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: Steam Boat Ban|
The problem that is lurking behind all of this apparently stupid behaviour by our local authorities (and perhaps influencing the boat club's thinking) can be summed up by the term "Compensation Culture"
We have always had people who are willing to take advantage of others for their own gain - the difference being that these days we have legal companies who are very willing to encourage and assist them. Even if common sense would seem to dictate that no real damage has been done - the cost of going to law is very high - so many cases are simply settled out of court. It's a win-win situation for the legal firms involved - they get paid either way.
And even if it was your Mamod that went bang Steve (and so badly frightened the person/horse/dog/cat/pet budgie etc - that they are now a nervous wreck) - you might not have that much money (and not be insured either) but the lawyers know that the Council (who own the pond) have lots and may just decide it's cheaper to settle - a quick win / immediate profit for the lawyers.
It doesn't make any sense but that seems to be the world we now live in - and all we can do is to try and make sure that we minimise our exposure to any such risks (as much as is possible) by taking sensible precautions.
I suspect that some of our Council officials (and Boat Club Chairman?) look at things in much the same way & are also trying to minimise their risks - and even though some of what they do may not seem that sensible to us - it clearly must make sense to them..
It's easy to mock them - but the real problem is the system that allows this abuse of the law in the first place.
No Steve, I think you missed my point.
The days when a member of the public did something stupid (like touching something hot) got hurt, apologised, walked away and was never seen again are - sadly - long gone.
These days you just might get a legal letter six weeks later for damages. So some form of management regime and insurance are important.
In my first post I was assuming that the council had banned live steam boats if they were not under the 'management' (rules) of the local boating club. This made pefect sense to me - as I wouldn't expect anyone to turn up with an steam loco at an MES and just expect to steam.
There was also a lot of emotive mis-information posted here. A boiler under two litres may not need CE marking when new - but it certainly does need regular testing. Much play has been made of "Mamod" boilers - but they still need to be operated safely - and not all boilers in model boats are that small - and if someone with no expereince buys an old steamer on eBay and just wants to just turn up and steam it - would you be happy?
So this was all I was commenting on. However, I have now looked at the New Wirral website and (as Keith stated after my first post) it does seem to be the club itself that has requested this ban. I don't understand why they would want to do this - and if I was a live steam boat modeller - I would not be happy either. But I don't know the reasons behind this decision - so I'm going to leave it there.
Yes Dusty - exactly so.
If you read what I've actually said, I think you will see that I'm simply suggesting that a Boating 'Club' would have an acceptable test regime for live steam boilers. By independant, I simply meant not the boiler's builder or owner - so yes - a club boiler inspector. Our Society has boiler testers and operates guidelines for the safe use of live steam boilers. We are also insured. This all makes perfect sense to me and I really don't see what the fuss is about. I don't think you will find any MES that doesn't operate a form of regular boiler testing and that is not insured against public liability.
And Steve. If you came to me (the council official concerned with health and safety) and assured me that a) no high pressure boilers would ever be used, that b) all the people 'steaming' on the boating lake were completely competent, c) operated safe and tested equipment and d) that because there had never been any incidents in the past that you (personally) were willing to completely indemnify the council against any future claims for injury or damages in this daft world we live in - then perhaps I'd be completely relaxed about allowing anyone to steam whatever they wanted to in a public place under council management.
Or on the other hand, I might just want anyone who used the lake (for live steaming purposes) to be a member of the local model boat Club and to be able to meet whatever requirements the Club laid down for its membership in respect of live steam boilers - if only in order to meet the requirements of the Club's insurance company.
Well I can see I'm in a minority of one here and I will admit to not knowing what kind of live steam boats are in use - or what kind (or size) of boilers they might be fitted with.
But even a "Dunnderhead" (like myself) knows a little about the expansive qualities of steam - enough not to compare a live steam boiler to a central heating boiler for instance - or an aerosol can (although I would suggest you don't throw one on a fire!).
As to small boilers (& not needing testing or insurance) I think we may be confusing the need for new boilers (under 2 litres) not to be CE stamped although smaller new boilers still need to be built to "Sound Engineering Principles" (SEP) - and of course none of this applies to a boiler built by a hobbyist for their own use - which to my mind makes some form of regular (independent) inspection regime even more important..
