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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: Vertex rotary table
13/12/2011 08:51:58

Yet another satisfied customer agreeing that Vertex made a good fist of the price / quality / performance balance. Mine is an 8".

 

Couple of niggles tho'.
 
Firstly the hand wheel is large enough to overhang the bottom of the table when horizontal so you have to ensure that it overhangs the machine table or pack it up. Occasionally an issue for me when using it on my square column Chester Lux style mill where, as usual with these machines, the spindle axis covers little more than the inner half of the table Y travel. This also means you need to make a stepped base if you want to store it horizontal.
 
Secondly, and this applies to all the smaller rotary tables, there really isn't room to use the conventional Tee nut, stud, clamp bar and step block / jacking bolt system. Even if the work is small the usual kits are too bulky so you need to get creative. Pity there is nothing more suitable off the shelf to get you going. When you do get creative remember that any Tee nut used purely to hold a stud should have a nut and washer holding it down onto the top of the table. Running the stud through and pushing up is unkind. I got hold of a small inch thick aluminium optical breadboard from Thor labs having a grid of 6 mm tapped holes at 25 mm spacing and bolted that to the table which was very effective for a lot of jobs and not silly expensive. Very tough anodised surface.
 
Even small tables are pretty heavy. For the 8" I made a pull out shelf on ball bearing drawer runners. Far better than wrestling out of a drawer or cupboard as you have a clean vertical lift.
 
Having now scaled up and become a Bridgeport user the Vertex table is on the disposals "when I get round to it" list. The extra real estate of the 10" and 12" tables I now use makes life much easier.
 
Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 13/12/2011 08:52:53

Thread: Greiner Ultrasonic Cleaner Repairs
08/12/2011 22:55:48
This link to a Harley Davidson motorcycle forum
http://www.harley-davidson-hangout.com/forum/hdrcgb-tech-tips/95261-ultrasonic-cleaners-how-make.html
refers to home building a 3 gallon capacity ultrasonic cleaner from a redundant deep fat fryer tank.
It says that transducers and power supply for a 3 gallon tank were got for £76 (ish) which maybe within your budget. Thread started in September this year so may well be adequately up to date.
Given the age and voltages involved in a valve driven tank I'd feel a lot safer going new new even though I theoretically have the electronics knowledge to sort one.
 
Clive
Thread: Tipped Tools
29/11/2011 22:34:26

First off inserted tip tools are, in general and massively oversimplifying, designed and engineered to work best for fairly specific jobs under fairly specific conditions. This means industrial strength machines and, usually, CNC speeds and feeds. In particular they are mostly made to work on what can be called the back side of the spindle hp per unit volume of metal removed curve where going faster and working harder means you shift more metal per hp. Fine with full enclosure and mechanical chip conveyor but somewhat worrying with an open machine, especially in the home shop. Under industrial conditions each tip edge usually lasts only a few hours, often less, but the amount of metal shifted in that time is impressive.

 

At home its much more comfortable to work at relatively low metal removal rates, on the front side of the curve where hp needed goes up faster than metal removal rate. HSS tooling works fine in this region. The general run of Model Engineer machines have neither the strength, speed or power to drive industrial rated tip tooling into their design operating range hence the perception, in some Model Engineering circles, of tipped tooling being inferior to HSS. If you insist on using something outside its design operating range poor performance should be no surprise so its only to be expected that a randomly chosen insert will not give of its best.

 

There are approximately a zillion different types of insert out there. All the major makers produce lots of data enabling the informed purchaser to select a decent insert for the job. All that data and choice is a major, major headache for the normal guy. Best answer is to go to a specialist, such as Greenwood Tools, who will be able to advise you on a suitable style and grade of insert that will work well on your machine. At home you will almost certainly be running the insert outside its design envelope but it will last a lot longer. I understand you now have a Smart & Brown model A which makes life far easier as you have decent speed and strength so could run some inserts to their design loading.

 

The RDG tools sets look nice in the catalogue but I don't know how well they are made. Proper location of inserts is essential or they will break quite easily. Also I see no specifications as to maker, material and detail shapes of the supplied inserts nor any details of speeds and feeds. All vital information. I personally would not deal with a firm so unprofessional that they cannot be bothered to supply such. A bit better than the no-name E-Bay cheapies who don't even know the type of insert, assuming its a standard that is. One such supplier not only offered non standard inserts but was unable to provide replacements!

 

Parting tools are much easier. Just buy one of reputable make. Mine is a Kennametal with 3 mm wide inserts.

