under the pseudonym of "Cabbage", so I'd suggest you contact him via the G3 Forum - it's open to non-Society members
I'm sure he'd be pleased to share info with you..
|Thread: Stepperhead feedback|
I had the pleasure of meeting you last year at Sandown and you kindly took the time to talk about the 'hows & whys' of your very innovative lathe. Whilst I doubt that I will ever build such a machine, there are still many small gems/ideas in your description of it that I think could find a use one day.
Like John, my interests/needs do seem to change over time and I often re-read older back issues of MEW & ME and find things that are now relevant to my current activities. The frustating thing is that whilst I sometimes know I've seen something useful somwhere, I often cannot remember exactly where. Seems to be happening more frequently these days I'm afraid!
Anyway, I've found your Stepperhead articles interesting. Thank you for your efforts to document the lathe and I'm sure others (particularly those thinking about building their own 'custom' machine tools) will be re-reading your notes in years to come.
|Thread: Is this the trend in small locos?|
It would be accurate in Gauge '3' Rik and in my view it's not such a bad thing.
The advent of commercial G3 electric loco kits from suppliers such as GRS has helped to encourage newcomers into our scale/gauge and lowered the "entry" cost. I'm not just thinking of money here either, time is also an important factor for many people these days. Not everyone wants to spend several hundred hours (or more) building a live steam engine or learning how to do so.
I say this is not a bad thing, as these new modellers (and they tend to be coming "up-scale" from the smaller railway modelling scales and "down-gauge" from MES circles) have helped to create (and grow) a G3 marketplace that benefits everyone, the live steamers included. For instance, there is a much wider selection of rolling stock and related components available these days. G3 used to be very much a scratch builders hobby and it doesn't seem so many years ago that I used to hacksaw "W" irons out of sheet metal. These days I just get nice laser-cut ones from Williams Models. Simple and a lot quicker.
It may be no co-incidence either that this growth of interest in G3 has resulted in commercial G3 live steam now appearing. The Kingscale G3 Britannia has sold in very healthy numbers and they have been purchased by people who wanted a RTR engine. I know some of them have the skills to build an engine (and some have alreadty done so). So the bottom line is that RTR electric (or steam) all helps to create a positive environment that encourages people into G3. I think this argument would be equally valid for G1 too by the way (I know the argument about steam vs electric sometimes rages within G1MRA too)
So yes, there are lot's of battery electric R/C Gauge '3' engines around these days but fortunately also a growing number of live steam engines too - and not all RTR ones! It certainly doesn't have to be one or the other (I build both types for instance). The reason we use battery electric (rather than 2-rail) btw is because we can then run live steam engines on the same track. I saw an electric loco sent out to 'rescue' a failed live steamer at a GTG just this weekend in fact!
PS The owner of the GTG this weekend uses plastic sleepers too but provided 'track protectors' (made from 12" MDF strips, they fitted between the track in the "steaming" bays) to stop the coal fired engines from damaging his track. Not a problem with gas fired engines it seems.
Edited By IanT on 28/08/2013 15:55:51
|Thread: Machinery's Handbook|
I've got both the 10th and 19th Editions.
Although I tend to use the 19th more, I've found that there are some things not covered in the 19th, that are in the 10th, so I've held on to both of them.
As far as I can tell, they both cover just about everything you are likely to need routinely in normal work but I guess as newer 'technology' comes along, the older stuff gets slipped out of the latest Editions. On this basis, I think any version would be pretty useful but strangely enough, the older versions might just have some info, that whilst long obsolete in Industry could be very useful to a Model Engineer (as Rod says).
I guess a fairly recent Edition would be a good choice but you certainly don't need the latest/newest one. I didn't pay a lot for either of my two copies, so I'd probably look out for one in a S/H bookshop (19th) or Charity Shop (10th) and be guided by the price.
I also use the Tubal Cain reference book very regularly although there is nothing like the depth of detail as there is in a Machinery's Handbook. My TC is well thumbed (e.g. black!) in certain areas and for simple things (drill tapping sizes etc) it tends to be the first thing I turn to on the bookshelf when I can't find the Zeus Tables anywhere (because i've put it down and the little man has moved it!!)
|Thread: Workshop Space|
Having gained two new machines in the past six months or so, I've finally started to move eveything around to accomodate them. I started by measuring all the major units and drawing out a plan of where things might fit (I used CAD to move items around but cardboard cut-outs would have been as good).
