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Member postings for Clive Foster

Here is a list of all the postings Clive Foster has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Lifting and moving a Downham Jig Borer
23/05/2019 10:40:09

#2 on lifting and moving the whole pallet with it still laid down. Pallets go fairly well on pipe rollers but won't slide along steel bars laid down railway fashion. In the past I always used rollers and dollies but, since being introduced to the use or steel bar rails I find them preferable. Especially with tall machines.

Dunno exactly how things are laid out at your place but I have a similar step into my workshop. Best option is to get the whole pallet in then stand the machine up on steel bar rails just in front of where it has to go then slide it back to place. Getting the rails out might be interesting if you haven't made provision for lifting the rear of the machine. If its back against a wall and your roof / wall attachments are strong I'd arrange a permanent lifter. Big ratchet straps can be repurposed for such duties and are well up to lifting the rear of such machines an inch or so for the rails to slide in. Usual crowbar and wedges at the front.

If you can't get the pallet in the workshop then block it up at the door so the to is a little higher than the floor. Make sure that the pallet can't move when uprighting. I've screwed them to the floor in the past.

Usual rule applies. Take it slow. Think breaks and cuppa breaks. Crib up as you go so it can't fall. Never forget that pallets are throw-aways. Cutting to aid movement and screwing blocks, cribs et al on is fine.


Thread: Cast Iron For Boxford Change Gears?
21/05/2019 13:17:58

Delrin would be up to the job and far easier and cleaner to machine than cast iron. I guess £10 - £20 worth of 10 mm thick sheet would do. Fairly easy to obtain from E-Bay or other sources.


Thread: Harrison L5 thread cutting
18/05/2019 13:48:19


I assume you have the standard L5 with three speed feed box rather than the full screwcutting version. If so the charts shown here :- **LINK**

are probably correct. Not sure what computer software and printing capabilities you have but it should be possible to work up your own without unreasonable effort. I find laminating ordinary printouts in the usual plastic pouches gives an adequately durable data panel. Replicating if it does get damaged is simple so long as you remeber to save the original. I have a cheap laminator from LiDL which does such jobs just fine.

Cant find a nice download picture of the metric conversion data but I do have a copy of the table from the manual. PM me if you'd like a basic copy.


Thread: Smart & Brown Model A
17/05/2019 21:08:53


When it comes to moving machines both the Model A and 1024 can be shifted on pipe rollers or, often better, by sliding along steel rods laid rail fashion. Rail fashion rods tend to work much easier on a not quite flat concrete floor especially so if the final tamping has left slight ridges. If you have a really good surface such as proper floor coating / "paint", old fashioned metal loaded lino type "stuff' or the waterproof chipboard underflooring sheets that I have shallow roller devices work well. Basically up-engineered versions of the cheap ones sold for home owners moving cookers and other white goods.

The picture shows what I use with the 1024. Not sure how relevant the details will be to a Model A but it may spark some ideas. The roller frames were welded up from 1" square tubing off-cuts from the speed-frame system. Roller heads are about 4" square. The parts carrying the rollers were converted to U shape by milling off one side. Rollers are 1" nominal diameter nylon just under 1/2" wide so two fit inside each section of speed frame with thin separator collars about 1/2" diameter to reduce rubbing friction. Axles are 1/4" steel rod. Because the axle span inside the speed frame U sections is short the load capacity is "considerable". Lots of small rollers means the device can turn large radii without too much scuffing. Complex manoeuvres require a good deal of lifting and repositioning under the machine tho'.

The 1025 has 4 holes to take lifting rods. Old style 1" bore, thick wall, steel water pipe fits nicely. I modified some car jacks to fit securely in the pipes for easy lifting. Rover SD1 jack in the back corner permanently attached with the handle replaced by a welded on nut. Being tall it can be reached over the top of the lathe without serious contortions. Ford Capri one slides in on front tailstock end, Lancia HPE one at front headstock end and, I think, Citroen or Renault one fits in the back. Not sure about the last one as it was scavenged from a friends throw away pile.

lathe lift ga.jpg

1024 feet are shallow so a normal toe jack won't go under. I have used a click-click climb up then pole type farm jack in the aperture provided at the headstock end to get at the electrical relays after removing the door but this was less than stable. Done once only to slide 1/2" steel rod rails under and subsequently to remove them.

Hope this helps.


Edited By Clive Foster on 17/05/2019 21:12:13

17/05/2019 13:29:09

Agree with Lathejack about the rock solidity, durability and high quality of the S&B Model A. If looking to buy one definitely go for a Mk 2 unless the price is very right on a Mk 1. Although the difference is, as says, pretty much just a matter of tidying up details the end result is a far nicer machine to use.

