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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: The ettiquette of sharing designs
02/04/2022 09:24:47

I see no issues with sharing the toolpost designs if you have changed them.

Obviously if its a simple build thread then reference back to the source rather than publish your drawings.

If its an "I liked the idea but changed things because I thought that would work better / be easier to make / better fit with my machine" or whatever then frankly the changes, unless stupidly trivial, make it your work so free publication is fine. But reference the source because other folk may prefer the original.

Copying and modification is how progress gets made after all.

Commercial use is a little different because clearly the person who has gone to all the trouble of developing something that works is entitled to a fair return on that effort. Patents are explicitly published so folk can copy and improve but "should" give the innovator protection form other folk selling something containing that innovation for several years after.



Thread: M 1.4 threaded steel rod
02/04/2022 08:59:55

Reckon Speedy Builder5 is right about what this M 1.4 rod is for. Certainly looks so from the sample "fit to this" parts I have. Interesting that brass has been found acceptable before as my man says it has to be steel.

Trying hard not to be sucked deeper into this job. Big difference between half and hour or so on t'net to unearth a "get it from here" and deep involvement in making it. Straightening wire is definitely about 4 steps too far. Would soft wire even be stiff enough to thread?

Looks like options are:-

1) die cut thread using 1.4 mm rod from Hobby Holidays and a die from Tracy Tools

2) thread rolling head and 1.2 mm kirschner wires, both off E-Bay

Interestingly that E-Bay thread rolling head is for bicycle spokes but 18 gauge spokes don't seem to be made.

I'll see what he says.


01/04/2022 22:23:50

Thanks for the advice gentlemen.

It's for something to do with renovating a harpsichord. The grooves that are important to retain the parts in wood so it doesn't need to be a screw in thread. The pieces need to be straight too, the ones that came out certainly aren't. I found the M2 studding last year. Acceptable then but considered oversize now the man comes to do the job.

After further searching it looks like 1.4 mm steel rod can be got from Hobby Holidays at about 50 pence a foot so I'll probably go with that. Tracy Tools have dies at £18 each so sticker shock shouldn't give him a heart attack.

Thread depth is 0.15 mm so I guess I'd need 1.25 mm steel rod to start with which seems pretty unlikely. Translates to 0.049" which is near enough 18 gauge (0.048" ) so thread rolling is possible if suitable material can be found.

No luck at component-shop, nearest kirschner wires from UK suppliers appear to be 1.2 mm which may not be enough to thread roll. Fascinating how much stuff I didn't know about can be found by asking here.


Edited By Clive Foster on 01/04/2022 22:36:19

01/04/2022 19:24:24

I've been asked to source a few feet of 1.4 mm diameter grooved steel rod. For all practical purposes the size and groove depth match M 1.4 thread so some threaded rod will do just fine.

I can only find it in short lengths of brass which won't do. Does anyone know of a source in steel?

If not is it practical to make my own. Tracey tools can supply a die, E-Bay also offers a thread rolling head at a not impossible cost, but what material to use and where to get it from. Common piano wire will clearly be far too hard to thread.

I imagine stopping something that slender from twisting during the threading process will require care and creativity.



Thread: Why aren't carbide chop saws used?
31/03/2022 09:17:53

Price is near enough the same so no economic reason to choose one or the other.

Bandsaw preference may well be just familiarity and confidence that blades can easily be got.

But the chop saw, like a power hacksaw, is strictly a stock cutting machine. Only things that can be held in the vice can be cut. Vice is also shallower than that on the usual H-V bandsaw so less scope for creative gripping of tricky stuff. For folk like us the big advantage of the H-V bandsaw is its ability to shape things way too big for the vice when in vertical mode.

That said my H-V bandsaw got very little use as a vertical. Always seemed too much trouble to change over. Flimsy table never inspired confidence. Now I have a big Startrite vertical which gets very regular use as I can just switch on and go. Almost the default option for cutting stuff now except for proper bar and round stock which the old Rapidor power hacksaw handles with effortless aplomb.

Hafta say I prefer a power hacksaw for stock cutting as its quiet and undramatic.