 

In my view best bang per buck in the home shop lathe tooling is HSS bits in properly used Armstrong / Williams / J&S (best) holders along with a decent size grinding table and nice set of templates so that you always sharpen to the same angle. Proper use of the tool holder means that, except for the occasional difficult job, the shank of the toolbit is either at 90° to the lathe axis (normal turning) or parallel to it (facing). The holders are bent to facilitate this. If you have a simple tool height gauge its easy to leave the holder mounted and interchange bits as a very poor mans QC system.

 

Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 29/11/2011 22:35:21

Thread: Clamps,
22/11/2011 23:01:46

Well if you really, really want some more it might be worth checking out what the laser cutting service folk would charge for a few sets of side arms. Everything else is dead simple to make if you have a lathe and mill. Heck could get a whole bunch of side-arm sets made and sell kits either just side arms or with material for the other bits to help defray the set-up charges.

 
J&L do the similar Kant-twist ones in sizes from 1" to 6" from approx. £10 to £30 plus VAT plus delivery each so for anything other than baby size costs are going to add up. £10 plus a bit of work for something in the 4" to 6" size range wouldn't be too shabby but not £100 to £150 from J&L just to avoid a bit of work .......
 
Thinking about it functional arms could be made by bandsawing three pieces from strip steel and welding together. Especially if your views of the relative importance of aesthetics and function when it comes to tooling follow mine!
 
Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 22/11/2011 23:02:46

22/11/2011 14:04:01
I think Charlie is looking for the original green Crab Clamps designed by Mike Freeman(?) which appeared on the market in the early 1980's. Very similar to those shown in the link from S.D.L but deeper in the throat with the flat portion opposite the screw about twice as long. Have a suspicion that they may have been wider and the rotating 4 sided clamping pieces slightly differently configured.
 
Saw them demonstrated at an Exhibition around mid 1980's and was quite impressed but had more important demands on the wallet in those days. As I recall things they stood up on their own in quite a stable manner when rested on the straight edges of the arms opposite the screw. The edges running up to the pivoting clamp pieces were also straight and long enough to allow a work-piece held by two or three crab clamps to be set flat on a level surface, albeit a bit above.
 
By my memory rather better thought out than the J&L ones linked to by Jason and better proportioned for some purposes than those found by S.D.L. As I recall matters they went off the market in the late 1990's.
 
Google for  Crab Clamps Popular Science and open the link to the November 1985 issue which should come up with a good in use picture at the top of the page.  Can't insert the link 'cos its a monster being via Google books.
 
Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 22/11/2011 14:12:40

Thread: BW Electronics DROs
19/11/2011 23:08:47

On a lathe cross-slide its probably best to run the pull wire round a pulley for a double run giving direct cut on diameter read-out and retaining the nominal sensor accuracy. Of course this assuming the pulley is round and runs true.

 

I have one of the MPS self contained single axis units on the quill of my Bridgeport. Tucks in nicely above the micrometer scale making a neat, effective and doesn't get in the way of the depth stop like the "display on a stick" based solutions. Being an untrusting type I use it to set the stop rather than cutting to a dimension on a live display.
 
Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 19/11/2011 23:09:11

Thread: Any experience of the Warco GH Universal Mill?
18/11/2011 23:53:10

No. 3 on head weight. Rig up a strap before tilting. I took the one on my Chester version over to about 20° shortly after installation and it almost escaped. Took a fair bit of grunting, groaning and impressive verbals to get it back. Naturally I dropped the spanner for the locking bolts too. In those days I was quite happy to lift a hundredweight or more from floor to bench or more.

 

I went the other way to KMP and moved up to a Bridgeport. In the home shop, where drowning in coolant or being buried in swarf spoils the fun, maximum metal removal rate and safe cutter size comes out pretty much the same. The really big difference is when setting up work. The combination of big square head, small table and spindle coverage limited to a little over half the table Y-axis width makes life much harder from both visibility and elbow room considerations. For obvious physical reasons these, along with machine stiffness, are inescapable compromises for any machine seriously smaller than a Bridgeport. You need to take a very careful look at the compromises of particular layouts before buying, table size isn't everything, visibility on the aforementioned 626 type being far better. I went round many laps before deciding on the square column one!

 

From the picture it seems the Warco still has the abominable screw up and down spindle depth setting stop. Those things take geological time to set and are more than a little springy. I stuck a plain rod in mine, drilled out the threads in the nut and welded a wing nut head onto a screw to lock it in position. The little plate with an arrow went for a gremlin toy, eyeing up the scale with the bottom of the nut was just as good. Set in seconds and far more rigid. I had a 3 axis DRO with the Z on the quill so this little mod made repeating depth settings a breeze.
 