Objectively the major disadvantages of the S&B A are the screwfitting spindle nose and small spindle bore. I'd also find it an irritating faff to change the belt over for high / low range speed shifting. Although, to be fair most jobs will be either high range or low range ones so in practice the belt won't need shifting as often as might be expected. Before buying one do verify that the belt is in good order as a replacement needs to be joined in situ. Not massively difficult but its one of those jobs that most folk need to do a couple or three times before you get the technique nailed down. Irritating on a job you will only do once.

VFD drive would get round the belt swopping business but the motor will almost certainly be hard wired 440 volts (220-380 was an option but rare in the UK) so its either get inside to alter the connections or fit a new motor. The S&B DNA demands heavy motor mount assemblies with very little access room. Pulling the motor for mods ready for VFD fitting will be a serious work out.

If properly lubricated and in good order the spindle bearings pretty much "last for ever". Which is good as you seriously do not want to faff about getting adjustment right or (quadruple eek!) pull the spindle.

The standard threads list is a little limited by some standards but the 27 provided should handle most things. It should have the excellent ball bearing intermediate gear assembly in the end gear train. Conversion between imperial and metric thread is generally easier than with many lathes beacuse the 127 conversion gear goes on the gearbox input shaft so a compound gear is not required for almost all metric pitches below 2 mm. Coarser than 2 mm needs a compound gear.  Pretty sure fitting a compound gear involves removing the banjo to change the stud assembly to take plain bore gears, as per the 1024 in standard form, which is a PIA.  I believe the gear specifications are the same as my 1024 so if you need more most can be got off the shelf from folk like HPC. Considerably cheaper than the usual hunt for factory specials.

Its heavy. Around 1,300 lb, just over half a ton, bare.

Bottom line is its a seriously good machine but I have to say that, were I in that market, I'd keep looking for a decent 1024 VSL which isn't much bigger overall but has usefully larger capacity. But I'm biased 'cos thats what I did with no regrets once we'd sweated, strained and cursed it into place. Twice the weight of the A!

I have a PDF version of the manual. PM me if you'd like to see it. But frankly there is very little of great import inside.


Edited By Clive Foster on 17/05/2019 13:31:20

Edited By Clive Foster on 17/05/2019 13:41:58

Thread: fobco drill
14/05/2019 20:04:31


If yours doesn't have the internal collar clamp system and if there is enough metal around the the bolt holes to allow them to be enlarged a little I'd seriously consider retrofitting a collar style. Collars don't have to be very big to be extremely effective.

(OT example :- Back in working days we had some Thor labs 2" diameter vertical column style optical mounts in the lab using similar collars in brass to hold the attachments in place. Itty bitty 6 mm socket head clamp screws. Let the boss in for a play once and he, ignoring my advice, leant hard on the standard key. Major, major battle to get it off again. Once my temper had subsided I set up a demo getting him to balance on it via a right angle bracket after doing the screw up with a screwdriver handle type key, not the usual L thing. Much to his amazement it didn't move. Big lad too, 12 or 13 stone. )

I've heard say that brass on steel gives more grip than steel on steel.


14/05/2019 18:04:01

Ah! What Ian says sounds familiar.

I now recall a friend saying many years ago that he found a similar problem on "something" caused by "someone" fitting oversize washers under either, or both, bolt head and nut so the two collars couldn't pull together and grip the shaft. Basically converting it from something that used two loose collars provide the grip, as Ian described, into a simple close up the slit system.

Dunno whether such an error is possible with the Fobco arrangement but if it is it's awfully easy for someone not up on the twin collar system to make. Hafta say I've personally never seen the two collar arrangement used with a slit in the housing. The half dozen ones I've encountered all sat in solid bores leaving me wondering how it all worked. I think frustration got the better of me the second or third time and the offending article dismantled for a look-see!


14/05/2019 14:51:17

Pretty sure that the slit doesn't go right to the bottom on Fobco drills. For example see the lower picture of the restored one on this page :- **LINK**

Had similar issues with poor grip of cast iron ring clamps on high quality machines (albeit not drill tables) a couple of times before.

First one went away after disassembly, careful inspection and clean up. Can't recall exactly what the problem was but it may have been a raised thread stopping the slit closing. That one had a thread one side of the clamp not a simple through bolt. Dunno what the Fobco has.

Second one was a fracture in the clamp region. Nicely filled and painted over by previous owner! Welding sorted that one.