But even a small "low-presure" boiler can be potentially dangerous if (say) the safety valve is stuck and I most certainly wouldn't want my hand near one (or a childs) if this were the case. Couple that to the existance of ambulance chasing lawyers in this country these days and I feel caution is a sensible approach in these matters.
This is just my view - and you are (of course) more than welcome to yours.
Well Chris, (for a change) I have some sympathy for the Council.
Are these live steam boat owners operating high pressure boilers? If so are they subject to some form of regular boiler testing regime? Do they have appropriate public liability insurance? Do they operate a code of practice designed to protect members of the public from them (and vice versa).
These are all matters that every Model Engineering Club or Society has to consider and take suitable measures to address. Even at private GTGs - our Hosts allow no one to steam any engine without the production of a valid boiler certificate.
If they haven't already done so - I'd suggest the local boating enthusiasts form a Club and organise the neccessary boiler testing and get themselves insured appropriately - and then they might find the local council more receptive.
|Thread: Invention and technical development .|
Well standards of living (and therefore wages) across the world will equalise over time (maybe not in my lifetime though).
This means the Chinese (and other so-called third world nations) will want higher pay and we may have to start accepting less. As the price of oil continues to rise it will also cost a lot more to ship stuff around the world.
So for many reasons, imports are likely to cost more and the steady deflation we've seen in prices for manufactured goods (for instance machine tools?) over the last 20-30 years will end.
Then I expect interest in making things for ourselves (as a nation) will increase - and perhaps we'll even start training our young in useful skills that help keep the wheels of our society turning - like repairing things rather than throwing them away when a minor part breaks.
You never know it might even be affordable (and even neccessary) to 'Buy British' again.
|Thread: Mystery Tools|
They look like "spear" point drills - probably a watchmakers set
|Thread: Stringer EW lathe|
It sounds like your Dads got a really good deal there Steve.
The small "economy" QCTH will fit the EW quite simply and does make life easier. I've got mine fitted with my 'brass' tooling (i.e. no top rake) but I still use the original toolholder set-up for my 'Diamond' and other tooling better suited to steel.
I suspect the chuck that came with the lathe is a "scroll" type - there will be a knurled outside and no chuck key as such? Rather like a large self-locking drill chuck? They are usually of very good quality (I've never seen a cheap imported one) and if it has not been abused then should still give very good service.
Anyway - I'm sure your Dad will enjoy his new lathe - the EW is an ideal size for clock-making, being large enough for most (if not all) work in this area.
I've just been re-reading the John Wilding 'beginner' articles from ME (about 1980'ish?) and although I don't make clocks - his advice has been very useful with my own work. I will admit that I had thought clockmakers used tiny lathes ('turns') but JW says not, only for pivots etc - he actually seems to use a Myford Super7 but I'm sure he would approve of the EW for this work too!
Please give your Dad our best wishes.
|Thread: silver solder with butane|
For small items/fabrications - you can add some heat quite simply if you have a gas hob.
I have a steel plate about 150mm x 100 mm by 5-6mm thick that I place on the gas hob and use to 'pre-heat' any small items I intend to solder. This heats everything up very nicely - although I don't let the plate get "red" hot (or anywhere near it).
For soft soldering that's all that is needed but it also helps get the general temperature up for silver soldering too. I've used both small butane and propane gas burners using this method and it definitely helps and it also keeps the cost of replacing gas cylinders down.
|Thread: Drill Chuck Keys|
Thank you for the feedback - the 'Jacobs' website has some useful info on their product range & I now have a PDF that lists their keyed chuck sizes with holding range. The key for each chuck is also listed as being "Kxx" but no dimensions are given - perhaps unsuprisingly.
Can anyone point me to the main dimensions of these keys - i.e. key 'pitch' & peg diameter?
|Thread: Stringer EW lathe|
Hi Keith - and welcome to the EW Owners Club!
