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Member postings for Stub Mandrel

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

Thread: What is normal quill play?
06/09/2014 15:25:04

Quill play is seen as rather unusual by most people, but it is perfectly acceptable behaviour for two consenting adults - just don't bring it up at a dinner party unless you know your hosts very well indeed.

Aunty Stub.

Thread: Wheel Bolts - best steel to use
04/08/2014 14:39:47

I need to replace a left-hand thread wheel bolt and nut for an LDV van.

They are no longer manufactured and the odd ones available are for double rear wheels and no nuts...

I'm quite capable of making a suitable stud and nut, but what would be the best choice of steel?

My guess is EN24T would e better than EN19T?


Thread: Helping young people
12/05/2014 18:07:05

A rare post from Stub Mandrel...

Having run an organisation that dealt with all these issues, and part of a bigger federation that probably did as many activities with school age young people as any other in the UK, I can say this thread is a mine of both truth and total mis-information.

I had staff who were continually frustrated by schools who used CRB checks of people who had no contact with pupils (let alone the recurring contact which is supposed to be needed) as a proxy for effective and sensible child safety policies. This was brought home to me when I went to visit a school. I turned up at the door, pressed the buzzer, and a disembodied voice asked what I want. I said 'I have an appointment with <the head teacher>'. The door buzzed and unlocked and I was given directions, without even being asked for my name.

I could have been a parent with a restriction on access to their child, I could have been anyone capable of reading the Head's name on the notice outside. I bet they had all the requisite checks and policies in place when inspected by OFSTED.

That said, with staff who have the right attitude and understanding of child safety issues, the sky is the limit and you can do adventurous and rewarding activities with young people safely.

Neil (in civvies).

Thread: Announcement re: Model Engineers' Workshop
10/02/2014 18:56:15

Hello to all members of the Forum,

I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to edit a publication with the status of Model Engineers’ Workshop. I’d like to start by thanking David Clark for all he has done for MEW, and for helping me to get off to a good start.

As Diane has said, many of you will already be familiar with my postings as Stub Mandrel on this forum. I suppose I’ll have to be a little less irreverent now.

MEW has a few decades or more to go to equal the track record of its illustrious companion, Model Engineer. Nonetheless, the first issue was in 1990 so next year will mark a quarter century of MEW. My predecessors, Stan Bray, Harold Hall, Geoff Sheppard, David Fenner and David Clark have all proven to be talented writers and engineers. I hope I can live up to the standards they have set. While I am not an engineer by training (I’m an ecologist and environmentalist), I am an enthusiastic model engineer, and I have, on and off, been involved with editing a variety of publications over the last thirty years.

Like the previous editors, I hope I will be able to stamp my own character on MEW without fundamentally changing what the magazine is about. There’s no doubt it has evolved considerably since the first issue - Stan Bray’s original vision was an occasional special, rather than a regular monthly magazine.

Those first issues were more or less quarterly, so serials were problematic, and many of the articles in issue one were very straightforward examples workshop tooling. One stand out article in issue one comprises two pages on ‘engineering of the future’ – it’s in the archive at

My aim will be to give all readers, both regular subscribers and those who just pick up the occasional copy, an engaging, informative and entertaining read. I look forward to hearing from readers and subscribers in my new role. I’ll probably start a few discussions going on this forum, but if anyone wants to contact me on a specific (including suggestions and offers of future articles) I’m happy to be contacted by email at

I started with a thank you, I’ll finish some. Thanks to Diane and everyone at MyTimeMedia who has helped me climb the start of a really steep learning curve. Thanks to Mike Chrisp for publishing my first articles in ME – which gave me a great boost, and encouraged me to try more challenging projects and write about them. I hope I can encourage some beginners in the same way. Finally, thank you to all of MEW’s readers and contributors over the years. It’s your interest and contributions that really make the magazine and I look forward to getting to know many of you over my tenure as editor.


P.S. I hadn't the faintest idea this might happen when I posted the link Michael refers to. It looks like I've given you all plenty of rope to hang me by if I get it wrong!

Thread: Cutting parallel tooth gears
10/02/2014 11:57:12

I found that home made cutters struggle with the higher alloy steels like EN24T as well. There's a minimum speed you need to keep the cutter from stalling and that can be high enough to take the corners of the tool, and once they have gone you get rapid overheating and then more and more wear.

I imagine that multi-point cutters would be much better in such steels. Perhaps one day I will make a 'eureka'!


Thread: Thickness of Bahco Sandflex 12" hacksaw blade.
10/02/2014 11:47:16

The set, which determines the width of the cut or kerf, will depend on the number of teeth per inch of the blade. A coarser blade will have a greater set and produce a wider kerf.

As you've probably noticed the set on a hacksaw blade is produced by giving it a wavy edge, rather than by bending the teeth to the left and right as on a wood saw.