Time to take it apart and get the magnifying glass out. Fobco drills are generally considered very good so having the casting split for only part of its depth is unlikely to be the true cause. There are engineering reasons why it was done that way. Whether it actually makes any difference when compared to an equally well engineered fully split system I know not.


Thread: Vanco linisher
14/05/2019 09:57:02

I too have found that the adhesive joint on belts doesn't hold up well in storage. About 5 years in my case. So buying a bargain batch rarely works. Especially if you have a higher quality (usually = silly expensive) machine that the usual commodity level variety as the belts seem to last much longer. I'm expecting about 5 times more belt life from my Morrisflex than I got from the Draper I used before. Expecting not knowing 'cos the apparently well worn belt it came with is still going strong despite my first assessment of it having only a few weeks left in it!

Problem with re-joining is getting the belts straight. Pal I gave the old Draper too took the spare belts, some broken, and tried to rejoin them. Not sure what he used but sticking appeared tob e no problem. Straight enough to run true being a different matter. Despite making what appeared to be a functional jig he decided that life was too short to sort things.


Thread: Brazing torch
11/05/2019 15:14:12

I think we went round a similar question 4 or 5 years ago and concluded that you needed an adapter (+ hose?) to go between the patio gas bottle and standard torch regulator. Seems to me that the standard kit hoses are a bit on the short side for hooking up to a big bottle.

I imagine there ought to be an auto-shut off device somewhere in the line, or even at both ends, just in case things go seriously wrong like the hose being cut or a connector coming loose.

Various adapters listed by these folk, Leisureshop Direct, **LINK** which may or may not be directly useful but the link does give some idea of whats out there.


Thread: Taper attachment
11/05/2019 14:17:36


Tangent tables are your friend when it comes to tapers.

Unfortunately funny numbers, whether degrees, distance per foot or both (eek) go together like ham and eggs when it comes to tapers.

Best way I've found to set things is to run a dial gauge against a bar in chuck or collet truly aligned to the bed using the bed-stop and an accurately measured distance piece to set the baseline. My parallels are 6" long so one makes a great distance piece when working in taper per foot. Setting up a second bed-stop on the other side of the saddle makes life even easier.

It helps to set your measurement baseline central, or at least close to it, on the taper turning device. That way you can get very close by simple measurement at one end of the travel set by the distance piece. So long as your set-up distance centre and taper turner pivot centres are decently close simply splitting the differences between indicator readings will bring you close enough for most jobs. Hafta work a little harder for Morse tapers tho'.

Once set-up you can cut your taper anywhere along the device but some lathes with telescopic cross slide screws have only limited travel and can run out of movement towards the end of the taper slide on larger angles. Found that out the hard way on my SouthBend Heavy 10.


Thread: Which thread for T nuts
09/05/2019 17:56:52

Stick with M10 to hold the vice and, if you have or will have one, rotary table. Whilst on the subject of vices take a look at the recent thread on aligning vices and decide what method for rapid, adequately accurate alignment will suit you and your work best. For now. Of the quick and simple methods using M10 on special, fixed stud, Tee nuts would work with my pull back against the slots method. Going down to 8 mm would suit Vics version with an inverted Tee nut locating in the vice. Hafta say that if I were starting over I'd follow Vic version. Something better and more engineered comes later when you feel the need.

For general purpose Tee nuts on a machine of that size I'd go down to 6 mm, maybe even a few 4 mm ones too. The smaller sizes give you more options for passing studs through small jobs whlist still leaving room to machine things. Also let you use very short clamp bars. When I first had my little BCA the most used clamp bars were less than 2" long with integrated jack screws rather than the usual step blocks. Your relatively large slots take up a good deal of room on the small table. Consider making some clamp down straps with integrated 10 mm studs able to pass down into the slots. Often much more convenient than trying to bridge the slots so that ordinary step blocks can be used.

Something to consider in future is whether a grid of tapped holes plate will work better for you at holding things down than the Tee slot table. For example bought an aluminium breadboard with M6 tapped holes from Thor labs **LINK** to use with my, now long departed, BCA and found it well worth them money. Making would have been cheaper but I was relatively time poor and cash rich at the time. Tapping umpteen holes is boring too. Correct material for DIY would have been tooling plate which is relatlively expensive eating into DIY savings. If the size is right a double density version might be even better **LINK**. DIY means you can do what's perfect for you but it is more work.