The EW had no clutch fitted as such - the leadscrew is permanently engaged as built. This was addressed by Martin Cleeve in his ME articles on "upgrading" the EW by modifying the leadscrew and fitting a dog-clutch. This has the added advantage of helping screwcut more easily - as you don't need a thread gauge on the leadscrew to pick up a thread correctly. MC was a big fan of (single tooth) dog clutches for this reason alone.
We (the other members of this exclusive club) have been sharing information off-line - and if you would like to read the MC articles for instance - that can be arranged.
Suggest you email me if you want to know more.
PS I know Ruaidhri - I guess you would liike the other bits scanned too?
|Thread: Drill Chuck Keys|
I have a small drill chuck - pre mounted on an MT2 taper - that unlike my other drill chucks wil take fairly small drill bits. It also seems to be a quality product. So it would normally be getting well used.
It is however missing the chuck key and search as I may at shows etc - I've never found one with the right tooth/hole combination.
Obviously 'Jacobs' drill chucks had different sized keys - but I've never seen their dimensions published. And did other manufacturers use Jacobs as a guide - or was it just suit themselves?
|Thread: Stringer EW lathe|
I don't see them advertised too often Tony - but I'm sure there must be a few around.
It's possible they are being passed around in 'Modelling' circles as treasured possessions. They are a good sized little lathe for any railway or marine modeller.
Why not try the ME "Wanted" list on here - maybe an Model 'Engineer' will have moved up in lathe sizes and has an EW lying around not doing too much these days?
Worth a try & doesn't cost anything either. Perfect!
|Thread: Flycutter with 2 Morse taper and M10 thread|
I had the same problem (e.g. my Flycutter had a 3/8 thread)- and I simply made an adaptor (3/8" > M10). It lives permanently on the end of the morse taper and Iuse the one M10 drawbar for everything.
|Thread: Stringer EW lathe|
That's beginning to look a lot better Ruaidhri!
Interesting to see the original countershaft in more detail. If I need better bearings (than the plain 'Picadors') I might build a Mark 2 C/S and that looks like a neat arrangement - how does the "tensioner" work do you think?.
BTW - If you do have the original motor and pulleys - I'd be interested in what you think the original available "speeds" were (as sold). I'm probably running mine a bit fast.
I've posted some photos as promised. Please note that these pictures are ALL posed - I was starting to strip the lathe down, so I've just placed things in postion (mostly) to give you some idea of what the tool is capable of.
Showing my crude (but useable countershaft and the backgear arrangement. The change wheel quadrant is not fitted. I have a full set of (steel) change wheels though. And yes, the wiring will be tidied up and everything enclosed!
The ER32 collett chuck works well - the diamond tool (from my Myford) is a bit big and therefore has limited travel - but is easy to sharpen and gives an excellent finish.
Didn't actually fit them - but you can see that the boring table and vertical slide (with the ER chuck) will provide a useful milling facility for small parts
I mentioned this in an earlier post I think - but here is the Gauge 3 'Sterling' driving wheel leaning against the EW 5" faceplate. The casting is 118mm in diameter and in backgear with a tipped tool - I think I could turn this on the EW if I had to. I'd probably use a mandrel mounted in the collet chuck though..
So I hope this gives you some idea of what a potentially useful small machine the EW is and why I think it would be just fine for the majority of your modelling needs.
Any lathe will have what you might call an ideal "range" - so if your needs include a very wide range of material sizes to be machined - then one machine may not meet them all.
The Cowells for instance is a 1.75" x 8" lathe (88.9mm x 203mm) lathe and is often described as a "minature lathe". Some versions can run up to 4,000 rpm - very useful for some fine drilling operations. It would tend to be more useful for "watchmaking" than a larger lathe - and if your modelling included a great deal of 'watchmaking' sized operations, then it might be ideal. Since you wish to turn OD 85mm brass - then with a total swing of 89mm - this is probably not the one for you.
The EW should handle this however - as I'm sure most other larger lathes would also do, including the EMCO. It's Horses for Courses. There is also the small matter of cost.
Chris make a good point about how much metal you can remove with a smaller lathe - but "all day" might be an exageration. Rex Tingey (of Unimat fame) used to recommend that a hacksaw was a very useful accessory for a Unimat - and he used to roughly cut away unwanted material before he started to machine down to final finish dimensions. I find this very good advice and have been known to do the same (even on work being done on the Myford S7).