I often considered that a depth stop on the column would be really useful too but never got round to doing one. On reflection a multi position one like the 6 rod bed stop I have on my lathe or the 4 screw one on my router sounds like it could be very good on the right jobs.
 
Mine was unusual in that it had a two speed belt drive and inverter controlled three phase motor to give around 40 to 2800 rpm in two ranges with decent overlap in the middle. In my view best of breed layout. At the time the price / performance / specification ratio didn't work but were the idea revisited now prices could be competitive.
 
Inspection followed by strip, clean and re-lube is probably a good idea with any inexpensive machinery. It certainly seems that a single set of parts is provided which must be assembled into a machine regardless so some horrors do get through. The spindle and gearbox are driven at higher speeds so a listening test should be good enough. I always feel that mixing oils isn't ideal so cleaning out that supplied and replacing with your favourite seems good. Also give you a chance to set-up things to run just so and verify that the tape gib adjusting slots fit snugly on the adjuster heads. Excess play here can drive you nuts as the table self adjusts its gibs during operation! Mine lacked pushes on the table locks so the plain bolt ends chomped into the gib where they touched.
 
Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 18/11/2011 23:54:55

Thread: Knurling Help Needed
14/10/2011 22:44:38
The first one being good and subsequent ones poor suggests that a bit of swarf has become embedded in one of the knurls, lashings of cutting fluid reduces the chances of this happening but its advisable to check and scrub between jobs.
 
Verify that both knurls are spinning freely. Lots of pressure on small bearings so older units will be worn and can drag badly. Especially after Lawyer Murphy has inserted a couple of small pieces of swarf in positions exquisitely chosen to maximise problems.
 
I have a two wheel push knurl tool made by Pratt & Whitney of slightly unconventional configuration which seems rather better behaved than the usual sort. As usual with this style of tool the knurl carrier is pivoted so as to equalise the pressures on each however the pivoting arrangements are offset vertically so that one knurl contacts the work pretty much on centre whilst the other is pulled upwards onto the work. In the conventional tool the knurl carrier pivots pretty much on centre height so one knurl is above centre and one below. If the forces don't balance out pretty well right from the start you have problems with the conventional tool. In contrast the P&W version is clearly unbalanced when you start but rapidly pulls itself in to making equal depth knurls. Its also tolerant of a nervous approach, standard practice with the conventional system is to be very firm when engaging.
 
That said I find that a hand held, "nutcracker style" three wheel tool gives good results without arcane practices or extreme verbal encouragement despite a rather low rent appearance. The two wheel clamp down type are generally well spoken of too. Both of these have the advantage of removing the heavy forces from the lathe. Important as many of the lighter machines aren't really strong enough to generate the heavy shove needed to hold a knurling tool up to the work.
 
Clive
Thread: Grayson Lathe
03/10/2011 23:28:59

Mike


Do you have a countershaft unit and simply need set up instructions or are you going to have to fabricate a unit?

If you need to make one I have a PDF "concept write-up" describing a couple of relatively easy to make set-ups based on ones I built for my two SouthBend 9" lathes. Both can be made without needing access to a working lathe but they are concepts only, not full designs, intended to be easily adaptable to use a variety of functionally equivalent components selected from whatever can be obtained cheaply or is in the handy box. If you fancy a copy contact me and I'll E-mail it.

Whatever countershaft you use a poly-vee "serpentine" belt of the type used on modern car engine accessory drives makes an excellent substitute for old style leather belts. Run it Vee side down, ant decent belt'n bearing supplier has a variety of widths and lengths not too expensive.

For measuring cut you could fit suitable size disks or dials to the cross and compound feed handles and stick a printed scale generated by your computer drawing program on. A band round the edge looks more proper but is harder to make as the length has to be right for the disk diameter. One stuck on the face is effective although you will need a pointer extended over the edge to show the reading. Laser print and varnish is pretty durable, 2 to 3 years at least unless thinners or something similarly aggressive gets on them, and replacements are easily made.

Clive
Thread: Lathe and mill or combination
29/09/2011 23:37:53
A nasty gotcha concerning sizes when looking at lathes and mills is that a mill needs to be relatively larger than a lathe to handle same size work. Most especially so in smaller sizes. Mainly its because a mill has to accommodate work holding (eg vice, clamps), tooling and tool changing space within its work envelope whilst, except for drilling and the relatively small space occupied by chucks, pretty much all the space you see on a lathe is available for the work piece. Also, on any specific job, parts needing to be milled are often physically larger than those being tuned so need more machine space to fit. To make matters worse mills sprawl all over the place and are total space hogs compared to lathes.
 
