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Member postings for Peter G. Shaw

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

Thread: Surplus subjects learnt at school.
20/07/2019 20:20:23

I attended a small Yorkshire Grammar School in the late 1950’s. The most subjects I could have taken was eight – provided I stayed in the A stream. I didn’t, so the quantity was reduced to seven, the Maths syllabus was changed (no Calculus, I think) and fortunately, a different Maths teacher. Of the seven subjects, I only passed three – Maths, Physics & Geography, and failed English Language, English Literature, French & one other subject which I cannot for the life of me remember what it was. Along the way I took, and dropped, Latin, History, Chemistry, Art & possibly RE. Metalwork/Woodwork was only taught for the first four years, but it did give me an initial introduction to engineering.

At the end of the five years, I left school, applied to join the General Post Office as an apprentice telephone engineer, and following a suggestion from the Youth Employment Office applied to the CEGB and the local electricity board, YEB. YEB didn’t want me, CEGB said yes provided I got four O levels to include English, whilst the GPO had it’s own entrance exam and wasn’t the least bit concerned about O level results. I duly had a career with the GPO/POT/BT ending up as an exchange dimensioning and routing planning manager.

So, what was of use for me. Maths & Physics gave me a pass into the second year of the City & Guilds Telecoms Technicians Course and ultimately I obtained the top level Full Technological Certificate in Electronics & Telephony. I have never missed the lack of an English O level pass: indeed some years ago I astounded a lady with a Phd in English Literature who commended me for my writing abilities. Woodwork/Metalwork gave me an insight into constructional methods in both subjects which eventually became of use in a personal capacity, ie DIY. The one and only time I could have used French my mind went completely blank!!! Latin was of some use mainly for pronunciation when I was singing, whilst the rest was of no use whatsover.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Best way to cut HSS tool blanks from bar?
16/07/2019 13:18:15


As I understand it, HSS was formulated to avoid the softening that occurs when its predecessor, high carbon steel (silver steel), is subjected to heat. According to T.D. Walshaw (Tubal Cain) some grades of HSS will still work when red hot. Which rather suggests that in the home workshop it will not be that easy to soften HSS! So, as Vic says, go ahead, you won't hurt it.

If you are at all worried, you could do what I did when cutting up an old carbon steel file to use as lathe tools - keep a watering can of cold water handy and flood the job every few seconds.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Any other business?
16/07/2019 09:41:24

Auto-pilot! Happens to me quite frequently, especially when walking a set route. Mind you, I do not like walking, I find it boring, and only do it for health reasons.

But the funniest event that I experienced was when going to pick up the then girl friend. I found myself a good half-mile past her house! Maybe my sub-concious was trying to tell me something as we did, eventually, part company.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Giberalter Toolpost
16/07/2019 09:36:29

My homemade database gives MEW139, page 31, dated Jun 2008.

My notes say:

The author came actoss Tubal Cain's Gibralter toolpost and decided to make his own from mild steel (instead of cast iron or buying) and included a modification for quick change tool holders.

Is this the one you want?

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: What do you use your lathe for?
03/07/2019 09:11:29

Self education by experimentation!

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Side Cut Angle on HSS Tool Bits
27/06/2019 09:20:28

Peter Wright's book on Model Engineering page 303 explains it. In effect that if taking heavy cuts, the width of the chip is reduced thus making it easier on the lathe.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Illegal CD copy
13/06/2019 20:51:52

As someone who has had a few articles published, may I say that I'm in it for two reasons:

1. For the joy and delight of seeing my name in print as the author, especially as I have no training in engineering, nor of writing technical articles; and,

2. To support a choral society that I was a member of for 21 years until hearing problems put paid to my singing. In this instance, the payments go directly to the society, and I make nothing from it.

I suppose it could be argued that I am doing it for the money, albeit to support the choral society. On a personal basis, I don't need the money, hence the choral society benefitting.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Is CAD for Me?
11/06/2019 19:29:59


I must admit to being somewaht puzzled by your inability to easily delete Open Office. I used to use DOS and could quite easily remove trees. Ok, there were occasional problems caused by certain files being read-only and/or hidden, but I soon learned how to get round them. (From memory I think the command was Attrib *.* -R -H which removed the problem attributes.)

May I recommend Libre Office, the better successor to Open Office, and which can be used in either a Windows flavour or a Linux flavour.

In respect of Linux, I use Linux Mint and it is quite possible to use it in a similar manner to Windows without ever using the command line. For example, Internet Explorer can be replaced by Firefox, Outlook Express (or whatever they call it today) by Thunderbird, Microsoft Office by Libre Office etc. In all the cases mentioned, there is both a Windows version and a Linux version and it is quite easy to use the Windows versions to get an idea of how to use the programs before actually taking the plunge and transferring to Linux.