As I knew this would take a while, I approached it like one of those plastic puzzles, where you can only move one piece at a time. When I got tired I could just lock up and leave it but still undercover & inside. My larger units have been moved on rollers with a wrecking bar. Took me two afternoons to move the 7" Shaper and stand about 8ft in a 'Z' shaped path to its new location. The drill press was lifted (used two dexion A frames and a rope hoist) and moved on a dolley. I re-erected the A frames to put the drill back on the stand. I've put wheeels on the stand too whilst I had the chance and I'm going to do this with some other units (where possible) as I get to them.
Just moved the big mill (about 1 ton?) about 6ft and through 180 degrees on rollers. Every move has involved shifting other stuff around as the item moved, so there would not be room for an engine crane (assuming I had one). As I shifted things around, I've found things I'd forgotten I even had and I've been trying to group these into designated areas. Still got things to move, just brought a boat winch to lift the Atlas mill off its wooden stand (got the idea from MEW) as the rope hoist was at its limits with the drill press but the A frame itself was solid and will be modified to take the winch. It collapses right up for storage.
Just this re-plan has started to free space and grouping things in the same area seems to be helping too (lots of duplicates for instance). But the bottom line is that I just have too much "stuff" (wood offcuts, comeinhandys, scap metal etc) accumulated over the years and the only answer really is to get rid of some of it. I need to sort through it and make some hard decisions about what might get used. Much of it will probably end up at the tip sooner or later anyway. I'm beginning to accept that it's time I stopped accumulating things and started getting rid of it (old machinery excluded of course!). The last two weeks have been hard work but if I can access (and move) all of my machinery easily and find things more quickly, then it will be well worth it.
|Thread: State of milling table|
The table on my Mk1 HO Victoria Mill is not exactly pristine but then it had done a lifetimes work by the time it came to me (and it probably is older than I am) and she has a few scars to show for it. However, she is still capable of useful work, they made these machines to last and it will probably still be useful after I'm long gone.
It might be nice to have one of those nice new (larger) Chinese machines with an unmarked table (or better still one of those classy Swiss ones!) but then I would have had to pay a good deal more for it, at least to get something anywhere near as solid. Nor is my 'Shed' exactly the ideal place to store new machinery and rust is always a problem.
So Victoria (and my other elderly machines) get regularly wiped down with the proverbial oily rag and I don't worry too much about the bruises and gouges that reveal a long and useful career.
|Thread: Another way to enjoy your hobby|
Good Luck Patrick,
I spent most of my working life in IT, so I'm not exactly a Luddite where it's concerned.
But I have no interest at all in Facebook or Twitter - in fact I try to avoid these 'Social' sites like the plague. I do like Forums though, I guess there is some kind of subtle difference but I've not analysed it deeply. Something to do with getting useful information back (as opposed to useless drivel) I suspect.
So whilst I'm sure you would like to atttract a younger audience to Model Engineering, I doubt that this is a good route to their attentions and I'm pretty sure that it won't appeal that much to many of your existing (cough) "ageing" customers either.
|Thread: What's on this weekend|
We had a great day out at Barry Island on Saturday.
The new 2.5" ground level track was opened on Saturday morning by a local Barry Councilor and a plaque was unveiled by the family of the late Harold Denyer (who will be known to many older modellers). Harold was a G3 Member and left his G3 track to the Society. This was used to create the new Barry Island track. Passengers arriving by Arriva Trains were entertained by Society members enjoying a GTG there afterwards. Room has been left for a 45mm inside track which the G Scale society plan to lay alongside in the future.
There is a short video of a G3 Brittania having a test run on Friday before the official opening there. The long straight is about 90ft long and enables engines to be 'opened up'.
Big Scale - Big Barry
Gauge '3' & G Scale Society at Barry Island Tourist Railway - Sat 27th July
Mainline access via Arriva Trains every 20 minutes. Barry Island beach (funfair, cafes, ice-cream etc) for a great family day out - within a few minutes walk of the Arriva/BTR station..
|Thread: Workshop comms|
An old mobile phone with a pay-as-you go card. Number pre-programmed into home phone.