When looking at mills its easy to over look the considerable difference between table size which determines how big a part can be strapped down the table travel which actually defines how large apart can be machined without resorting to repositioning. Once again the smaller the machine the worse the problem. Unless your 3D visualisation is far better than mine a bit of cardboard engineering to make a box to physically illustrate the work envelope could save disappointment. Took me 3 goes before I got the relative sizes sorted good enough.
 
Clive
Thread: Tool Centre Height
05/08/2011 11:10:25
I like the optical type as described in MEW some years back. Basically a thick lump of perspex fixed to a suitable base so it stands straight up having a line scribed at centre height on both sides with a mirror at 45° (ish) fixed to the back so you can look down and see the lines. When both lines and the tool tip are superimposed tool is on centre height.
 
Ideal for my Smart & Brown 1024 with its large areas of flat surfaces. Great thing is that you can scribe the lines in situ with a sharp centre. Obviously best for QCTP or Armstrong type holder systems where the tool height is easily adjusted by screw or sliding. Worth remembering that a fixed Armstrong holder makes a fairly good QC system if you simply swop tool bits and centre to centre height. Need system for interchange of bent right, bent left and boring tool holders but there are ways of doing it easy and inexpensive.
 
If shimming is your thing consider making an off lathe jig with an indicator to measure tip height from the tool base so you can sort shims immediately after sharpening. Alternatively mark the tool with paint dabs, alcohol based marker or whatever. Good source of shims is old hacksaw and band-saw blades with the teeth ground off. The plastic colour coded stuff is quite acceptable too being easy to organise but it does require an intermediate plate between it and the tool. Often thought that a good way would be to arrange your too grinding jig so the top grind is in suitable shim thickness steps so you know what you have.
 

Clive
Thread: Cutting speed theory
21/04/2011 00:38:56

Norman

Fundamentally the effort needed to cut an anisotropic material is defined by the work of fracture and the surface energy of the material. To make a cut you have to drive a crack through the material in the desired direction and create two surfaces behind it. The work of fracture and surface energy define how much energy per unit length of cut is needed to do the job. Generally the more energy you have to put into the material to make the cut the hotter the tool gets. If you go too fast the sharp tip melts. Aluminium is easier to cut than steel so you can go faster without overheating things. In the real world you also have to take account of how easily the chip flows across the tool and any chip breaking work required.

The initial increase followed by fall off in power required per unit of metal removed as speed rises is real and is the secret behind negative rake turning. Total power still goes up as does the temperature and volume of chips and the tool clearly gets hotter because the extra power still has to go through the tool. Metal tools cant take the heat so its carbide, ceramics et al only. The physical reasons are complex. I know of no reliable account accessible to the general reader and am none too sure if even the complex treatments really get the science right. An interesting aspect is that, if you get the conditions right, most of the heat goes into the chip which comes off blue hot whist the main work piece stays cool.

 
Cutting metal, where the tool edge is close to perpendicular to the material, is a very different process to the familiar slicing cuts, as in woodwork, where a thin blade approaches at a shallow angle. As witness the effect of a built up edge on the tool when cutting soft alloy. I guess we have all seen a cut continue just fine with a large built up edge despite it being far too soft to actually cut. Something which is immediately apparent when starting the next cut which produces a horrible mess if you've not noticed the built up edge and removed it.

Clive

Thread: Face cutter cutting width
21/04/2011 00:05:31
Norman
 
When it comes to insert cutters you pretty much have to track down the book operating data and follow it. Material specific inserts are normal. Used as per book inserts perform very well indeed but most have been empirically developed to perform properly within their specified operating envelope and are pants outside it. Some will work fine outside the book values but your chances of tracking them down in the blizzard of type numbers are pretty slim. For lathe work sharp, positive rake inserts are pretty forgiving "off book" but I know of no similar general approximation for milling inserts.
 
Clive
Thread: 'New lathe chuck jaw screws'
19/04/2011 13:49:43

I have successfully arc welded broken square sockets back together in the past. My welding skills are adequate -, at best, so its a pretty practical proposition. Needs a steady hand and concentration. A decent inverter style welder, like my Fronius, is a great help as its much easier to exploit small rods. But I did the first one with the SIP 140 buzz-box I had previously. Albeit with considerably more verbal encouragement.