On a slightly different note the Makita DCS552Z 18 V hand held metal cutting circular saw :- **LINK**

is an excellent device. Not sure I'd care to use mine for stock due to the difficulty of holding the soleplate down on small things but its great for larger things and sheet. Got it when I had 5 full sheets of tread-plate to knock down to size. If you have already paid the Makita battery and charger tax its decent value at £120 from Screwfix. Not convinced if its going to be your one and only 18V Makita tho'. I've nearly finished transitioning all my hand held tools to 18V Makita so good deal for me. Wonder if you could sling one under a router table, or similar, device for stock cutting. lethality factor about warp 9 I think.

As ever its choosing the best solution for the jobs you do rather than worrying about specific technology.


Edited By Clive Foster on 31/03/2022 09:22:07

Thread: Gasless MIG welding
30/03/2022 09:29:59

I think the thing about a good inverter welder is that they clamp the current almost instantaneously once the arc is struck. An old style transformer welder inherently controls the voltage rather than the current so by altering the arc length you have some manual control over the actual weld current and heat input. The AC output helps as the continual voltage cycling between zero and peak reduces the average heating input but still has a decent peak to make the weld. Sort of like an uber fast preheat - weld cycle I guess.

With a DC inverter what you set is what you get. If you set a bit too much it rapidly burns through due tothe continuous heat input. Strike voltage is generally higher so arc starting can be more reliable but breaking the arc harder. My Fronius needs a very quick pull back to break the arc. If you want to play silly games on higher current settings a slow, careful pull back can stretch the arc to 6 or 8 inches long before it breaks!

Good Inverter welders can work with a very short arc length. Which helps on thinner materials as the ent heat input is less. With the right balance of current and metal thickness its possible to make good welds between well prepped edges by simply dragging the rod own the joint with a little side to side movement. Handy on vertical welds. But a trick I've not yet mastered. About 50/50 good/crap ratio. The good ones are amazingly clean joins.

John is absolutely right to say that the art is getting a sufficiently capable machine able to do relaible work without too much operator compensation. The usual price performance ratio.There is only so much capability you can pack into a lower cost machine so the operator generall has to work harder. Which makes life difficult for neophytes.


Thread: Liquid Plus Gas
29/03/2022 11:20:03

My understanding is that, as well as being a penetrating lubricant, real Plus Gas Formula A is able to draw out the included water from rust reducing its volume and hence the sticktion between a rusted in bolt and its nut or rusted shaft and its housing. Which obviously makes things easier to turn or move.

A pure penetrating oil merely lubricates the various surfaces, whether between rust and component or between prust particles to ease movement.

I have in the past seen several applications of Plus Gas A reduce the binding of a rusted in shaft from immobile with a hammer to stiff hand pull out levels so I'm inclined to believe the claims. But it does need time to work. Overnight is good.

WD40 is always to hand and gets used more than it should for all sorts of things despite being pretty crap at everything compared to the job specific special sauces.


Thread: How to choose a high quality end mill cutter?
29/03/2022 10:09:06

As has been said step one is to get a reliable brand. I tend to buy mid range industrial ones as my machine is a Bridgeport.

Step two is to make best use of what you have bought within the limitations of the machine. My Bridgeport is a monster compared to your X1 but its still only specced for endmills up to 1" diameter!

There is much more to be gained by setting into a proper technique to get longest life than by stumping up the extra ££ for a super duper extra quality cutter costs over decent mid range.

Coatings are generally thermally sensitive and usually need to get hot to work properly. No point in paying the extra if you aren't going to see any real benefit because your machine cannot work them hard enough to heat up. However even if the coating doesn't get into working range the cutter may still last a little longer but this is usually more due to the base cutter being of higher quality than a simple mid range one. If a good maker is going to go to the trouble of coating it makes sense to start with a high quality cutter.

If buying off brand a certain care and feel for prices is needed to avoid the low end cutters dressed up with a pretty coating for showroom appeal. Rather like the pretty TiN coated drill sets in the bargain bin.