Thread: Fobco Star Modifications
09/05/2019 16:19:25


What you are proposing will end up being a pretty serious expenditure of effort and money. Unless you have suitable material stashed away a new column won't be cheap and making a new spindle will be a fairly serious undertaking. Need a decent size, accurate lathe to do the job easily. Then there is the wind-up mechanism mentioned by David which is pretty much essential for a floor mounted metal working drill. Partial offload of table plus tool weight by either a gas strut or simple hanging weight is OK on wood working drills but doesn't work that well with the generally heavier stuff involved in metalworking.

Had a Pollard Corona type primarily intended for woodworkers having a hanging counterweight which came close to OK. But the table ran on box ways and was very heavy giving less relative change in weight when work was mounted up. Box ways stopped the table twisting so heaving up didn't upset the alignment. I feel that on a round column you'd never get it straight again after moving up if you don't have mechanical lifter. Whether the common rack and handle type or Pollard style double screw-jack.

Finally, although the Star is a more than decent quality drill its the big 7-Eight and 10-Eight that are the standout floor standing versions. In my view about as good as a round column floor standing drill can go.

If the price is right buy it, use it for now and be prepared to trade up when the right machine comes along. Always a ready market for good quality bench drills at acceptable prices. Floor standing ones, especially hefty floor standing ones can be hard to shift. My Pollard 15AY cost me £100 plus collection which, objectively, was silly.


Thread: Double ended milling cutters
09/05/2019 12:27:34

I have some brand name HSS and carbide double ended cutters so "known good" ones can be got.

That said I shan't be getting more unless the price is silly low. In practice the major issue is protecting the second end from inadvertent damage during insertion, removal and storage. Sometime it's hard enough to concentrate on one sharp end let alone two. Its a question of odds really. I know you, like me, will be careful but given that, depending on what you do, a cutter may go in and out of its holder perhaps a hundred (or more) times before becoming unacceptably blunt there is plenty of opportunity for the silly slip-up.

Although considered old hat now I like the Clarkson screw in type purely because there is so much less opportunity for the "Ooops, naughty words" moment. When you are unscrewing a cutter that is all you are doing. None of this business of releasing a collet with one hand and catching the cutter with the other. Native R8 on my Bridgeport being a particular pain with one arm reaching well up to get a hand on the drawbar spanner and the other waist high (ish) to catch the cutter. Most especially if its a big shank pulled up tight with a second heave!


(5 years on the air drawbar kit is still in the box)

Edited By Clive Foster on 09/05/2019 12:28:36

Thread: Setting Milling-machine Vice
05/05/2019 10:41:06
Posted by Vic on 05/05/2019 09:57:06:

Yes I’ve heard of that one. I made a couple of stepped sleeves that are an interference fit on my vice mounting holes and a snug fit in the tee slots. Simply placed on the table with the sleeves in the slots and it’s within about one thou. If I’m really picky I clock it as well but it doesn’t take long.

Good one Vic. Been meaning to do something similar for mumble-mumble years but for now the "temporary expedient" of simply pulling the vice back or pushing it forwards so both holding down bolts are hard against the same side of the slots works well enough to similar thou and a (variable) bit over vice jaw width (4 inch) accuracy.

One of the times where retaining the rotary base mount helps. Going by the graduations the tee slot sides on mine are maybe 1/4° out of parallel. Having a Bridgeport means I've got enough vertical table to spindle clearance that the odd inch or so of rotary base thickness is irrelevant for all seen jobs.

Folk with less space should consider machining the slot sides dead true to the vice jaws. Obvious way is invert the vice and grab a stout bar on the machine table trammed dead true to the slots with the jaws. Withe everything made nicely snug sub-thou accuracy when just boring things down should be the norm. When I did something similar for another job I cut the slots a little wider for a snug fitting T washer rather than rely on just snugging up against the bolt. Worked well, maybe ± 1/4 thou accuracy as I recall things, but may have been a refinement too far.

Even after machining the slots you are probably never going to get things dead nuts on to a tenth thou or less so be sensible to make an additional bolt with a slightly reduced shank so you can pivot one side as suggested by Richard. If you make up a two way screw pusher thingy for controlled movement going from close to dead on will be very fast.

As always if something is going to be dead on every time its likely to be too tight to shift easily.

Its worth making decent arrangements to rapidly mount a lever type indicator for tramming purposes. My Bridgeport has a handy boss and clamp screw arrangement on the side so I med up a rod and tilting clamp affair to carry the indicator. Takes less than a minute to set up including the time taken to hook the indicator out of the cupboard.


Edited By Clive Foster on 05/05/2019 10:41:38

Edited By Clive Foster on 05/05/2019 10:42:07

Thread: Omnimill 00
04/05/2019 00:04:28
Posted by Ian McVickers on 03/05/2019 21:50:11:

Peter, the hole in the casting is meant to be there. Not sure whats its for yet though.