Axminster do them in 18, 24 and 32 tpi at £1.44 each, including VAT.

Personally i swear by Starrett blades, when I can get them.


Thread: what's the best mini mill
10/02/2014 10:12:02

> What's the best mini-mill?

The self-cleaning one.


Thread: Myford S7 jamming when using live centre
10/02/2014 10:10:28

> As far as I'm aware, a live centre is one that doesn't use the workpiece as the bearing for its rotation.

My understanding is that the definition goes back to the days before chucks.

A 'dead centre lathe' is one that has two non-rotating centres, on at each end, like a watchmaker's turns or a bodger's pole lathe. Don't dismiss these as primitive as inherently they produce truly circular work.

The 'live centre lathe' is therefore one with a spindle in the headstock and therefore the point fitted in the spindle is the 'live centre'.

Live and dead in this context mean rotating or fixed, just as fast and loose do with pulleys.

Personally, I like the way specialist uses keep old meanings of words alive.


Thread: what's the best mini mill
09/02/2014 18:24:41

> Something Like this then Neil?

Probably a bit ore modest than that

Before the new column appeared, I was thinking of making a grinding head with an MT3 taper on it that dangled below the spindle (locked) on the X2.

You will have a pm soon.


Thread: Advice for novice early ML7 owner please
09/02/2014 16:42:43

Hello Jon,

Welcome to the forum and sorry for the wait for a reply.

I haven't got an ML7 but I recall someone mentioning a screw plug that has to be removed from the bottom of one of the pulley grooves.

There are plenty of ML7 owners on the forum, so hopefully one will be along to correct me in a moment...


Thread: Servicing Machinery Bearings Properly
09/02/2014 16:38:06

This is very interesting. I have always assumed that you plaster a new bearing with grease, but that the excess is rapidly squeezed out into the surrounding void. I suppose this isn't too bad an approach having read the above comments and the SKF guide - as long as the excess really has somewhere to go.


Thread: what's the best mini mill
08/02/2014 17:56:36

> ... if I wanted a wobbly column for the special.

My 'special' could be a surface grinder, so even without the large bracing plate fitted to my X2 it would probably be rigid enough. However, I was thinking of lying the column on its back as the base of a new machine.


07/02/2014 19:56:00

Equally, you could upgrade your mill and use the old column as the basis of a new machine.


Thread: Easy Calculation ?
07/02/2014 18:19:10

The cut to zero method is excellent and works for both people using an angled topslide and for the rectilinear disciples of Tubal Cain.


Thread: what's the best mini mill
07/02/2014 18:01:43

Arc's rigid column mod for the X2 looks very, very tempting.


Thread: Milling ceramic tiles - socket cutouts etc
07/02/2014 17:35:52

I would recommend the Screwfix tilesaw over the B&Q one, if only because it has a large drain groove all round and the horrible pasty red mud they make really needs to be kept under control

Make sure you scoop the mud out when you refill it with water - don't be fooled by the shallow liquid layer on top into thinking it is full of dirty water when most of it is near solid mud, like I was.


07/02/2014 14:41:21

I've just done our kitchen and my stepson has tiled the bathroom walls.

For the bathroom we followed Norman's strategy as I built a false wall to hide all the pipework and made sure that every hole was on a corner.

In the kitchen it was tiles that looked like they were made of many smaller tiles so it was easy to split them along a joint and tidy up with grout.

Expect a much faster cutting action on wall tiles than floor tiles.

My cheap tile cutter was too small and has started to get flaky and can't do corners so used a big manual cutter (£25 from Topps) and a cheap (£32 from screwfix) circular saw tile cutter with a diamond blade for the profiles and corners.

Just the towel rail & shower screen & floor tile grouting left to do. How can there be so much work in a small room? crook


Thread: Slicing carbide.......
06/02/2014 18:33:03

Ideal for fitting taps to composite baths for Doll's houses.

Seriously, how about using a tile saw? With an end to tiling in sight, I'm looking for uses for my cheap'n'very cheerful one - perhaps slicing small geological specimens or making 1:12 bricks from big ones.


Thread: Hovercraft......
06/02/2014 18:23:29

As teenager building the Airfix SRN4 in 1:144 was a big thrill. It had a half-transparent roof so you could see the internal detail. A very fine kit. The SRN1a was a very different but equally rewarding build in 1:72.

I believe a recent Model Boats featured a practical hovercraft model. They must be much easier to build in these days of lightweight Lipo batteries.


Thread: Peter Rich Newport South Wales RIP
06/02/2014 18:14:13

A sad passing. I always admired his excellent drawings and enjoyed his writing. As a fellow SouthWalian the image that sticks in my head are his descriptions of setting down tools to go piping on the Newport foreshore.


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