Normally too messy for us but decently arranged coolant, either mist or flood, is probably the best way of extending cutter life. On my Bridgeport decent but inexpensive with mist is about the equal of good (mid range industrial) dry for lifetime.

The big neophyte error is babying the cutter with tiny cuts rather than letting it cut. For best results and life you need to get close to book values. Oh and use the sides, book says depth same as diameter at 1/4 diameter width for endmilling and 1/2 diameter depth for slots so get as close as you can given the job and machine specifications. I can just follow the book, you will need to be more circumspect with larger cutters.

Fundamentally the cutter lifetime is defined in number of turns and number of passes. Crudely twice as many passes at half the feed means 1/4 as many jobs per cutter. Keep the chips clear, recutting chips still counts and conditions are unfavourable.

Don't go mad as you are machine stiffness limited but it's well worth sacrificing a cutter or three just to get a good handle on what works for you. When you have found out the best settings, whether by experiment or inadvertently mid job write them down.

The advice against carbide cutters is primarily against the insert kind. Generally the holder diameters are too large and the inserts designed for heavier cuts at higher speeds than your X1 likes. But, as with lathe tooling, there are a fair number of inserts that work fine in lighter machines at well below book speeds and cuts. There are also some that will leave a ploughed field finish if used off book. Experimentation is expensive!

Normal endmills in carbide will be fine. Handle with care as they are very sharp. They don't like vibration which can lead to edge chipping. Given the much greater durability of the sharp edge relative to HSS this is the one time where going light on cuts may be an advantage with a small machine which doesn't have the mass to tamp down vibration.

Carbide shanks are "more slippery" than steel ones so they don't hold as well in collets. Collet needs to be pulled up well. ER are better than Morse or 5C but you should use book torques. Don't even think about bodging one into a drill chuck to save changing the chuck out. It will walk straight out under cut! Learned that the hard way many years ago when I "only wanted a quick counterbore" on a drilled hole. My carbides are weldon flat types.


PS Sorry for repeating some previous advice. Slow typing. + 1 Andrews recommendation for Cutwel, a very good supplier.

Edited By Clive Foster on 29/03/2022 10:13:58

Thread: Battery powered PIR light failing to switch off
28/03/2022 21:47:22

If they have a solar panel and rechargeable batteries its likely that the batteries are getting old and no longer holding full voltage. Control circuits need more volts than lights in most designs.

I had similar issues with some of the large ones from LiDL after 7 or 8 years. New batterries sorted them.

Damp getting into the PIR head and eelkctronics is also a possibility. In general such things are poorly sealed with little attention paid to ventilation. One of my LiDL ones died due to damp in the electrics.


Thread: Gasless MIG welding
28/03/2022 09:04:23


A good inverter MMA welder will go down to 1 mm or a bit less with a decent small rod and a steady hand. Needs some practice and the self control to keep the welds short so as not to overheat the metal before the arc joins it. Tack together first then extend. If you go too long the metal suddenly disappears at an amazing rate!

Mine is an older industrial standard Fronius Transpocket which does a good job of kidding folk that I can actually weld! As I understand it the affordable breed have pretty much caught up in capability.

With lower cost MIG the main issue is wire feed drive and weld current stability. Gassless being much more demanding on both than plain wire. Back in the day affordable SIP won an unenviable reputation for being less than good at both whilst the Clarke wire feed system was justly considered very effective. Reliable wire feed gives the power supply a much easier ride.

I tried MIG a time or two with basic boxes and got nowhere fast. Finally picked up an ESAB synergic at a £££ very reasonable and am now doing just fine. Although MMA habits still sometimes creep in. Am convinced that the lower end MIG work just fine for someone who can do MIG but if things don't click quite quickly a neophyte is basically stuffed.

If you do go MIG best to bite the bullet, get a half decent one and proper gas. Mine came with the Air Liquide Albee cylinder so I didn't need to get a regulator.


Thread: kerry super 8 problem
27/03/2022 09:48:55


Although Clarke motors are budget price they are generally perfectly acceptable performers over a decent lifetime. 6 years on a drill seems way too short. Generally that sort of low motor power is accompanied by smells and magic smoke leaking out so it may be premature to condemn the motor.