Of course, you may have one or more programs for which there is no Linux equivalent, in which case, there is a problem, but even so, there are workarounds involving Wine or Oracle's Virtual Box. In my case, I use a Win32 bit CAD program via Wine, and a DOS based database program via DOSemu.

It's true that the Linux Fanboys will act all dismissively if you mention Windows and Linux in the same sentence in their hearing, but really, those people just need ignoring. (Been there, received the abuse, and now ignore them!) It's also true that a lot of the Linux Fanboys will tell you to use the command line because it's faster, because you can do more, because...... Etc. Again ignore them, use it like Windows.

Frankly, once the transfer to Linux has been made, you will eventually wonder why it took you so long.

Please, please, take it from one who hesitated, who was very careful when transferring, and who successfully transferred without a problem, even to the extent of transferring all the data successfully. (At one point I had two computers, both running identical versions of XP, and both running identical versions of Linux Mint, and all four operating systems accessing the same data.)


Peter G. Shaw

Thread: 4 jaw chucks
09/06/2019 10:08:00

For what it's worth, my lathe has a 160mm 4 jaw chuck which uses a backplate with a three hole fixing onto the mandrel.

Actually, it's worse than that as the mandrel has a set of 6 tapped holes in it onto which is bolted a chuck adaptor plate. This plate has three holes which allow for a three hole fixing 3 jaw to be directly attached to it. The 4 jaw chuck then uses a 4 hole to 3 hole back plate between the chuck and the adaptor plate. Seems to work ok. And, many years ago, I made an aluminium backplate to enable me to use an 80mm 4 jaw chuck.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Is CAD for Me?
09/06/2019 09:51:59

Thanks Brian.

No point in taking that any further then.


08/06/2019 19:24:11


Just as an aside. Do you use DesignCad? If so which version? And under Windows or Linux?

I have v.17.3 which I have managed to get working quite well, say 98% under Linux. I understand that someone has got v24 working under Linux.

Peter G. Shaw

Edited to add a little extra. (Sorry Tesco!)

Edited By Peter G. Shaw on 08/06/2019 19:25:24

08/06/2019 18:49:07


I am not going to comment on 3D as I cannot, as yet see a use for it for me.

In respect of TurboCad, for what it's worth, I too found it very difficult to use - it simply wasn't intuitive. And from what you are saying, it would seem that it still isn't intuitive. Unfortunately, during my early trawls around the CAD landscape I did come across a forum entry on the DesignCad forum (another CAD program now owned and sold by the same people who own and sell TurboCad) in which it was said that this was a common problem with TurboCad. So don't despair.

If you fancy doing some internet trawling, and possibly having to persuade Windows that you know best, there is a very old 2D CAD program called Draft Choice which has what I found to be an excellent introduction to using, ok Draft Choice (!), a CAD program. From that, I ended up with DesignCad Pro 3D which I then found very easy to use. I was lucky, I found what I now believe was an end of line sell-off at a ridiculously cheap price for a fully functional 2D/3D program. Unfortunately, DesignCad does not seem to be readily available in the UK.

Good luck,

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Anglepoise Lamps & CFL/LED lamps
07/05/2019 09:20:25

Ok folks, thanks for those comments.

I think the first idea might be to cart the lamp down to my nearest lighting retailer and try some other bulbs to see what happens. If I can find one that works ok, weight wise that is, then that might be the way to go. Otherwise I'll have to see about getting a set of spare springs and modifying those - I'm very relectant to mangle the originals in case I reduce the lamp to scrap.

Peter G. Shaw

05/05/2019 19:33:55

Following on from the thread about Lathe Lights & the Anglepoise copy. I have a many year old genuine Anglepoise which was originally designed to take either 40W or 60W, can't remember which, incandescent lamps.

At the moment I have a 9W LED installed which is somewhat heavier than the incandescents such that the springs are just that bit too weak to hold it in the set position and the light slowly but surely drifts downwards.

Thoughts please.

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: "Screwing" a car round a corner!
04/05/2019 14:05:56

Was that the one where gears 1 & 3 and 2 & 4 were reversed? Or was it the J4? Whichever it was , one of my colleagues was sat in the middle of a minivan (you can tell how long ago that was - no seatbelts & no one batted an eye at three people in the front) and he was operating the gear lever on command from the driver. Unfortunately he had been driving one of the J2's or J4's all day and when asked to move into 3rd, somehow managed to get it into 1st! And no, he didn't strip the gearbox.

Which reminds me of another tale. Another of my colleagues rebuilt a 2 stroke scooter engine and got the timing slightly out - at least, I think that's what it was. Anyway, stopped at traffic lights, the engine coughed, and carried on running. My colleague let the clutch out, and promptly went backwards into the vehicle behind!