If it rings - I don't answer it
If it's a short ring - then Tea/Coffee/Dinner will be served in 5 minutes - if it's a long ring then I need to get my butt inside sharpish!
|Thread: Obtain multi-issue article|
I'm by no means an expert on shapers but do own both a 7" Acorn and an Adept No 2, so I have spent some time trying to learn about these interesting machines - and to use them well. I therefore looked forward to the ME shaper articles with some interest but (so far) I can't say my sum total knowledge of shapers has greatly incereased, although I didn't really mind the anecdotal approach. The series may well find its feet as we move further into some more practical notes on actually using the machine and hopefully see some of the more unusual (and useful) work it can do.
However, my advice (in terms of learning material on the use of shapers) would be to save your time (and money) and simply look online for some of the really excellent material that was produced many years ago when the shaper was in more common commercial use.
Many advise getting the Ian Bradley book (which I have a copy of) but the best information source by far in my view is 'Shaper Work - a unit course' by Delmar. I have downloaded most of the units and a quick check shows they are about 179Mb of pdf files. I guess that they were originally some form of correspondence couse for would-be machinists - and they therefore fit my needs very well (a would be self-taught machinist). I've just looked for the download link I used but I'm afraid I can't find it offhand but I'm sure someone else here can help.
|Thread: Barking up the wrong tree|
I like scenic railways too - Gauge '3' ones (2.5" gauge) but I don't have my own garden railway.
Fortunately some of my friends (other G3 Members) do! So "Scenic Railway = Need Big Garden and/or to Build Own Track" is an incorrect assumption. It should not be the first issue (or barrier) when thinking about building an engine in G3. Also true in G1 & 16mm I would think.
Regards, Ian T
PS I like to greet my GTG Host with a cheery "Is this where they are giving out the free Tea & Cakes then? ( This a always seems to go down well!)
|Thread: Shaping Machines|
I've had an Adept for a while and it's been useful for small surfacing jobs, grooving (mainly in brass) and scribing dials etc. I can certainly 'shape' surfaces and edges with it more accurately then I can file things. The work you can do is limited in many ways to how clever you are at work holding and grinding special tooling. However, I would not have the patience to do larger surfaces on it.
I do like shapers (I used one regularly in evening classes a few years back) and recently brought an Acorntools (Atlas) 7" bench shaper. I'm still learning the tool as it's not as simple to use (well!) as it might first appear. Tool shape and 'feed & speed' all have to be just right to get a really great mirror finish - the Adept gave my some experience but the powered machine is another step up both in size and the kind of work I would attempt with it.
I'm already getting a pretty good quality finish (better than vertical milling - and yes, I do have one) but it takes a bit of practice. I've just finished a small vertical miiling attachment for the EW (part of my 'Winter' indoor workshop) and the scrap cast steel lump I used for the raiser block was as hard as rocks. I couldn't get a good (flat) finish in the lathe four-jaw and decided it would screw an end mill pretty quickly but the Acorn went through it no problem at all (using an old HSS lathe tool at that time). The finish was more 'matt' then 'mirror' but this was one of my first jobs with the machine. More importantly, it was dead flat as far as I can measure it. So these tools do take some effort to learn to use but clearly have their uses.
BTW - I could have purchased a (small) chinese mill for about the same money but it would not have been built to the same quality as this machine (made cira early 1950's I'd guess). Just the weight (300 pounds) tells you something about the build quality. Take a hand wheel off and note it is nicely keyed to the shaft and that tells you some more.... I'm not saying the shaper should be the second machine you buy after a lathe for newcomers - but it is a lot more versatile than many MEs might think. My new QC toolholders will get done on it.
Bottom line for me - they aren't making Shapers any more (at least in "Home" sizes) so supply is going to be limited. They are a very nice machine to use and the tooling is real cheap. I will be keeping mine and I will look forward to reading the upcoming shaper articles in ME.
Edited By IanT on 18/06/2013 16:13:29
|Thread: Tangential lathe tool (again!)|
Thought I'd found the problem - but no - it's still not working for me.
Edited By IanT on 08/06/2013 08:50:18
Edited By IanT on 08/06/2013 08:50:38
That was my experience too Michael.
|Thread: Gauge 3 article in issue 4452|
Good to hear that Joseph and you are more than welcome. Whatever you decide to build, I'm sure you will enjoy doing so. As I suggested in the article , 2.5" is a very satisfying & affordable gauge to work in - whether you are interested in scenic or driver hauling operation.
And thank you John. When you resume work on your Dad's Flying Scotsman, I hope you are going to continue sharing your progress with us via your website. You know I need all the help & advice I can get !
|Thread: Tangential lathe tool (again!)|
I can't find him in the Albums section at all. Maybe he's removed them?
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