How many capacitors does it have? The one time I saw a similar issue was with a capacitor start & run motor with a defunct run capacitor. Dunno if Clarke do capacitor start & run motors in that size but worth a look.

A stuck on centrifugal start switch in the motor can have similar effects as the start winding is always on and fights the main winding at higher speeds significantly reducing torque. Usually kills the motor because the start winding isn't rated to run for very long and overheats destroying the insulation. However run time on drills is pretty short so, with intermittent use, it might not get quite hot enough to die. Listen for the click at about half speed when the switch operates as the motor runs up to speed and slows down again. The two Clarkes I had through my hands had loud switches.

Capacitor start and run motors have a second, run capacitor in addition to the usual start one. They run smoother and have better torque distribution improving performance on heavier loads. At a price.

An effective way to verify that there are no load related mechanical issues is to set a ball bearing on the table and mount a pressure pad in the chuck to push down on the inner race. Slip the belt off and bring the pad down onto the bearing as if you were drilling. Twisting the chuck by hand as you increase downwards pressure will quickly reveal if something is binding up under thrust loads.


Thread: Is this 3 phase motor suitable for delta/VFD?
25/03/2022 20:58:28

Chapter and verse about running a 415 V star connected motor off at 220 volt VFD here :- **LINK**

Short version is that its the same as a 415 V VFD up to approximately 29 Hz as there is sufficient voltage to drive enough current into the motor to generate rated torque. Above that there isn't enough voltage to drive the current it needs so torque falls off.

If you have room for a larger motor it may well be cheaper to get a more powerful permanent star connected motor and accept the lower peak power speed than seek out a dual star / delta connection one of the right nominal power.


25/03/2022 08:37:56

Having looked into using a step up transformer before I'd say its never worth it unless you happen to luck into something suitable. Allegedly such things can be found in some old fashioned welders.

Seems to be a fairly low power motor, current stamping on the data plate appears to be 1 amp, so maybe one of the multiple output transformers on machine tools with a 240 tapping might do the deed. The Bridgeport one can, allegedly, be used in step up.

If I recall correctly the Brook Gryphon motors put the star point on top of the windings so its easy to get at.

If the application is fairly undemanding one of the 220 V in, 380 V out economically priced import VFD boxes may well be satisfactory. We very rarely drive our tools at anything approaching full power so the odds are that the various performance limitations inherent to making an affordable device won't show up.


Thread: Which angle plate for Myford?
23/03/2022 09:16:30


Angle plates to use on a faceplate are a classic "wait until you have a job for one then buy the size that suits" item.

In this game its awfully easy to spend too much money on things that you expect to need but in fact never do.

I've got lots like that.

Mostly purchased in my early days, usually because they could be got "right now" at a bargain price. Fortunately I always operated under strict pocket money rules so, objectively, not stupidly wasteful. Helped by the things that did get used coming in at much below the normal commercial price compensating for cupboard queens.

Back in those days (1970's) things were much more expensive new and harder to get so bargain hunting just in case made sense. These days adequate quality at affordable prices is common so the "buy it now before its gone" strategy isn't the best.

When there are 35 or more years between purchase and first use its possible that the purchasing departmental strategy was less than ideal! Some kit has been waiting longer. Like my Keats angle plate, 40 years and counting! Wonderful device but never had the need. £2.50 I'll never see again!

If you are still certain you will need an angle plate you ideally need two. One about full face-plate diameter for larger things and one about half diameter. Smaller plate will be lighter and easier to balance. Fastening work is an issue.

I don't have one, apart from the afore-mentioned Keats. I make up a suitable carrier using whatever is to hand, either heavy angle, weld up scrap or just a lump of alloy bar. Drill and tap holes for mounting bolts and trim down to minimum size for lightness. Bin, either scrap or useful waste for next time, when job done.

Its a pity that the modern faceplate only has radial slots. The old type having radial ones in one half and parallel ones in the other are far more versatile when mounting things.