Peter G. Shaw

27/04/2019 21:11:38

Dave W,

My parents had a 1953 Ford Prefect! As you say, 6V system, only one dip headlight, one brake light until the law changed, semaphore signalling, 3 speed gearbox, etc etc. That car was mollycoddled - garage, sump heater, engine blanket (old coat), and even then sometimes had to be wound up on the starting handle to get it going. They ran that car until Nov 1959 when they bought a New Anglia. What a difference - 12V, decent lights, 4 speed box...

I started work in 1959 for the GPO which in those days used Morris vehicles - J types, Z types, Minors, & Minivans, none of which, were mollycoddled - and always started on the starter despite the weather conditions. After seeing my mother having to "wind up" the Prefect, and having to "catch" the Anglia when starting from cold, whilst at work the Morris's started on the starter no matter how cold the weather, when it became possible for me to buy a vehicle (the A35 mentioned above), I refused point blank to even consider Fords, a view I stuck with for the next 44 years when I finally gave in and bought a Focus Diesel. That car turned out to be arguably the worst vehicle I have ever had. In the space of 4 years and around 58K miles I had a faulty fuel filter, new clutch, new engine, new airflow sensor and something like 10 or 12 new tyres. Plus all the usual normal wear and tear items. Never again will I buy Ford. Currently I run a Toyota Avensis, 82K miles from new, tyre life around 30K a set, and other than normal wear and tear items, plus an internal mirror that we managed to break, nothing has gone wrong. What's more, at an average of 38.5mpg on petrol it compares very favourable with the two diesels (42.5 & 45.5 mpg) and performs just as well, even when towing the caravan.

Over the years I've had in addition to the A35 & Morris 1000, two Maxis, Beetle, VW type 3 Variant (arguably the 2nd worst car), Montego, Peugeot 405 turbo diesel, the afore mentioned Focus, and Avensis. Up to buying the Peugeot, I used to do all my own maintenance & repairs, but advancing years and increasing complexity and the fact that I could never get the handbrake system sufficiently balanced for the MOT testers, put me off.

It does show, though, when I look back just how much better today's cars are compared with the 1960's.

Peter G. Shaw

27/04/2019 16:24:15

Just a few answers.


Sounds about right putting them on the rear as that would stop the rear drift/slide. Also this was West Yorkshire from 1965 to (about) 1968. 1965 was when I bought the van, and about 1968 would be when I went completely over to radials.

Phil P,

My Traveller was a 67 version, cruelly treated from new - overloaded, driven hard etc. I managed to put the rear springs through the floor and break the engine steady cable. Ended up on radials all round. Typical BMC in that it leaked oil, even after having the cylinder head skimmed. But surprisingly reliable for all that.


Whatever it was, it was the legal way round. I do remember that.

Peter G. Shaw

27/04/2019 13:59:36

Many decades ago I used to use the expression in the title to describe how I got my A35 Van round corners, and I wondered if anyone else either understands what I mean or indeed used to use it. The question has been triggered because I've just seen James May saying that a rally/racing driver when asked which car gave him most fun, answered with "A35 van!".

Now my van had the 1100cc engine along with, as May put it, skinny tyres - but he omitted to mention that they were crossply which I think was an important part of what used to happen.

With that vehicle, I would approach corners under power, and remember this is a front engine, rear wheel drive vehicle, and keep the power on round the corner whereupon, I think, the rear wheels would drift or slide outwards. The result being that as I went around the corner I would have to straighten up somewhat in order to prevent the rear overtaking the front. I was, of course, in my early to mid twenties with all that implies.

The car that followed that van was a Morris 1000 Traveller, same engine, gearbox, back axle, and still on crossply tyres. At some point I changed the tyres on one axle to radials, can't remember which axle, drove the car into a corner in the manner to which I had become accustomed - and found myself heading for a wall, such was the grip of the radials.

So, do any of you recognise that expression? Or have I made it up?

Peter G. Shaw

Thread: Dol starter or just a plug is it really worth it?
25/04/2019 21:07:04

John, you beat me to it! But I would just query one thing with you. The DOL switch on my lathe was re-arranged for both single phase and three phase simply by re-arranging the internal wiring. The contactor coil was connected across one of the three phases and neutral, this being equivalent to a single phase circuit. No need to mess around removing turns of wire.

Otherwise, they can indeed be easily dismantled & reassembled. In my case, the coil failed, so I replaced the coil with a plug-in mains relay and rebuilt the insides to give the same facilities.

An edit: Yes it is worth it for the NVR function alone.

Peter G. Shaw


Edited By Peter G. Shaw on 25/04/2019 21:09:22

Thread: How can I change colours in a jpeg?
22/04/2019 09:25:26

I've just tried mine, and it says that the help file isn't loaded - correct - and gives me the option of looking at it online, which works ok.

FWIW I'm on Linux Mint 18.1 and my GIMP is 2.18.16

Peter G. Shaw

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