 
A simple corner crack isn't too bad to stitch back but if you have to replace a completely broken away side a good deal of care is needed to avoid getting significant quantities of weld inside the square. For the third one I had to make a complete new side. A piece of key steel in the remains of the socket helped teach things manners and careful attention to piece overlaps helped me get things together without welding the key steel in place. I did have to do a fair bit of filing round the outside tho'. Diamond files are nice for this sort of thing. Arc EuroTrade gave me a set of small "store in the handle" ones as a freebie with an order which are far better than the price indicates and very useful for jobs like getting inside the square. Heck, when they wear out I'll probably buy some more!
 
Clive

Thread: Experiences With Mid Sized Mill
19/04/2011 00:42:15

Keith

I have a square column bench mill supplied via Chester essentially similar to the Lux but with a slightly smaller table and infinitely variable speed via VFD drive and two step pulley belt drive. R8 taper. I've now upgraded to a Bridgeport so have a good basis for comparison.

Leaving aside any "import quality control" issues the basic cutting capability is, in practice, similar to that of a Bridgeport. The Bridgeport will cut harder and faster but the rate of swarf production becomes uncomfortable in a domestic workshop. Once properly set-up accuracy can be as good, I fitted an proper 3 axis glass scale DRO to mine.

The two fundamental issues relate to Y-Axis travel and the head size. On mine only about half the Y-axis depth of the table can be covered by the cutter axis. This seriously reduces the work envelope as compared to a Bridgeport. The head is heavy and cumbersome to move. The power driven elevation on a Super Lux is a good idea, I got as far as finding a motor before getting sensible and upgrading. Tilt it past about 20 degrees and you aren't gonna get it back up on your own without some form of mechanical assistance. No worm or other motion controller so its darned dangerous without a safety strap. Compared to a Bridgeport visibility past the squared off head is poor so setting up and measuring the in progress job can be a right pain. Lack of space also makes beating a job down onto parallels much trickier.

Mine gave me a lot of machining capability in a small space for which I was grateful at the time. Now I'm used to a Bridgeport I'd hate to go back even though 90% of the work i do would still fit the smaller machine. You really need to try before you buy. I'm in East Sussex, if you are in striking distance you are welcome to come and play for an hour or two. Its got to go sometime so if you liked it ...

Clive

Thread: Countryman's Steam - Chain drilling
04/04/2011 15:50:51

Jason

Probably a typo on the chain drilling. Drilling every other hole on 1/8" spacing out to 4 mm will clear the webs between the holes with minimal chance of drill wander. Or maybe drill every other hole 4 mm in the first place by going round twice. The inexperienced worker can do without slightly misplaced holes running into each other on their first efforts at chain drilling. Not to mention the broken drills!

Mixing imperial (1/8") and metric dimensions may be frowned upon but its an excellent way of getting a small clearance / space with limited tools and no need for super accurate measuring gear. Laying divider points onto a good engraved rule is very accurate, especially via a magnifier.

Often thought that a proof reading panel would be good for beginners constructional series articles. Normal ones are hard enough to write when at least you can assume that a bit of reader experience will click in to tide over small errors and "not quite what I meant" phrasing. Beginners stuff is a nightmare for the experienced guy to write, especially as he has his head full of the design and how he made / will make it. Infinite scope for "mentos" (mental equivalent of typos). Hard for experienced workers to spot too as we tend to read what is meant not what is written. Our overworked editor doesn't have time for the detail attention needed.

Clive

Thread: Studs for QCTP Holders
27/03/2011 17:43:11
What material would be suitable for making new studs and screws for Dickson tool-holders? I shall shortly have about 5 ft of EN19T or EN16T surplus from a job and figured that might do as overall its properties aren't too dissimilar to High Tensile bolt material.
 
At the above prices its nearly economic to get a set of chasers for my coventry die head for the quantity I need!
 
Clive
Thread: Shed for a workshop - any advice?
22/03/2011 17:46:39

Sadolin is certainly the stuff for "painting" wood. Doesn't lift, crack or craze. Wire brush prep and re-coat every couple of years. Mortgage expensive retail but can be got for around £63 for 5 litres mail order. I'll find my last bill if anyone wants to know who from!

But even Sadolin won't do anything for shuttering ply. Avoid like the plague. It never looks good.