I've never used a lathe dog either!


Thread: Bevel Gear Replacement for Astra L2/L4 Mill - any ideas?
22/03/2022 13:01:51

Spiral bevel would be the preferable engineering choice for driving a vertical milling spindle from a horizontal shaft as the amount of gear engagement is pretty much constant throughout a revolution. So the load is carried smoothly reducing the chances of marks on the machined surface due to cutter oscillation.

I have seen a similarly seriously chewed up nylon bevel gear that was said to have been forced into contact with a metal gear of different form. No idea what the mating gear was, just shown the chewed up gear as an example of things wot people do accompanied by a plaintive "and it actually worked".

If an ordinary nylon mitre gear had been forced against a metal spiral bevel I'd expect a similar wear pattern with only the outer tips retaining enough engagement to drive whilst the spiral chewed out the rest of the nylon tooth form until clearance was generated. Starting off with the head a bit loose and slowly tightening down as it ran it would work if the perpetuator were sufficiently mechanically unsympathetic.

In a perfect world a pair of matching spiral bevels from one source would be best.



Thread: Boring Cutter Sharpening
20/03/2022 10:53:47


Glad you like it.

If anyone wants a copy of the original PDF, much better definition than the compressed jpg posted, PM me your e-Mail and I'll shoot it over.

That was going to be part of a write up on boring tool clearances for ME or MEW but it went daft trying to deal with actual top rake angle and the effects of lifting the tool above centre to accommodate shallow section at the proper, book, rake angle as described by Bill. After thinking over Bills comments I may have figured a simple way to show folk whats actually happening at different bore sizes.


20/03/2022 09:07:48

Bill is quite correct to chide me for oversimplified diagrams when compared to best practice book clearance angles.

However, at the modest cuts most home workshop machines constrain us to use, the simple form works well and has the great advantage of being relatively tolerant of small errors in height setting. As ever tip on centre height is best but a bit up or down is fine.

If you use a shallow 12 to 15 degree cutting rake angle the tool tip needs to be lifted above centre height to ensure the work clears the junction between the bottom of the cutting rake and top of the clearance rake. Interference there can really ruin the finish.

A relative neophyte taking their first baby steps into tool grinding and setting has quite enough to worry about without the added complication of figuring out how much to set the tool above centre height to avoid interference where the two angles meet. The smaller the hole the harder it all gets.

Fact is the clearance angle below the cut is in the wind and its exact value largely irrelevant to folk like us. Over the years I've slowly come to the conclusion that, for our small cuts, dead sharp (and not negative rake) is much more important than angles to the book.

Top rake is needed because a flat top tool is effectively working in negative rake as the work approaches the tool from behind the edge.


19/03/2022 20:10:28


You may find this useful when assessing whether you have sufficient clearance at the bottom of the tool.

Particularly when dealing with holes of relatively small diameter in relation to boring tool depth its easy to end up with interference at the lower side of the tool jacking the cutting edge away from the work. I guess diameters less than 5 or 6 times tool depth are most likely to be troublesome.

Above that 70° clearance is probably good enough.

boring tool clearnace 150.jpg

I drew this out after deciding that proper investigation was more productive than workshop esparanto. Generally, over the years, I'd found my "by eye" estimation to be fine but then there was that "one bad day".


Thread: Screw cutting problem
17/03/2022 20:57:15
Posted by Tony Pratt 1 on 17/03/2022 15:01:18:
Posted by Clive Foster on 17/03/2022 09:53:16:

Hardcore manual machinists consider single tooth clutches and Ainjest attachments cheating.


Clive, where did that 'pearl of wisdom' come from?surprise


Merely an attack of creativity I'm afraid.

My Pratt & Whitney has a single tooth clutch and my Smart & Brown 1024 will get one, or a functional equivalent thereof, if I ever manage to figure out an elegant method of fitting.

Jasons need for fine longitudinal feed is indeed the best justification for setting a topslide parallel to the bed.

I'm impressed that he generally doesn't have any issues with cross slide to tailstock interference. On a small lathe avoiding that sort of problem needs very careful detail design and dimensioning.