I've started to strip the EW down for cleaning and rust removal - but will set some shots up to give you an idea.
PS Ruaidhri - I'll get some more MC articles to you before too long.
I model in Gauge '3' (at 13.5mm to the foot and 63.5mm gauge) and I don't think there is very much that I couldn't do on the EW if I really needed to.
In fact, from curiosity, I've just looked at a wheel casting that I have for an 8' Stirling 4-2-2 and at 115mm diameter - this casting will fit onto the EW faceplate or (with a mandrel) onto my ER32 chuck (that I've just fitted to the EW). So I could swing it.
I'd probably still use the Myford - partly because I already have one but also because the cast iron would most likely make a mess that is best kept in the workshop. But the EW would be capable of turning this in backgear with a bit of thought and a slightly different toolpost set-up (The swing is one issue in determining cutting diameter - the cross-slide travel is another)
Larger lathes are certainly useful to have sometimes but you can't normally pick them up to move them about, generally don't use them indoors and good "big" ones tend to cost a lot more than good "little-ens" (especially good Myfords).
Assuming that you want a lathe to build in a model railway scale smaller than Gauge '3' - then I can see no reason why an EW (or similar) would not be a good & affordable choice.
Regards, Ian T
I cannot tell you what prices EW lathes command generally Tony - but I'm happy to tell you what I paid for mine.
The lathe with compound top-slide, 3-jaw, 4-jaw, MT1 Drill chuck, vertical slide, boring table, backgear assembly, pulleys, driving plate for between centres turning, 125mm diameter faceplate, "economy" QCTH (with one toolholder) and a box of bits and pieces cost 250 GBP. This was last Autumn from a well known tool-dealer, so included VAT (at 17.5%). (See the photo in the thread above for "an as purchased" photo)
I was very happy to pay this price and consider the machine excellent value. I've had to build a countershaft (but used the picador bearings and pulleys sold with the lathe). I had a small fractional HP capacitor start motor in my scrap bin. I suspect the lack of motor etc was reflected in the price - but it was not a big issue for me. In terms of size the EW is larger than a Sieg C0 and very slightly smaller (in swing) than the C1. I have not used either of these machines - but the EW has some very solid castings and there is nothing i can't repair or replace if I need to.
You can buy a new baby C0 for just over 200GBP and a C1 for just under 300GBP. I have not tried to cost all the EW accessories - but they would certainly add up. So the best I can suggest is that the Chinese lathes do seem to be keeping these older machines at afforable prices and that I am very pleased with my machine. A very good buy as far as I am concerned.
I'm afraid I cannot tell you too much about the Cowell 90ME - although Cowells had a very good reputation. What I can tell you is that the EW is a very well made and robust little lathe that I think is an ideal size for "Railway Modelling". I already have a Myford Super 7 (albeit a bit long in the tooth) and an even older Lorch. Both of these have needed some patience to bring them "up" and in my experience it tends to be a circular experience (e.g make some improvements - solve some problems - find some new issues - resolve them etc etc).
My EW came assembled but with everything "loose" and with no countershaft or motor. I've built a Mk1 Countershaft (still needs some work & couild be improved) but it has been enough to get the EW running. I've also been able to fit an ER32 collet chuck to an existing backplate and fit my 'Diamond' tool on the EW topslide. I've made some simple boiler fittings (I build in Gauge '3'  and I am very happy with the results. I was able to sit inside in the warm - and I am much more likely to do work now - rather than go down to my resonably well equipped (but pretty frosty) workshop.
Since this post started I have also been in contact with Ruaidhri and another EW owner. Some years ago Martin Cleeeve published quite a collection of articles over several tears on improving the EW and these are a very useful resource in my view.
In terms of 'swing' the EW centre height is just over 60mm - so in theory you could turn upto 120mm but you are limited by the topslide movement. A Reg Tingey "round the corner" toolholder (as he describes for the Unimat) would help the EW here.
Bit busy this morning but I will post more if you are interested.
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