My 16 ft by 33 ft (ish) shop cost me about £15,000 to scratch build 4 or 5 years back including 70 ft paved path, paying a full time helper for the build period and buying a Paslode framing nailer. Proper re-enforced concrete on well wacked Type-1 base with surrounding wall topped with green waterproof flooring board makes excellent machine foundation. Don't use the natural colour board. Dusty and surface breaks up. The green board makes super bench tops too having that tiny hint of roughness needed to stop stuff escaping onto the floor but not so rough as to be uncomfortable. Framing is 4 x 2, properly nogged out with OSB cladding both sides, fibre glass insulation and ship-lap outside. Looks good and is strong. OSB interior ceiling height at 8 ft headroom, more fibre glass insulation then flooring board for the attic floor. Roof is metal sheet "end of line price" with 2" poly sheet insulation added afterwards to prevent condensation drips. Builder assistant over-ruled me when I wanted it put in first! In hind sight I'd have used poly sheet insulation every where and built the attic floor on a 2 x 4 ft cellular pattern with tightly fitted insulation for rigidity rather than doing it how Mr Builder wanted. Widows and doors are household standard double glazed units. Overmakes, surplus, small ands and Freegle sourced. Several power rings and oodles of sockets with household standard service boxes. Motor power from a separate box with higher current rated RCD and longer delay MCBs.

Heat needs are minimal "only if it snows." well more or less.

Clive

Thread: Metric or Imperial Lathe?
27/02/2011 22:18:49
If you plan to do both metric and imperial screw cutting its better to start with an imperial lathe. The conversion set-up is a little easier with fewer gears and is, generally, more comprehensible. You also have the benefit of a thread cutting dial when doing imperial threads. Metric thread cutting dials are, at best, confusing to the occasional user. Many are downright incomprehensible and easy to set-up wrong.
 
If you get an imperial lathe with a gearbox don't blindly follow the makers suggestions for metric conversion if a 100 / 127 conversion gear is required. For some obscure reasons most makes require you to ring the changes on the gearbox drive gear as part of the process. Very irritating as you have to adjust the positions of all the gears on the banjo for each change. Far better to copy the SouthBend system where the first, stud, gear is changed so you only have to fit the conversion gear and adjust the angle of the banjo for all changes. Actually most lathes will accept the conversion gear as an idler so it gets even easier.
 
If you end up with an imperial change wheel lathe best option is to use the Myford 21 drives 40 teeth conversion gear with change gears selected from an integer incrementing series rather than the usual by five increments. The set-ups become incredibly simple and easy to keep track of. Should you need to purchase gears for conversion purposes its easier and less costly to buy smaller gears than originally supplied. Means buying a full set and sorting out a way to span the extra distance but larger gears are costly and many machines have 14° pressure angle gears which can be hard to find. If 24 DP by 0.375" face width are good enough for my Smart & Brown.
 
I discovered the relative difficulty of going the metric to imperial route and the threading dial conundrum after buying my metric Smart & Brown 1024 VSL. But I do have dual dials so normal working is no problem and the threading stuff is a minor irritation when set against the quality and capability of the machine.
 
Clive
Thread: Is it just me!!!
14/02/2011 17:57:37

Well a 5 year apprenticeship is around 8,000 hours after which "right to drawing - fast" is expected and normal. Model Engineering needs most of the skills taught to an apprentice but you don't need the speed and "close to drawing then adjust to fit" will usually do. Although its surprising how soon some speed and decent accuracy comes with regular tasks.

So its fair to expect it to take a while before you are happy with your skills and work rate.

Biggest handicaps for the home shop lone hand are:-

1) having no one to show you "right now" when you can't get a decent handle on a job or process so "educate yourself" means taking a few wrong turnings and often settling in the "hafta do" cul de sac making hard work of what is a simple job if you only knew the right way.

2) having to learn how to set up your lathe and other machine tools as you go so its hard to tell if problems are due to your undeveloped machining skills or set-up inadequacies. Hardest thing is to get a handle on how much cut is right. Far too many people resort to baby cuts to get round set-up or wear problems.

Ages back I had a Pools Special lathe with which I could "eventually" get decent results. Guy I sold it to bought an expert adviser with him who looked the lathe over, pronounced the my rebuild and adjustments good then asked if he could take a test cut off the rather nibbled bit of steel residing in the chuck. I agreed but said the material seemed too tough for the lathe. After trying a very short cut with my tool he said it needed a touch up. About three seconds on the grinder made no difference that I could see but on replacing the tool he promptly took a 1/8 inch ish cut leaving an excellent finish! I'd always figured that 20 thou cut was going well in steel! I got the asking price though, which did soothe the ego somewhat.

Clive.

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