Hafta say I've never driven a lathe that didn't have at least potential issues there. Even the stubby topslide on my P&W with its gear driven screw and raised, angled, handle / dial assembly manages to have issues. Which really surprised me once mid job. Had to resort to an extended toolholder. I loathe the things due to constitutional distrust of anything forcing the tooltip to divine its support at considerable distance.

When it comes to short longitudinal feeds I prefer to rely on a bedstop to give positive end position rather than a dial. Must be well over 30 years since I last used a machine without a micrometer bed stop or at least a solid one set with the aid of a near freebie "gash" set of gauge blocks that no longer wring so can't say I recall what it was like to do without.

Lots to be said for the modern DRO scale on the bed if you don't have a longitudinal feed dial. My S&B has an excellent and accurate one so I'm in no rush to go electronic. I did hear of someone who had successfully fitted a small retracting tape measure to the tailstock side of his saddle and found it effective for approximate work. Presumably one of those tiny pound shop bargain things so clearyl attractive to the fiscally challenged (AKA normal) home shop person.


17/03/2022 09:53:16

As has been said, in normal lathe use the primary advantage of setting the topslide at an angle is to generate clearance between the top and cross slide handles or topslide and tailstock depending on whether its at 90° to the bed or parallel to it. Small amchines tend to be cramped.

A secondary advantage is that it reduces the possibility of error should the topslide not be exactly at 90° or parallel if using it to apply a cut. Getting it dead right and ensuring its always dead right can be a pain. Especially on smaller machines with only the basic equipment that home shop guy/gal budget can stretch to.

Odds are that any such cut will be done mid job with no chance to verify settings. Often the last cut that has to be spot on to make the job just right too!

Setting at 90° to the bed always seems a bad idea to me because tool in feed cutting forces need to be applied via both cross slide and topslide screws. Which generally are fairly slender and not exceptionally stiff on our (usually) smaller lathes. Unless the topslide is locked solid. But most lathes don't have provision for that without disturbing gib adjustments.

With two screws in the way you have two lots of backlash clearance floating around so if the cut goes into "judder in and out" mode it can be twice as bad. No nice when parting off decides to go wrong.

When screwcutting the big advantage of setting the topslide at an angle is that you can use the Zero-2-Zero method which is by far the easiest to set-up and implement. Forget the American insistence on setting at exactly 30° which requires maths to calculate feed and, along with the lantern tool post, provides further proof that our colonial cousins are not quite bright when it comes to lathes. The Zero-to-Zero method lets you set the topslide at any sensible angle, mine lives at 25° which does Whitworth, American and Metric just fine, because the lathe actually does the infeed calculations for you.

When using Zero-2-Zero you initially touch the tool tip to the job and set both top and cross slide dials to zero then move the tool clear of the end of the job and feed the cross slide forward by the depth of the thread you wish to cut. Straight out of the book usually. Re-set the cross slide dial to zero and pull back the topslide to gain clearance. Make the cuts with the cross slide set to zero and apply feed with the topslide. When both dials are at zero and all spring cuts are worked out you have cut what you set.

Which probably doesn't actually fit as, in the home shop, the minor diameter tends to come out too large.

Generally our home ground tools aren't exactly the correct tip shape and when using factory carbide or chaser tooling we don't have the correct infeed data to generate a thread right first time. Understanding the clearances involved and their interaction with tip shapes from the usual "lots of triangles" picture in the Zeus or other reference book is hard. Easy enough to add a bit of extra feed to the cross slide, shaving things down until they do fit. If the cross slide zero is altered to refect this any subsequent threads will fit perfectly.

Organised folk will make a note of the extra feed needed for chasers et al. I've had my Johannesson / SKF chasers for 20 years and not got round to it.

Biggest disadvantage of Zero-2-Zero is that it needs a slightly larger run out groove at the end of the thread. 1 1/2 pitches minimum rather than 1. But who is that accurate at dropping the halfnut.

Hardcore manual machinists consider single tooth clutches and Ainjest attachments cheating.


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