Think its for the overarm locking widget.


Thread: Precision Level or Precision Frame Level
03/05/2019 19:07:48

If I didn't already have mine I'd be seriously tempted to make something functionally similar. Start by strapping one of the short, inexpensive, import bar levels to a sine bar style pivoting plate on a flat base. Add a vertical screw to adjust the pivot. For quick and dirty I'd probably have proper full circle pivot pins at each end of the bar. Then drill and tap the one at the moving end for the screw. Put another pivot in the base at the moving end and drill part way through to form a location for the end of the screw. 5° movement should be plenty. Being able to go an extra couple of degrees below horizontal.

Proper calibration like mine is handy but only necessary if you are using it to measure things.

For levelling the screw adjuster is just there to keep the bubble in view whilst you get close. Finish off by switching end for end until the bubble stays in the same, or near enough the same, place. Always remember that the objective is to get the thing bolted down, or standing on its own feet if its a bigger beast, with no extraneous stress on the bed. The level just tells you when making an adjustment or tightening a bolt is straining things.

100 mm long levels seem to be in the £30 range so could be sat on a pivoting bar from 4 to 6 inches long. Close to 1° per turn is 10 tpi for 6", 11.5 tpi for 5" and 14 tpi for 4" between pivot and screw. I'd probably go for 11 tpi on 5.22" between pivots as being very close as one of my lathes has 11 tpi on the screw cutting box. Or if you are metric 2 mm pitch on 115 mm between pivot and screw is very close to 1°.

If you do go that way don't be tempted by the 0.02 mm / m ones. Unless you can stop breathing!


02/05/2019 21:51:37


The Starrett Master Precision Level sensitivity is quoted as 10 seconds of arc per division. This corresponds to a slope of 0.0005 inches (half a thou) per foot or 0.04 mm (40 microns) per metre.

In my vernacular a total pain in the butt to use as the slightest touch takes the bubble out of view.

My old gunners clinometer, picture about the middle of page 2, is slightly less sensitive at 30 seconds of arc per division, 0.0015 inches (one and a half thou) per foot or 0.120 mm (120 microns) per metre. The divisions are approximately 2 mm apart so its easy to estimate 1/4 of a division. Being so small the clinometer can easily be reversed end for end so the effective sensitivity is doubled. In practice it runs a Starrett Master Precision level so close that any difference is more likely to be operator error than real.

The huge practical advantage of my clinometer that it has a screw adjuster calibrated in minutes of arc over a 5° range. Keeping the bubble in sight for any rational error is easy and tracking changes in level due to adjustments is almost trivial.

By far the easiest way to level a machine. If you can find one grab it and don't loan it out.

There are other styles of sensitive clinometer, most significantly less easy to use for this purpose, but all far less frustrating than a master precision level.


Edited By Clive Foster on 02/05/2019 21:53:44

Thread: Make new crossslide feed screw
02/05/2019 14:28:41

I've done the fit new threads to existing geared shaft thing about three times now on Boxford / SouthBend cross slides. I silver soldered spigots about 1" long into the drilled out gear. Worked well then but now I'd follow Duncan and use high strength Loctite. In one case I used just the gear fitting a new thread one side and new handle / dial carrier the other. (Boxford cross slide on SouthBend lathe apron, gears aren't the same.)

Don't forget thread hand. I think you will need left hand. Affordable options all seem to be right hand.

Hafta fabricate your own mount or make the whole nut unit yourself. I'd be inclined to try the heat-up and mould delrin around the rod method myself. Need to make a carrier but screwcutting really good small threads isn't walk in the park.


Thread: ST governour
01/05/2019 15:29:30

I wonder if you may have concentricity errors or uneven cutting loads which will have essentially the same effect.

That thin wall is weak and any eccentricity of loading will severely stress it. Normal dies don't need to be made to high standards of concentricity between body and thread. Obviously they will be close as any great error makes manufacture harder but trying for dead nuts is wasted (expensive) effort for all normal uses. Tailstock die holders won't be perfect either.

So there is almost certainly going to be some sort of error in alignment between die and work.

Almost certainly the error will be less than the inevitable float and clearances in the die holder system so, if the part is sufficiently strong, the die will be drawn into alignment as it cuts. The part will bend a touch to take up the load but normally that's of no consequence. However a sufficiently weak part won't be strong enough to draw things into alignment and will break, tear or distort.

Supporting the hollow, thin wall, part with a decently fitted rod up the middle makes it much stiffer and therefore able to cope with deflection loads.


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